Sen. Feinstein: 'I Think Our Many of These Countries Is Weak'

By Susan Jones | January 26, 2015 | 6:20am EST

Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.)

( - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the former chair of the Senate intelligence committee, says she agrees with Republican Sen. John McCain that the U.S. needs Special Operations forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria:

"Let me tell you where I come down on it," Feinstein told CBS's "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer. "I think our intelligence with respect to what's going to happen in many of these countries is weak. Whether it's because we do not have adequate human intelligence or not, I don't know.

"But we have seen -- McCain is right. We have seen this happen a number of times. We certainly saw it with the Ukraine and the taking of the Crimea and now what happened with the Houthis and--"

"In Yemen," Schieffer interrupted.

"In Yemen, right," Feinstein said.

"And with respect there, no one knows what is going to happen. The future is unknown, which really should not be the case. We know that the Houthis have said they would leave us alone, and yet their slogan is "Death to America, "Death to Israel." They have deposed the president. The military has separated off.

"We have less than 300 Yemeni military guarding our embassy. So, I think there are a number of priorities there. One is to see that our people are safe. The second is to take a good look at our policy with respect to Yemen.

"And it's largely counter-terrorism. It's largely developed against al Qaeda because al Qaeda is coming after us. They have tried to get four of these bombs that go through magnetometers into our country. So, it's targeting the leadership and trying to take that leadership out."

Feinstein said her biggest concern is Iran, which has supported the Houthis in Yemen. "Is Iran trying to begin the development of an Iranian crescent? I don't know. But I think we have to think long term. And I think we have to become much more -- develop the human side of intelligence, rather than the technical side of intelligence."

Sen. McCain told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he is very concerned about Iran, which is "either dominant of extremely influential in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen."

"But when you look at the map, the Iranians are on the march. AQAP and the ISIS in both Iraq and Syria are doing quite well. There is no strategy to defeat them."

McCain said the Obama administration is "delusional" to think that what they're doing is succeeding: "And we need more boots on the ground. I know that is a tough thing to say and a tough thing for Americans to swallow, but it doesn't mean the 82nd Airborne. It means forward air controllers. It means Special Forces. It means intelligence and it means other capabilities."

Feinstein said she thinks the administration's air strikes against ISIS/ISIL have had some success: "But that is not going to do it. And so where McCain is right, I do think we need some Special Operations in these countries on the ground, more than just advisers. And I think we need to protect our allies. That's Israel. That's Jordan. That's Saudi Arabia -- and be more pronounced about it."

Feinstein said she also worries that the Taliban and al Qaeda will try to make a comeback in Afghanistan. "I will be very candid -- I'm one of those Democrats that doesn't see a rapid pullout of American troops as being beneficial."

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