Home » Foreign Forces » Rep. McCaul: Russian President Putin is an ‘Enemy of the United States’

Rep. McCaul: Russian President Putin is an ‘Enemy of the United States’

An undated photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian Presidential Press and Information Office Photo

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in his attempt to take back Ukraine, cow and subvert the Baltic NATO members and — for the first time since the late 1970s — re-assert the Kremlin’s military presence in the Mediterranean.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), speaking at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, said in backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Russian advisers, air power, sea-launched cruise missiles and equipment, Putin has also beefed up Moscow’s submarine presence and operations in the eastern Mediterranean operating from two bases.

The 2014 takeover of Crimea, a part of Ukraine where Russia had been allowed to maintain a military presence following the break-up of the Soviet Union, provided a first step to its build-up in the Middle East, McCaul said in a wide-ranging talk.

Especially important militarily in Putin’s escalation of pressure on Crimea then was to retain Moscow’s control of Sevastopol, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet with its access to the Mediterranean. Moscow had also established a base in Syria in the Cold War, but it has largely fallen into disuse until Putin took office.

Now, “we have detected [Russian submarines] off the coast of the United States” for the first time since the early 1990s — coming from bases in the Baltic as well. “These are the missile-carrying” subs, McCaul, who also serves as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added.

“Putin is an adversary, an enemy of the United States.” McCaul said the Russian leader “is paranoid over NATO” despite the “mixed messaging” from the administration of U.S. commitment to the alliance. The danger in that crossed signals is the same as it was with earlier administrations, he said. The risk is,”Our allies no longer trust us; our adversaries no longer fear us.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

He noted, “one positive” from the recently completed Brussels NATO meeting is that the Europeans “are finally stepping up to the plate” to honor their commitment to raise their security spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic products.

The biggest reason for the new vigor in the alliance comes from Moscow’s aggressiveness, as it has for the last four years especially along its western borders — from the Baltic to the Black seas.

In Ukraine, Putin is ratcheting up kinetic and cyber pressure to have Kiev “come back to the mothership.”

The Russians “are throwing everything into it that they can” in terms of cyber warfare to do just that — disinformation on current events and the political situation in the country, anti-Western propaganda, disruption of public utility service and international financial transactions. “We’re learning a lot” from what Moscow is doing in “these really disruptive attacks” as well as what is attempting to do in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In his role as chairman of the Homeland Security panel, McCaul said there was no question Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections, as it has done in voting in Europe. “They’re going to do the same things” in the coming mid-term congressional vote this November. He added, “I think they’re targeting specific members of Congress” this time.

McCaul said, “I don’t understand the reluctance [of President Donald Trump] when he almost sided with Putin” in saying there was no interference by the Russian state in the presidential vote. “I was briefed on this threat in October 2016” and the attribution from American law enforcement and intelligence agencies led back to Russian military intelligence. He added that he told President Barack Obama then and Trump as he was taking office “to call out Russia and condemn it.”

China uses cyber differently than Russia, he said. “They have a plan to dominate economically and militarily by 2025.” He expects Beijing to “probably be our largest economic competitor” by then, and that’s where it is testing America most frequently. Its use of cyber has been for espionage, stealing 20 million national security clearances and similar numbers of private health records “with no consequences” for their thefts.

“They’re very aggressive” but “under the radar” of what may constitute warfare in this domain.

McCaul and others try to add a definition of what constituted “cyber warfare” to the defense authorization bill, but failed. He said the department, Homeland Security, his committee oversees is charged with protecting the United States’ domestically including a broadly defined infrastructure — from banks to power plants. The Pentagon is to defend the government’s security network and defeat and deter potential attackers.

China is expanding its economic influence well beyond Asia, especially in Africa and South America, in seeking dominance quickly. By using “payday loans,” low payments at first then large balloon ones as the term ends, the infrastructure appeals to developing countries, but future consequences can be great if they cannot meet the payments, he said. China then controls what it has built or is operating for them as it has done in Sri Lanka with a port.

McCaul said Beijing views Pyongyang as “a buffer against the United States” near its borders, but “China can help us” in negotiations over its nuclear and missile programs — if it chooses to do so. North Korea “is not a threat to China,” as it is to South Korea, Japan and the United States.

But he stressed the United States must remember that in any talks with Pyongyang that Kim Jong-un has a very different definition of denuclearization from Washington. “To North Korea its means the U.S. going to pull out of the peninsula” and also pull back its nuclear umbrella over Seoul if it were attacked.

The North Koreans “have never negotiated in good faith” and he retains “a healthy skepticism” that they will now. As desperate as North Korea is for hard currency and goods as more sanctions have been imposed on it for the continued weapons testing, they also have a history of undercover arms sales that needs to be monitored.

By having a nuclear arsenal, “that put them on the world stage” in the same was as it did Pakistan in the 1990s. Pakistan, at the time was engaged also in clandestine nuclear technology sales to North Korea and Iran, retains its nuclear weapons and is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. McCaul warned North Korea could follow a similar track in selling that technology.


  • Paul Moog

    Trump is smart – beef up our military AND try to establish a better relationship with Russia.

    • John Locke


    • On Dre

      Beef up what? All tDump did was sell more arms to the nutjobs Saudis. The house of Saud, Putin, et all…They dont belive in human rights or rule of law. They believe in money equals right. Unfortunetly for us tDump is the same. So it you have a choice. Support Americans who support rule of law (even if *gasp* they are dems) or be a traitor and support criminals and beheaders.

      • Paul Moog

        Hmmm.. since Obama has been out of office the economy is booming, ISIS is on the run, we haven’t had any Obama Justice Deptartment gun running to cartels nor have we had Obama Justice department inciting urban riots. We do have the remain in place agents trying to subvert/obstruct justice with the bogus russian collusion investigation.

  • b2

    Odd “Big Picture” story for USNI but it catches my eye because of its truth, somewhat overblown bravado and unfortunately- over reach.

    Now Rep McCaul being 62 has a good grasp of what the USSR was vs. what Russia is, but his remedies for this Russian interference are almost “Cold War like tactics” for its implications. Is that what we want with Russia today 2018?

    I was an operator during the Cold War aboard aircraft carriers carrying both tactical and more than tactical weapons. That Cold War was a serious business and we had the ships, aircraft and men to “fight it” and ultimately preavailed. Do we today? Not so sure..At least our Navy is not where some of us think we should be… As far as the other services and our intelligence services, are capable of fighting a full blown Cold War? Methinks, probably not

    Re another Cold War itself for those that dont know what that entails- that means no travel to Russia for any reason, no Alex Ovechkins playing for the Caps, no goods from Russia, no Russian college students at our universities, constant state sponsored cyberwarfare 24/7, dangerous military brinksmanship worldwide, a retro-doctrine of massive (nuclear) retaliation, etc. etc. Just think about it for a moment and reflect on all other Cold War unpleasantless to be expected…..

    Us old folks that were in the military during the Cold War remember the 1950’s to 1990. Basically it wasnt a picnic and it cost the USA a lot of $$ … All this indignation and IMO, hysterics- are they worth it….today? IMO, It is always good to fight a bully from a position of strength not moral indignation. Lets be smart. Especially for a weasle-wart like that Ras- Putin!

    • Duane

      It is a dishonest straw man argument to say that our choice is between fighting a new Cold War – which is not a possibility given Russia’s much reduced strength and assets compared to the old Soviet empire – and ignoring, excusing, and even advocating for Russian aggression against Ukraine and interference in US elections, as Trump did all of the above in his disgraceful lapdog performance in Helsinki this week.

      The US must resist Russian aggression against us, our allies, and non-allied states with everything we have at our disposal, period. Ditto with China, Iran, and North Korea, and non-state actors like ISIS and AQ. Period, end of story.

      • R’ Yitzchak M

        How about the real war.. why not? Is that YOUR choice?

      • b2

        Well “Du-ane”, instead of being “dishonest” (your ad hominen attack of me..) I was just stating facts and reintroducing the implications that Rep McCaul proposes as an endstate, define it as you will…

        Your diatribic- “The US must resist Russian aggression against us, our allies, and non-allied states with everything we have at our disposal, period.”, I actually agree with this in basis and I did not propose anything to the contrary. I just brought up what the implications will be (another Cold War or its clone) and that the USA will have to do and pay for as a result. Your declarative statement replying to me is just talk/Co2, it describes nothing. No real COAs.

        Mr. Grady- your article on Russis/Ras-Putin has been very “fruitfull” in bring out real trolls and kooks. Thanks but I’ll not be baited again. LOL.

  • omegatalon

    Obama was President when the Russian meddling happened yet Obama nor did members of his National Security team did anything, one has to conclude they didn’t think the meddling was very serious because as Obama himself said it won’t change matters.

    • John Locke

      Uh, yes Obama did try to do something and it had bipartisan support but of course McConnell wouldn’t sign off on it.

    • waveshaper1

      President Obama set the “Precedence/Gold Standard” for charging foreign military personnel/officers with Cyber Crimes:<) He also immediately put the punishment hammer down on the country/President responsible for these Cyber Crimes against the USA:<) Here's a short rundown on how it went down;

      On 19 March 2014 President Obama's DOJ (Eric Holder) indicted 5 Chinese military officers for Cyber Crimes against the USA (this was the first time the USA indicted foreign military personnel for cyber crimes). Right after these Chinese officers were indicted (5 days later) on 24 March 2014; President Obama had a meeting with President Xi and this meeting was followed up with a President Obama/President Xi Summit in China (both in 2014); President Obama never mentioned these indictments during these two meetings and no Congress critters/critics asked him to cancel these meetings.

    • Duane

      Obama stated succinctly that if he raised Russian election interference as an issue during the 2 months of the general election when the intelligence agencies became fully aware of both its extent, and its intent – to elect Trump – he would have been lambasted for trying himself to interfere in the election on HRCs behalf. He was in a clear lose-lose situation, thanks to the cleverness of Putin.

      You know you would have bleated to high heaven of Dem interference on HRC’s behalf if Obama made it an issue. C’mon, admit it. Ditto with every other Republican. Don’t try to be coy … your hypocrisy is blatantly showing.

      • Desplanes

        Nicely stated Duane. I actually agree with you this time.

      • TomD

        Obama could have raised the issue by stating that both parties were being targeted, which was in fact the case. The specifics were not necessary, and could have waited until after the election for disclosure. It might have actually been a positive development if he had appealed to the American people to use common sense should they come across possible disinformation.

  • .Hugo.

    all from the u.s. point of view, of course….

    • TomD

      No, that is just one point of view, out of 300+ million U.S. points of view. I don’t agree 100% with it.

      • .Hugo.

        out of 7.6 billion, and with china + russia’s 1.5 billion? yours is 5 times less at least.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    The honourable thing to do would be to just get on with it and declare war on Russia.

    It’s what these war-hawks in Congress are itching for.

    Just get on with it.

    • proudrino

      Or revert to Cold War standards where Russia was an adversary not the enemy. The US is perfectly capable of thwarting Russian aggression without drawing a line in the sand and calling them the enemy. Save that term for times when it actually applies.

      And, no, there are not members of Congress itching for war with Russia. That’s stupidity from the leftist propaganda. Unfortunately, real solutions to thwart Russsian aggression will never come about so long as Democrats insist on using our relationship with Russia for petty partisan reasons.

      • TomD

        I approve of your sense of proportion.

        An enemy is someone we have to try and kill, right now.
        An adversary is someone who is not an enemy today, but might easily become one tomorrow.
        A competitor is someone who pursues their nation’s advantage against other nations, but is not motivated at present to be an adversary.

        Right now China and Russia are our competitors, and North Korea and Iran are our adversaries.

    • Duane

      You guys just slay me. Just like Trump you spew a fake strawman argument that our only two choices are to either serve as Putin’s little weak puppydog, or we have to go to war with Russia.


      The GOP today is thoroughly corrupted by Trumpism. As a former lifetime member of what used to be the Republican Party who detested weak-kneed liberal Democrat non-defense policies of the 1970s and 1980s, I am disgusted.

      The end of the temporary insanity known as the Trump regime cannot come soon enough.

  • proudrino

    Such rhetoric as “enemy” is as unhelpful as the slew of Democrats who think nothing of comparing Republicans or our President to Hitler, Stalin, or the Devil. Congress has clearly forgotten the language of the Cold War. It is perfectly possible to object to Russian actions without referring them to the enemy.

    Both political parties need to police their language a whole lot more than has been the norm for the last decade or so. It really has gotten bad since 2016 when Democrats gave themselves permission to eliminate all civility from public discourse. A trend that started when Obama declared that Republicans were the enemy. It needs to stop but I don’t see how when “eff you Trump” on every single issue is the battle cry of the oppostion party. Give the nation some Democrats with integrity and we may be able to turn the tide.

    • Duane

      It has truly been amazing the handstands and back flips the self proclaimed “conservative” Trumpians like you have done in service to your non-ideological self serving Maximum Leader Trump. Actually, Trump has an ideology: Make Trump Great, or in other words, Make America Weak Again (he needs to start marketing “MAWA” hats, which his sycophants will snap up by the millions).

      Ronald Reagan is no doubt turning in his grave this week hearing the disgraceful and disastrous, and treasonous spewings of Trump in Helsinki, looking weak and serving as Putin’s little lapdog … followed up by revisionary sycophantic spewings of the Trumpists in his indefensible defense the last 3 days.


      • proudrino

        Obama told Putin that he’d have more flexibility after the election. Obama called Republicans the enemy. Obama and Hillary Clinton sold 25% of America’s uranium stock to a Russian oligarch.

        And this is what people like you choose to be morally outraged about? That’s what is sickening.

  • bahtat

    Rep. McCall has it right. Russia is going to establish itself more heavily in the Mediterranean. Its next objective looks like Montenegro. Putin already has our President in his pocket on that one. Watch out everyone, Norfolk could be next.

    • Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo

      Exactly the opposite.

      Montenegro wouldn’t exist today if NATO didn’t want it.

      The creation of this little narco-state land-locked and Serbia and made its modest navy disappear.
      Russia used to have access to this area.
      Russia was allied with this land decades before the Americans cast their covetous eyes on it.

      • Ed L

        Tivat is a nice cruising destination for pleasure boaters

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    “Narratives”, “optics” and “fine art” of make it believe as opposed to the HISTORICAL AND LEGAL EVIDENCE of previous agreements and LEGAL documents I.e. NATO’s WAR OF ATTRITION. We are now in Russia what took Hitler 2 years to accomplish with few millions of German casualties today CNN, Fox and KGB DELIVERED without a bullet spent

    Would be wise to reflect on gains and consolidate those gains. Escalating further Russians are at precipice of collapse NATO will not benefit but China will and at that point the game isover.

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    To the reductor please Google it.. on Reinhard Gelem and his influence as an accomplished war criminal and utility of Nazis in buildup of “modern” CIA 350 SS war criminals as well 2,000 SS counterintelligence staff were imported into the US and integrated by the Ike, Dulles, and the host of Anti Semites in the US State Department

    So day before Goering was to be hanged he omniously told the world “WE WON.. it is just a matter of time” He was right of corse..


  • Ed L

    My intial response is too political for this website. So I will do as my Parents taught me “If you haven’t anything nice to say about anyone then say nothing

  • TomD

    “The Russians ‘are throwing everything into it that they can; in terms of cyber warfare to do just that — disinformation on current events and the political situation in the country, anti-Western propaganda, disruption of public utility service and international financial transactions.”

    Cyber warfare involving “disruption of public utility service and international financial transactions” is worthy of a counter cyber attack. Period.

    However “disinformation on current events and the political situation in the country, anti-Western propaganda” and the like are constitutionally protected speech. It is dangerous how we fail to acknowledge this. The only counter to disinformation is exposure. Our government and media seem to not be interested in exposing disinformation as it happens, but only after the fact when it is to their advantage.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Using acquisitions of “loyalty” of the people who CHALLANGE LIES by the swampies is 2000 years old.. nothing new as long there are tyrants and the mob of peasants that are buying lies aristocrats and aspiring “aristocrats “ are serving to them. General Flyn told to the INQUISITORS OFF. Such a hysterical response which was made only to DISFRANCHISE elected President from THE ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF INFORMATION. US NAVAL INTELLIGENCE by far the most respected source of intelligence and the REAL information COMPREHENSIVE AND DEEP STRATEGIC INTEGRATION OF THE TRUE STATE OF AFAIRS.

      On the other hand the “PRIESTS” of the “New” World Order lie with impunity while bringing the US DEFENSE to the point of sabotage.. SEQUESTRATION? Lying to the Congress, Senate, and the American people. Does NSA, CIA spy on American people (39,000,000 Americans) Snowden uncovered his lie went public and paid the consequences for telling the truth while arrogant instrument of what..? “democracy” Tyranny?

      Giordano Bruno got burned for challenging the lie by the inquisition.. inquisition was enforcer of tyranny SCIENCE – TRUTH was enforcer of ENLIGHTENMENT- and democracy. USA is made of smart people who found the shelter and the future for people who understood and APRECIATED the truth.

      American people and the essence of American democracy depends on TRUTH and not on “shadows” of misinformation by the self made aspiring tyrants- Mafia that secures its power trough lies, intimidation, prosecution of the people that rose to challenge the power of that CRIMINAL RACKET.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    “The North Koreans “have never negotiated in good faith…” They must have learned that from the US.

    This article is an utter inversion of reality.

  • omegatalon

    Putin and Russia will become even more dangerous in the years to come given how Germany will be funding all of Putin’s military ambitions by Germany buying fuel from Russia.

    • .Hugo.

      should germany buy fuel from the u.s. instead so to fund all of the u.s. military ambitions with a potential war fought likely in the german soil?

  • Ed L

    Keep your Friends close and your enemies closer. In the administration place that’s most of Washington