In an exclusive interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening, President Joe Biden acknowledged a heightened threat of terrorism in the United States in the wake of the recent Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. The attacks, which claimed the lives of over 1,300 Israelis, including more than two dozen American citizens, prompted a comprehensive review of security measures.
During the interview, host Scott Pelley questioned President Biden about the impact of the attacks on domestic security. In response, Biden affirmed, “Yes,” and revealed that he had convened a meeting earlier that day with key agencies, including Homeland Security and the FBI. The President disclosed that the discussions, held in the Situation Room, lasted for a significant duration, focusing on strategies to prevent both lone wolf and coordinated terrorist efforts within the United States.
“Yes,” Biden responded. “I had a meeting this morning with the Homeland Security people, with the FBI, with — for the Situation Room, for the better part of an hour to discuss how we make sure that we prevent a lone wolf and/or any coordinated effort to try to do what was done in synagogues before, do what was done to Jews in the street. We’re making a major effort to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
President Biden emphasized the critical distinction between civilian casualties in Israel and Gaza. He expressed a deep concern for the safety of innocent civilians and highlighted the challenges faced by Israel in responding to the attacks. Biden stated, “Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust.” He defended Israel’s actions, asserting that the nation had the right to defend itself against Hamas, a group he characterized as “a bunch of cowards” hiding behind civilians.
Acknowledging the difficult circumstances, President Biden asserted that Israel would strive to adhere to international rules of war, minimizing civilian casualties. He expressed confidence in Israel’s commitment to upholding these standards while targeting Hamas, a group known for embedding its headquarters among civilian infrastructure.
Biden went on to stress the necessity of eliminating Hamas entirely, advocating for a comprehensive approach to ensure the security and stability of the region. He underscored the challenges posed by Hamas’s tactics of using civilian locations for their operations, making it imperative for Israel to take measures to protect innocent lives.
“Look, there’s a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And I think Israel has to respond,” he said. “They have to go after Hamas. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians. They put their headquarters where civilians are and buildings and the like. The Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”