The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas that aired Sunday, February 12, 2023 on “Face the Nation”.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Now let’s go to Congressman Michael McCaul. He is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Hello to you.
REPRESENTING. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Hello, Margaret. Thank you for.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start this unusual activity, three teardowns in eight days. In the case of the spy balloon, it was Chinese surveillance, according to the administration. On Friday, they imposed restrictions on six Chinese companies that allegedly helped the Chinese military build the balloon. Is it the right decision to try to make it more difficult for them to access American technology? Or does Congress need to do something broader?
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: Well, it’s definitely the right decision. It will be one of my number one priorities as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of this Congress, to stop the export of technology to China that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems. In this case, a sophisticated spy balloon that passed through three nuclear sites, I think it’s important to say, in full view of the American people. You know, in Montana, the site of the triad, air, land and sea nuclear weapons, in Omaha, the spy balloon passed over our strategic command, which is our most sensitive nuclear site. It was so sensitive that President Bush was taken there after 9/11. And then finally, Missouri, the B-2 bomber, that’s where they’re placed. He did a lot of damage.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that what you were told by US intelligence? They say they have mitigated the impact.
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: They say they mitigated it, but my assessment, and – and I can’t go into the details of the intelligence document, is that if it continued to transmit over those three nuclear sites very sensitive, I think – I think if you look at the flight pattern of the balloon, it tells a story about what the Chinese were doing while they were controlling this plane across the United States. Going to these sites, in my opinion, would cause great damage. Remember that a balloon could see a lot more on the ground than a satellite.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you said you wanted to try to stop the export of technology that could be used by the Chinese military. As a Conservative, however, how a little uncomfortable it must make you to see the government trying to control private business investment. How are you doing that?
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: Well, we have what’s called an entity list, the Department of Commerce had jurisdiction over the office within their – the Department of Defense has one. We need to harmonize them, make them more safety-focused. You know, the flow of capital is a problem, but the technology exports to China that they use to backfire – which may end up backfiring on us. We have to stop doing that. And I think we can do it by sectors, they do it by companies now. Obviously, they identified the six. I think shockingly when the ball was recovered it contained US made components with English on it. It was made – you know, parts made in America, which were put on a spy balloon from China. I don’t think the American people accept that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you believe it was a strategic choice by Xi Jinping’s government in Beijing, or do you think it was just the left hand and the right hand not knowing what was going on?
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: When I saw the sites he was flying over, it was very clear to me that this was an intentional act. This was done provocatively to gather intelligence data and gather intelligence on our three major nuclear sites in this country. For what? Because they look at what our capacity is in the event of a possible future conflict in Taiwan. They really value what we have in this country. I also find the timing of this flight extraordinary, you know, just before the State of the Union address, and also, you know, just before Secretary Blinken meets President Xi. I think it was really an act of belligerence on their part and maybe they don’t care what the American people think of it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before I let you go, I want to ask you, you voted in the last Congress to provide a lot of aid to Ukraine, but last week at least 10 of your Republican members introduced a bill. called Ukraine Fatigue Resolution in an attempt to cut off aid. How hard will it be for a Republican-led House to continue helping Ukraine?
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: I still believe Margaret, there are many on both sides of the aisle, a majority of majorities, in favor of this. We have–we have factions left and right, which don’t support Ukraine–
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s a Republican bill.
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: – and it will probably continue. Okay, and I think, for me, in particular, it’s – we have to educate, where did the money go. You know, the audits that are in place at the moment, there are four on the financing of Ukraine. And we have to explain why Ukraine is so important. You know, what happens in Ukraine has an impact on Taiwan and President Xi, that China is aligned with Russia, Iran and North Korea, against freedom, democracy in the West. And, you know, I think that’s a debate we’ll have, but I’m still very confident that we’ll get them the help they need. I would like to see it faster, so they can win faster.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So do you – do you think Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, others who have signed this, need to be educated?
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: You know, look, we took Marjorie Taylor Greene to a briefing. She was happy, I thought, with the controls that were put in place on spending, but I don’t think they’ll ever be persuaded that this cause is something they would support. I think they have this false dichotomy that somehow we can’t help Ukraine, you know, push back the Russians who invaded their country, and- and secure the border. We can do both. We are a great nation. And the thing is, unfortunately, this administration chose not to secure the border. He can’t even control and secure our airspace now, it seems.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman McCaul, thank you for your time today.
REPRESENTING. MCCAUL: Thank you, Margaret. Thank you for.