Congressional Leaders Warn Terror Alert Very Serious Threat

Congress spooked by serious nature of terrorist threat.

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On Capitol Hill, a worldwide terror alert sparked rare bipartisan applause of the Obama administration.

[READ: Terror Threat Keeps U.S. Embassies Closed Through the Week]

The State Department issued the warning Friday. Sunday it announced it would continue to keep more than 20 diplomatic outreach posts across northern Africa and the Middle East shutdown through this week. Over the weekend, lawmakers including chairman of the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the information alluding to the attack was some of the most startling he had seen in his time in Congress.

"There's very little doubt that something serious is being planned. It is a potential series of attacks. It could be anywhere," Kind told CNN over the weekend. "It could be in Europe, it could be in the United States."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, told CBS's "Face the Nation" that the terror plot seemed to be a "fairly large operation."

"It's giving the intelligence community quite a bit of pause," McCaul said.

[PHOTOS: Deadly Suicide Blast at U.S. Embassy in Turkey]

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that he was seeing chatter "reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11."

Other Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been one of the most ardent critics of the Obama administration's foreign policy, praised the efforts to secure the foreign posts in light of al-Qaida's growing strength.

"After Benghazi, these al-Qaida types are really on steroids, thinking we're weaker and they're stronger," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "We've learned from Benghazi, thank God, and the administration is doing this right."

Graham and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are traveling to Egypt this week to assess the state of affairs there and encourage the country to hold elections after the military overthrew elected leader Mohamed Morsi.

[PHOTOS: Protesters Attack U.S. Embassy in Yemen]

According to Bloomberg News, intelligence about the attacks was intercepted by the National Security Agency, which picked up "high-level" al-Qaida officials discussing a sophisticated and planned operation.

The terror alert comes as the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Benghazi consulate approaches. In the attack U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed, leading Congress to ask serious questions about whether more precaution should have been taken when it came to securing the foreign outpost.

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