Responding to remarks made by President Barack Obama over the last year about the terror group being "on the run," McCain said al-Qaida is still a great threat in the Middle East.
"I'm saying [al-Qaida has] metastasized in a way they may pose great threats throughout the Middle East, that they can destabilize nations, that they can commit acts of terror literally anywhere. And there's the perception throughout the Middle East that there's no American leadership, that's no policy, and then the various actors in the region are accommodating to that reality," he said during an appearance on Fox News' "Sunday." "And when they believe that, then you are going to see extremist elements on the rise and clearly, they are throughout the Middle East."
McCain said closing 19 missions and consulate diplomatic posts across the Middle East sent a clear message that al-Qaida poses a threat to the United States.
"The action of closing these embassies shows that they're able to mount threats everywhere in the Middle East against the United States of America and they are playing in ways that can -- that is going to pose challenges to the United States for years to come," he said.