Hundreds of ISIS Terrorists ‘Fanning’ Out Across the EU and US
Hundreds of terrorists will fan out across Western Europe and the US, if allowed, to carry out terrorists attacks on a wider scale as ISIS is defeated in Syria, FBI Director James Comey warned.
“At some point there’s going to be a ‘Terrorist Diaspora’ out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Director Comey said Wednesday in New York. “We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris,” he said adding that future attacks will be on “an order of magnitude greater.”
His blunt warnings echo those of Donald Trump, who has scoffed at the Obama Admin’s efforts to defeat ISIS extremists in Syria and Iraq. Nonetheless, the FBI chief’s comments reflect a consensus among US intelligence officials that the group inevitably will strike out abroad as it continues to lose ground militarily under attack from a US-led coalition.
CIA Director John Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June that “our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” Director Brennan said, “as the pressure mounts on ISIL aka IS, ISIS, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.”’
Director Comey called violence directed and/or inspired by Islamic State (IS) “the greatest threat to the physical safety of Americans today,” said that “a lot of terrorists fled out of Afghanistan in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. This is 10X that or more.”
In his remarks at a conference on cybersecurity, Director Comey cited the difficulty of heading off what are often called “lone-wolf” attackers acting on the group’s calls for violence.
I contend that the moniker “Lone Wolf” is a Red Herring. The anti-Infidel theme is embedded in the fundamentalist Muslim’s DNA.
It is “increasingly hard” for counter-terrorism officials to find and stop individuals inspired or directed by Islamic State who use a knife or a vehicle to kill people, Director Comey said.
At the same time, US officials have claimed increasing success in reducing IS’s hold on the Caliphate the group proclaimed across Iraq, Syria and being championed by US ally Turkey.
“We can say that the tide has turned,” Secretary of State John Kerry said last week. “Our coalition and partners on the ground have driven Daesh (an Arabic name for IS) out of nearly 50% of the territory that it once controlled in Iraq and 20% of the territory in Syria.” But he also cited the need for “real-time communications between countries” and other measures to counter the group’s efforts “to transform themselves into a global terrorist organization.”
Donald Trump has said he will be more aggressive in attacking ISIS if elected in November. Donald Trump vows to introduce “extreme vetting” of potential immigrants from certain “territories” affected by terrorism.
Attacks in France have left more than 230 dead YTD.
A mass shooting that killed 49 people at a nightclub last month in Orlando, FL, was carried out by a man who pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
Less than 2 weeks before the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police have rounded up 12 people it say were members of an Islamic State cell.
The Islamic State took credit for a 23 July suicide bombing at a rally in Kabul that killed more than 80 people, the deadliest single attack in Afghanistan in 15 years of war.
The FBI boss also spoke of the unresolved fight over law enforcement access to encrypted communications that brought his agency into conflict with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earlier this year.
The debate over encryption “has dipped below public consciousness for now,” Director Comey said.
The FBI is using that time to collect data on the negative impact that encrypted communications is having on investigations, he said. From October through March, 500 of 4,000 devices the FBI confiscated could not be opened due to encryption, he said.
Debate by policy makers over the issue probably will have to wait until next year, after the US elections, he said.
“At some point encryption is going to figure in a major event in this country,” Director Comey said. “We have got to have the matter debated and fixed before that happens.”