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Right Hooks

Threat Assessment: ISIL Coming to U.S.

DNI James Clapper gave a dire warning to Congress Tuesday.

Mark Alexander · Feb. 10, 2016

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, with an annual assessment of threats to U.S. vital interests and national security. Clapper noted that “homegrown violent extremists” will pose “the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland in 2016.” He estimated this would be terrorists who are inspired by foreign terror groups, not under the direct control of those groups, similar to the Chattanooga and San Bernardino attacks in 2015. Clapper described the Islamic State as “the pre-eminent global terrorist threat,” and said their “estimated strength worldwide exceeds that of al-Qaida.” He noted, “In 2014, the FBI arrested nine ISIL supporters — in 2015, that number increased over five-fold.” Ominously, he warned that ISIL has succeeded in making and using chemical weapons — the first terrorists group to use “chemical warfare agent in an attack since Aum Shinrikyo used sarin in Japan in 1995.”

When asked by Arizona Sen. John McCain about whether he’d ever seen such diverse challenges to security, Clapper replied, “In my 50-plus years in the intelligence business, I cannot recall a more diverse array of challenges and crises that we confront as we do today.” Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart also provided testimony and warned that ISIL would likely be capable of striking the continental U.S. within the year. “ISIL will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”

Despite Barack Obama’s assurances that “we’ve contained them,” apparently that’s not the case.

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