ISIS has the capabilities to carry out a “paris-style” attack in the U.S. according to the Obama administration’s top U.S. intelligence official. An attack where several local cells strike at the same time in multiple locations is a legitimate concern.
In an exclusive interview CNN‘s Peter Bergen James Clapper,Director of National Intelligence, stated:
They do have that capacity… That’s something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels.
Clapper is referencing the November 2015 Paris attacks that left 130 dead and the March 2016 attack on an airport in Brussels that killed 32 people and injured an additional 300. The Obama administration conceded that the U.S. is at less risk than Europe but say they remain vigilant to prevent these attacks. They stated that the terror groups are “opportunistic” and may use social media to attempt to convert U.S. citizens to their cause.
ISIS has relied more on social media and the internet for recruiting more than any previous terrorist group. Clapper stated that any Paris-style attack in the U.S. would mirror the assaults in Europe from recruitment to execution. He cited the San Bernardino shooting as a reference. He stated to Bergen that ISIS would:
Either infiltrate people or incite people who are already here. We’ve already seen some cases of that.
Once the group has recruited and indoctrinated a local cell they would allow the local cell to devise their own plan for a terrorist attack. ISIS doesn’t give the local cell a specific target. They provide strategic guidance and let the local cell figure it out themselves, according to Clapper.
Obama and many of his advisors have acknowledged that this will be a long and arduous fight. ISIS relies on a group of hackers referred to as the Caliphate Cyber Army to recruit through social media. The Obama administration acknowledges that to defeat ISIS they must fight their online rhetoric with the same intensity they battle their ground troops.
The fear that other groups could split off from ISIS and develop into their own terrorist organization, in the same way that ISIS rose from an Al Qaeda affiliate, is a legitimate concern. U.S. intelligence officials are closely monitoring the terrorist organizations online activities to monitor, and possibly stomp out, any newly created groups before they come to fruition.
U.S. officials have acknowledged that preventing a Paris-style attack is a multi-year operation that requires a multi-faceted approach. The effort to continue a cyber war against ISIS to prevent paris-style attacks will undoubtedly fall on the shoulders of the next administration. John Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is confident that ISIS’ days are limited regardless of who takes office. Brennan described the terrorists groups future in one word:
Doomed. It’s just a matter of time.
Do you think that monitoring the online activities of ISIS is necessary to prevent a paris-style attack in the U.S.? Sound off in the comment section!