CIA Director John Brennan is expected to tell Congress Thursday that ISIS plans to send more Islamic State operatives west for further attacks as a way to compensate for their territorial losses in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brennan said in prepared remarks for the Senate Intelligence Committee. “And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.”
“The numbers of ISIL fighters now far exceeds Al Qaeda at its height,” Brennan said.
Brennan is expected to warn them that ISIS plans to train operatives and build an apparatus to inspire guerrilla attacks, similar to the attacks on Paris last year and Brussels in March.
Brennan said that ISIS is telling their followers to commit “lone-wolf” attacks in their home countries, similar to the one in Orlando on Sunday. Brennan called the attack an “assault on the values of openness and tolerance.”
Brennan said that ISIS is strengthening their branches by interconnecting them. He described the branch in Sinai as the “most active and capable terrorist group in Egypt.” He called the branch in Libya the most advanced and dangerous.
Brennan called ISIS a “formidable adversary,” but said they are taking heavy territorial losses thanks to the U.S.-led coalition and they are struggling to find new ISIS fighters.
“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” Brennan’s remarks said. “The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.”