CIA director: Islamic State promoting ‘lone wolf’ attacks, scheming to infiltrate West

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A bleak assessment from the CIA Director. Via The Washington Times

The Islamic State has “a large cadre of Western fighters” who could carry out attacks in the U.S. and Europe, CIA Director John O. Brennan said Thursday in a sobering — at times pessimistic — assessment of the threat facing the U.S. and its allies just days after the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Brennan said the Islamic State is more likely deploying trained terrorists to strike in Europe but told a Capitol Hill hearing that the jihadi group is also inspiring and promoting “lone wolf” attacks like the one Sunday that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

In an assessment in many ways darker than that offered by President Obama and other administration officials, Mr. Brennan said the CIA believes the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, still retains much of its power to strike despite territorial losses in its base in Iraq and Syria and the disruption of its funding networks.

“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,” he said.

In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the CIA director said security hurdles may prevent cells of hardened Islamic State fighters from gaining access to the U.S. mainland and carrying out attacks like those in Brussels and Paris, but he suggested their leaders are bent on inspiring “attacks by sympathizers who have no direct links to the group.”