While the left continues to focus on gun control as the primary response to the Orlando terror attack, CIA Director John Brennan today delivered a chilling warning to Congress about ISIS.
As Fox News reports, Director Brennan’s rare open testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee painted a much darker picture of the threat posed by ISIS than our president did earlier this week. He warned that ISIS will “intensify” terror attacks, deploying operatives to attack the West. And, as we’ve been warning about for some time, Director Brennan acknowledged that the group is likely looking at refugee flows to infiltrate, among other things.
More from Fox:
CIA Director John Brennan, in a chilling warning on the Islamic State’s growing influence, told lawmakers Thursday that U.S.-led efforts to strike at the terror group have not hampered its “terrorism capability and global reach” – a message that stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s more upbeat assessment earlier this week.
Brennan, testifying in a rare open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said ISIS likely will “intensify” terror attacks around the world even as its core fighters come under pressure in Iraq and Syria, including by deploying operatives for further attacks on the West.
“The group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including in refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel,” Brennan said.
The testimony offered unnerving context to Obama’s comments on Tuesday. The president said the anti-ISIS campaign “is firing on all cylinders” and the group “is under more pressure than ever before,” while conceding they’re gaining traction elsewhere.
Brennan echoed the president in detailing the group’s territorial losses in Iraq and Syria. He said they’re struggling to replenish fighters and getting squeezed financially.
However, he said ISIS is “resilient” and likely will adapt, and warned coalition gains in Iraq and Syria are not blunting its capacity to carry out deadly operations abroad.
“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 testified. “The group’s foreign branches and global networks can help preserve its capacity for terrorism regardless of events in Iraq and Syria. In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.”
Further, he said the terror massacre in Orlando last weekend – the worst U.S. homeland attack since 9/11 – shows ISIS is still working to inspire attacks by sympathizers who have no direct links to the group.
Whereas President Obama used Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s lack of official connection to ISIS to diminish it, it’s precisely these types of lone wolf attacks ISIS has called for as the next phase of its efforts. And judging from the events of this week — not just Orlando, but Paris — it appears ISIS followers are ready to heed their call.
He said ISIS is gradually cultivating its various branches into an interconnected network. The branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, he said, warning Libya could become another base to carry out attacks in Europe and other locations. [Editor’s note: Another fine example of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legacy.] He said ISIS is trying to increase its influence elsewhere in Africa as well.
While one can argue President Obama acknowledged some of the same points as CIA Director Brennan, his delivery and context seemed to attempt to diminish the clear, present — and growing — threat they continue to pose.
Meanwhile, Director Brennan’s acknowledgement of ISIS using refugee flows only further reinforces the merits of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s call to halt immigration from terrorist hotbeds, until we can get a better handle on just whom we are allowing in.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]