CIA Director John Brennan gave an exclusive interview to Yahoo news shortly after the terror attack in Istanbul yesterday. Director Brennan warned he has little doubt ISIS wants to replicate an attack like that here in the United States:
“I am worried from the standpoint of an intelligence professional who looks at the capabilities of Daesh … and their determination to kill as many as people as possible and to carry out attacks abroad,” Brennan said in an exclusive interview at CIA headquarters with Yahoo News. Brennan credited effective homeland security measures and intelligence for the fact that ISIS has been unable to attack America directly — the Orlando and San Bernardino shootings were carried out by radicals inspired by ISIS but not under its control — but he believes the group will keep trying to penetrate American defenses.
“You look at what happened in the Turkish airport, these were suicide vests. It’s not that difficult to actually construct and fabricate a suicide vest … so if you have a determined enemy and individuals who are not concerned about escape, that they are going into it with a sense that they are going to die, that really does complicate your strategy in terms of preventing attacks.”
He added: “I’d be surprised if Daesh is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the United States.”
Those comments are very much in keeping with what Brennan told Congress two weeks ago.
“Despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” Brennan said. “The resources needed for terrorism are very modest and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses on territory, manpower and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.
“Moreover, the group’s foreign branches and global networks could 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.”
In short, setbacks on the battlefield probably make ISIS more dangerous here at home rather than less. Brennan didn’t confirm the Instanbul attacks were the work of ISIS but did tell Yahoo news that it seemed to bear the hallmarks of one of their attacks.
So far, 42 people have been confirmed dead and over 230 injured as a result of the attack by three suicide bombers.