James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told reporters Monday that ISIS has terror cells operating in the UK, Germany and Italy. He also indicated ISIS was taking advantage of the migrant crisis in Europe.
Clapper made the comments at a reporter’s breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. A reporter from the NY Times asked Clapper, “Do you believe that they operate, they have clandestine cells like they had in Brussels in places like Germany, England and Italy?” Clapper replied, “Yes they do. And that is a concern of, obviously, ours and our European allies.”
“I assure you we are doing all we can to share with them. I was recently in Europe and as part of the U.S. delegation that met with a number of nations there to try to promote more sharing between and among the nations in Europe. That right now is a major emphasis of ours, to promote more sharing and to do all we can to share with them because we continue to see evidence of plotting on the part of ISIL in the countries you name.”
Asked by the same reporter what the U.S. had learned about the Islamic State since the Brussels attack, Clapper replied, “Well, we’ve learned that they are fanatic, very op-sec conscious meaning operation security conscious, very mindful of that.” He added, “They have taken advantage, to some extent, of the migrant crisis in Europe. Something which the nations I think have a growing awareness of.”
Two weeks ago police near Birmingham, England arrested five people believed to have been in contact with the cell that carried out the Paris and Brussels attacks. Police said they were not aware of any active plots against the UK at the time.
The Associated Press reported last month that ISIS had trained 400 to 600 fighters “specifically for external attacks” on Europe.
The Christian Science Monitor published video of the entire Q&A/breakfast with Clapper. The exchange about ISIS takes place about 21 minutes in: