CIA director says ISIS attacks something the West will have to deal with ‘for quite some time’

Monday, November 16, 2015 by

( CIA Director John Brennan told a global forum on security Monday that the West was likely going to face additional attacks on its cities from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) well into the future.

“I would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline,” Brennan said at the Global Security Forum 2015, sponsored by the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C. “I do believe that this is something that we’re going to have to deal with for quite some time.”

Brennan made his comments in the wake of an ISIS-planned attack in Paris, France, just days ago, an assault in that killed nearly 130 people at six separate locations.

“It is clear to me that ISIL [another name for ISIS] has an external agenda, that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks,” he continued. “This is not something that was done in a matter of days. This is something that was deliberately and carefully planned over the course, I think, of several months.”

During that time, ISIS was able to recruit operatives, assemble weapons and explosives, and build suicide belts, Brennan said.

The CIA chief also noted that many attacks of the scale that occurred in Paris are discovered and thwarted before they take place, adding that the American spy agency works “very, very closely with our French partners.” He noted that he, personally, has “an exceptionally strong relationship with the heads of the external and internal services” in France.

But European nations have had a large number of people who have gone to Syria and Iraq and then back to their European countries.

“Their ability to monitor and surveil these individuals is under strain,” Brennan said of the EU’s spy agencies. “It’s not a surprise that this attack was carried out from the standpoint of we did have strategic warning. We know that these plans, [and] plotting by ISIL was under way, looking at Europe in particular as the venue for carrying out these attacks.”

What’s more, Brennan noted, ISIS operatives and those working with other terrorist groups are constantly adapting to keep their activities hidden from intelligence agencies.

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“There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult, both technically as well as legally, for intelligence and security services to have the insight they need to uncover it,” he said.

Other intelligence officials have noted that Western spy agencies have to be right 100 percent of the time in order to keep their respective populations safe, but that terrorists only have to be right once in order to inflict major damage and cause a large number of casualties.

In response to the Paris attacks – which President Francois Hollande has described as an “act of war” – French warplanes launched a brutal assault on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, the group’s de facto capital, the Washington Post reported Monday.

French defense officials said that 10 aircraft dropped 20 bombs on facilities that are utilized by the terrorist group, following its claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack in Paris. A command center, a military training facility and an arms depot were struck, the paper said.

Opposition operatives reached in Raqqa told the Post they counted at least 30 bombs which they said hit, among other things, a soccer stadium, a museum and medical facilities. And they said the airstrikes had knocked out electricity in the city of about 200,000.

French defense ministry officials said warplanes were launched from Paris’ bases in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The operation was coordinated with U.S. forces in the region, the Post noted.

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