Dreaded terror group ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the US using its local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, top American intelligence official has said.
“They do have that capacity,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN.
“That’s something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels,” where March attacks on a train and at an airport left 32 dead and 300 people injured, Clapper said.
At least 130 people died and hundreds other injured in the multiple coordinated terror attacks by the ISIS militants in the French capital in November.
Earlier, President Barack Obama and some of his top security advisors spoke of the ISIS threat in less stark terms and emphasized efforts to protect the US.
Obama had said that “we, here in the United States, face less of a threat than Europe” from ISIS.
Still, he said, “The Paris-style attack, the Brussels style attack is the challenge that we’re going to continue to face.”
Clapper, who identified the ISIS with “brutality”, predicted that its beheadings, crucifixions and repression would eventually be self-defeating, the channel said.
In the meantime, he and other administration officials raised their concerns about attacks like the broad assaults ISIS unleashed in the streets of Paris and Brussels.
Clapper said any attempted attack in the US would echo these assaults in Europe and, as in those cities, ISIS would “either infiltrate people or incite people who are already here,” he said.
ISIS central would not necessarily give directions for a specific target, Clapper added.
“That’s apparently not exactly their modus operandi,” he said. “It’s more general, strategic guidance, and then let the local cell figure out how to achieve the objectives.”
Clapper qualified the level of danger ISIS poses to the US, saying that, “as an existential threat to this country, it’s not ISIS or any other other terrorist group.” But he said that he also worries about the “lesser-scaled attacks of what we have seen in this country, or worse, a Paris or Brussels kind of thing”, CNN said.