DNI contradicts Obama, NSC on ISIL domestic terror threat in U.S.

Special to WorldTribune.com

The chief of U.S. intelligence said Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is capable of launching a Paris-style attack in the U.S., a contradiction of President Barack Obama and his National Security Council (NSC), who have played down the threat.

ISIL, which in the past six months has carried out major attacks in Paris and Brussels, has the capability to stage such attacks in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on CNN’s “AC 360”.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. /AFP/Getty Images
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. /AFP/Getty Images

“They do have that capacity,” Clapper said. “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.”

The November Paris attacks killed 130. The March attacks on a metro station and at an airport in Brussels left 32 dead and 300 injured.

Obama and some of his national security advisers have spoken of the ISIL threat in less stark terms with the president saying that “we, here in the United States, face less of a threat than Europe.”

Many military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders have been highly critical of Obama’s NSC, headed by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, for its obsessive micromanaging of the U.S.’s approach to ISIL.

Clapper said ISIL would attempt to “either infiltrate people or incite people who are already here,” in a reference to the December terror attack in San Bernardino, California, adding that, “we’ve already seen some cases of that.”

ISIL leaders would not necessarily give directions for a specific target, Clapper said.

“That’s apparently not exactly their modus operandi. It’s more general, strategic guidance, and then let the local cell figure out how to achieve the objectives.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described ISIL as “an evil bunch of criminal thugs who hide in the cloak of religion to dominate” and seize territory, bank accounts, oil and oil production facilities.

Clinton’s “real plan” to defeat ISIL, which was posted on social media in March, was widely mocked and ridiculed.

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