Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has warned that ISIS has the capability to stage Paris-style attacks in the United States using local cells.
“They do have that capacity,” Clapper told CNN’s Peter Bergen in an exclusive interviews.
“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,” he said.
Clapper qualified the level of danger ISIS poses to the U.S., saying that, “as an existential threat to this country, it’s not ISIS or any 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.”
Clapper warned that ISIS would “either infiltrate people or incite people who are already here.”
According to John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “there is a very determined element of ISIS that is trying to carry out attacks abroad as they’ve done in Belgium and Paris and other areas.”
“I do believe that we need to add some urgency to this destruction of ISIS,” he said, “just because it has demonstrated that it’s willing to carry out these horrific attacks against innocent civilians.”
CNN also quoted White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as saying that ISIS is “present” and only able to prove its relevance through destruction and “by virtue of its nefariousness and threat.”
As for Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, she described ISIS as “opportunistic.”
To Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, the group is “evil.”
She said ISIS is “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.