WASHINGTON – CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.
In remarks prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan says IS has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against its foreign enemies, as in the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels — ones the CIA believes were directed by IS leaders.
“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brennan says, using another acronym for the group. He says IS probably is working to smuggle them into countries, perhaps among refugee flows or through legitimate means of travel.
Brennan also notes the group’s call for followers to conduct so-called lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. He called the attack in Orlando a “heinous act of wanton violence” and an “assault on the values of openness and tolerance” that define the United States as a nation.
He says IS is gradually cultivating its various branches into an interconnected network. The branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, but IS is trying to increase its influence in Africa, Brennan says.
The IS branch in the Sinai has become the “most active and capable terrorist group in Egypt,” attacking the Egyptian military and government targets in addition to foreigners and tourists, such as the downing of a Russian passenger jet last October.