Washington, Feb 15: The Paris terror attacks in November that killed 130 people were an intelligence failure, America's top spymaster has said, warning that the Islamic State is planning an attack on the US.
"Paris was a failure of intelligence. All but one of the eight terrorists were French citizens, trained by ISIS in Syria. They returned, unnoticed, and attacked six locations killing 130 people," CIA Director John Brennan said.
There is a lot that IS probably has underway that the US doesn't have full insight into, he said. "We knew the system was blinking red. We knew in the days before that IS was trying to carry out something," he told CBS in an interview yesterday.
"But the individuals involved have been able to take advantage of the newly available means of communication that are walled off, from law enforcement officials," Brennan said adding that the IS has been using very sophisticated technologies and communication systems.
"I'm expecting them to try to put in place operatives, the material or whatever else that they need to do or to incite people to carry out these attacks, clearly. So I believe that their attempts are inevitable. I don't think their successes necessarily are," he noted saying it was inevitable that IS will try to attack the US.
IS he observed, is trying to provoke a clash between the West and the Muslim world to gain more adherents.
"Because what they are claiming is that the United States is trying to take over their countries which is the furthest thing from the truth," he asserted.
Brennan argued that the intelligence security services have stopped numerous attacks and operatives that have been moved from maybe Iraq to Syria or into Europe.
They have been stopped and interdicted and arrested and detained and debriefed because of very, very good intelligence, he noted.
"But the failure in Paris allowed ISIS to attack with bombs and assault rifles," said the CIA Director.
Noting that there are reports that ISIS has access to chemical precursors and munitions that they can use, he said the CIA believes that IS has the ability to manufacture small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas.
"There's always potential for IS to transport those chemical weapons to the West. "This is why it's so important to cut off the various transportation routes and smuggling routes that they have used," he said. The CIA chief said the waterboarding method of torture is not being used and would not be used in the future.
"The cyber environment can pose a very, very serious and significant attack vector for our adversaries if they want to take down our infrastructure, if they want to create havoc in transportation systems, if they want to do great damage to our financial networks. There are safeguards being put in place. But that cyber environment is one that really is the thing that keeps me up at night," he said.