(Conservative Post) Top intelligence community officials warned Thursday that the United States faces the highest terrorist threat level since the 9/11 terror attacks, citing a record-breaking increase in the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq, as well as joint Iranian-North Korean plans to boost “attack capabilities” and other efforts by leading terror groups to increase their offensive capabilities.
As Iran “continues to be the foremost sponsor of terror” across the globe, ISIS has emerged as the “preeminent global terrorist threat,” with its combined strength now exceeding Al Qaeda’s, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who warned lawmakers on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that “unpredictable instability has become the new normal.”
The United States has never dealt with this type of threat landscape and struggles to ensure it can continue gathering intelligence on these terror groups, which have shown unprecedented proficiency at obfuscating their actions.
Violent extremists now operate in 40 countries, Clapper said. Another seven countries have collapsing governments, and 14 are in danger of falling due to violent instability. An additional 59 countries have been marked as facing “significant risk of instability through 2016,” Clapper said.
Instability in these countries could enable them to become terrorist safe havens, as has been the case in Syria, Clapper said.