ISIS flag Lead pkg 02 18
Former CIA deputy director: ISIS will hit the U.S.
04:46 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Islamic militants have the ability to direct individuals to conduct small-scale attacks in the United States and could pose an even greater threat in the future, according to the former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Michael Morell, a longtime intelligence analyst who served as acting director of the agency after the resignation of David Petraeus in 2012, warned that if ISIS was allowed to take refuge in Iraq and Syria, they could orchestrate an attack in the United States. The group has claimed responsibility for a recent attack in Garland, Texas, where police killed two gunmen.

RELATED: Former CIA official takes aim at politicians

Morell told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” that it is “not far-fetched” that ISIS or other terrorist groups could gain access to weapons of mass destruction.

“That would be the nightmare scenario: a terrorist attack, here in the United States, here in New York, another major city, that involved either chemical, biological or other nuclear weapons,” he said.

Morell also disputed a report this week by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh that a walk-in informant tipped the United States off to the location of Osama bin Laden before the American military killed him.

“I can’t tell you that somebody didn’t walk into a station somewhere and say ‘I know where Osama bin Laden is.’” Morell said. “But I can guarantee you that no one walk in ever provided information that actually led us to Osama bin Laden.”