CIA director anticipates more ISIS attacks ‘in the pipeline’

Updated 1:59 PM EST, Tue November 17, 2015
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

The CIA director said Monday ISIS members have "gone to school" on new ways to avoid authorities

Earlier, President Obama's national security team suggested the threat remains greater in Europe

(CNN) —  

ISIS probably has plans for more attacks “in the pipeline,” according to the head of the CIA, although President Barack Obama’s national security team said over the weekend that the threat to Europe is greater than it is to the U.S.

“I certainly would not consider it a one-off event,” said CIA Director John Brennan, speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum in Washington on Monday.

“It is clear to me that ISIL has an external agenda, that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks,” he continued, using another term for ISIS. “This is not something that was done in a matter of days. This was carefully planned over the course I think of several months, in terms of making (sure) they had the operatives, the weapons and the explosives with the suicide belts.”

He concluded, “And so I would anticipate this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline.”

READ: NSA director says ISIS ideology ‘increasingly resonating’ with Americans

ISIS members have worked hard to learn new ways to conceal their tactics from Western law enforcement entities, according to Brennan.

“There has been a significant increase in the operational security in the number of these operatives in these terrorist networks because they have gone to school on what it is they need to do to keep their activities concealed from the authorities,” he said.

The comments from Brennan came the day after members of the President’s national security team said that while ISIS certainly has the ambition to launch similar attacks on U.S. shores, the capability is not great..

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that one big difference between the situation in Europe and that in the U.S. is that “thousands” of fighters have traveled to Syria and then returned to Europe. The number being tracked in America is far smaller – around 40, according to an estimate by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper earlier this year.

Clapper added that not all of those ISIS joiners were necessarily fighting – some might have served other roles for the terrorist group, such as first aid – and he knew of no terrorist plots that any of those returning have been involved in once back in the U.S.

Rhodes said that ISIS has found more utility in trying to recruit or motivate sympathizers in America online from abroad.

READ: ISIS exploits social media to make inroads in U.S.

A top FBI counterterrorism official told Congress this year that “hundreds, maybe thousands” of people in the U.S. follow ISIS online. And this year alone, at least 49 alleged ISIS “supporters” in America have been charged with related crimes. The largest number of those were in New York.

An ISIS-inspired plot in Garland, Texas, in May, in which two men with body armor and assault rifles opened fire outside an art contest in which participants drew pictures of the prophet Mohammed, was thwarted by a security officer who shot and killed both suspects.

The FBI had been watching one of the suspects’ online activity referencing the contest, and had warned police in Garland hours before the attack, though officials didn’t know he was planning an attack, and weren’t closely monitoring his physical whereabouts.

Following that attack, intelligence officials have said they are now doing more monitoring of “hundreds” of suspected ISIS supporters.

Rhodes emphasized Sunday there is currently “no specific, credible threat” of an attack being planned in the U.S., but vigilance among law enforcement is high.