(CNN)A Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment published in May raised concerns about an ISIS operative now suspected in the Paris attacks and warned of signs the group had developed the capability to plan and carry out complex attacks in the West.
DHS intel assessment warned of alleged Paris ringleader
The assessment was prepared after Belgian authorities in January disrupted a plot to attack police in Verviers, which now appears to be partly the work of jihadist plotters behind the Paris terrorist attacks.
The DHS document cited the suspected role of Abdelhamid Abaaoud in the Verviers plot, and who French authorities also suspect was behind the Paris attacks.
The document notes that Abaaoud appears to have faked his death in Syria -- complete with a call to his family about his purported death -- to help him travel back and forth undetected between Syria and Belgium.
The police raids in Verviers uncovered a web of jihadist connections that stretched across Europe, to safe houses in Greece, and to the ISIS homebase in Syria.
In Verviers, police found precursor chemicals to make TATP (the same type of explosive used in suicide vests in the Paris attacks), a trove of falsified travel documents (also believed to have been used by some Paris attackers), and large caches of weapons.
The Verviers plotters were searching for an ice machine to try to store the TATP, according to the DHS assessment.
The DHS document contains a now seemingly prescient warning. According to the report, DHS's office of intelligence analysis "assesses that the plot disrupted by Belgian authorities in January 2015 is the first instance in which a large group of terrorists possibly operating under ISIL direction has been discovered and may indicate the group has developed the capability to launch more complex operations in the West. We differentiate the complex, centrally planned plotting in Belgium from other, more-simplistic attacks by ISIL-inspired or directed individuals, which could occur with little to no warning."