ISIS defeat could lead ‘terrorist diaspora’ to West – FBI

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FBI Director James Comey warns that defeating Islamic State in Syria could lead to the spread of terrorist attacks in the West.

“At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” FBI Director James Comey told an audience at a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University on Wednesday, the New York Times reported

“Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield,” Comey added.

Comey predicted that the US-led military coalition would eventually succeed in defeating IS in Syria, but that “through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people and they are going to flow primarily to Western Europe, but we may as well be right next door to Western Europe given the ease with which people travel.” 

He said some could well end up in the United States, describing IS as the greatest physical threat to US citizens.

Reflecting on history, Comey pointed out that a lot of terrorists flowed out of Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s to join Al Qaeda.

“This is 10 times that or more,” Comey said. “This is an order of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen before.”

Comey also said the most difficult part of tracking IS is its ability to inspire lone wolves, according to WNYW.

“I’ve described our mission as we’ve gotta to find a needle in a haystack. It is actually harder than that we’ve got to figure out which piece of hay may become a needle,” said Comey. “Because there are troubled people consuming that propaganda all over the world and watching this hyper-violence and becoming convinced that’s the way find meaning in their lives.”

Comey said the American public is getting a glimpse of what an IS diaspora would be like in the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris over the past year. 

“We in the American counterterrorism business are constantly focused on that – that’s not here yet, but that challenge is going to come,” he said, according to WNYW.