Counter-Terror Official Warns of Growing ISIS Threat

The ISIS terrorist organization “poises a direct and significant threat” to Americans, primarily in Iraq, “but potentially to us here at home,” the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center said Wednesday. The immediate threat is to the US Embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil, as well as the Americans it holds hostage, NCTC Director Matthew Olson said during an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. President Barack Obama recently approved an increase of some 350 additional US boots on the ground to protect the US Embassy compound and its support facilities in Baghdad, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby announced. The personnel will come from the US Central Command area of responsibility, “and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters, and an air liaison team,” states a Sept. 3 DOD release. Olson said it is possible ISIS could use its sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq to plan attacks in Europe and the US, though he noted there is “no credible information that [ISIS] has any immediate plans to attack the United States.” Olson said an estimated 100 Americans have joined ISIS in Syria or Iraq who could “gain experience and training and return to the home country to carry out attacks.” But, “in our view, any threat to the homeland is likely to be limited in scope.”