Brett McGurk, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and Iraq, appeared at a hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on February 5 to explain the agenda of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). McGurk reported to the committee: “In a rare audio statement on January 21st, ISIL’s leader directed his fighters, quote: ‘To be on the frontlines against the Shia, and march toward Baghdad.'” Then he added another quote specifically for the United States: “Soon, we will be in direct confrontation. So watch for us, for we are with you, watching.”
Prior to McGurk’s appearance, John Brennan, CIA Director, testified at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s annual hearing on “Worldwide Threats.” “There are three groups of people [operating in Eastern Syria] that are a concern, from an extremist standpoint; Ahrar Asham, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the Al Qaida element within Syria, and the Islamic state of Iraq and Levant,” said Brennan. “It’s those latter two I think are most dedicated to a terrorist agenda.”
Brennan went on to warn that al Qaeda may develop the capability to “use Syria as a launching pad” for attacks on the West. “There are camps inside of both Iraq and Syria that are used by Al Qaida to develop capabilities that are applicable, both in the theater, as well as beyond,” the CIA director testified.
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House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers asked Brennan: “Do you believe that that ungoverned space presents a real threat to the United States of America, via al Qaida operations, or the West?
“I do,” Brennan answered.