Former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen, who served under President Obama, said that the Khorasan group is “still in the same place as it was” before the United States began launching airstrikes against the group in Syria during an interview broadcast on Tuesday’s “Wolf” on CNN.
“By everything I’ve seen, I think the threat is still in the same place it was before, and that is, this group was in a position to train without any sort of interference. They were able to recruit operatives. We saw that they were looking to test explosives. So, they were in the advanced stages of plotting. Again, they had both that intent and what we saw was that capability that put them into this nearing an execution phase of an attack,” he stated.
CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, who conducted the interview, reported that “he [Olsen] did tell me, however, that there was evidence that those strikes killed senior leaders from the Khorasan group.”
Sciutto added that Olsen told him “the Khorasan group and AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], not only have the intention of attacking the US but they have the ability to do so, and they very nearly succeeded in recent years. He says that ISIS may have the intention, and the leader of ISIS has said that war with the US is inevitable, but at this point, they haven’t developed the specific capability,” and that, according to Olsen, “the most likely attack to take place in the US is from a lone wolf.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett