FBI Director James Comey reiterated his concern that an unprecedented “terrorist diaspora” will occur after the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) territory is “crushed” by the U.S.-led coalition, calling the imminent phenomenon “the ghost of Christmas future.”
Currently, the FBI is dealing with an estimated 1,000 open homegrown terrorism cases in the United States that include people “of all backgrounds,” noted Comey.
“The director said that FBI’s terrorism-related cases have spanned the age range of roughly 15-60 years old, adding that there is no one particular ‘hot spot’ in the U.S. for extremist activity because a lot of the recruitment and inspiration continues to happen online,” points out Fox News.
During a national security summit at the University of Texas at Austin, Comey predicted that the jihadist diaspora would flow outward from the Middle East to Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and North Africa.
The FBI chief urged government leaders and intelligence officials in Western Europe, without mentioning the recent ISIS-claimed attack in London, to “break down the barriers” in the European Union and join forces to decimate the jihadist threat.
“Comey compared Europe’s need to unite on security issues to changes in the U.S. following the 9/11 attacks. He described Western Europe as FBI’s front lines in preventing those individuals from committing violence outside of the so-called caliphate,” concedes Fox News.
The FBI chief’s recent comments about the terrorist diaspora following ISIS’s defeat echo remarks he made in the not so distant past.
During a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University in July 2016, Comey explicitly said where the “terrorist diaspora” would wreak havoc after ISIS’s defeat.
“At some point, there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield,” warned Comey.
The FBI director predicted that the U.S. and its allies would decimate ISIS but conceded 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 also to the United States.
He made a similar dire prediction a few months later in September 2016.
“The so-called caliphate will be crushed,” declared Comey at the time. “The challenge will be: Through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people. They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.”