A former CIA officer said Thursday he has no doubt Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells are already planted on U.S. soil.
An unnamed U.S. intelligence official told CNN there’s already an indication of ISIS sleeper cells in Europe that could target U.S. embassies and other American interests.
But former CIA officer Bob Baer told the network ISIS is already on this side of the Atlantic.
“I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper cells in this country,” he said.
Though CNN said two U.S. officials had refuted the claim, they’re worried ISIS militants with passports might travel to the United States to launch attacks on American soil, CNN reported.
One ISIS fighter already has hinted as much.
In several telephone conversations with a Reuters reporter over the past few months, Islamic State fighters suggest their leader, Iraqi Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is planning something for the West – and that attacks could take place through sleeper cells in both Europe and the United States.
“The West are idiots and fools,” one fighter taunted, according to Reuters. “They think we are waiting for them to give us visas to go and attack them or that we will attack with our beards or even Islamic outfits.
“They think they can distinguish us these days – they are fools and more than that they don’t know we can play their game in intelligence. They infiltrated us with those who pretend to be Muslims and we have also penetrated them with those who look like them.”
About 100 Americans are being tracked by the FBI because of their travels to Syria, some to join ISIS, analysts say. And ISIS is actively recruiting Westerners and European Muslims who could easily enter the US.
“Clearly ISIS, if you’re interested in that ideology, that’s the most exciting thing to go and join right now,” CNN analyst Peter Bergen told CNN.
But Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation told CNN al-Baghdadi is “a narcissistic psychopath” on a barbaric mission.
“He wants to be bigger than Osama bin Laden, and one of the ways he will measure that is how effective and how big the terrorist activities he can carry out in the West are compared to what bin Laden was able to do,” he said.