US intelligence and counterterrorism officials warn that the military campaign to rout Daesh in Iraq and Syria will create a “terrorist diaspora” in the West, putting the US in a period of “sustained vulnerability” for years to come.
“The so-called caliphate will be crushed,” FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday. “The challenge will be that through the fingers of that crush will come hundreds of very dangerous people.”
“There will be a terrorist diaspora some time in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.”
US intelligence officials estimate that more than 40,000 foreign militants, including as many as 7,600 Westerners, have traveled to Syria and Iraq, with a majority of them joining the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
“When ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out, they will try to come to Western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people,” Comey said. “We must prepare ourselves.”