U.S. Fears Syria’s Violence Will Spread to West

Director of National Intelligence nominee James Clapper testifies during the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on his nomination on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2010.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sara Sorcher
Jan. 29, 2014, 5:57 a.m.

Ex­trem­ists are tak­ing ad­vant­age of the chaos cre­ated by the Syr­i­an civil war — and might leave the war-torn coun­try to carry out at­tacks in the West.

That’s a big worry for the In­tel­li­gence lead­ers testi­fy­ing be­fore the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day.

“Syr­ia has be­come a huge mag­net for ex­trem­ists,” Dir­ect­or of Na­tion­al In­tel­li­gence James Clap­per said.

The hodge­podge of some 1,600 rebel fac­tions op­er­at­ing in Syr­ia in­cludes groups with ex­trem­ist ties, in­clud­ing Qaida af­fil­i­ate Jabhat al-Nusra, which Clap­per said does as­pire to carry out at­tacks on the U.S. home­land. More than 7,000 for­eign fight­ers have traveled to Syr­ia for the battle against em­battled Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad. They’re com­ing from some 50 coun­tries, many of them in Europe and the Middle East.

Ex­trem­ists, Clap­per said, are also get­ting train­ing and weapons as they join with these groups in Syr­ia. “We’re see­ing now the ap­pear­ance of train­ing com­plexes in Syr­ia to train people to go back to their coun­tries and con­duct more ter­ror­ist at­tacks,” Clap­per said. “This is a huge con­cern to all of us.”

With this “per­missive en­vir­on­ment” for ex­trem­ists, Na­tion­al Coun­terter­ror­ism Cen­ter Dir­ect­or Mat­thew Olsen said, the U.S. is par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about the “po­ten­tial for ter­ror­ist at­tacks em­an­at­ing from Syr­ia to the West.” Olsen told Na­tion­al Journ­al pre­vi­ously that deal­ing with Syr­ia would be the primary coun­terter­ror­ism fo­cus of 2014.

The com­mit­tee’s top Re­pub­lic­an, Saxby Cham­b­liss, wanted to know if the ter­ror­ist threat against U.S. in­terests over­seas has in­creased or di­min­ished — but the an­swer he got was not simple. While the ideo­lo­gic­al cen­ter of the Qaida move­ment re­mains in the FATA, or fed­er­ally ad­min­istered tri­bal areas along the por­ous Pakistan-Afgh­anistan bor­der, Clap­per said, its “locus for op­er­a­tion­al plan­ning” is dis­persed throughout a dozen coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ye­men, Somalia, and now Syr­ia.

In Syr­ia, Clap­per said, there’s a pos­sib­il­ity the un­rest could turn the war-torn coun­try in­to a “new FATA” — which he said is “very, very wor­ri­some.”

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
3 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×