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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
5 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
6 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

FULL CABINET IN PLACE
Acosta Confirmed As Labor Secretary
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.

Source:
HAS WHITE HOUSE BACKING
Hurd to Make Push on Federal IT
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation today designed to help federal agencies update their aging technology—and this time, it has White House backing. Hurd worked alongside White House Office of American Innovation officials Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell in crafting and tweaking the legislation, and called their partnership an 'invaluable' part of the process."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login