ISIS leaders are determined to strike targets in the United States this year, senior US intelligence officials said Tuesday, telling lawmakers that a small group of violent extremists will attempt to overcome the logistical challenges of mounting such an attack. In testimony before congressional committees, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other officials described ISIS as the "pre-eminent terrorist threat." The militant group can "direct and inspire attacks against a wide range of targets around the world," Clapper warned.
Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said ISIS will probably conduct additional attacks in Europe and then attempt the same in the US. He said US intelligence agencies believe the group's leaders will be "increasingly involved in directing attacks rather than just encouraging lone attackers." Clapper, delivering the annual assessment by intelligence agencies of the top dangers facing the country, said al-Qaeda remains an enemy and the US will continue to see cyberthreats from China, Russia, and North Korea, which is ramping up its nuclear program. He also warned that Afghanistan is at "serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016."