In a new video released on Monday by the Islamic State, the terrorist group reminded the United States that it has its sights set on the nation’s capital as well as the rest of the world.
One man in the video does the threatening. He is bearded, speaks in Arabic, is wearing military fatigues and flanked by other gun-toting presumed members of the IS.
Subtitles identify the man as “Al Ghareeb the Algerian” as he warns that any country taking part in air strikes against their territory in Syria would suffer the same fate as Paris, where at least 129 people were killed in several simultaneous attacks on Friday night.
“Now that we know ISIS has a real interest in attacking abroad and is willing to commit resources to do so, that is actually quite a new phenomenon,” Aki Peritz, an author and former CIA counterterrorism analyst, said.
Experts say the Islamic State has shifted from merely trying to inspire lone wolf attacks around the world without direct coordination from their base in Syria to, now, actually planning and coordinating a sophisticated attack from Syria and deploying it abroad.
“This is not something that was done in a matter of days this is something that was deliberately and carefully planned over the course of several months,” said CIA Director John Brennan, speaking to a gathering of experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Monday.
Peritz insists that the IS is more tech savvy and as capable as any terrorist group has ever been.
“As terrorist organizations go, as fortune 500 companies go, they’re doing an excellent job of using social media to get their propaganda out and recruit more people,” said Peritz.
While the group communicates to potential recruits through social media, they can also communicate with each other through apps that offer encrypted messaging.
“If I were a terrorist organization, I would absolutely use these kind of communications because nobody can actually crack it unless you physically have somebody looking at you at the time,” said Peritz.
Director Brennan said the fight against the Islamic State is not hopeless, but it’s also not easy.
“There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult both technically as well as legally for intelligence security services to get the intel they need to uncover it,” said Brennan.
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