U.S. efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) have done little to diminish the threat posed by the terrorist group, CIA Director John Brennan told Congress Thursday, warning that there could be more Orlando-style attacks coming.
“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” Brennan warned the Senate Intelligence Committee using an alternate acronym for the group, according to CNN.
While Brennan declared that ISIS had taken some hits, losing “large stretches” of territory in Iraq and Syria — he said the group still has between 18,000 to 22,000 fighters in the region.
Brennan was speaking days after 49 people were killed at an Orlando nightclub Sunday, telling Congress that other attacks carried out by lone wolfs inspired by ISIS could follow, presenting “an exceptionally challenging issue for the intelligence community.”
Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, had “no direct links” to ISIS, according to Brennan, but was inspired by the group.
“We have not been able to uncover any direct link between that individual, Mateen, and a foreign terrorist organization. But that inspiration can lead someone to embark on this path of destruction,” he said.