Top intel chiefs warn Al Qaeda forming base in Syria for possible US attacks

For the second time in a week, the nation’s top intelligence chiefs Tuesday issued a scathing assessment of the global threats facing the United States, warning that Syria is becoming a base from which extremist, Al Qaeda-linked groups could attack the U.S. “We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaeda organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad,” said CIA Director John Brennan at a hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “There are camps inside of both Iraq and Syria that are used by Al Qaeda to develop capabilities that are applicable, both in the theater, as well as beyond.” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper put the threat assessment in stark terms: “Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe,” he said. Clapper and Brennan were joined at the hearing by the head of the FBI, James Comey, Defense Intelligence Chief Gen. Mike Flynn and Matt Olson, who heads the National Counterterrorism Center. The Syrian insurgency, Clapper said in opening remarks, is made up of between 75,000 and 110,000 fighters from about 1500 different groups. More
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