A well-connected law enforcement source writes with comments that comport with those made by CIA Director Brennan today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (C-SPAN video here and and Washington Times article here), but go beyond them. I thought readers would find these comments of interest:
I’ve got a few good contacts in Middle Eastern and European intelligence and anti-terror police services and have been in contact with them the past day or so. The situation is still developing and information probably will continue to come in for analysis for some time.
Two things stood out for me. One was that the attacks in Paris were coordinated by a cell operating from a neighboring country. The attackers were divided into two groups, one that was assigned to suicide missions and one that was assigned to escape. That’s not the normal M.O. and the cops are asking why the change. Several did escape. At least one got to a neighboring country. The logical conclusion is that the escapees were being saved for “the next big thing.” The high profile attacks, one at the Eiffel Tower and one at the stadium, both failed.
Two, IS has aspirations to strike Western targets between now and Christmas: airports, seaports, and large, crowded venues in the Christmas commercial period preferred. The European intelligence people are trying to figure out whether these intentions are aspirational or operational at this point. IS would like to hit the US and/or the UK. The million dollar question is, do they have the capability to do it here on their Christmas timetable?
It’s really not a question of if anymore, it’s a question of where and when, I think.