Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that fighters with the Islamic State in Iraqi and Syria (ISIS) are planning to use biological weapons, including the Ebola virus, to attack the United States.
“We’ve seen no specific credible intelligence that [ISIS] is attempting to use any sort of disease or virus to attack our homeland” Johnson said in remarks to the Association of the United States Army.
Last week, retired Capt. Al Shimkus, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, told Forbes that ISIS fighters could infect themselves with the deadly virus to use it as a biological weapon against the West.
“The individual exposed to the Ebola virus would be the carrier,” he said. “In the context of terrorist activity, it doesn’t take much sophistication to go to that next step to use a human being as a carrier.”
Johnson dismissed that theory Tuesday but acknowledged that ISIS remains a “very, very dangerous terrorist organization.” He cited the group’s hold on territory, deft use of social media, financing and repeated threats against the U.S.
“They’ve called for attacks in the West. And that’s why we’re taking the fight to them militarily, with airstrikes. We simply have no choice. This is something that has to be confronted,” he said.