The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) does not pose the biggest threat to the U.S., according to a former leader of the CIA.
It isn’t even in the top three.
“Despite that significant threat from ISIS, it is not the most significant threat to the homeland today,” former CIA deputy and acting director Michael Morell said on Monday. “The most significant threat to the homeland today still comes from al Qaeda, and three al Qaeda groups in particular.”Those three al Qaeda subgroups — including the “core” al Qaeda branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as affiliates in Yemen and Syria — have shown more willingness to confront the U.S. on its home soil, Morell said.
Of those, the most dangerous is the Yemen branch, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
“The last three attempted attacks to the United States were by al Qaeda in Yemen,” Morell said. He was referring to the failed 2009 “underwear bomber” plot on Christmas Day as well as a scuttled 2010 plan to insert bombs into printer ink cartridges and the 2012 discovery of a plan to destroy a plane with a non-metallic suicide vest.
“They have the ability to bring down an airliner in the United States of America tomorrow,” Morell said during remarks at the National Press Club.