Terrorist groups such as Daesh is using new technologies to better coordinate their operations, the head of the CIA said Friday.
“What makes terrorism so difficult to fight is not just the ideology that fuels it, or the tactics that enable it. The power of modern communications also plays a role,” John Brennan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
He said terror groups took advantage of advanced technology “to attract new recruits, disseminate propaganda and inspire sympathizers across the globe to act in their name.”
“The overall threat of terrorism is greatly amplified by today’s interconnected world, where an incident in one corner of the globe can instantly spark a reaction thousands of miles away,” he said. “A lone extremist can go online and learn how to carry out an attack without ever leaving home.”
In his speech, which addressed the agency’s approach to emerging threats, Brennan cited a recent wave of attacks including the murder of a film director in Denmark last month, attack on the staff of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in France in January, and the massacre of school children in Pakistan in December.
“These attacks underscore a disturbing trend that we have been monitoring for some time: the emergence of a terrorist threat that is increasingly decentralized, difficult to track, and difficult to thwart,” he said.
He said the U.S. degraded the capabilities of al-Qaeda to a considerable extent, but its affiliates and other terrorist organizations have surged in various countries, most notably Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
“Many of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct,” he said, referring to Daesh’s claim that it is waging an Islamic holy war, also known as jihad.
The unrest created by constant fighting and subsequent instability in Iraq and Syria paved the way forDaesh to gain a foothold in the region, on which it has declared what it calls a cross-border Islamic caliphate.
Brennan said ascribing Daesh’s atrocities as Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism “does give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking which they don’t deserve at all.”