(CNN) – Defense secretary Chuck Hagel is warning the threat from ISIS is “beyond anything we’ve seen”. Amid the new warnings, there’s also a growing fear that ISIS may be infiltrating the U.S. and western Europe using western passports.
Moments before beheading James Foley, his executioner, an ISIS terrorist, warns of more attacks on Americans.
“Any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
New indications that ISIS could harm more Americans and others in the West.
A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN: they have indications of ISIS cells in Europe, which could attack U.S. embassies and other American interests. The official says it’s not clear if those terrorists were ordered by ISIS or if they went on their own.
An ISIS fighter threatened the west, telling Reuters: “We have also penetrated them with those who look like them.”
Does ISIS have cells in America? Former CIA officer Bob Baer believes they do.
“I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper-cells in this country.”
But two U.S. officials tell CNN: they have no indications of ISIS cells inside America right now. Still they are very concerned that ISIS fighters with western passports could travel to the U.S. and launch attacks.
Officials believe a handful of Americans have fought with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and CNN’s Peter Bergen says others have tried to help the group.
“Here you’ve got three Americans who’ve been indicted for joining ISIS within the last year – including by the way, a woman, which is quite unusual. Luckily they were arrested before they could leave the country. But clearly ISIS is sort of – if you’re interested in this ideology, that’s the most exciting thing to go and join right now.”
Tracking Americans in ISIS is getting more difficult, especially on the ground in Syria and Iraq. A senior U.S. intelligence official tells us the footprint for American human intelligence in that area is not extensive.
Analysts say the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has extra motivation to send his fighters to the U.S.
“Baghdadi, who is the head of ISIS, is a narcissistic psychopath. He wants to be bigger than Osama bin Laden. And one of the ways he will measure that is how effective, how big the terrorist activities he can carry out in the West are, compared to what bin Laden was able to do.”