FBI Director James B. Comey on Wednesday told a cybersecurity conference in New York that Americans can expect to see a “terrorist diaspora” metastasize out of the Middle East.
Mr. Comey told an audience at Fordham University that battlefield gains against the Islamic State group in Syria will have the practical effect of scattering terror cells across the globe.
“At some point, there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Mr. Comey said, The New York Times reported Wednesday. “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”
The FBI director went on to say that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is a problem that is exponentially more threatening than the emergence of al Qaeda.
“This is 10 times that or more,” Mr. Comey said, the newspaper reported. “This is an order of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen before.”
Mr. Comey told reporters earlier in the summer that FBI agents were tracking nearly 1,000 cases of Americans who have been radicalized by Islamic terror groups’ propaganda.
“[ISIS’] ability to motivate troubled souls, to inspire them, remains a persistent presence in the United States,” Mr. Comey said on May 11. “We have north of 1,000 cases where we’re trying to evaluate where somebody is on the spectrum from consuming [ISIS propaganda] to acting, and that number continues to tick up slowly.”