ISIS's threat to US could include native sleeper cells - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ISIS's threat to US could include native sleeper cells

Posted: Updated:
Does the Islamic State, who beheaded journalist James Foley, have sleeper cells in the U.S.? (Source: CNN) Does the Islamic State, who beheaded journalist James Foley, have sleeper cells in the U.S.? (Source: CNN)

(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 the ISIS may be infiltrating the U.S. and Western Europe using Western passports.

Moments before beheading James Foley, his executioner - an ISIS terrorists - 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," the ISIS agent said.

There are now new indications that ISIS could harm more Americans and others in the West.

A U.S. intelligence officials 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 [the U.S. and Europe] with those who look like them.”

Does ISIS have cells in America? Former CIA officer and CNN national security analyst Bob Baer believes they do.

"I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper-cells in this country," Baer said.

But two U.S. officials tell CNN that 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 attack.

Officials believe a handful of Americans have fought with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and CNN'S Peter Bergen says other 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,” Bergen said. “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 CNN that 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," Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation said.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow