Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper has warned that the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could “galvanize” ISIS.
On Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” Clapper appeared to pour cold water on the special operations raid.
“What is going to be interesting is to the extent to which this negatively affects ISIS or does it galvanize ISIS, the remnants of ISIS, which still survives as an ideology and has franchises in other places besides Syria,” Clapper warned.
He added, “ISIS is more than just Baghdadi, as important as he was. 14,000 to 18,000 fighters yet remaining and the franchise are branches in other places — notably, Afghanistan where of course we still have forces. ISIS did participate in losing leadership. So they decentralized and groomed people to assume the role. Now I don’t know that they have anybody would have the symbolic importance of Bagdadi, but I don’t think we can say at this point that we can stop worrying about ISIS.”