The Central Intelligence Agency has not been able to link the Orlando shooter with the Islamic States, despite Omar Mateen's claims otherwise.
The agency told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 16 that it has not been "able to uncover any link" between the man who took 49 lives on June 12 in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, The Guardian reports.
It added that Mateen did not have any contact with ISIS before the Pulse nightclub attack.
Instead, the CIA describes Mateen and the San Bernardino shooters as “lone wolf” killers, who differ from the terrorists who carried out the Paris and Brussels terrorists since those were directed by ISIS.
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"As we have seen in Orlando, San Bernardino, and elsewhere, ISIL is attempting to inspire attacks by sympathizers who have no direct links to the group," CIA director John Brennan said, reports NBC News. "Last month, for example, a senior ISIL figure publicly urged the group's followers to conduct attacks in their home countries if they were unable to travel to Syria."
“As the pressure mounts on Isil, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda,” Brennan said, The Guardian reports.
Brennan’s predecessor, Leon Panetta, agrees, according to an interview with MSNBC, NBC News reports.
"The reality is that we are looking at additional ISIS attacks in this country," Panetta said. "As we increase military pressure against ISIS, they are going to do everything possible to inspire these kinds of attacks elsewhere."
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Brennan continues by describing ISIS as a “a formidable adversary, commanding a number far exceeding "what al-Qaida had at its height.”
At the same time, however, the CIA director notes the anti-ISIS forces are achieving some success.
"ISIL has lost large stretches of territory in both Syria and Iraq," he said. "Its finance and media operations have been squeezed. And it has struggled to replenish its ranks of fighters, in part because fewer fighters are traveling to Syria."
Yet some think authorities may be exaggerating how much Americans should fear ISIS.
In 2012, the Council on Foreign Relations claimed "America is a safe place:"
“Since 9/11, a total of 238 American citizens have died from terrorist attacks, or an average of 29 per year," Micah Zenko of the CFR wrote at the time. "To put that in some perspective, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American is as likely to be crushed to death by televisions or furniture as they are to be killed by a terrorist."