On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 John Brennan, the CIA Director, was a guest at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He led off with some prepared remarks, answered some questions from Judy Woodruff, and then from the audience. Below is a recap of the one hour event.

Istanbul Airport Bombings. The CIA Director says he knows of no group that has claimed responsibility but believes that ISIS was responsible. He says there are a variety of reasons of why suicide attacks are successful – one being there are less means of defending against someone who is committed to die in the action. Small groups are able to maintain operational security; the smaller the number of individuals involved in an attack the easier it is to keep the operation secret.

Islamic State

He is frustrated that our effort against ISIS has not been successful in reducing the terrorist groups’ ability to conduct terrorist attacks. He stated that ISIS has the ability to continue to propagate its narrative. He has concern about the momentum that ISIS has outside of Iraq and Syria. The group has tens of thousands of individuals in many parts of the world. They have good communications security. The movement of people and goods in this modern, global society is extremely fluid. ISIS has taken advantage of the openness of our western societies as well as the usefulness of the Internet to spread their message and recruit members.