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US facing expanding radicalization problem - National Counterterrorism Center acting Director Russell Travers warns during talk at @WashInstitute the number of people in the #NCTC datat base has "grown by a factor of almost 20"
@WashInstitute NEW: "We have no indication that foreign terrorists have tried to exploit" the US refugee system, per #NCTC acting Dir Russell Travers
@WashInstitute Goal should be for US to have "near real time biographic & biometric screening" to keep terrorists out of the country, per #NCTC's Travers
@WashInstitute #NCTC acting Director Russell Travers warns @WashInstitute that as US draws down forces in the #MiddleEast, it will have fewer liaisons with partners on the ground and less human intelligence as a result
@WashInstitute Tracking down would be terrorists/extremists getting tougher - "The haystack has continued to grow and the needles are increasingly subtle" per #NCTC's Russell Travers
@WashInstitute There's a "need for informed, transparent public discussion" on data collection & privacy, per #NCTC acting Dir Travers, noting that critical intel is often in data sitting next to data that should be private

"There is no consensus in the country"
@WashInstitute "What type of terrorism risk should we be willing to tolerate in order to preserve" privacy? asks #NCTC acting Dir Russell Travers
@WashInstitute Non-Islamist terror - "potential for seeing a movement" warns #NCTC acting Dir. Russell Travers at @WashInstitute, citing attackers inspired by #AndersBrevik #DylanRoof

But it goes beyond inspiration, per Travers: "We have seen travel..."
@WashInstitute "We don't fully understand how attackers are motivated and/or what constitutes meaningful relationships between extremists" per #NCTC's Travers on white extremist, racially motivated actors
@WashInstitute Unlike #ISIS #alQaida, no monolithic, hierarchical organizations for white supremacists/extremists

"It is dominated by lone actors and small cells who use the online space as a borderless safe haven" per #NCTC's Travers
@WashInstitute #ISIS prisoners in #Syria - "We've gotten kind of fatalistic about this" per #NCTC's Russell Travers "There's a growing likelihood that eventually we could see many of these #foreignfighters again when they've broken out of prison or been released..."
"...so the focus on biometrically enrolling, making sure that all those individuals are on all the appropriate watchlists" per #NCTC's Travers
"The greatest mid-term concern is a retention of those [#ISIS] prisoners and not bolstering the #ISISranks and not bolstering the #foreignfighter outflow from #Syria" per #NCTC's Travers
Which #ISIS prisoners escaped? "We have a fog of war problem. We don't know" per #NCTC's Travers, saying with #Turkey incursion-#SDF moving prisoners around, hard to know

But US has biometrics on almost all of the #ISIS #foreignfighters who had been captured
NEW: Bottom line number on #ISIS fighters at large in #Syria #Iraq - at least 14,000

"We think it's substantially higher than that" warns #NCTC acting Dir. Russell Travers "That number is going to do nothing but grow"
"There are already no-go areas at night" per #NCTC's Travers "We see #ISIS flags and we see small areas where Sharia is being implemented"

"The insurgency is alive & kicking in northwest #Iraq for sure, and northeastern #Syria"
"It is not just about capturing and killing" #NCTC's Russell Travers says of US counterterrorism strategy - saying there is an eye on prevention, too
"This playing out largely as we expected" per #NCTC's Russell Travers on #ISIS cementing support behind new leader Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al #Qurashi
As for who is #Qurashi? "We're not at a point of having confirmation" says #NCTC acting Dir Travers, adding Hajji 'Abdallah was seen as a "logical choice" to take over if/when Abu Bakr al #Baghdadi died
Great power competition & terrorism intersecting: "There are certainly examples of the #Russia|n state sort of exploiting issues to play to right-wing grievances" per #NCTC Acting Dir Russell Travers "How do we deal with that?"
#Turkey - "They will profess interest in counterterrorism but it is primarily #PKK" per #NCTC's Travers "Their concern abt #ISIS is far less"

"There haven't been ISIS attacks in Turkey for a while..."
"There are far more radicalized people out there now than there were 18 years ago" per #NCTC's Travers "You certainly don't have currently, today, the kind of capability that we saw to reach out and touch the homeland that we saw in the heydey of #alQaida or the heydey of #ISIS"
"Maybe the threat will stay local" per #NCTC's Travers "But given history of the last 18 years, I don't think we can count on that"

Travers says there will be a greater need for human intelligence "which probably means we need to be there"
"#ISIS is a learning organization" per #NCTC's Russell Travers "In my own mind, I wonder if they would be content w/conducting a prolonged insurgency & staying underground to avoid the kind of pressure they absorbed from the coalition? ...Nobody knows"
"The more we draw down, the more we siphon resources off to other very high priority threats, the greater the likelihood we're not going to understand that dynamic" with what is next for #ISIS, per #NCTC's Travers
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