WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on senior U.S. officials’ testimony to Congress on terror threats (all times local):
FBI Director James Comey says the FBI will look into past contacts it had with the father of the man accused in the Manhattan bombing to see if anything could have been done differently.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul told Comey on Tuesday that several individuals accused of attacks had at one point been known to the FBI. He asked Comey whether mistakes have been made in those investigations.
Comey said the FBI is fallible and that, when it makes a mistake, the agency is open about it.
He didn’t say any mistakes had been made in past terror cases, but he noted that the FBI is looking into its past investigations of the Orlando, Florida nightclub shooter. And he says they’re looking into past interactions with the father of Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was charged last week in the Manhattan explosion.
A top counterterrorism official says the Islamic State is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, and losing access to money from oil production and other sources.
Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told Congress Tuesday that the group has lost over half its territory in Iraq and nearly a quarter in Syria. Rasmussen says the number of fighters the group has in those countries is significantly down and its “illicit income streams” are also down.
Still, Rasmussen says the group remains a significant threat. He says its ability to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq and other countries has not been significantly diminished.
Rasmussen says officials do not believe that battlefield losses alone will be sufficient to completely degrade the group’s terrorism capabilities.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson says terrorist threats have evolved. He says they include individuals living in the U.S. who are “self-radicalized” to attack their own country.
Johnson told a Senate committee on Tuesday that some U.S. residents and citizens are inspired by terrorist propaganda on the internet. Johnson says some attacks are “terrorist-enabled,” in which established groups provide general guidance, such as potential targets, often in online conversations with terrorists overseas.
Johnson says another category of attacks is “terrorist-validated,” which a terror group such as the so-called Islamic State claims responsibility for an attack after the fact.
Johnson and other officials are testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on security threats 15 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
In prepared testimony before a Senate committee, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson says air strikes and special operations against the Islamic State group have led to the deaths of a number of its leaders. He says the group has lost nearly half the populated areas it once controlled in Iraq and thousands of square miles in Syria.
At the same time, Johnson says, the group has “increased its plotting on targets outside of Iraq and Syria and continues to encourage attacks in the United States.”
Johnson, FBI Director James Comey and Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, are set to testify as the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee looks at security threats 15 years after 9/11.