Morell: ‘We Need to Think Seriously About a Possible Attack’ over the Holidays

‘If we had a Paris-style attack in New York or Washington, what would then our policy be vis-à-vis ISIS?’

ROSE: “CBS News Senior Security Contributor Michael Morell, and a former CIA deputy director. Michael, good morning.”
MORELL: “Good morning.”
ROSE: “How serious should we take these travel alerts?”
MORELL: “So, the one overseas, right, it’s obvious that we need to take that serious given what’s happened in Paris and what ISIS’ capability is now in Western Europe. Here at home, I do think we need to think seriously about a possible attack over the holidays, for two reasons. ISIS has thousands of followers here in the United States. The FBI knows that. They’ve now been incentivized by what happened in Paris to try to do something here. And we know that those same people right we’re focused on the 4th of July. So you’d think they’ve still focused on the holiday period.”
ROSE: “If we had a — attack like took place in Paris, what would that change?”
MORELL: “So Charlie, I think this is a fundamental question that should be grappled with in the situation room. And that question is, if we had a Paris-style attack, in New York or Washington what would our policy then be vis-a-vis ISIS? And then the second question is, OK, if that would be our policy the day after, why isn’t that our policy the day before? That’s the fundamental lesson learned from 9/11 — from [indecipherable]”
ROSE: “In fact, that’s the question we ask when we saw the bombing of the oil delivery in that side of Raqqah.”
MORELL: “And that’s all rules of engagement, right?”
KING: “So, how good they, Mike, really when you think about? From the outside looking and they seem sophisticated, they seem organized, they seem they have a high degree of intelligence?”
MORELL: “So it’s a great question and it’s counterintuitive, right. Because they seem, right, when they have a successful attack, they seem that way. But the vast majority of terrorists are not particularly intelligent, they’re not particularly sophisticated. They make a lot of mistakes. The Mohammed Atta’s of the world, right, the ground commander from 9/11 or the [indecipherable] the masterminds, those kinds of guys are very rare.”
ROSE: “But the point is they’re willing to die.”
MORELL: “Yes.”
KING: “Let’s talk about the breaking news this morning, this Russian jet downed by Turkey. How significant is that?”
MORELL: “All right. So, I think it’s significant in the sense that the fundamental problem that we have to solve to go after ISIS and Syria is Assad. There’s got to be some sort of an agreement among all the players in what happens to him. So that we can focus the Syrian army on Isis. This complicates that, because Russia is on one side of that, right? Which is Assad gets to stay, and Turkey is on the other side, Assad has to go right now. So it complicates that discussion.”
ROSE: “How will they settle that?”
MORELL: “Through negotiations, right? Through sitting around the table, and talking. I think that’s going to be the main issue discussed today between the president and French President Hollande.”
ROSE: “Hollande.”
KING: “Michael Morell, thank you.”

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