The United States and Canada have suffered three attacks with apparent ties to terrorism in the span of a week, and a retired CIA case officer told TheBlaze he expects more will follow.
“I think the West is under attack,” said Brian Fairchild, who spent 20 years in the CIA’s clandestine service and has testified before Congress as a terrorism expert.
“I think that they’re responses to the ISIS and Al Qaeda requests for folks to go out and strike Americans any time, anywhere, any place that they can. That’s what this is turning out to be,” Fairchild said, speaking during an interview for an upcoming episode of TheBlaze TV's For the Record.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent a memo on Oct. 11, warning that Islamic State sympathizers could carry out attacks on police and government personnel.
Canadian police officers stand guard in downtown Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)
On Monday, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau slammed his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, before he was fatally shot by police. Investigators said they were “concerned that he had become radicalized” before the attack.
Two days later, police said 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a soldier guarding Canada’s national war memorial in Ottawa before storming into the Parliament building, where he was ultimately shot dead.
Then on Thursday, a man attacked a group of New York Police officers with a hatchet, seriously wounding one. New York City police Commissioner William Bratton on Friday called it a "terrorist attack" by a homegrown radical.
Fairchild said the Islamic State has visions of an even bigger wave of terror.
“What they would love is for there to be 50, 100, 1,000 attacks like that. Whether their followers will rise up and do that for them, we don’t know,” he said.
Fairchild said there is a real cause for concern: Groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have had only limited success pushing American extremists to pull off “lone wolf” attacks, but the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have created enough momentum to finally push some of those radical individuals into action.
“When Baghdadi and ISIS says, ‘Hey guys, go out and find soldiers, intelligence, and police officers and kill them, don’t ask for anybody’s approval, just go out and do it,’ that seems to have had more resonance among these guys than all of the requests from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and 'Inspire' magazine before that," Fairchild said. "That’s what the game-changer is.”
U.S. leadership has pledged to stop the Islamic State’s advance, and has repeatedly sought to distance it and other radical groups from the Islamic faith.
“Radicalization is something politicians pay lip service to but they’ve never done anything about it,” Fairchild said. “In fact, our senior politicians say Islam has nothing to do with this. And that’s absolutely incorrect.”
Fairchild says that refusal to acknowledge the link to Islam leaves America unable to effectively deal with the threat.
“You have to understand, 'who is the enemy?' You can’t defeat the enemy until you understand the enemy. In understanding the enemy, you have to look at it from his point of view. Not what you want him to be. Not what makes you feel good, but what is he?”
Fairchild continued, “From an intelligence analytical point of view, these folks believe they’re fighting for a righteous cause. They’re fighting for their God. They’re fighting according to what God has told them to do in the Koran.”