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CIA Deputy Director says war in Syria is greatest threat to US

February 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

The Deputy Director of the CIA has told the Wall Street Journal that the escalating civil war in Syria poses the biggest threat to the security of the United States. Michael Morrell, who is about to leave the agency after 33 years, noted that Syria is probably the biggest problem in the world today. “There are more foreign Islamist fighters in the ranks of the opposition in Syria than there were in Iraq at the height of the war there,” he said.

Morrell believes that the conflict could spill over the borders and that the collapse of the Assad regime could turn Syria into a shelter for Al-Qaeda. He warned of the risks if government weapons, including chemical weapons, are not secured safely.

Morrell listed Iran, North Korea and electronic warfare among the other threats facing America. He pointed out that although the US had reduced the threat posed by Al-Qaeda “significantly”, the organisation has also “achieved victories”. He described the division of the group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri into independent cells “as a victory in itself”.

White House lawyer Avril Haynes, 43, will replace Morrell at the CIA.