U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned Monday that the Islamic State terrorist group has jihadist cells in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy.
CNN reported that Clapper confirmed to reporters during a media breakfast that ISIS has underground cells similar to those used by militants who carried out the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Clapper also said that U.S. intelligence officials "continue to see evidence of plotting on the part of ISIL in [the U.K., Germany, and Italy]," CNN reported.
ISIS has also "taken advantage" of Europe’s migrant crisis, Clapper said, adding that the issue is something nations likely have a "growing awareness of."
One of the suicide bombers who conspired in the November Paris attacks, for example, entered Greece on a fake Syrian passport posing as a refugee. He then traveled the same route fleeing migrants use to make his way into Western Europe.
Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism and intelligence director at the Washington Institute of Middle East Policy, told CNN that there have been prior reports of terrorist cells embedded in Western European nations, but said it was a new development that Clapper was confirming their presence.
Levitt said Europe’s greatest problem is its "lack of seamless intelligence sharing and collaboration."
Clapper’s remarks arrived a day after President Obama spoke in Hanover, Germany to encourage European and NATO allies to contribute more toward the fight against ISIS.
The president emphasized the need for European Union member states to bolster their information-sharing process between nations to improve multilateral counterterrorism efforts.
"If we truly value our liberty, then we have to take the steps that are necessary to share information and intelligence within Europe, as well as between the United States and Europe, to stop terrorists from traveling and crossing borders and killing innocent people," Obama said.
Obama pledged Monday to send 250 more troops to Syria to assist local forces in degrading the terrorist group.