60 Minutes‘ Scott Pelley landed a rare interview with the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John Brennan. During the interview Pelley asked Brennan “Is ISIS coming here?” Brennan answered, “I think ISIL does want to eventually find its mark here.” When Pelley says “You’re expecting an attack in the United States,” Brennan replies, “I’m expecting them to try, to put in place the operatives, material, whatever else they need to do.” Brennan confirms that ISIL has used chemical munitions on the battlefield. While the information Brennan reveals will certainly terrify many Americans, he also intends to assure the country that the CIA is on top of things.
Brennan has been head of the CIA since 2013. The 60-year-old son of Irish immigrants is an alumni of Fordham University. During his junior year (in the mid 1970s), Brennan took a year abroad to learn Arabic and take Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo. He went on the University of Texas at Austin to earn his Master of Arts in government with a focus on Middle Eastern studies in 1980. Brennan’s decision to pursue Middle Eastern studies and learn to speak fluent Arabic has proven prescient. The Middle East was a major factor in American politics in the 1970s when Brennan set his course; as evidenced by the conversation he’s having with Pelley, the region’s impact has only grown. 60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7pm on CBS.