L'ex direttore della Defense Intelligence Agency è stato intervistato dallo Spiegel. Secondo Flynn il "go global" dello Stato Islamico sarebbe frutto di una precisa strategia decisa già da tempo. Nell'ambito della quale, sempre secondo Flynn, rientrebbe anche la creazione di leadership regionali in Europa le quali, attivate dal vertice dell'ISIS, possono poi pianificare ed operare in autonomia.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In recent weeks, Islamic State not only conducted the attacks in Paris, but also in Lebanon and against a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula. What has caused the organization to shift its tactics and to now operate internationally?
Flynn: There were all kinds of strategic and tactical warnings and lots of reporting. And even the guys in the Islamic State said that they were going to attack overseas. I just don't think people took them seriously. When I first heard about the recent attacks in Paris, I was like, "Oh, my God, these guys are at it again, and we're not paying attention." The change that I think we need to be more aware of is that, in Europe, there is a leadership structure. And there's likely a leader or a leadership structure in each country in Europe. The same is probably similar for the United States, but just not obvious yet.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You mean something like an emir or regional leadership?
Flynn: Exactly. In Osama bin Laden's writings, he elaborated about being disperse, becoming more diffuse and operating in small elements, because it's harder to detect and it's easier to act. In Paris, there were eight guys. In Mali, there were 10. Next time, maybe one or two guys will be enough.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can an attack of that scope even take place without being coordinated and authorized by the IS leadership in Syria?
Flynn: Absolutely. There's not some line-and-block chart and a guy at the top like we have in our own systems. That's the mirror imaging that we have to, in many ways, eliminate from our thinking. I can imagine a 30-year-old guy with some training and some discussion who receives the task from the top: "Go forth and do good on behalf of our ideology." And then he picks the targets by himself, organizes his attackers and executes his mission.[…]