Clapper: US can't stop worrying about ISIS after leader's death

Clapper: US can't stop worrying about ISIS after leader's death
© Greg Nash

Former National Director of Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump predicts 'historic' conclusions from DOJ's watchdog report on 'spying' The curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward MORE warned Sunday that the U.S. can't "stop worrying about ISIS” after the death of the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death.

Clapper, who served under former President Obama, said the death of al-Baghdadi had “a huge symbolic meaning” but cautioned that the ISIS ideology extended beyond Baghdadi and said his death will not end the terrorist group. 

ISIS is more than just Baghdadi, as important as he was,” Clapper told Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperSteyer says 'grassroots organizing' in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage Pentagon chief says he 'didn't see' intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies Ex-White House press, military officials call on Grisham to restart regular briefings MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The former national director of intelligence emphasized that ISIS “did anticipate losing leadership” as they “groomed” other people to potentially take on those roles. 

“I don’t know that they have anybody that would have the symbolic importance of Baghdadi, but I don’t think we can say at this point we can stop worrying about ISIS,” he said.

He agreed that U.S. troops should remain in the area to ensure ISIS is not galvanized by the death.

“What’s going to be interesting is the extent of which this negatively affects ISIS, or does it galvanize the remnants of ISIS that still survives as an ideology and has franchises in other places besides Syria,” Clapper said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE confirmed al-Baghdadi’s death shortly after Clapper’s comments Sunday morning in a press conference, saying, “the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice.” Reports circulated Saturday night of the ISIS leader’s death, saying Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during a raid by the Special Operations forces.

Al-Baghdadi’s death comes after Trump announced the removal of troops from Syria, sparking bipartisan fears about a potential resurgence of ISIS in the region.