Howard Gutman Quoted in ABC News Article

Former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman was recently quoted in an ABC News article regarding the Paris Attacks and ISIS’ new external operations unit. He said the Belgians began updating their laws over the past decade to enhance their ability to monitor extremists, but they have continued to struggle to keep pace with the growing ranks of disaffected young Muslims who have fled Syria.

“There are probably 500 prime targets, which would require 5,000 agents to keep proper tabs. My best guess is that the Belgian [elite security] force probably totals about 200,” Gutman told ABC News. “So they cannot watch even a fraction of the high risk threats.”

Howard Gutman said helping Belgium reach out to the large population of young Muslims was a high priority during his time in the Embassy.

“We had significant success,” he said. “I visited every major mosque and Muslim community centers and established relations with the imam and in the community including in Molenbeek,” where two of the attackers were from. “For many of these visits, I was the only Western and non-Muslim visitor they had ever had.”

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