Retired FBI special agent visits Radford

Retired FBI special agent Rusty Capps came to Radford University on Oct. 26 to discuss the rise of ISIS and leaderless violence.

During his career, Capps investigated several international terror groups as an FBI agent, managed the Anti-Terrorism Operations Center for the ‘84 and ‘96 Olympic Games and served as an Army officer in Germany, Korea and Vietnam.

Capps’ appearance was a partial preview of the upcoming Radford University Homeland Security Conference, which takes place March 6-8, 2017.  

ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, another name for the organization “didn’t become the group it is today until it went into Syria,” according to Capps.


Retired FBI Special Agent Rusty Capps

“I cannot overstate how surprised the world was when ISIS came onto the scene,” Capps said. “I cannot overstate to you how violent they are and how dangerous they are – not just to the people that live in Iraq, Syria and Europe, but to us as well. They have an international reach. They aren’t just a terrorist organization. They are also an insurgency. They have the capacity to go far beyond what we consider to be a normal terrorist group.”

“Terrorism is a vehicle that was made for TV,” Capps said. “The bottom line is that if it bleeds, it leads. It is graphic.”

Capps said that the void left by former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein allowed for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) to gain a foothold in the region, along with some other factors:

  • World War I secret treaty between England, France and Pre-Soviet Russia called Sykes Picot Treaty, which consisted how these countries were going to split up the Middle East after defeating the Ottoman Empire, Austria and Germany
  • De-ba’athification, which prevented anyone who worked in the Hussein government from working in the new Iraqi government
  • Withdrawal of U.S. military in 2011
  • No new thinking in the region
  • Talented professionals from the Hussein-led Iraqi Army and Air Force joining ISIS

“We are going to be feeling these repercussions for decades to come,” Capps said. “ISIS really is a perfect storm. If any one of a number of factors hadn’t occurred, ISIS wouldn’t be here today.”

For more information on upcoming events in Criminal Justice, visit their website.

Oct 31, 2016
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749