Obama: US intel underestimated ISIS

2014-09-28 18:50

Washington - US intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State (ISIS) activity inside Syria, which has become "ground zero" for jihadists worldwide, President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview broadcast on Sunday.

Conversely, the United States overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the militant groups, Obama said in a 60 Minutes interview taped on Friday, days after the US president made his case at the United Nations for action.

Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, Obama acknowledged that US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

Islamic militants went underground when US Marines quashed al-Qaeda in Iraq with help from Iraq's tribes, he said.

"But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos," Obama said according to a clip of the interview broadcast earlier.

"And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world."

Obama last week expanded US-led air strikes, which began in Iraq in August, to Syria and he has been seeking to build a wider coalition effort to weaken Islamic State. This group has killed thousands and beheaded at least three westerners while seizing parts of Syria and northwestern Iraq.

Clapper told a Washington Post columnist this month that US intelligence had underestimated Islamic State and overestimated Iraq's army.

"I didn't see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming," Clapper was quoted as saying. "I didn't see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable."

Obama outlined the military goal against Islamic State: "We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fuelling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters."

But he said a political solution is necessary in both Iraq and Syria for peace in the long term, according to the interview.

  • Nabila Kassanga - 2014-09-28 19:30

    This headline can't be correct!?? If you listen to mainstream muslims, they (i.e. CIA) and Mosad bankrolled them? So now who do you believe?

  • Imraan Maal Man Khan - 2014-09-28 19:50

    The only reason evry1 is afta isis is coz they seized the oil fields in mosul...n are selling @ $30 a barrel. None of which is going 2 america or the arab dictators! Isis is hurting their pockets not their people. Take off the blinkers n see the CIA propaganda!

      Dylan Whittal - 2014-09-28 19:56

      displacing millions of people and beheading others iS hurting there people that was such a stupid comment!!!! the oil they sell is funding there savage exploits

      VoxPopuli - 2014-09-28 21:02

      Dylan, they've been beheading Christians in Maloula, Raqqa and al-Duvair for the last 3 years and nobody gave a f**k! Do you really believe while they were fighting with Assad everybody chilled at home and wasn't displaced? So don't believe the hype.....

      Dylan Whittal - 2014-09-28 21:12

      so the answer is to denounce them for now doing something? yes its very suspect that they only realy getting involved now but whats the alternitive? do nothing? let the whole region implode massive genocide (real genocide not the nonsense israel is accused of) and eventualy they get the means attack the us and the rest of Europe millions of innocent lives lost thats now exceptable?

      VoxPopuli - 2014-09-28 21:29

      Don't get you hopes up. Arwa Damon from CNN last week reported that ISIS militant were warned which targets would be struck and they simply abandoned it. So the US "partners" in Qatar and KSA must be feeding their dogs info. Last estimate I saw was 13 militants killed in Syria strikes for the last 5 days, and we're talking about 20000-30000 men, an estimate given by the CIA. Guardian also reporting ISIS and other jihadis kissed and made up, all this while the US is still sending money. There's no clear plan on how they plan to defeat these oaks, so these oaks ain't going anywhere.

      Dylan Whittal - 2014-09-28 21:42

      no I suppose they arnt going anywhere fast but at least its a start! not with airstrikes at least eventually its gna end up with boots on the ground and what a disaster thats going to be

      VoxPopuli - 2014-09-28 22:02

      That's what Dempsey said. Airstrikes will do very little damage to a terrorist org

  • Paul Frost - 2014-09-28 20:17

    And the USA really cares about the ISIS' savage exploits. Yeah right.

  • marc.aitken.50 - 2014-09-28 20:18

    Sumaiya. I am not the biggest fan of the US but you are way off the mark. The US has the resources to to eliminate any force they choose bar possibly the Chinese. The problem is that they are too fair in war. If they were as cold hearted as the Chinese these ISIS pricks would be be wiped out pretty quickly but unfortunately the civilian body count would be extremely high.

  • marc.aitken.50 - 2014-09-28 20:21

    Just ask the Japanese what happened when they made the fatal mistake of bombing Pearl Harbour. Thank goodness that did or we would all be speaking German

  • Rolisizwe Dlamini Lunika - 2014-09-28 20:29

    I think now the US is over-estimating ISIL even the use of the F22 is an overkill, good we have the US now these terrorist spend more time trying to hide than plan more attacks.

  • Mpho David Rambuda - 2014-09-28 20:44

    Bull, US and Allies supported these bastards two years ago to topple Asad.

  • Paul Frost - 2014-09-28 21:23

    The US is "Too fair in war." I laughed when I read that and then I remembered Abu Graib and Git'mo and those videos that Chelsea (Brad ) Manning released and the Napalm strikes in Vietnam and then obviously remembered Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It's always total war with Americans and usually without a UN resolution or even a congressional vote.

  • Paul Frost - 2014-09-28 21:52

    Yup. War is business so perpetual war means perpetual business. And when/if ISIS is ever defeated the US will look for a new enemy, repeat steps 1-5 until hegemony is theirs.

  • Jeef Mwamba - 2014-09-28 22:11

    we are tired of this lier.obama everybody knws u are evil pers..

  • Mohlasedi Setati - 2014-09-28 22:59

    I am turning 53 on the 23 October and I can't remember any year or time when the USA was not at war with someone.may someone pls explain why the USA is always at war.

  • Paul Frost - 2014-09-28 23:13


  • Paul Frost - 2014-09-28 23:15

    @Brutus your comment has little value. Sorry.

  • Dan Steel - 2014-09-29 00:08

    Sumaiya you're so on point. I like how America always does the same bull over and over. Going to WEAK countries "JUST to teach a lesson to some problematic terror groups that they created" then next thing "we under estimated our opponent" then they get veto power from US congress and NATO to then stage a flippen coup! They work exactly like developers. Yeah yeah we will build 1 dwelling unit per hectare, this is a low density eco estate. They get permission and start building. Five years later...err we underestimated demand, we now want 10 du per hectare ???????? owe wow, what happen to eco sensitivity?????????

  • Waine Smith - 2014-09-29 08:09

    Obama must nuke the enemy. Who else will intervene and stop these Millitants?

  • Munodei Mpando - 2014-10-02 19:43

    Obama has no moral authority to lecture on democratic values because he is backing brutal regimes that further USA interests right across the globe. Take for instance "the friends of Syria", (read the friends of imperialism). The friends of Syria is an 11 country coalition calling for "democratic" transition in Damascus. Five of the 11 are not themselves democracies,but are monarchies, emirates as well as a military dictatorship. These are:Jordan,Qatar,The United Arab Emirates,Egypt and Saudi Arabia. (During the 21 months between the late James Foley's abduction and his beheading, 113 people were beheaded in Saudi Arabia.) The rest of the coalition are formal democracies and former colonial powers not promoting democratic transitions within the territories of their coalition partners, limiting their intervention to Syria alone. The USA funded and armed the ISIS in its covert war against Assad. The beheading of journalists is an expression of the Frankensteinian fate it created for itself where its old creations rise against it. Al-Qaeda did it with September 11, the Benghazi rebels did it by callously murdering the US Ambassador. The creation of puppets by the USA in pursuit of its interests has failed. This is what the ISIS has managed to expose.

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