James Clapper: "it's a huge concern to all of us".
Here's the CinC talking to 60 Minutes last night...
Steve Kroft: What? How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?
President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.Emphasis added for context. So.. "they", the intel community, went under the bus.
But wait, no they didn't! Not according to the admin press flaks today.
First, State spokesgal Marie Harf told CNN that even ISIS was surprised at how fast they took over parts of the Iraq. She didn't say when they were surprised, such as if it was when they took over Faluja in early 2014 or Mosul in June, or Tikrit, etc. She also didn't mention the trip al-Maliki made to the White House in November 2013 to plead for more ordnance and equipage to stop this looming AQ threat, which Obama acknowledged and promised support. She just said everyone was surprised. Wolf Blitzer responded by blowing kisses at her while winking. Basically.
Back in the archives, press flak Carney talked about Iraq on November 1, 2013, saying that support would come but would not include 'boots on the ground'. Nevertheless the administration was tacitly acknowledging Iraq was in trouble almost a year ago (emphasis added)..
MR. CARNEY: The President believes it’s in the interest of the United States to have a robust relationship with Iraq and to help Iraq deal with its security challenges, and to help Iraq deal with its overall challenges as it makes its way out of decades and decades of dictatorship and tyranny, and then a decade of terrible violence.
And that's in the United States’ interest to do that. The President does firmly believe that it was the right thing to do to end that war. And he obviously believed that it was the wrong thing to do to get involved in that war. But when he became President, it was his responsibility to make sure that we ended that war in a way that protected our national security interests.
Q You keep saying that the President does believe that he needs to provide a relationship that helps with security. If Prime Minister Maliki is saying, hey, he needs even more help with security, does that mean the President would be open to some sort of special forces, some sort of troops? Or is there sort of a line?
MR. CARNEY: I don't anticipate -- no, I don't anticipate troops on the ground. What I think will be a focus of the discussions is the ways in which the United States can provide assistance. We are providing assistance and believe it’s important that we make that case on Capitol Hill. I wouldn't expect any announcements, but if you're asking about boots on the ground, I think we've made clear we withdrew from Iraq and we think that we can continue to provide assistance to Iraq in its effort against al Qaeda short of boots on the ground through our foreign military sales and through other means.So the PM of Iraq itself told the admin in 2013 they needed help due to a growing threat, but months later they were all surprised when it actually occurred! The funny thing is, Kroft's question wasn't necessarily about Syria but the speed of conquest across the entire IS area, including Iraq, which works better with the surprise meme (surprised the Iraq Army collapsed so fast). Trouble is Obama blew the answer. His reply to a question about the rapid expansion of ISIS was to blame Jim Clapper for not seeing the rise of ISIS in Syria. Yet everyone saw that in 2013.
ABC's Jon Karl later grilled spokesman Josh Earnest about how the president couched the blame, coming with facts such as archived warnings given by the intel community in 2013 and even comments made by State officials at the Baghdad embassy in 2013 as to the unlikelihood of the Iraqi Army standing and fighting AQ. Didn't matter, Earnest puppeted the official line was that everyone was surprised.
Ed Henry of Fox followed up and asked whether this wasn't an intelligence failure and whether Clapper or somebody should be fired. Earnest bizarrely stuck to the script.
Finally, the NBC reporter asked if the White House had seen the information and simply misinterpreted it. She was told no, everything was a surprise you see. It's hard to know whether the fighters will fight. Except that's not what Obama was talking about when he threw Clapper and company under the Greyhound.
But, that's their story and they're sticking to it, even after Obama flubbed it.
This isn't hard to figure. Obama is the most liberal Democrat to hold office since Roosevelt. He came into office with two main goals-- "end" the foreign wars (which he likely considered US imperialism anyway, causing the terrorism) and make America a more socialist state through re-distribution (mainly via taxes and global warming initiatives).
The problem is O is not a Prime Minister or even simply a president, he is a Commander-in-Chief. He shied away from directly confronting the growing terror resurgence in Iraq and Syria (due in part to his 'ending' the war in Iraq in 2011, which the press failed to mention today) as long as he could until heads literally started coming off. Now he brags of a robust coalition dropping bombs and taking the fight to the enemy, go 'merica F yeah that's how we roll baby! But we don't roll like that dumb Bush, because there ain't gonna be no combat boots on the ground even if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says he needs them to eventually win.
Yes, it's an assumption to assume Obama wants to 'win'. With him winning is more defined on the domestic landscape. Foreign wars are all hazy gray material, it's the Tea Party and GOP who are the real black and white terrorists and must be defeated at all costs! The prez can't seriously expect the same ragtags who dropped their guns at the first sign of Toyotas approaching with black flags to suddenly pick them up and fight like Audie Murphy. He's already said the citizen doctors, lawyers and accountants in the Free Syrian Army are incapable of defeating one force much less two. And he knows the local Kurdish Pesh Merga with light arms are in business to protect Kurdistan, nothing else.
In reality he probably wants to bomb ISIS just enough to quell their advance but not so much that they remain in the top spot of domestic news cycles. He still hasn't finished his domestic agenda and time is running out. But he's willing to say anything to get it done.
What a bizarre start to a press briefing. State spokeslady Jen Psaki took over 7 minutes giving reporters a fairy tale rendition of how the administration was actually well aware of the ISIS threat all along and was almost ready to blast them after January 2014, back when they were being called the JV team. She said she did it to correct some misunderstandings. Eh, like from the president himself. who said everyone was surprised at their rise in Syria because Jim Clapper missed it?
As a Reuters reporter mentioned, if America was so engaged all along why was ISIS able to take over so much of Iraq so fast? Her answer was the new line--the Iraqi Army sucked. That's what surprised everyone (except the president, who blamed Jim Clapper). But as ABC pointed out yesterday, Brett McGurk told Congress the Iraqi Army was not likely to fight back in January. They are flailing.