Christine wrote about the president’s address to the nation last night, which really didn’t reassure anyone that we would be safe from another attack. He reiterated what he’s been saying for months; that we’re tracking down terrorists, that we’re going to destroy ISIS; and how terrorism has evolved from executing complex attacks to “less complicated” ones involving mass shootings. On a positive note, the Obama administration referred to the shootings at Fort Hood and Chattanooga as terrorism.
Nevertheless, Michael Weiss, a senior editor at The Daily Beast’s and co-author of ISIS: Inside The Army Of Terror, was somewhat harsh in his analysis of the president’s remarks. Weiss, who is also a CNN contributor, told Wolf Blitzer that ISIS probably laughed Obama out of the room after last night’s speech.
Weiss pretty much took the president to the woodshed on almost every point he made during last night’s remarks. ISIS is not contained, a point that was confirmed last week by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Strategically, the terrorist organization has established “franchises” in the Sinai Peninsula, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Northern Caucuses (located between the Black and Caspian Seas).
Most disconcerting was Weiss citing the Pentagon’s latest report showing that U.S. bombers are flying back to their respective bases without having dropped about 75 percent of their munitions. Additionally, he cited his own publication, which reported that before the president made his containment remarks, which were then followed by the ISIS-executed terrorist attack in Paris, an intelligence assessment was commissioned that showed we weren’t winning our fight with the Islamic State.
Right now, there’s a possible scandal within the intelligence community, with 50 or so Defense Intelligence Agency analysts coming forward saying that they’re being forced to “cook” their reports to fit the narrative of the Obama administration.
As for the evolution of terrorist attacks, self-radicalization isn’t a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up an airliner in the first year of Obama’s presidency. As Weiss noted, he was radicalized “while he was sitting at University College London in Great Britain. We have been dealing with this menace for well–almost a decade now. There is nothing evolved here.”
Weiss also mentioned that in the past two months, ISIS has launched five major terrorist attacks. Three have occurred in NATO countries. This isn’t a contained threat, and the president has his “head in the clouds” if he feels his current strategy is going to get the job done. He applauded the president for drawing the distinction between ISIS and Islam, but also wanted a) some realism at the same time, given that this fight will happen long after he’s left office and b) some level of contrition for calling ISIS the “JV team” and saying they were contained before he was fully given the details of the threat.
That’ll never come from this president.
Here’s that eight-page report:
The White House commissioned the intelligence report prior to last month's deadly strikes in Paris, and long before last week's terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, three senior U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to describe a confidential document and policy changes. It was also commissioned before Obama declared ISIS “contained” in Iraq and Syria — just a day before the Paris attacks — but it was delivered to the White House in the weeks afterward.
The roughly eight-page intelligence report that drove the policy changes was compiled by a team of analysts from CIA, DIA, NSA, and other agencies, all reporting to the director for national intelligence.
"This intel report didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know," said one official. “It was lots of great charts showing countries highlighted across the globe, with some groups having pledged allegiance to ISIS and others leaning towards it."
It described how the terrorist group with aspirations of founding an extremist Islamic caliphate already has a network of groups that have pledged allegiance or are vying for membership in a dozen countries.
ISIS continues to draw around 1,000 new fighters a month into Iraq and Syria.
Last Note/Exit Question: We have reached majority support to use ground troops to fight ISIS. Should we deploy with a lighter footprint? Obviously, it'll be much less than the 250,000-strong invasion force we mustered to invade Iraq in 2003.
CNN/ORC POLL Nov. 27-Dec. 1 Should the U.S. Send Ground Troops to Fight ISIS? Yes 53% No 45% Sampling error: +/-3% pts— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 7, 2015