New White House-commissioned report discounts Obama’s claim that ISIS is ‘contained,’ says group likely to spread

Wednesday, December 09, 2015 by

( A new intelligence assessment commissioned by the White House contradicts President Obama’s earlier claims that the ISIS terror organization has been “contained,” and in fact notes that unless the organization suffers a major loss of territory it is likely to spread further around the world, The Daily Beast reported.

The intelligence report predicts that unless ISIS suffers a major loss of territory on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, where the organization has carved out a self-proclaimed “caliphate,” then it will only grow in size and strength.

That said, The DB noted, the report is already sparking some policy changes in how the U.S. deals with the terrorist group believed responsible for the Paris attacks that killed 130 in November and at least inspired the recent attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., in which 14 were killed.

The report is “also a tacit admission that coalition efforts so far – dropping thousands of bomb and deploying 3,500 U.S. troops as well as other coalition trainers – have been outpaced by ISIS’s ability to expand and attract new followers,” The DB reported, despite the fact that the current air campaign has been waged for a year thus far and has helped local forces drive ISIS out of ground in has occupied.

The White House commissioned the intelligence report before the Paris attacks, according to three senior U.S. officials who spoke to The DB on condition of anonymity so they could describe the top secret document and resultant policy changes. In addition, the report was commissioned prior to President Obama’s claim that ISIS had been “contained” in Iraq and Syria, which came just one day before the Paris attacks.

After reviewing the report’s conclusions, Obama tasked Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to revamp U.S. military and intelligence options to more effectively target ISIS.

As The Daily Beast further reported:

The counterterrorism campaign is being stepped up—using the same arsenal of drones, special forces raids, and local proxies previously employed in the global war on al Qaeda. A special operations target cell, announced by Carter last week, is one of the recommendations. The roughly 200-strong team will conduct raiding operations in Iraq and Syria, coordinating strikes through a 50-man team that will work inside northern Syria with a band of U.S.-supported guerrillas known as the Syrian Arab Coalition. 

One U.S. official said the report’s revelations weren’t surprising.

“This intel report didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know,” the official told The DB. “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.”

The site further noted that part of the Pentagon’s strategy calls for the Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, to host an interagency panel of military, intelligence and diplomatic officials in a bid to come with additional options to combat ISIS.

On Sunday Obama spoke to the nation regarding the threat of terrorism in a rare Oval Office address Sunday and only briefly discussed increased action against the terrorist group. The speech was criticized by GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who tweeted after it was over, “Is that all there is? We need and new president – FAST!”

Others complained that the president’s focus on gun control was especially inappropriate and ineffective.

The roughly eight-page report was drafted by a team of analysts from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), NSA and other agencies, all of whom reported to the Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper.

The report noted that ISIS has already established a network with other terrorist organizations that are seeking members in a dozen countries.

Details of the report come as the head of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that intelligence officials had also determined that Islamic extremists have looked at ways to exploit the refugee resettlement program in order to infiltrate operatives inside the United States, The Hill reported Monday.

“ISIS members in Syria have attempted to exploit it to get into the United States,” McCaul said during a speech at the National Defense University.

“The U.S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program.”

The Homeland Security chairman would not say specifically who informed him and other lawmakers about the revelation, only describing the sources as “elements of the intelligence community,” The Hill reported.

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See also:

The Daily Beast

The Hill

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