Report: Obama Had Detailed Intelligence on ISIS Emerging Threat

Image: Report: Obama Had Detailed Intelligence on ISIS Emerging Threat (Reuters/Stringer/Landov)

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 02:15 PM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama received a sophisticated daily intelligence briefing about the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) for at least a year before the extremist group began its violent advance through Iraq this summer, Fox News reported.

A former Pentagon official, who has not been named, said the information was strong and "granular" and was supplied as part of the President's Daily Brief, which constitutes the most authoritative, classified intelligence report given to the president on international events.

The source said, "[We] were ready to fire, on a moment's notice, on a couple hundred targets," but no order was given. In some cases, targets were tracked for a "long period of time" but then slipped away.

The Fox News report raises questions about previous suggestions by the administration that intelligence in the region was poor prior to the group's advance.

It also puts in doubt claims that the group only recently gained momentum.

Earlier this year, the president publicly dismissed the Islamic State as equivalent to a "JV" team, Fox News noted.

The official also said there was a delay regarding whether to act to save journalist James Foley from threats by the Islamic State to kill him.

According to the source, the White House did not want to initiate action, preferring to wait for "the intelligence to build up more," despite knowing about a large, heavily armed compound believed to be housing Foley and other captives near an area in Syria controlled by the Islamic State.

In the aftermath of Foley's death, the administration confirmed that the United States had launched a failed effort to rescue him.


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