Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | hayden | 5000 | covert | forces | syria

Ex-CIA Chief Hayden: 5,000 Covert 'Boots on Ground' in Syria by Year's End

By    |   Sunday, 14 Sep 2014 10:10 AM

Despite pledges from the White House that no American ground troops will be sent to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA, thinks that up to 5,000 Americans will be on the ground by the end of the year.

"It might be through covert action rather than more overt activity," Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday."

Hayden said those won't be regular combat troops, but intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, advice, command and control assistance and tactical air control parties. He said that even if America is successful, it can expect a three- to five-year battle.

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And while President Barack Obama promised in a speech on Wednesday that the United States would be relying on Syrian and Iraq ground troops, Hayden said there is a long way to go toward training Syrian rebels, known as the Free Syrian Army.

Obama referred to FSA members just months ago as pharmacists and doctors who have taken up arms more than an adequately trained army. They will need "an awful lot of help" to become the force the United States now says it expects them to be, Hayden said.

"We've turned on the dime as far as our expectation for them," he said.

Hayden says he has spent 39 years as an airman and that air attacks will "punish the Islamic State," but he doesn't believe air power alone can defeat ISIS.

"The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex: It seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment," he told U.S. News & World Report on Thursday.

Hayden said that Obama's commitment to air power alone might have made Americans feel comfortable, but it also made ISIS feel comfortable. And, he said, it made our allies uncomfortable.

"When you make air power the centerpiece of what you're going to do, people don't doubt your strength, they doubt your intention, they doubt your will," he said. "Are you all in this or not?"

Vote Now: Should Obama Order Strikes on ISIS in Syria? Vote Here

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Despite pledges from the White House that no American ground troops will be sent to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA, thinks that up to 5,000 Americans will be on the ground by the end of the year. It might be through...
hayden, 5000, covert, forces, syria
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2014-10-14
Sunday, 14 Sep 2014 10:10 AM
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