Rep. Mike Rogers says President Barack Obama was warned well in advance that ISIS was becoming a significant threat, even as the president claimed that the intelligence community had "underestimated" the radical Islamist group's influence, the Hill reported
Rogers, a retiring Michigan lawmaker and former FBI agent who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, defended in a statement that U.S. intelligence was not to blame as the White House scrambles to explain lapses and to engage a global fighting coalition against the violent extremists.
"This was not an Intelligence Community failure, but a failure by policy makers to confront the threat," Rogers noted sternly on Monday, adding that his committee had urged the administration as recently as 2013 that they should act against ISIS immediately.
"For over a year, U.S. intelligence agencies specifically warned that ISIL was taking advantage of the situation in Syria to recruit members and provoke violence that could spill into Iraq and the rest of the region," Rogers said.
The president claimed in an appearance on CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday that U.S. intelligence "underestimated" ISIS's strength and also overestimated the ability of Iraqi military to handle it, Fox News reported
. He also said the terror group went underground as civil war chaos in Syria reigned, only to re-emerge more powerful and ready to overtake the country.
"During the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos," the president noted during the "60 Minutes" interview.
Rogers was not alone in pushing back hard against the president's assertions, NBC News reported
, as others in the intelligence community said he had been previously urged to engage — and now seemed to be throwing those folks under the bus amid his own inaction.
“We have been talking about [ISIS] for quite some time,” one intelligence official told NBC. “They were in the mix right from the start.”
“It’s been a significant intelligence challenge for a long time,” said another intel official, noting ISIS's prowess on social media, which gave plenty of clues that they were on the rise. “I was trying to figure out what he meant by ‘underestimated.'… The swelling of ISIS’s ranks was very visible by 2013."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.