Tags: Emerging Threats | Exclusive Interviews | Homeland Security | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | MidPoint | Syria | War on Terrorism

Ex-CIA Agent: Obama's ISIS Plan 'Based on a Hope and a Dream'

By    |   Monday, 22 September 2014 06:27 PM

Two former CIA operatives told Newsmax TV on Monday that President Barack Obama's new plan for ridding Syria of Islamic State radicals could be doomed from the start.

The plan — to arm select rebels in Syria's many-sided civil war and support the U.S.-equipped ground forces with airstrikes — "is based on a hope and a dream," former covert operations officer Joshua Katz told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"It's a hope that we're going to get it right, and it's a dream that we know exactly what's going on," said Katz, a former congressional adviser on homeland security and now a partner with a global security firm.

Katz argued that the Obama administration is essentially going in blind because this White House doesn't comprehend how intelligence gathering actually works. He said the administration views intelligence as if it were a "light switch" that could be flipped on and off at will.

He also said the U.S. knows even less about what's happening in Syria today than it did when the president rejected arms for Syrian rebels back in 2011 — when their only presumed enemy was Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, and the Islamic State, or ISIS, had not yet emerged.

Former administration officials are lining up to criticize the president for that call, saying it enabled the extremist movement's rise and its rampage across Syria and Iraq.

Mike Baker, a former covert operations officer who runs a strategic security firm, said of Obama's newfound arms-and-airstrikes approach, "I don't think that anybody logically believes that's a very sound national security plan."

"The problem is, President Obama, when he was reluctant and refused to get involved in Syria in the early days of that conflict by arming the opposition, he was absolutely correct in the sense that, yeah, we don't know who we're handing weapons over to," said Baker. "The vetting of that is a nightmare."

"But the catch here is that . . . it's not as if something has changed now, other than the fact that the poll numbers have dropped for him and it's politically expedient to do something," he said.

"Now, you never want to bet that we don't have a snowball's chance in hell of accomplishing something," said Baker.

But he added that "it is highly unlikely that without getting organized, committed troops on the ground — somebody's troops, and so far nobody's willing to put them on — that we've got a chance of accomplishing an objective that we've defined so far as degrading and then possibly defeating the Islamic State."

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Two former CIA operatives told Newsmax TV on Monday that President Barack Obama's new plan for ridding Syria of Islamic State radicals could be doomed from the start.
Joshua Katz, Mike Baker, CIA, rebels
Monday, 22 September 2014 06:27 PM
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