National Security Desk / May 2, 2016

CIA Head Hints at Truth About Islamic State

Obama declared victory in 2011, but we’re more exposed than ever.

This weekend, the CIA commemorated the five-year anniversary of the termination of Osama bin Laden by live-Tweeting the raid as if it were happening today. Meanwhile, CIA Chief John Brennan made an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The raid was the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s tale that it was competent at foreign policy and ensuring national security just as the 2012 election race started to ramp up. We all know how Iraq, the fight against al-Qaida and Libya all turned out. And Brennan seemed to echo the new reality on the ground.

The Islamic State — which sprung up from the chaos of Obama’s Iraq — isn’t just an organization, Brennan said. It’s also “a phenomenon.” By using that word, Brennan is stressing the Islamic State’s propaganda has reached out and inspired lone-wolf attacks. It’s Jihadistan, if you will.

“We know that ISIS is trying to carry out attacks in Europe and in other parts of the globe,” Brennan continued. “We are working very, very closely with our European partners.”

Obama declared victory in 2011, but we’re more exposed than ever. There is one message the U.S. could send to the group that would speak loud and clear: Kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “If we got Baghdadi,” Brennan said, “I think it would have a great impact on the organization, and it will be felt by them.”

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