CIA director Brennan:ISIS was decimated under Bush, grew 4,400% under Obama
CIA Director John Brennan has admitted that ISIS was decimated under George W. Bush, but has grown by 4,400% under Obama.
In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies yesterday, CIA director John Brennan made a startling admission: The Islamic State was “decimated” under George W. Bush and had just “700-or-so adherents left” following the surge in Iraq. Said Brennan:
[ISIS] was, you know, pretty much decimated when US forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al-Qaida in Syria, and set up its own organization.But in September 2014, a CIA analysis found that:
[ISIS] can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria … This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence.This means that, by the CIA’s own estimate, ISIS has grown on President Obama’s watch from just 700 fighters to between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters.
That is an increase of between 2,700 and 4,400 %.
Moreover, Brennan tacitly acknowledged that the Obama administration had underestimated the ISIS threat. At CSIS, Brennan declared that:But President Hussein Obama said in Turkey on Friday that the US is pursuing the 'right strategy' against ISIS. Maybe if he's trying to help ISIS get stronger....
Not content to limiting its killing fields to Iraqi and Syrian lands, and to setting up local franchises in other countries of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, ISIL has developed an external operations agenda that is now implementing … with lethal effect.That now obvious assessment directly contradicts the assessment of ISIS’ intent and capabilities delivered by Obama administration officials just one year ago.
In August 11 2014, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in a White House blog post:
While both [al-Qaeda and the Islamic State] are terrorist forces, they have different ambitions. Al-Qaeda’s principal ambition is to launch attacks against the west and US homeland…Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State. So they’re different organizations with different objectives.
Read the whole thing.
Of course, given that Brennan has been in charge of the 'battle' against ISIS, this 'success' is not surprising. John Brennan is the guy who looks for moderates in Hezbullah (also here between 6:14 and 9:15), speaks lovingly of 'al-Quds,' and refers to jihad as a 'legitimate tenet of Islam.' Brennan was also the architect of the Obama administration's policy of removing 'jihad' and 'Islam' and 'terrorism' from the discourse of law enforcement agencies (a policy on which he was opposed by outgoing CIA director David Petraeus), and has charged that Americans don't have sufficient sensitivity to the Muslim world.