In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, President Obama has consistently told the American people three things:
1. ISIS is contained.
2. His current strategy to defeat ISIS is working and will ultimately succeed.
3. The San Bernardino terror suspects do not appear to be a part of a larger global conspiracy to threaten the homeland.
At this point, it’s fair to ask, “Where is Obama getting his information?” because government officials have been saying the opposite of these talking points for quite some time. This week, agencies have begun to take matters into their own hands and ramp up efforts to combat terrorism. Clearly, this goes against the White House’s reassurances that the threat is being contained.
ISIS Is Not At All Contained
The notion that ISIS is contained and Obama’s current strategy is winning the fight against terror has been largely debunked. Several weeks before the San Bernardino attack, intelligence reports warned the White House that ISIS was gaining traction, and it would continue to spread globally unless it lost significant territory on battlegrounds in Iraq and Syria, The Daily Beast reported.
The report — which the Obama administration itself requested — was issued before the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, and well before Obama assured the nation that ISIS is “contained.” So it’s curious the president decided to use that word when describing the situation to the American public, as it contradicted the information we now know was available to him at the time.
Wednesday morning, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter saidISIS was not contained during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. His words contrast starkly to the narrative the president has been pumping out.
For some context, consider the president’s Oval Office address, in which he said there’s no evidence the suspected San Bernardino terrorists were directed by ISIS or “part of a broader conspiracy here at home.”
He also alluded to ramping up efforts to fight jihadists abroad. However, the steps he outlined to combat ISIS seem largely unchanged from the strategy, which has been failing for quite some time. By now, it’s clear that air strikes and climate change talks are not working. ISIS is gaining — not losing — influence in the global sphere. According to intelligence analysts working at the president’s disposal, the best way to counter ISIS is to ensure that it suffers serious territorial losses on the battlefield. So why isn’t Obama listening?
Why is it so difficult for him to accept that the actions taken in San Bernardino are in fact part of a larger conspiracy at work: to exterminate those who hold Western ideals of freedom and establish a global caliphate ruled by Sharia law? And why isn’t he willing to try a new strategy?
Is Obama Still Insulated From the Truth About the War On Terror?
There’s another example of the Obama administration’s tendency to ignore intelligence that contradicts a desired public narrative. Earlier this year, analysts came forward to publicly reveal that the U.S. military’s Central Command was selectively editing information gathered about the war on terror. The analysts claimed higher-ups altered reports before sending them to the White House so the intelligence would match a more favorable public narrative.
We don’t know exactly how high this intelligence cover-up goes. It isn’t clear if Obama fostered a culture that drove higher-ups within the intelligence community to pass along only good news, or if those close to the president tried to insulate him from the truth. Or if perhaps intelligence higher-ups did it for their own self-serving purposes.
Regardless of where the directives to edit intelligence came from, it’s clear Obama wasn’t getting the truth for quite some time, which casts a shadow on his tenure in office and his decisions today as commander in chief.
Even now, Obama refuses to acknowledge intelligence contradicting what he says in public. Last year, an estimated 250 Americans attempted to join ISIS. This number has spiked significantly from the 100 Americans who tried to join militant Islamists overseas last year. These figures don’t include the number of U.S. citizens who have been radicalized here, like the terrorists behind the Boston bombing and the Fort Hood attack. Yet, as recently as Sunday, Obama affirmed the notion that we are succeeding in our efforts to combat ISIS.
Perhaps he is so insulated within the walls of his Pennsylvania Avenue residence that he’s unable to gain access to the truth. Or, worse, he may actually believe he possesses the ability to dictate reality. Whatever the case may be, Obama’s unchanged public narrative — that his strategy is working to defeat ISIS — is cause for alarm.
Government Agencies Are Going Rogue To Protect Americans
The secretary of Defense isn’t the only government official to speak in direct opposition to the White House’s narrative, either. The Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this week that in the wake of the San Bernardino attack — the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 — it will launch an emergency alert system warning civilians of terror threats.
This announcement is revealing for two reasons: first, the need for an emergency alert system indicates DHS expects more terror activity to occur on U.S. soil. This directly defies the notion that ISIS is contained. Second, it suggests the San Bernardino attack could be part of a larger conspiracy against U.S. civilians that continues to endanger American lives. If last week’s attack was, as Obama said, a lone wolf shooting that wasn’t directed by overseas terrorists, then why is the government preparing for more attacks? Does Obama think Americans won’t notice that his narrative contradicts with DHS’s actions?
The source of Obama’s intelligence, which is driving his decisions in combatting ISIS, doesn’t seem to be coming from the DOD, DHS, or intelligence agencies. So it’s both an interesting mystery and an alarming question as to where the president has been getting his information on terror.
In any case, it’s clear there’s an apparent breakdown in communication between intelligence officials and the White House when it comes to fighting terrorism. While the cause of this breakdown is anyone’s guess, we can’t hope to defeat ISIS until it is repaired.