OBAMA: ‘We Underestimated ISIS Threat’


U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Publicly announcing that US intelligence agencies “underestimated” the presence and activity of Islamic State militants in Syria, US President Barack Obama in an interview with CBS called the country a “ground zero” for international jihadists.

“Over the past couple of years, 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,” Obama said in an interview made on Friday but aired on Sunday.

“And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world,” he added.

The president said in an wide-ranging interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the Islamic State militants went “underground” after being squashed in Iraq and regrouped under the cover of the Syrian civil war.

“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,” Obama said.

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