Prominent Democrat: The only people who ‘underestimated’ ISIS were in the White House

posted at 1:21 pm on September 29, 2014 by Noah Rothman

“I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

That was President Barack Obama’s response to CBS reporter Steve Kroft who asked the president if he was surprised by the rapid rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – a group which he had previously dismissed as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee” team.

As Ed Morrissey observed, it took only hours for The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake to find well-connected sources willing to denounce the president’s dishonest buck passing. Using some rather coarse language, one frustrated former Pentagon official accused the president of either being mendacious or ignoring his intelligence briefings. Morrissey observed that even New York Times reporters found the president’s testimony in his own defense wanting.

Now, even some Democrats are jumping ship. Former Rear Admiral Joe Sestak, a two-term Democratic member of the House of Representatives, a House Armed Services Committee member, and candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010, was asked on Monday how it was possible for the intelligence community so gravely underestimate ISIS. Sestak appeared to surprise his MSNBC interlocutor when he noted that the only people who got ISIS wrong work in the Obama administration.

“How did the U.S. intelligence community get it so wrong on ISIS?” MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart asked.

“I don’t think they did,” Sestak replied bluntly, prompting Diaz-Balart’s eyebrows to nearly rocket off of his face in shock.

“If you remember back in January and February, the head — the general, the Defense Intelligence Agency, actually testified before the House and Senate that in 2014, ISIS would take over large swaths of territory,” the Navy veteran asserted. “In fact, at the time he testified, they had already seized Ramadi and Fallujah — 35 miles from Baghdad.”

Sestak noted that even DNI Clapper, who today still bears the tire marks from the bus under which he was thrown by the president, testified that ISIS maintained the capability to expand out from Syria into a wide swath of territory in Iraq.

“I think it was slow on the part of the entire administration to assess that they — what they had to do in order address the threat,” Sestak concluded.

Diaz-Balart quickly moved on, but the damage was done. Sestak had taken a sledge hammer to the dam holding back Democratic criticisms of the president over his approach to the ISIS threat.

Better late than never, as they say, and the United States is now engaged, along with a number of key allies, in a critical campaign aimed at degrading some of ISIS’s capabilities. The president’s own choices over the last two years make it clear to all dispassionate observers that the White House did not take the ISIS threat seriously, and Obama’s efforts to insulate himself from deserved criticism is insulting. It seems that even Democrats with a connection to the military and intelligence community are not going to let him get away with it.


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Comments

Yes the president lacks intelligence.

meci on September 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

It’s been happening since 2008:
Either Obama is stupid or he thinks YOU are and treats you accordingly.
Which or both?

Pelosi Schmelosi on September 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Diaz-Balart quickly moved on…

As in dot org…

Drained Brain on September 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Look at that Diaz twit, he was waiting for Sestak to throw everyone under the bus, you could almost see Diaz’s slow little mind trying to instantly rework his spiel.

Bishop on September 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

“How did the U.S. intelligence community get it so wrong on ISIS?” MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart asked.

“I don’t think they did,” Sestak replied bluntly, prompting Diaz-Balart’s eyebrows to nearly rocket off of his face in shock.

Score one for Noah. That is some decent snark.

And it’s always fun to watch a liberal’s head start spinning.

Bitter Clinger on September 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

It was the WH? Yer Gah-Dang right it was. The WH has been breaking bad on this subject for years. (been watching the BB marathon)

jake49 on September 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

When EVERY decision is politically motivated, eventually some come back to haunt you…enjoy the blood head on your hands Mr Pres..

hillsoftx on September 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The president’s own choices over the last two years make it clear to all dispassionate observers that the White House did not take the ISIS threat seriously

That’s not what the president’s “own choices” reveal. The last two years reveal that Obama is on ISIS’ side and has been supporting them.

tommyboy on September 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Hey Sestak, only Holder resigned, the IRS is still operational.

antipc on September 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Yes the president lacks intelligence.

meci on September 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Heh!!

Bitter Clinger on September 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

…“I don’t think they did,” Sestak replied bluntly, prompting Diaz-Balart’s eyebrows to nearly rocket off of his face in shock.

They really did. Very funny stuff.

Anyway, I guess this means Sestak is running again, and unfortunately, he’ll probably win this time.

forest on September 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I’ll bet Josh Ernest thinks differently.

butch on September 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

It’s been happening since 2008:
Either Obama is stupid or he thinks YOU are and treats you accordingly.
Which or both?

Pelosi Schmelosi on September 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM

It’s both.

Obama is the worst kind of stupid, he’s a moron who believes he’s a genius. Not only does he think he’s a genius, he thinks he’s smarter than “other” geniuses.

When the truth is it would be nearly impossible to assemble a room he wouldn’t be the dumbest person in.

ConstantineXI on September 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I always knew Dems were racist and we have it on good authority that any opposition to Obama is racist.

307wolverine on September 29, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Obama lied. What a surprise!

Dusty on September 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Change has come to America and the world.

Well done President Obama.

Finally, a leader.

getalife on April 7, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The only thing we have going for us is the probability that Obama will use his expertise at lying against ISIS.

They might be doomed if he puts some additional effort into it. But, then again, we’re up against his ability to focus like a laser.

Dusty on September 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Obama is the worst kind of stupid, he’s a moron who believes he’s a genius. Not only does he think he’s a genius, he thinks he’s smarter than “other” geniuses.
ConstantineXI on September 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

And a thin-skinned arrogant one who throws a hissy fit if anyone points out just how stupid / incompetent he really is.

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

So let me get this right, we’re supposed to be excited about a Democrat telling the truth? Well okay, I admit I was a setback a little, but the fact still remains these are the same people that have run this country into the ground and this will never be forgotten.

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

So let me get this right, we’re supposed to be excited about a Democrat telling the truth?
DDay on September 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Wellll, it happens so rarely I think it might qualify as a minor miracle…..

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Wellll, it happens so rarely I think it might qualify as a minor miracle…..

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Lol! Good point.

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM

When Obama said “JV” team, he really meant Jihadis Victorious.

profitsbeard on September 29, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Obama’s attempts to avoid responsibility are making him look like the small little man that he really is. His remainder of the term, after having exposed himself repeatedly as the vile man he really is, will be very difficult. Everyone who thinks of being Obama’s ally will certainly wonder if they are next to be thrown under the bus.
Obama will be known to history as the incredible shrinking president. Worst. President. Ever

bobthm3 on September 29, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Lol! Good point.

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I agree that we shouldn’t be getting “excited” about a Dem telling the truth – but I think “surprised” is perfectly valid any time it actually happens…..

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

O is an absolute failure.
The plan of his to always pass the buck to everyone else but him is not amusing.
He needs to be impeached, this charade of his will get us all killed.
Jimmy Carter you are no longer at the bottom of the urinal, you’ve been replaced by Obama.

woodhull on September 29, 2014 at 2:00 PM

When Obama said “JV” team, he really meant Jihadis Victorious.

profitsbeard on September 29, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Of course even in the sports metaphor world, the fact is today’s JV players are tomorrow’s varsity stars. The “skilled” players don’t stay on the JV team forever. With a bit of training and experience they eventually move up to the big leagues – some faster than others.

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I agree that we shouldn’t be getting “excited” about a Dem telling the truth – but I think “surprised” is perfectly valid any time it actually happens…..

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

At this point I’m surprised when any politician tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Hard to find in this day in time. BB is about as close as they come.

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 2:06 PM

The president’s own choices over the last two years make it clear to all dispassionate observers that the White House did not take the ISIS threat seriously, and Obama’s efforts to insulate himself from deserved criticism is insulting.

ONLY two years? ;-)

We’ve been seeing through zero’s attempts to deflect blame for his own actions since he took office and criticizing him roundly for it…

Most Transparent Administration EVAH!

Newtie and the Beauty on September 29, 2014 at 2:07 PM

So let me get this right, we’re supposed to be excited about a Democrat telling the truth?

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

“Prominent” Democrat no less.
If it was just ANY plain ole D-Rat, well then Obama must be telling the truth…right?
I dunno about you, but I got a tingle down my leg when I read this/sarc

Pelosi Schmelosi on September 29, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Enjoyed the comments today, back to work. What happened to all the Trolls?

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 2:09 PM

History will not be kind to the jug-eared lightbringer.

The day after the 2016 election, the books and articles condemning his administration are going to be awesome.

BacaDog on September 29, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Is it a federal holiday? Trolls are quiet.

CurtZHP on September 29, 2014 at 2:21 PM

At this point I’m surprised when any politician tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Hard to find in this day in time. BB is about as close as they come.

DDay on September 29, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Well, yah, you got that right – unfortunately for us….

dentarthurdent on September 29, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Finally, someone on the Democrat side to denounce Obummer’s lies.
How many heads had to roll before they stand up?

Can someone, anyone, ask Hillary why she didn’t resign on the spot during the Benghazi fiasco, if she vehemently was opposed to what Obama was not doing to get our people military support?

Instead, our media will ask a thousand fawning questions about a new granddaughter. Sheesh!

Typicalwhitewoman on September 29, 2014 at 2:30 PM

The BULLSHIT has come home to roost!

Maybe it’s time for another vacation. Or perhaps a rousing speech. Maybe a fundraiser or two, or three.

GarandFan on September 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

SMART Power!!!111!!! Now available in enabling the islamic caliphate.

jukin3 on September 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM

ISIS militants are understood to have had their advance halted by airstrikes yesterday at Ameriyat Al-Falluja yesterday – a small city about 18 miles south of Fallujah and 40 miles west of Baghdad. But the clashes did not force the bulk of the fighters – with many of them now having made their way to the Baghdad suburbs.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/09/29/1411981663264_wps_17_Baghdad_isis_Ameriyat_al_.jpg

Western Baghdad is Sunni territory.

Viator on September 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

I think it was slow on the part of the entire administration ……. ,” Sestak concluded.

Memo to BO:

Even slow play on the golf course has consequences.

Wade on September 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

NBC has blocked the video

Capitalist Infidel on September 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Yes the president lacks intelligence.

meci on September 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

/thread

The Rogue Tomato on September 29, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Yes the president lacks intelligence.

meci on September 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Educated beyond his intelligence.

Wade on September 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

What goes around comes around.

There is some delicious irony with Obama lying about James Clapper’s intelligence briefings.

RJL on September 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

The only thing we have going for us is the probability that Obama will use his expertise at lying against ISIS.
They might be doomed if he puts some additional effort into it. But, then again, we’re up against his ability to focus like a laser.
Dusty on September 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM

So funny I had to read it again.

txhsmom on September 29, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Clearly, NBC has gone to protection mode by blocking the video

KW64 on September 29, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Clearly, NBC has gone to protection mode by blocking the video

KW64 on September 29, 2014 at 4:43 PM

.
…on “copyright grounds,” no less. I wonder if the White House ordered the take down.

ExpressoBold on September 29, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I hope the media die in obama’s azz, NBC first.

Schadenfreude on September 29, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Sestak is a real asshole and there’s a reason he was fired from the Navy and why he had the highest staff turnover rate in DC while he was in office. He’s known to be an uberdouche to those that have worked with/for him.

However, in this case, he’s 1000% right.

rotorhead on September 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

ConstantineXI on September 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I’d like to suggest a few possibilities of a room with at least one person dumber than of illustrious president.
NAACP meeting
NOW meeting
U.N. meeting
ACLU meeting
CBC meeting
… cause there are some pretty dumb people in attendance there.

cigarcamel on September 29, 2014 at 9:39 PM