Chairman: Biggest Post-9/11 Intelligence Failure Was Misreading Putin
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee declared that the greatest intel failure after the biggest terror attack on home soil actually has to do with the Kremlin.
"The biggest intelligence failure that we have had since 9/11 has been the inability to predict the leadership plans and intentions of the Putin regime in Russia," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told CNN.
"And so I can understand why, for -- after the Georgian invasion, you know, maybe we thought some diplomacy might work. But, clearly, after the invasion of Crimea, that should have been a red line, and we immediately should have moved quickly in to bolster our NATO allies," he said.
"But instead we continued to negotiate with the Russians, we continued to talk to the Russians, and then they invaded Eastern Ukraine. We missed that. And then we completely missed entirely when they put a new base, a new base with aircraft into the Mediterranean, into Syria. We just missed it. We were blind."
Furthermore, the chairman charged, the intelligence community "has continued to get this wrong."
"And, look, I think it's all of us are to blame, right? And I think the White House is to blame. I think Congress is to blame. I think many of our allies are to blame, because we misjudged Putin for many, many years," he added.
On Islamic terrorism, Nunes stressed that a recent House Homeland Security Committee report noting 5,000 Europeans have traveled to fight with ISIS and more than 1,000 have returned to the continent only covers those terrorists authorities know about.
"My guess is, there's a lot more, a whole bunch more," he said. "And then those pockets of cells of fighters that have experience that probably have links back to ISIS or al-Qaeda affiliates and some type of command and control structure, then when you put refugees on top of that that don't have any jobs, it becomes a breeding ground for radicalism."
"And so what I worry about is the fighters that came back that we know about, the ones that we don't know about, and then the radicalization of a population of what is now in the several million."