Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she thinks President Obama has gotten to the point where he is acting appropriately against the threat posed by ISIS.
“I want to congratulate the president,” Feinstein said this morning on CNN. “He is now on the offense.”
Feinstein pointed out the coalition of nine nations to fight ISIS agreed upon at last week’s NATO summit. “His people are in different regional countries as we speak consulting and trying to bring in other countries in the region. I think that this is a major change in how ISIS is approached,” she said.
“ISIS is a major threat to this country in the future and right now to the entirety of Syria and Iraq, and the expanding caliphate,” she stressed. “I think where they’re going is to Baghdad. It is my belief they will try to attack our embassy. So we’re going to protect our embassy, protect our consulate in Irbil, and, at the same time, begin to use Special Operations, more [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], crack down on where they’re getting their money, and taking aggressive action against this terrorist group.”
“It is overdue, but the president is now there. And I think it’s the right thing for America, and, hopefully, our partners will be aggressive with us.”
Feinstein said she spoke with Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes on Saturday and asked him specifically “who is going to be in charge now” of this coalition.
“The devil is in the details of putting this together,” she noted. “And he said very clearly Secretary Hagel and Secretary Kerry. So, what I want to hear is from both of those two, what is the military plan and what is the diplomatic plan? And time’s a wasting, because we have now said that we’re going to go on the offensive. And it’s time for America to project power and strength.”
On Wednesday, the day before the 9/11 anniversary, Obama is planning to address the nation on the ISIS threat.
Feinstein said Obama should speak to “what other Middle Eastern countries are going to do, and what would be the prime role for America.”
“I hope we have Special Operations. We have made air attacks now 137 times,” she said. “We should have Special Operations working. We should use our ISR much more than has been. It’s been difficult in Syria, but that is now ramping up. I believe we should go after their command-and-control, where there are caches of equipment, and use that ISR and take it out, as well as in Iraq, as — the same thing.”