Top Dem: 'Time is not on our side’ with ISIS (The Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that the Obama administration is running out of time for defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Frankly, I think we’re going to ultimately see that more is going to have to be done,” he said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“You need a lot of special operators to maintain a certain tempo, to be able to not only capture or kill the targets, but also exploit intelligence and then use that exploited intelligence to do another raid,” Schiff continued.


“The question is – is this going to be enough to move the needle?” asked Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.


“It will move it somewhat, but time is not on our side here. We can’t allow this plague to maintain this large of a presence in Iraq and Syria.”


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday that the Pentagon is deploying a new special operations force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.


“These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders,” he told the House Armed Services Committee, using an alternative acronym for the extremist organization.


Schiff expressed skepticism with the Pentagon’s strategy Wednesday, arguing that it is too little for halting ISIS’s momentum.


“The addition of another small number of special operators is probably not enough to maintain that kind of tempo to change the dynamic on the ground very much,” he said.


“The administration is trying to affect the battlefield stalemate [and] I’m not sure this is going to be enough to do it,” he continued. "They are plainly considering, but reluctant to go further.


“I think, ultimately, it probably will be necessary to maintain some kind of a safe zone or buffer zone to really affect that holding that ISIS has from which they can plan, plot, derive resources and ultimately attack us here in the homeland.”


Schiff also admitted that ISIS is capable of outwitting the nation’s spy agencies if given the opportunity.


“In the midterm, if ISIS is allowed to maintain this space, they’ll have the time to plot against us,” he said.


“We have the best intelligence in the world, Andrea, but even that is not going to be enough,” he told Mitchells. "You can’t count on intelligence alone to detect each and every plot.


“There are risks from escalation. There are risks from not escalating to deprive ISIS of that battle space.”


The Pentagon plans on sending roughly 200 special operators for unilateral missions across Iraq and Syria.


President Obama has long resisted ground troops against ISIS but is escalating military maneuvers against the group following last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Source: The HIl