Former Intelligence Chief Says Obama's ISIS Strategy Failed

Congress hears testimony from a retired Lieutenant General who led the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The U.S. "failed to understand the threats that we face" from Islamic extremism, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said during a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing today.

"That failure is leading to a mismatch in strategy and resources that we are applying to these threats," Flynn told lawmakers on the committee. "We have to not just throw military resources at this thing, we have to be far more sophisticated."

The military is "stretched so thin, and frankly under-resourced," he added.

The U.S. should be asking more of its allies, he said. "We have to be more sophisticated in our application of all the instruments of international power to be able to achieve what we need to achieve."

"We need to be careful that we don't always get drawn back into what is actually the easiest part of a strategy which is just to throw military force at it," he said.

Islamic extremism has grown over the last year, "according to every metric of significance," he said, citing attacks by Islamic State extremists and other groups, "their sheer barbarism," as well as the amount of territory the groups control and the number of people they've displaced.

He scoffed at reports that more than 120 Muslim leaders have come out to condemn ISIS, saying there are more mosques than that in Baghdad alone, and asked why there aren't more than 100,000 such leaders doing the same.

Even so, ISIS isn't "an existential threat to this country," he said, adding that the ideology however "will permeate" if no action is taken.

Flynn served as director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 to August 2014.

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