A new U.S. intelligence report on ISIS, commissioned by the White House, predicts that the self-proclaimed Islamic State will spread worldwide and grow in numbers, unless it suffers a significant loss of territory on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials told The Daily Beast.
The report stands in stark contrast to earlier White House assurances that ISIS had been “contained” in Iraq and Syria. And it is already spurring changes in how the U.S. grapples with ISIS, these officials said.
It’s also a tacit admission that coalition efforts so far – dropping thousands of bombs and deploying 3,500 U.S. troops as well as other coalition trainers — have been outpaced by ISIS’ ability to expand and attract new followers, even as the yearlong coalition air campaign has helped local forces drive ISIS out of parts of Iraq and Syria.
The White House commissioned the intelligence report prior to last month’s deadly strikes in Paris, and long before last week’s terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, three senior U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to describe a confidential document and policy changes.
After reviewing its grim conclusions, President Barack Obama asked Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford to come up with new options to beat the group back.