White House: Islamic State a greater threat now than six months ago
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 01:28
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes tells reporters Islamic State is a greater threat than it has been in the past. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes on Friday (August 22) discussed the rise of Islamic State (IS) and the ways the United States would seek to fight it following the execution of American journalist James Foley.
"We've used all of our military, intelligence, diplomatic resources that we can bring to bear to try to pull a thread to find out where our hostages are, to try to rescue them when we saw an opportunity, to try to work with any country that might have any means of locating them, and tragically we weren't able to rescue Mr. Foley, but we're going to keep trying for all of our hostages, not just in Syria, but around the world," Rhodes said.
Rhodes admitted that IS has grown as a threat in recent months as it has gained territory and found new revenue streams, including ransoms and oil and gas sales.
"That has developed their capacity in a way that has increased the threat, and they pose a greater threat than they did six months ago, and we're taking it very seriously," he said.
When pressed for a specific strategy by reporters, Rhodes reiterated that the U.S. was for the time being focused on empowering Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.
"[I]t's going to take time when you talk about an objective like the ultimate defeat of ISIL, it's going to take time to dislodge a group that has been operating in this part of the world for the better part of a decade in an insurgency, but what we can do is address the threat to the United States, give these security forces the space that they need, go on the offense, oust them out of the communities that they're in, and then work towards that ultimate goal of defeated ISIL," he said.
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