Senior Obama administration officials’ closed-door briefing to senators Tuesday night revealed that the White House did not anticipate and was not prepared for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), which has wreaked havoc in Iraq and seized many key cities in recent weeks.
Top State Department and Defense Department officials joined senators Tuesday evening for a briefing on the quickly developing chaos in Iraq and future U.S. plans for a response.
Sources familiar with the brief said that the administration officials repeated talking points issued over the past several days in both open and closed door meetings and had trouble communicating a concrete plan for response.
The brief was conducted by Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of Defense Elissa Slotkin, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, and an official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, according to a senior Senate insider.
The officials told senators that the White House and intelligence agencies failed to predict ISIL’s overwhelming rise and were “not sure what to do,” according to the source.