ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official.
“They do have that capacity," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen in an exclusive interviews on “AC 360” on terrorism, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's most virulent offshoot — ISIS.
“That's something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels,” where March attacks on a train and at an airport left 32 dead and 300 people injured, Clapper said. The November Paris attacks killed at least 130.
However, President Barack Obama and some of his other security advisors spoke of the threat in less stark terms and emphasized efforts to protect the U.S.
The New York Times is reporting that 28-year-old Army officer on Wednesday sued President Obama over the legality of the war against the Islamic State, setting up a test of Mr. Obama’s disputed claim that he needs no new legal authority from Congress to order the military to wage that deepening mission.
The plaintiff, Capt. Nathan Michael Smith, an intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, voiced strong support for fighting the Islamic State but, citing his “conscience” and his vow to uphold the Constitution, he said he believed that the mission lacked proper authorization from Congress.
“To honor my oath, I am asking the court to tell the president that he must get proper authority from Congress, under the War Powers Resolution, to wage the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” he wrote.
The legal challenge comes after the death of the third American service member fighting the Islamic State and as Mr. Obama has decided tosignificantly expand the number of Special Operations ground troops he has deployed to Syria aid rebels there.
Mr. Obama has argued that he already has the authority he needs to wage the conflict against the Islamic State under the authorization to fight the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, enacted by Congress shortly after the attacks.
From Afghanistan comes troubling word of the corruption and incompetence that plagues its military, courtesy of the Washington Post.
If first impressions really can be gleaned from footwear, Afghan security forces may be about as disjointed and ragged as a state-run military can get.
As recruits stood in formation here last week, some wore nearly paper-thin black boots one stumble away from an exposed heel or toe. Others had on boots better suited for trekking through feet of snow than standing on sun-scorched gravel. The lucky ones had the same well-padded, sandy-colored boots worn by a visiting U.S. general and his support staff.
The sad state of soldiers’ boots highlights something that U.S. military officials have known for about two years: Despite more than $68 billion in U.S. funding for Afghan security forces over the past 14 years, they still can’t even clothe themselves.
Because of widespread corruption and incompetence, the U.S.-led coalition has taken control of procurement of uniforms and boots for the Afghan army and Afghan National Police Force.
Now, the coalition is trying to airlift or ship in more than a million pairs of boots to make sure Afghan forces can properly walk onto the battlefield. Some of the orders for those boots were placed as far back as 2014.
The shipments of boots — which cost about $75 to $90 per pair — are projected to total about $100 million through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The coalition expects to spend another $215 million on boots, uniforms and gear for Afghan forces in fiscal year 2017.
Video footage obtained by the Guardian newspaper, based in the United Kingdom, shows the grueling firefight between US special forces, Kurdish commandoes and Islamic State fighters this week, in which US Navy Seal Charlie Keating IV was killed, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Provided to the Guardian by the lieutenant of an elite Kurdish peshmerga unit, the video shows a convoy of four by four vehicles coming under fire near Tel Osqof, a Christian town about 30km north of Mosul.
Amid the crackle of gunfire, peshmerga fighters and at least six US troops take cover behind an unarmored pickup truck on an arterial road leading into the town.
One of the Americans appears to be saying “I don’t have a gun,” as another says, “I have a gun over here.”
A peshmerga shouts: “Please save up your bullets.”