Chuck Hagel: ISIS Is ‘Beyond Anything’ the U.S. Has Seen

Obama administration officials signal a lengthy U.S. engagement in Iraq to fight the extremist group.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Aug. 21, 2014, 12:54 p.m.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel is­sued a grave warn­ing Thursday when asked wheth­er IS­IS posed “a 9/11-level threat” to the United States.

“This is bey­ond any­thing that we’ve seen,” Hagel told re­port­ers at a Pentagon press brief­ing. “The soph­ist­ic­a­tion of ter­ror­ism and ideo­logy mar­ried with re­sources presents a whole new dy­nam­ic and paradigm of threats to this coun­try.”

He was joined by Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said that the U.S. would be en­gaged in a long fight against the Is­lam­ic State in Ir­aq and Syr­ia.

“Yes, it’s go­ing to be a very long con­test,” De­mp­sey as­sessed.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is call­ing for a co­ali­tion in the Middle East to fight back the Is­lam­ic State as it wages its cam­paign to form an Is­lam­ic ca­liphate in Syr­ia and Ir­aq. De­mp­sey said IS­IS must be fought wherever it ex­ists, but the U.S. has not ex­pan­ded its mis­sion to Syr­ia.

“All op­tions are on the table,” Hagel said of in­volve­ment in Syr­ia.