Obama: U.S. Underestimated Rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria (+video)

Photo Credit: REUTERS / Larry DowningBy CBS Interactive Inc.

President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL) and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off the militant group in an interview that will air Sunday on 60 Minutes.

The president was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about comments from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. not only underestimated ISIS, it also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group.

“That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”

“Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said, blaming the instability of the Syrian civil war for giving extremists space to thrive.

The comments were among the president’s most candid to date about the rapid rise of the terrorist group that has ransacked much of Syria and Iraq in recent months.

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European ISIS fighters: Are there really 3,000 jihadis? (+video)

By David Clark Scott.

How big is the homegrown ISIS threat?

The European Union’s Anti-Terrorism Chief Gilles de Kerchove told the BBC Friday that the number of Islamic State fighters from Europe is “probably above 3.000, which is unprecedented.”

That statement prompted a number of sensational headlines – especially in Britain, where the Parliament voted Friday to join the airstrikes against ISIS.

But 3,000 Islamic State fighters is probably an inflated figure. Mr. de Kerchove himself qualifies that total saying 3,000 includes all those who have been to the region, including those who have returned and those who have been killed there.

The European jihadis threat assessment includes the dead? Out of those estimated 3,000, how many of those European ISIS jihadis are still alive?

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