One of the things that’s becoming necessary is to fact-check the fact-checking organizations. When Politifact fact-checked President Obama’s statement that ISIS was contained, they fact-checked it after leading Republican presidential candidates ridiculed him in the aftermath of ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris. What’s worse is that they fact-checked President Obama’s statement by asking Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser.
Specifically, President Obama said “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq. And in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave. But you don’t see this systematic march by ISIL across the terrain.” Rhodes said that “When President Barack Obama said ISIS, or ISIL, was contained, he ‘was responding very specifically to the geographic expansion of ISIL in Iraq and Syria.'”
If that’s what President Obama meant, which is still questionable, President Obama’s statement is misleading because he didn’t mention that ISIS has spread into north Africa. This article talks about a U.S. airstrike that “killed the leader of ISIS in Libya Abu Nabil, aka Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi.”
President Obama’s statement is misleading in that he didn’t inform Americans that ISIS had spread its operations well beyond Iraq and Syria. The question that isn’t answered is why President Obama omitted that important tidbit of information.
Apart from the fact-check ISIS being contained, it’s clear that President Obama wanted to take a victory lap after the killing of Jihad John, the man that beheaded US journalists in Iraq. Friday morning, hours before the Paris attacks, the lead story on CNN, Fox News and other news outlets was the killing of Jihad John.
President Obama badly needs some national security good news in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Not only did the attacks undermine the story of killing Jihad John but it also caused some governors to make statements about not accepting Syrian refugees without first having a robust vetting/verification system in place to make sure terrorists don’t enter the United States posing as refugees. Mr. Rhodes’ statement that the US has a “very robust vetting procedure for those refugees” wasn’t credible to Mike McCaul, (R-TX), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Chairman McCaul said “I disagree. I’ve been briefed by the FBI and Homeland Security. They tell me that this cannot be done.” Later, Chairman McCaul cited “problems with the administration’s plan, including not having a comprehensive list of the estimated 5,000 or more foreign fighters around the world. “Paris changes everything,” McCaul said. “There are a lot of holes — gaping holes.”
First, the Obama administration needs to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States until there’s a foolproof plan to verify the identity of the refugees. After that, it’s imperative that the Obama administration starts taking ISIS’ expansion more seriously.