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Opinion

Stephanopoulos asks, CIA answers: Yes, ISIS is pretty dangerous

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,CIA,ABC,Iraq,National Security,Terrorism,Becket Adams,ISIS

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked over the weekend whether there is a danger of the U.S. overreacting to the threat posed by ISIS, the terrorist organization that has overtaken large swaths of Iraq, slaughtering all in its path.

"[I]t struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of [Secretary of Defense] Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?” Stephanopoulos asked his guest, conservative author and commentator Bill Kristol.

"The fundamental danger remains underreaction. I would like a little overreaction by the president now. He's coming back from his vacation. He should go to Congress right away to get an authorization. But meanwhile, he's acting under the War Powers Act and he shouldn’t wait. He shouldn't wait. There's a huge amount of bombing and damage that could be done to ISIS tomorrow if the president orders it," Kristol responded.

Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, is correct: Given President Obama's tendency toward inaction and "dragging his feet," an "underreaction" from the U.S. is far more likely than an overreaction. This is tragic, given the fact ISIS remains committed to the mission of killing all who oppose it.

And in case it wasn't already clear to Stephanopoulos, ISIS is indeed a real and terrible threat, according to former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.

The group's control over large portions of Iraq and Syria has proven so far to be "the most complex terrorism problem that I have ever seen," Morell said Sunday during a panel discussion on "Face the Nation."

"There are no magic bullets. This is going to take a long time to get under control," he said, adding that the U.S. must work to take away the group's "safe havens" while also removing its leaders from the battlefield.

So there it is: ISIS is a real, credible and complex threat that requires attention from U.S. leaders. It would be interesting to hear Stephanopoulos explain what he thinks would be an "overreaction" by the U.S.

Editor's Note: The Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner are both owned by MediaDC, a subsidiary of Clarity Media.

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