A senior White House official said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has gained more power and poses a greater threat now than it did when President Obama referred to the group as a “JV” team in an interview eight months ago.
“Clearly, [ISIS], which has a long history and has an origin dating back to al Qaeda in Iraq, has gained capacity as they advanced across Iraq and gained heavy weaponry,” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters Friday.
“They pose a greater threat today than they did six months ago. ... We’re going to do what’s necessary to deal with this counter-terrorism challenge,” he added.
Back in January, Obama told the New Yorker’s David Remnick that ISIS, then still considered part of al Qaeda and having joined forces with them while fighting in Syria, was akin to a junior varsity basketball team.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes and is accurate is if a JV team puts on Laker uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said at the time.