During a Defense Department briefing Thursday afternoon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a strong warning about the potential threat the United States faces from the terrorist organization ISIS, two days after the group beheaded American journalist James Foley on video.
Asked if ISIS, or ISIL, presents a “9/11-level threat” to the U.S., Hagel said the group is “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen.” He added, “They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen.”
“We must prepare for everything,” Hagal continued. “And the only way you do that is you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.”
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that if ISIS were to achieve its stated vision of creating a new Islamic caliphate, “it would fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East” and create a clear threat to the region as well as the West.
Watch video below, via C-SPAN:
[Photo via screengrab]
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