State Department Press Secretary John Kirby offered a contradictory assessment of U.S. progress against radical Islam on Friday, calling the ideology a "loser" that was nonetheless "metastasizing" across the world.
"I believe that terrorist networks around the world—while they continue to metastasize and fester and remain a lethal threat—are themselves under threat," Kirby said.
Kirby cited U.S. progress in killing members of core al Qaeda, although similar terrorist groups, like Islamic State (IS) and Boko Haram, have proliferated in recent years.
"This is an ideology that is a loser, and it’s going to lose," Kirby said. "But as I said earlier, we recognize it’s going to take time and effort and resources and will probably result in more bloodshed before it does."
Kirby said that the anti-IS coalition carrying out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria was a "significant" example of the pressure that the U.S. is placing on terrorist groups.
"We have more than 60 countries involved in these coalition efforts against this one group in two countries. That’s not insignificant. In fact it’s very significant," Kirby said.
Kirby’s choice of example may be ill-chosen, as recent reports allege that senior U.S. officials have been manipulating intelligence reports "to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest posed a similar question about terrorism on Friday. Earnest was asked if the U.S. was winning the fight against IS. His answer was similarly evasive.