CIA Director: ISIS Has Grown 4,400 Percent Under Obama

Islamic State group's flag
Islamic State group's flag is seen in an area after Kurdish troops known as peshmerga regained control of some villages west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq / AP
November 18, 2015

CIA Director John Brennan has admitted that the Islamic State terror group has grown by around 4,400 percent during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office, according to remarks delivered in a speech.

The Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) was "decimated" and had around "700 or so adherents left" during former president George W. Bush’s term in office, according to Brennan.

The CIA has found that the Islamic State currently has anywhere from 20,000 to 31,500 fighters operating across the Middle East.

The Islamic State "was, you know, pretty much decimated when US forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al Qaeda in Syria, and set up its own organization," Brennan said.

American Enterprise Institute scholar Marc Thiessen noted in a recent dispatch on Brennan’s remarks that this translates to around a 4,400 percent growth.

"This means that, by the CIA’s own estimate, ISIS has grown on President Obama’s watch from just 700 fighters to between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters," Thiessen wrote on the organization’s website, citing figures from the CIA. "That is an increase of between 2,700 and 4,400%."

Additionally, Brennan disclosed in his remarks "that the Obama administration had underestimated the ISIS threat," according to Thiessen.

"The Obama administration failed to recognize that ISIS had developed the intent and capability to strike the West," he wrote. "It built its anti-ISIS strategy on a false premise—that ISIS was focused on building a caliphate in Iraq and Syria and not on carrying out external attacks against the U.S., its interests and its allies."