The Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat on Sunday pressed the White House to move more aggressively against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
"I don't think the approach is sufficient to the job,” Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDems get it wrong: 'Originalism' is mainstream, even for liberal judges Human rights leaders warn against confirming Gorsuch Feinstein sees slipping support among California voters: poll MORE (D-Calif.) said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Feinstein’s comments come in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed about 130 people and wounding hundreds more. ISIS has taken credit for the deadly plot.
Secretary of State John Kerry updated Feinstein and the Intelligence Committee last week on the administration’s ISIS strategy.
Feinstein came away wanting more.
“I think they're general principles,” she said of the plan. “And they're general principles in terms of the administration's strategy, too. But I'm concerned that we don't have the time — and we don't have years. We need to be aggressive now."
Several weeks ago, Kerry and other U.S. officials in Vienna struck an agreement with countries on various sides of the Syrian civil war to seek “a nationwide ceasefire,” revise the Syrian constitution and then seek new elections.
The deal is seen as a critical step in combatting ISIS, which has taken advantage of the ongoing strife to establish a “capital” in Raqqa.
Feinstein said Kerry gave lawmakers for the first time a sense of what that deal in Vienna actually contained.
“What he put forward, I think, was a more comprehensive sense of what the strategy is,” she said. “For the first time, I really learned the number of nations that have signed onto the Vienna agreement. The basic principles of the agreement. And that's involving both Iran and Russia. And I think that's very crucial.”
But the agreement is not an overall strategy to eliminate ISIS, Feinstein added.
“We need a specific, larger special operations plan,” she said.
And it starts with going into Raqqa.
“That's where the head of the snake, so to speak, has to be cut off — that's Raqqa,” she said.
Speaking moments after Feinstein, Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS, said the administration had made significant headway in this goal.
He noted the U.S. had worked to cut off access points between Raqqa and Mosul, another ISIS stronghold in Iraq.
Such actions help “pressure them and strangle them in the core,” he said.