WASHINGTON – United States intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State activity inside Syria, which has become ground zero for militants worldwide, President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview broadcast on Sunday.

September 28, 2014 6:16 PM

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Conversely, the US overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the militant groups, Obama said in an interview taped on Friday, days after the US president made his case at the United Nations for action. Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, Obama acknowledged that US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria. Militants went underground when US Marines quashed al-Qaeda in Iraq with help from Iraq's tribes, he said.

“But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” Obama said according to a clip of the interview broadcast e...

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