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White House Did Not Discuss ISIS Strategy with Pentagon Prior to U.S.-Led Campaign

White House Did Not Discuss ISIS Strategy with Pentagon Prior to U.S.-Led Campaign

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As of the end of August, there was no communication between the White House and the Pentagon concerning a strategy to fight the Islamic State, the Department of Defense (DoD) said in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Not only did the president not have a strategy, as he candidly admitted on August 28, the White House did not talk about developing a strategy with his Defense Department prior to launching airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq on August 8.  

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This contradicts comments by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest trying to explain Obama telling reporters on August 28, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

The White House attempted to blame the Pentagon for delaying the development of a strategy.

On August 29, Earnest insisted that what Obama meant is that he was then-waiting for the Pentagon to make recommendations on what to do.

“The Pentagon is developing plans or military options for the president to consider if he decides that it’s necessary to do so,” he said. “But at this point, the president hasn’t made any decisions and hasn’t ordered any military action in Syria.”

In a response to a FOIA request filed by Dr. Larry Kawa as a concerned private citizen, DOD’s Office of Freedom of Information said that as of the end of August, it could not locate any paper or electronic communication documents between the president and the Pentagon mentioning a strategy to fight the Islamic State (IS, ISIS and ISIL).

The Pentagon searched for communication that would have occurred between the beginning of January thru the end of August.

“On August 28, 2014 President Obama stated in a national press conference that he ‘does not have a strategy yet’ in regards to ISIL/ISIS in Syria,” said Kawa in his FOIA request. “He blamed the Pentagon for the delay. I would like clarification of any correspondences in this regard between the Pentagon and the office of the President or executive branch.”  

Kawa told Breitbart News that he spoke to the Pentagon FOIA agent in charge of handling his request in an effort to confirm that before the end of August, there was no communication between Obama and the Pentagon concerning a strategy on ISIS.

“Per DOD FOIA agent Charles Marye, any such documents would have appeared. If there were any meetings that were classified, their existence would also have appeared but did not,” said Kawa.

“In conclusion, the Pentagon is 100 percent certain that there have been no discussions either classified or unclassified regarding strategy on ISIS or ISIL,” he continued.

The Pentagon’s FOIA office searched for communication involving the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the White House, and the National Security Council, according to Kawa.

FOIA Agent Marye did not respond to numerous requests for comment.


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