WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter contradicted President Obama when pressed by Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) during a House panel hearing on Tuesday, declaring that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and other radical Islamic terrorist groups are a greater threat than climate change.
During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, retired Navy SEAL Commander Zinke, pressed Carter on whether radical Islamic terrorist groups or global warming is a larger threat.
Zinke initially asked Carter, “We have ISIS, Hezbollah, and Al Qaida, North Korea, an emerging China and Russia. Mr. Secretary, where would you rack and stack global warming with that list?”
When the defense secretary failed to specifically answer the question, Zinke pressed again and asked, “Would you agree the imminent threat, the five-yard, five-meter threat – the most damaging threat facing us today – would be ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the non-nation state terrorist activities?”
“Yeah, that certainly is the one that is the most imminent,” responded Carter. “They’re trying to attack us right now – there is nothing distant in time or probability about it.”
President Obama is currently at the international climate summit in Paris.
He said that countries coming together in Paris to take action on climate change will send a message to ISIS.
Asked on Sunday whether the Nov. 13 deadly attacks in Paris, for which ISIS has taken responsibility, would have an effect on the mood of the climate summit, Obama responded, “Look, I think it is absolutely vital for every country, every leader to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business.”
The president has repeatedly stressed the harmful impact that climate change has on national security.
“Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” Obama emphasized during Coast Guard graduation speech in May.
In mid-November, Breitbart News documented 22 times Obama or members of his administration declared climate change a greater threat than radical Islamic terrorism.
Prior to taking on the role of America’s commander-in-chief, then-Sen. Obama, in a January 15, 2008, presidential campaign speech on Iraq and Afghanistan said, the “immediate danger” of oil-backed terrorism “is eclipsed only by the long-term threat from climate change, which will lead to devastating weather patterns, terrible storms, drought, and famine.”
More recently, President Obama, while addressing the United Nations Climate Summit in September, declared, “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week—terrorism, instability, inequality, disease—there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”