Lawmaker: Obama took Iraq 'eyes and ears'

A Republican lawmaker blamed the Obama administration for the lack of on-the-ground intelligence in Iraq as the CIA and other spy agencies seek ways to support possible military action.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a former Marine who served in Iraq, said "without a residual force, the president knew full well that the U.S. would lose its eyes and ears on the ground."

President Obama oversaw the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq in December 2011 when the U.S. and Iraqi governments could not agree on the terms of a bilateral security agreement including U.S. troops.

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"Now the CIA and others are scrambling to close gaps in intelligence to support possible action against militants — specifically airstrikes," Hunter said. "This signals that we are at a significant disadvantage and limits the options that a responsible and informed commander-in-chief would have already weighed."

The CIA and other intelligence entities are assembling detailed dossiers, known as "targeting packages," on insurgent commanders about their location, movements, associates and communications, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Those packages can be used to target the subjects for drone strikes or other military action, though they also can be used for nonlethal purposes, current and former officials told the AP.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey told lawmakers Wednesday that the U.S. needed to figure out "the fabric of what's left of the Iraqi security forces" before taking any action.

"What's happening in Iraq is a direct result of the president’s misguided decisions," Duncan said. "Militarily, the U.S. won in Iraq, but the hard-fought and hard-earned gains of our servicemen and women have been politically squandered by the president and his administration."

“Opportunities to stabilize Iraq disappeared when the president decided against leaving a residual force," he said.