Senate Armed Services to hold second closed door Iraq briefing

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday will receive its second classified briefing in a week on the ongoing violence in Iraq.

Senators last heard from the administration on June 12 after an al-Qaeda inspired terrorist group quickly captured two of the country’s major cities and threatened to march on the capital city of Baghdad.

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Panel members from both parties walked away with divided views about how best to tamp down the insurgency, with some Republicans and Democrats calling for airstrikes against the group, while others called for a more cautious approach to the security situation.

Though only issue that lawmakers did agree on is that America should not send soldiers back to Iraq, though the administration has since decided to send 275 troops to protect the U.S. embassy and other facilities in Baghdad.

President Obama on Wednesday met with congressional leaders and the White House and signaled he would not wait for their approval for military action in Iraq.

The Defense Department has moved up to four warships into the Persian Gulf, should the president decide to evacuate the embassy or conduct airstrikes in Iraq.

The classified Senate briefing will feature the Pentagon’s Elissa Slotkin and Paul Wolfe from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), both of whom briefed lawmakers last week, as well as Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe, director of strategic plans for the U.S. Joint Staff, and Joseph Gigliotti, also from the DIA.