Did commander reveal 'playbook' against ISIS?

Did commander reveal 'playbook' against ISIS?
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The White House on Friday declined to weigh in on a brewing controversy about whether a senior military official revealed too many operational details about a plan to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul through overwhelming force.

“This sort of operational planning that was discussed at the Department of the Defense is something that’s done by the Department of Defense. I’m not in a position to confirm the accuracy of those details,” press secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing.

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“I can't confirm that that is the playbook,” he later added.

On Thursday a senior U.S. Central Command official told reporters it would take around 25,000 Iraqi fighters to dislodge up to 2,000 militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

The U.S. intends to form the main attack force of five Iraqi brigades at recently established training sites in Iraq, an effort that could be done in as little as three to four weeks, according to the official.

“They will go through the training, ensure they have the equipment they need, then we will posture them ... to actually execute the operation,” the official said.

The Central Command official said the offensive would likely begin in April or May.

The amount of detail disclosed has led some Capitol Hill lawmakers to question whether the administration is telegraphing its strategy in the fight with ISIS.

“It's very mystifying why this administration would reveal potential plans to retake Mosul,” Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP senator: Pence ‘deserved better treatment’ at Notre Dame Congress should let local communities set their own PACE GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges MORE (R-Ark.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during an interview Thursday on Fox News’s “The Kelly File.”

“I certainly think it's a roll of the dice,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who sites on the House Intelligence Committee.

“It's a bit of a gamble that the Pentagon is taking,” he said on Friday during an interview with CNN’s “New Day.”

While Earnest declined to comment on the details, he said the offensive “won't begin until the Iraqi security forces are ready. This is something that will be Iraqi-led and it will be carried out by Iraqi security forces” and backed by airpower from the U.S-led military coalition.

“We would anticipate that with this advanced training, with new equipment and with the strong support of coalition military airpower that the battlefield performance of the Iraqi security forces would be greatly enhanced,” he said, a subtle reference to last year when many of Baghdad’s forces abandoned their posts as ISIS marched across the country.

“That's a good thing,” he added.

Earnest could not confirm that the Pentagon had requested for U.S. troops to be part of the offensive in order to call in airstrikes, something Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey alluded to in congressional testimony last fall.