By Rebecca Shabad - 06/22/14 09:51 AM EDT
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday she was surprised by how quickly Sunni extremists have taken over parts of Iraq.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Feinstein was asked whether the United States knew the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would rise so fast.
“I would have to say no,” Feinstein said. “I think it’s a real wake-up call for the United States,” adding that ISIS wants to “develop the caliphate.”
Over the last month, ISIS has virtually taken over a third of Iraq. In response, President Obama is “doing the right thing,” Feinstein said. “I think he’s been circumspect."
Obama is sending 300 military advisers to Iraq to help Iraqi Security Forces root out the militants.
“The most important thing I can say today is the Iraqi state is in danger,” Feinstein said.
The Obama administration has had a difficult time trying to pierce Iraq's culture in cooperating on intelligence matters, Feinstein explained.
Feinstein said the U.S. is getting involved in the middle of a major Sunni-Shia war, and now she said Iraqis have a “limited period of time” to not repeat mistakes of the past.