The Obama administration didn't overlook the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted Monday.

"Absolutely not," Psaki told MSNBC, saying the administration had "long been tracking this."

Psaki spoke amid a brewing controversy over President Obama's assertion during an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the U.S. intelligence community underestimated the terror network's rise.


"That's absolutely true," Obama said. “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria."

Republicans have seized on the comment, saying the president should not have been surprised by the rise of ISIS.

"We predicted this and watched it," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey MORE (R-Ariz.) said on CNN earlier Monday. "It was like watching a train wreck and warning every step of the way that this was happening. ... This here idea that somehow we didn't know that this was happening, of course we knew it."

But Psaki said there was a difference "between being aware of a threat and seeing the level the threat poses." She suggested the president was saying that the U.S. misjudged Iraq's ability to respond to ISIS, rather than the danger posed by the group.

"I think anyone can look back at the past eight months and see that [ISIS] has not only gained strength — they did what no one, I think, in the world expected they would do," she continued. "That was, in part, because of everybody overestimating the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces."

Psaki went on to express confidence that the president's plan to address ISIS would prove successful, even if it continued to rely on Iraqi security forces.

"We're working with the Iraqi government ... we've done a military assessment of their capabilities," Psaki said. "And what we've seen from that is some have the capability, some need more training. Some need more equipment. And we're working with the Iraqi government to get that done."