Rogers: Obama should have authority to target ISIS wherever it operates

Rogers: Obama should have authority to target ISIS wherever it operates
© Lauren Schneiderman

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersTrump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact FBI official sees 'tide change' in how platforms handle extremist content America must leap at opportunities to bolster national security in space MORE (R-Mich.) on Wednesday said Congress should give President Obama the authority to go after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) wherever the group operates.

“We ought to give the president authority to go after ISIS where they find them. They don’t sense borders. We ought not to sense those borders. We shouldn’t handcuff ourselves in an effort to degrade and disable their ability to conduct operations,” Rogers said in an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. 

Rogers clarified the authorization should be used for intelligence purposes and not large-scale military action.

“This does not mean big military movement. It does mean intelligence and some special forces type activity that would be required to be impactful, and to help our Arab League partners be more impactful,” he said, adding the United States needs to “get a little more involved on the ground.”

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Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week after a five-week recess, and the administration’s plan to expand its strategy against ISIS is expected to be a major focus for Congress.

Rogers said the administration won’t be able to “defeat or degrade” ISIS without dealing with its operations inside Syria.

“That’s where their headquarters is. This is where their logistics are. This is where a lot of their oil revenue comes from. This is where their military equipment, a lot of it came from until they got up into Mosul and cleaned out those arsenals,” he said.

Obama tamped down speculation last week over whether the U.S. plans to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

Rogers suggested the administration must take a more aggressive approach against the Islamic extremist group, arguing the push for a political solution in Iraq “comes in the walk and chew gum department.” 

The Intelligence chairman warned that ISIS has mobilized as one of the largest, most organized terrorist groups.

“With ISIS, what you see now is a terrorist organization that has a functioning army. And it is a functioning army,” he said. “They have command and control to a large extent, more than you would see in any terrorist organization.”