Carter: Pentagon 'looking to do more' against ISIS

Carter: Pentagon 'looking to do more' against ISIS
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday the U.S. is "looking to do more" in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) following a wave of attacks pinned on the terrorist group. 

"We're looking to do more. We're looking for every opportunity we can to get in there and go after ISIL, but we need others," Carter said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, using a different acronym for ISIS. 

Although President Obama continued to rule out sending ground troops into combat against Iraq and Syria, Carter said the Pentagon has taken increased measures in recent weeks. 

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He cited a U.S. drone strike last week that took out "Jihadi John" — the ISIS terrorist who appeared in videos with slain U.S., British and Japanese hostages. 

"We got the head of their nest, their metastasized nest in Libya," Carter said, in reference to a more recent airstrike against Abu Nabil, ISIS's leader in Libya. 

He said the U.S.-led coalition was also increasing its airstrikes against ISIS's oil infrastructure, its main source of revenue. 

"We are identifying and aiding able and capable and motivated ground forces there," he added. 

The U.S. and France have also stepped up intelligence sharing, which will enable France to choose airstrike targets. 

"We're looking for opportunities to get at them, and we'll continue to do that until they're defeated," he said. 

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Carter would not speak to specific details of future operations, but said, "Jihadi John probably overestimated his safety." 

Carter also appealed to European allies and others to step up their own efforts against ISIS in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks that killed more than 120. 

"We can help those who help themselves, [but] we need others to get in the game as well. I am hoping that this tragedy has the effect of galvanizing others as it has galvanized the French and really throughout Europe," he said. 

Carter said that while ISIS had the aspiration to come to the U.S., the terrorist group's capability "is not what it is in Europe." 

"The most immediate danger we face is more of the lone wolf kind," he said. 

Still, he said ISIS represents "a new phenomenon" beyond what was seen with al Qaeda.

"Al Qaeda was the first Internet group, but these are the first social media Internet group," Carter said. 

Noting that social media allows for things to "go viral," he added, "in the terrorist space, this has turned out to be a very ugly capability for people like this to have." 

"There's no question it represents a new phenomenon," he said.