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President Obama admitted to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, in a TV special “The Legacy of Barack Obama,” that his administration underestimated the Islamic State terrorist group.

“The ability of ISIL to not just mass inside of Syria, but then to initiate major land offensives that took Mosul, for example, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama said in a pre-taped interview that aired Wednesday evening.

In September 2014, Fox News reported Obama had been informed about the rise of the terrorist group in his daily intelligence briefings through the previous year. The president’s infamous reference to the Islamic State as the “jayvee team,” meaning it was less potent than other threats, came in January 2014, during that prior year of regular briefings.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama had said. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”



Fast forward to present-day, Obama was gracious when evaluating his own administration’s foreign policy.

“Have we been flawless in the execution of what is a complicated policy in the region? Absolutely not. I think flawless is not available when it comes to foreign policy or the presidency, at least with mere mortals like me at the helm,” Obama told Zakaria. “But have we made, I think, the best decisions that were available to us, at each stage? The answer is yes.”

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