The denial of the reality of jihad is thicker than ever, even as jihadis advance around the world. And it endangers us all.
Former CIA officer John Maguire revealed this week that the CIA was blindsided by the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now controls so much of Syria and Iraq and has designs on a great deal more territory. Maguire attributed the CIA's underestimating of ISIL's threat to The Company's reduced presence in Iraq: "This is a glaring example of the erosion of our street craft and our tradecraft and our capability to operate in a hard place. The U.S. taxpayer is not getting their money's worth."
But that isn't the whole story. Another reason why the CIA was completely surprised by ISIL's advance was because the Obama Administration has so thoroughly deemphasized the jihad threat, and loudly and repeatedly proclaimed that al Qaeda was the only jihad group – and was, for its part, "on the ropes." ISIL, an offshoot of al Qaeda in a country where Obama was in a hurry to declare victory and get out was unlikely to be the focus of sustained or serious analysis.