U.S. Official: U.S. Was Surprised By Collapse Of Yemen Govt

These kind of situations are almost always more complex than how they are portrayed. Intelligence and others can warn when they see things diverging from what the Administration wants and desires; but, intelligence cannot adequately warn when decision-makers and policy makers are so wedded to a policy and outcome — that their views of what the intelligence is really vs. what they intensely desire the outcome to be — are diverging. A White House that labels the Benghazi attack as an anti-Ilsam video, Ft. Hood — until very recently — workplace violence; and, their refusal to clearly identify who the adversary is — militant Islam — is where the real issue lies. RCP, Fortunas Corner

U.S. Official: U.S. Was Surprised By Collapse Of Yemen Govt

Feb. 12, 2015 4:17 PM EST
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Mideast Yemen

Supporters of Houthi Shiites wave traditional daggers and dance as they celebrate the fourth… Read more
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration’s senior counterterrorism official acknowledged Thursday that U.S. intelligence was surprised by the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Yemen.

Nick Rasmussen, who directs the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate intelligence committee that Yemen’s American-funded army failed to oppose advancing Houthi rebels in the same way the U.S.-supported Iraqi military refused to fight Islamic State militants last year.

What happened in Iraq with the onslaught of the Islamic State group “happened in Yemen” on “a somewhat smaller scale,” he said. “As the Houthi advances toward Sanaa took place … they weren’t opposed in many places. …The situation deteriorated far more rapidly than we expected.”

Rasmussen made the admission under questioning by Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican who noted that President Barack Obama recently touted Yemen as a success. Now, it’s a “total disaster,” Blunt said.

In response to other questioning, Rasmussen also noted that extremists in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt and Algeria had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, suggesting a growing influence of that al-Qaida rival.

The Islamic State group is now the dominant extremist group in the Libyan cities of Derna and Benghazi, where a 2012 attack killed four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, he said.

“We’ve seen in recent months ISIL has looked to expand its reach in a number of places,” Rasmussen said.

He acknowledged that efforts against al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, considered one of the most dangerous to Americans, had been significantly diminished by the collapse of the government and this week’s evacuation of the U.S. Embassy.

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