Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell called the Islamic State’s rapidly growing strength and control of territory in Iraq and Syria “the most complex terrorism problem that I have ever seen.”
He said “there are no magic bullets” for dealing with the situation, but offered a potential strategy on Face the Nation. First, the United States must work towards taking the controlled territories in Iraq and Syria, which will require a political solution with the former’s government; doing so in Syria will likely be notably more difficult. Second, the Islamic State’s leaders must be taken off of the battlefield, by either capturing or killing them, he said.
Morell served as deputy director of the agency from 2010 to 2013 and served as acting director on two occasions in the Obama administration.