NBC’s Mitchell Scolds Claim U.S. Lacked Intelligence on ISIS: ‘The White House Wasn’t Listening’

Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, had some surprisingly harsh words for the Obama Administration in the wake of the militant group ISIS holding thousands of religious minorities hostage near the northern Iraq city of Irbil. 

Speaking on Meet the Press on Sunday, August 10, Mitchell proclaimed that regarding Isis “there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening.” [See video below.]

The segment began with Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, Chief White House Correspondent and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, arguing that “I’ve been trying to figure out this man's doctrine now for six years. He doesn't have one. He ran basically with a wink and a nod that this was going to be a George H.W. Bush type of foreign policy, stability and diplomacy first.” 

After Todd did his best to explain away why Obama failed to establish a coherent foreign policy, Mitchell continued to chastise the White House: 

But right now he’s tactically, he’s being held hostage to endless negotiations to get Maliki out. And to decide that you’re not going to do anything until you have a government is to wait forever, and is to permit ISIS to do what it has done.

The host of Andrea Mitchell Reports continued to scold of the Obama Administration, this time for claiming it didn’t have adequate intelligence to stop ISIS' recent attack: 

And to say he that didn't have intelligence. This is not a hard target. This is Irbil. We have people there. The fact is, there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening. 

Mitchell’s sharp critique of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy was a pleasant surprise for an NBC reporter who usually does everything she can to provide cover for the White House. Hopefully this type of insight will make its way to her MSNBC program and provide some much needed balance to the "Lean Forward" network.   

See relevant transcript below. 


NBC 

Meet the Press 

August 10, 2014 

DAVID GREGORY: This president ideologically did not want to use more influence in Iraq. 

CHUCK TODD: This was not an administration that was not eager to tell Maliki, you don't want a strategic forces agreement? But your original question is what did we learn about the doctrine? And I think that I’ve been trying to figure out this man's doctrine now for six years. He doesn't have one. He ran basically with a wink and a nod that this was going to be a George H.W. Bush type of foreign policy, stability and diplomacy first. Okay? And yet he has been pulled in different directions. His instinct actually is very George W. Bush like, which is democracy, freedom. You know, he doesn’t want, no winners and losers.

So look at the way he had intervened early in the Arab spring and then he realized boy that was a mistake. I mean, it's almost like he pushes and pulls between the idea of democracy first versus stability first. And he goes back and forth and he’s messed around with democracy first in Egypt, didn't work, in Libya, didn't work. He admits it now. And now he’s trying for stability first. And I think in this case he’s struggling, he doesn’t have a doctrine. 

ANDREA MITCHELL: But right now he’s tactically, he’s being held hostage to endless negotiations to get Maliki out. And to decide that you’re not going to do anything until you have a government is to wait forever, and is to permit ISIS to do what it has done. And to say he that didn't have intelligence. This is not a hard target. This is Irbil. We have people there. The fact is, there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening. 

RICH LOWRY: But even if everyone with the best intentions prevails in Baghdad, they're going to still need massive help from the United States. And the fact is if you read the best reporting about what happened when we're negotiating with the Iraqis, whether we’d have a residual force, there was zero interest really in the administration in cutting that deal. And he bragged about how he ended the war because we had completely eliminated our involvement in Iraq and that’s turned out to be a disaster.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.