NBC Reporter: 'Ridiculous' That Obama Has No Strategy to Fight ISIS; Military Officials 'Apoplectic'

Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped into President Obama having no strategy to combat ISIS terrorists: "This has been going on for over three years. The buildup of ISIS has not been rapid, it has been quite slow. It has been quite well-documented....I met an ISIS fighter and I broadcast it on Nightly News....So that we have no strategy to deal with ISIS is quite – is quite ridiculous at this stage."

That followed Engel revealing on Sunday's Meet the Press that military officials "are apoplectic" over the President's failure to act on the crisis. "They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria," he added. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Engel told Andrea Mitchell, who was also filling in as Meet the Press moderator on Sunday, "The build-up of ISIS in Iraq and Syria was incredibly predictable....Yet, nothing seemed to have been done. And now we have a very serious situation."


Here are transcripts of Engel's remarks from August 31 and September 3:

Meet the Press
10:39 AM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And for more now on the ISIS threat. I'm joined by our chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, who has really been studying ISIS for quite some time in the field. And Richard, what about the President's reluctance to take the fight against ISIS to Syria?

RICHARD ENGEL: Well, I speak to military commanders. I speak to former officials. And they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria.

(...)

The build-up of ISIS in Iraq and Syria was incredibly predictable, Andrea. We've reported about it. Reporters risked their lives going into Syria to talk about this buildup of extremists in the country. Yet, nothing seemed to have been done. And now we have a very serious situation.

MITCHELL: Indeed. Thank you so much, Richard Engel.


Andrea Mitchell Reports
12:06 PM ET

(...)

RICHARD ENGEL: President Obama says he has no strategy yet for Syria. This has been going on for over three years. The buildup of ISIS has not been rapid, it has been quite slow. It has been quite well-documented. We have done many reports about ISIS fighters going in. Here in Antakya [Turkey], I met an ISIS fighter and I broadcast it on Nightly News, which has millions and millions of viewers, and he said he was on his way into Syria to fight. And other news organizations did the exact same thing. So that we have no strategy to deal with ISIS is quite – is quite ridiculous at this stage.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC