Secretary of Defense: ISIS "Clearly Poses a Long-Term Threat"

U.S. launches more airstrikes into Iraq as Chuck Hagel warns the terrorist group will exchange more offenses.
31:13 | 08/21/14

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Transcript for Secretary of Defense: ISIS "Clearly Poses a Long-Term Threat"
More air strikes in Iraq the US targeting I says even after threats against the second American journalist held captive. Hello everyone I'm Mary Bruce in Washington. The US launched six more airstrikes today. All around the strategic Mosul dam targeting artillery weapons of the group known as -- says and -- now calls itself the Islamic state. These airstrikes though aren't the first time the US military is engaged with the extremist group. We now know -- US special forces attempted a rescue mission for the American journalists held captive by -- crisis in Syria. Special forces members engaged in a firefight with ice is militants. But the hostages weren't there. Right now secretary of defense chuck -- and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff general Martin Dempsey are speaking at the Pentagon that's listening to him just. A rescue with a number of American hostages held in Syria. Including. We all regret that mission did not see. But I enterprise. Where the US forces -- participated. And the United States will not let our efforts to bring our citizens home. Her captors just. -- boy and murder was another tragedy demonstration -- -- -- -- -- very ideology. Lives. I -- militants continue to massacre -- -- innocent people. And persecutor rocks and each year and creation -- Spirited nature of this threat. President -- direction. And request of the Iraqi Government. US military has provided assistance to Iraqi Security Forces. In order to protect US personnel and facilities. And -- Iraq's efforts to -- ISI -- -- in addition to providing humanitarian assistance. American airstrikes. And American arms and -- Help Iraqi Kurdish forces more tires -- -- -- -- -- -- American diplomats and troops -- working. And help the Iraqis. Retake. And hold. Them. -- of the dam and threaten the lives of thousands of Iraqis. Americans and our position and and prevented the Iraqi Government. Writing critical services. It's it is curious case led an international effort to address the management and crisis and informed. -- -- here. As there continues to -- Huge ranch area needs. In Iraq. US appreciate the partnership of the United Kingdom. Canada France Italy and Australia. And the United Nations and help -- provide relief. I expect more nations step forward -- Overall -- operations soul yes I -- moment I don't. And enable Iraqi Kurdish forces to regain its footing and take. As Iraqi Kurdish forces continue to take the initiative states will continue to support. But addressing the threat posed by actual future Iraq requires political reform. It's peaceful transition of power last week was import. And the United States will continue urging Iraq's new prime minister to establish an inclusive government. Responsive to the needs of all Iraq's -- The united Iraq will be a more secure prosperous Iraq. Political reform make it harder for -- group's board secretary. The United States and the international community will increase support -- Political. The president chairman and I are all very clear -- The challenges ahead. We are pursuing a long term strategy here is special because. I so clearly poses more threat. We should respect I -- -- -- group. And station to -- -- And US military's involvement is no. President Obama's reversal. Our objectives remain clear. In -- To protect the American citizens and facilities. Provide assistance to Iraqi forces as they could not actual. Enjoyment international partners to address the manager -- I'll ask -- gives you what is coming. Secretary. -- -- -- -- -- -- to Vietnam. Today I have my counterpart -- visiting. And I was quite remarkable today in Vietnam forty years after. Our departure from you know. To discuss opportunities -- Building on our historical investment and incredible sacrifices of those -- -- My competitors in the region reinforces a virtual economy rebounds in the Asia Pacific. Even as the military -- general and other parts of the world. The effect on Sunday that part for a -- Which brings me to Iraq under the commander general. Our efforts in Iraq have included she -- seven humanitarian airdrop missions delivering 636. Bundles of food. Much. More than sixty intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance -- -- each day. And then she -- 89 targeted airstrikes conducted by United States -- and the United States navy aircraft. These are -- -- protecting US persons and facilities. And help prevent humanitarian crisis. And Iraq's political future shape and I emphasize that. -- stability. Will depend. Interior credible partner in the new Iraqi Government. That must commit to doing my conclusion -- all of us. And just. I'd be happy. Stalled recently. Than -- expected to regroup. My question is. Is. What nor authorized -- Where it started there. And that you described. Human -- Iraqis or whether -- Their -- in Iraq but. 2 the sanctuary. Eastern Syria. What is the strategy that's not to go that route -- You know inside Syria when when -- -- Well -- Going back to hear more about my statement on -- our objectives are objectives. Restated. -- statement. I would also say in addition to that that. The president had a camera is and if we continue to. Explore all options. -- high school and how best weekend assist. Persons in -- area. At least. You are. I guess I salute you all -- -- president's. -- last. -- story fire. And -- terrorism. It was 500 million dollars is there to assist of our position so. That's what we're looking this -- -- doing. We'll continue to stay focused. What we're doing -- and exportable. All. For -- true they're right. -- -- if we're looking at all these. What -- you have voted that you specifically. To rescue mission. You -- talked extensively over the years about protecting classified information. We're told that it is published articles -- could -- -- feel good because -- Why specifically did prove that these forbidden. He had to. It acknowledged -- details classified information. Missions. Hostage rescue when there are still America. There are you. And was -- -- intelligence. Business but did you it was a better idea to do it knowing their finger. Letterman and I -- two. Acknowledge the classified mission for hostage rescue will -- and. Most certainly. There were a number of news -- That were aware. The action. -- there were a and it was a decision. Made. By the administration which we incurred. Two. Address. The nation. Recognizing. Everything excuse is always -- there continues to do this. -- and every action or inaction. -- Also. The administration. And inform the families. Passengers. Of this. So it was the decision and it was unanimous that we should in fact. Acknowledge. This effort without going in his specifics. Which -- you know. -- -- not as here -- Affairs intelligence no. The fact -- as you all know intelligence doesn't come. -- Huge revolt. It is a mosaic of many pictures. Of many factors. The enemy always say. The fact is it happened. Always work that reality. To leading decision you've made but -- join an underlying objective. Must do do everything we could as the president says. To rescue these hostages. Knowing that there -- fires were in danger. In -- His responsibility. Our government and our leaders to do all we can. To take action when we believe there might be a good possibility of good chance that. Student -- make -- rescue effort successful this operation by the way. Wasn't flawless operation. The hostages were not there so. We will do everything we need to do that you people would expect from us to continue. Do. Do everything we can't do -- are hostages back. Defendant. Plants is located -- -- good. Good -- here with him. The -- -- provide goods and those are good. Who is rendered in response to your question was -- -- sources and -- you're not revealed that. It would -- policies you don't know whether to release information -- -- it. As to whether it was a challenge right I agree completely -- with the secretary pension issues executed flawlessly after. A significant period preparation planning and rehearsal. And the it turned out that hostages. I do. Political progress there is talk a little bit more of the long term strategy against license. -- -- John -- that they will be crushed. The president -- cancer. If that's the case what are -- your personal narrowly focused limited. Why -- -- biting questions. To curse seemed to rhetoric. Doesn't manage US efforts. Well for the moment are providing a tremendous. Military assistance to do -- -- -- a true the Iraqi Security Forces. He has one country. We view accelerated manner all along we have an accelerated. All -- Classmate. 40. Lead agency we continue. -- -- The comments made by -- -- carrier and president. Percent of valuation Weisel. Presidents just just. Very curious the it is -- -- -- Not only -- -- com. Their hands airstrikes. One thing you noted and -- My comments here. Press conference was an inclusive government. In Iraq is essential. -- -- Iraq. United States and all international uproar from. -- aren't you also have to deal with -- -- military. Canady actions surcharge. But it it's a bigger than this group of military operations. -- Oh efforts as we. -- did the president strategy. Are specifically targeted just as president. Of the reasons -- we -- working with the international order. Those who Harrisburg. And we are doing everything we -- would then confines. And -- -- assists and recognizes -- Did you want I shall there. In the Middle East and also recognizing that isn't for a just as we've all follow. Also advertisement isn't -- -- as a result of air strikes. Strategically. There are limits to how much cheaper coverage with airstrikes tactically you can accomplish. A significant amount I think we've seen mentioned in in my comments here so this. All of activity. Should. Your children who grow into the furnace -- they have received heavy weapons that they want in your -- -- The tests were assured that equipment repairs yes center. -- huge. -- answers plus just. Score. Report could offer from the government of Iraq which incidentally is not a big -- and as a significant. The possibility. -- interactive future and and we are providing immunity to those that were conducting sessions and operations centers have continued to borrow the isn't just about it. Do you believe that. Prices can be. You were destroyed without addressing the -- that from Syria is it possible. Tony -- from here. And separation -- It is possible content to contain and I think and soon. That their momentum was disruptive and that's not to be discounted by the way because. It was a momentum itself. 282. I'm doing to you. Encouraged the Sunni population of computers and Iraq and new products. -- except their brutal tactics and and their presence among them. So you ask. Yes -- they can be contained not. In perpetuity in this this is an organization that has an apocalyptic end of the -- is strategic vision. And which will eventually have to be defeated to your question can -- be defeated without -- dressing. That part of their organization which resides in Syria and answers no way that will have to be addressed done. Both sides of what is essentially at this point or nonexistent border. And that will come when we have a coalition. In the region that takes on the task. Defeating. His science overtime -- -- -- only truly be defeated when it's rejected. Five twenty million disenfranchised -- that happen to resign between Damascus and Baghdad. It requires a variety of instruments only one small part of which is airstrikes I'm not predicting those who -- Syria. At least not by the United States of America but. It requires the application of all of the tools of national power diplomatic economic. Information military. -- I -- quote -- interior. My question is for what to do so Sherman's script. Please give any information that that is pending. Litigation between -- Assad regime. And -- still. -- -- no BS that the regime has been striking guys. For the last few months. Do you see yourself and the second base with the -- would be -- -- him. And do you still believe that -- that is part of the problem for you might become corporate -- -- -- solution that he. Well if he's. Society is very much of central part of the problem. And I think it's well documented -- When you have the -- And dictator. -- ship of aside and what he. Has done -- his own country which. Perpetuated. -- much. What his is happening -- has been happening in Syria so he's part of the problem as to and is is much of part of it is probably the central core of it. As to your question regarding. -- -- -- -- yes there are fighting each other. As well as other. -- Terrorist groups. Very sophisticated terrorist groups. -- and in Syria. He is absolutely part of the problem. -- Within just the stars of mission -- of Iraq going beyond helping humanitarian beyond protecting Americans to directly. Going after -- -- whether through eyes of Iraqis are not. Does the Pentagon leader has the authority and talked to the General Counsel. What you're doing now what do you need any kind of additional or different type of authority going for what you might. Who will start with. The president's been very clear. -- -- mission -- and he's in. Made -- to very clear that. He will not allow that. This is why he's been very clear on what our mission is. We comply with a war powers act. And in foreign congress on how many people we have. Of course we consult with. Our council. -- all the time on do we have the domestic authority do we of the international authority. On all actions. As we do want everything. We do but. Again I refer you back to the president's comments on mission creep this is this is not about mission -- Morning. Risky to prepare to talk directly to the American public. Is the American -- the American public -- -- -- -- long hard slog. Against crisis. Mr. secretary July impediments in imminent threat citing George Bush when he was -- new York road to a world war in Iraq. Called Saddam Hussein -- ministry called -- gathering. Mr. general Dempsey talk about fifteen -- -- over time should the public. Start getting prepared for another long hard slog like secretary Rumsfeld talked about fighting al-Qaeda. And the fight to -- -- -- -- -- to -- the comment about an imminent threat I think give evidence is pretty clear. When we look at what they did to mr. Foley. What they threaten to do. To all Americans. And Europeans. What they're doing now. The I don't know any other way to describe -- -- barbaric. That they have no standard. Of decency. Of responsible human behavior and I think -- that the -- -- pretty clear on that. So yes they are an imminent threat to every interest we have whether it's Iraq or any anywhere else. You've heard me speak I think about the fact that. We've gone from -- a narrow focus -- al-Qaeda to the recognition that. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring in these disenfranchised. Populations that I described -- lack of governance and sanctuary. Failed states. Declining nationalism you've heard me talk about all that. That we actually have groups that now kind of are loosely connected in some cases affiliated. That run from. Afghanistan and across the Arabian Peninsula. -- to Yemen to the Horn of Africa. And into north and West Africa. So in general the the conflict against those groups. -- -- which are local. Some of which are regional and some of which are global in nature that's going to be a very long contest. Its ideological. It's not political. It's religious in many cases so yes it's going to be -- very long contest but when -- asked me if the American people should steel themselves. For this long conflict there -- there will be required. Participation in the in the United States to American particular leadership role. To build coalitions. To provide bit unique capabilities that we provide -- not necessarily all the capabilities. To work through this thing using three different military tools one is. Direct action there will be cases where we are personally threatened US persons -- -- threatened. That we will use direct action if told to use direct action for other purposes will be will be prepared to do so and then ask. The second one is building partner capacity and that's it that's really where this has to -- we've got to have them. And take ownership of this because frankly if if we -- and they're not going to be -- interest to them. And then the last -- of course is. Enabling which is to say enabling our partners which is what you see us doing somewhat now in Iraq with both the Iraqi Security Forces and the -- murder. And I think you'll see that enabling function used as well. -- stories -- How you're talking about this threat. And in a war weary America and I think most Americans are asking well what is stuff -- threat. To us here at all could even review described -- terrorist threat. That I still represents to Americans. And and should Americans again development -- Should they prefer -- be prepared for a perpetual. War on terror. We'll all -- first Manhattan. Marty can respond. As well. Jim. What happened in this country -- my eleventh. 2001. When you asked a question about shouldn't Americans see this as any kind of a threat imminent threat or what's that what's the issue this is an Iraq. I doubt if there were many people that would have thought there was much of -- public throughout the day before nine elevenths. Now. That happened a few years ago this this country is far better prepared today in every way for this. Terrorism is not new to the world. -- sophistication. Of terrorism. And -- The general was talking about married now with resource is now. Presents a whole new dynamic and NN new new paradigm of threats to this country -- sophistication. Technology. Money resource is all that is different. And we can't. Asked a question. Of ourselves as leaders who have responsibilities security of this country and well isn't that big deal that I mean they're far away. That we are luxury every day the intelligence community of this country in the leaders regardless of who the administration -- -- Or whose sector defenses through the chairman. Deals with this every day. That we don't want to face that. Again ever 9/11 or any part of so so we have to look at this -- From the reality of what's out there. But also what could be out there and what could be coming and is this a long term through insurance a long term threat is in the calculation -- the -- presents. 8911. -- little threat to the United States. Jim I saw. Is a sophisticated. And well funded. As any a group that we have seen. That they're beyond just a terrorist group. They -- ideology. A sophistication of of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. -- this is beyond anything that would that we -- so we must from. Prepare for for everything and they are -- way you do that is you -- cold steely hard look at it. And and and get ready. Well you'll see the immediacy is and they. The number the Europeans and other nationalities who have. Come to the region. To become part of that ideology and those those folks -- go home at some point. It's why I have conversations with my -- -- -- about their southern flank of NATO which I think is actually more threatened in the near term and we are. -- nevertheless. Because of open borders and and an immigration issues. It's an it's an immediate threat that is to say the Foo Fighters who may leave. The current frightened and -- home. Longer term it's about bicycles vision which includes -- actually call isolated area are at high society SAS because it's easier for -- remember. That their longterm vision is the Islamic State of Iraq cannot shaman -- -- includes Lebanon -- current State of Israel -- Iraq Syria. And Kuwait. If you achieve that vision that would fundamentally Alter the face of the Middle East and create. -- security environment that would certainly threaten us and monuments. And I. The president can you all talk about. Right now it's Iraq's responsibility. To take control of your own country but isn't the US already at war. With prices. You -- enemy. Glad to oil in the general I would like guys who would answer that question in -- -- -- and that -- declaration were as it is a policy decision not a military decision. Advisor estimate on how much these operations in Iraq -- far. And considering -- that I system -- Long term threaten -- for organizing a long term strategy might needs appreciate your point fifteen budget to accommodate. Maybe. Well did depending first -- -- go back to the local. Reference and I mention. That we've already passed the congress. -- a separate fund to counterterrorism funds for five billion dollars. Half a billion of that specifically for. The -- Syrian opposition -- yes sweetie you're you're constantly shaping. The budget. Surely resources match the mission and the mission and the resources match the threat and it is -- it isn't. -- -- Processed it -- here is void of the dynamics of the changing shifting world. And requiring resources as you -- those resources and to your strategy. To assure that. You can carry out that that strategy so yes you're shifting all the time on what you think you're going to be required means we've had a to move assets. Over the last couple months obviously to accomplish what we've accomplished here in Iraq. That cost money. That takes certain monies out of certain funds so it's it's a constant. Fluid process as you as you plan for these -- listen. Yeah I -- You know this the adaptations -- And secretary Chuck Hagel and general Martin Dempsey offering an update on that attempted mission to rescue the American journalist held captive by -- -- And as you heard pushing back against criticism that the US has not done enough. To counter this growing threat. And you can keep watching this live -- right here on abcnews.com. For now I'm Mary Bruce in Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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