Obama: US Has Momentum in ISIL Fight

Obama made a rare trip to CIA headquarters for the counter-ISIL briefing.

— -- President Barack Obama said the U.S. has the momentum in the fight against ISIL, even as it remains a complicated and difficult fight.

“Their barbarism only stiffens our unity and determination to wipe this vile terror organization off the face of the earth,” Obama said today while speaking at the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. “We have momentum and we intend to keep that momentum.”

The terror organization with footholds in Syria and Iraq is on the defensive, the president said, and it has not had a successful offensive operation in nearly a year.

“Every day ISIL leaders wake up and realize it could be their last,” Obama said as he listed targets that U.S.-led coalition forces have killed.

There have been 11,500 air strikes so far limiting the terror organization's movements, the president explained.

And while the focus largely remains on Iraq and Syria, the president said the coalition is now turning its attention to other locations as well, like Libya, where foreign fighters have begun to go to join ISIL when unable to get into Syria or Iraq.

“We are sending a message,” he said. “If you target Americans you have no safe haven. We will find you.”

Using the opportunity to remember the Boston Marathon bombing, which is nearing its three-year anniversary, the president said the city taught the nation “how to be strong, how to be resilient.”

“In the face of terrorists who try to spread panic, we have to refuse to give in to the fear. We have to stay true to our values of liberty and diversity and openness,” he said. “In the face of mad men who only know how to kill, we are going to keep living our lives and try to lift people up.... In other words, we carry on. Terrorists like ISIL and al-Qaeda, they can't destroy a great nation like the United States of America.”