President Obama has conceded that the U.S. intelligence community "underestimated" ISIS and the conditions in the Middle East that allowed it to flourish. In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Obama was asked if ISIS's successful offensives in Iraq and Syria came as a "complete surprise" to him.
"Our head of the intelligence community, [Director of National Intelligence] Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had taken place in Syria," Obama responded.
"Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos," he added.
Obama has come under fire for in January dismissing nascent extremist groups, including ISIS, as akin to junior varsity teams.
The entire interview with CBS will air Sunday night.