White House spokesman Josh Earnest Monday hinted that President Barack Obama may order a series of airstrikes aimed at the Islamist army in northern Syria and Iraq, without congressional approval.
“The president has demonstrated a willingness on a number of occasions to take the action that is necessary … to protect Americans, and that is true without regard to international boundaries,” Earnest said.
Earnest declined to say the president would seek approval from Congress. “The president does remain committed to coordinating and consulting with Congress as he exercises his authority,” he said, adding that “he has an important role to play as commander in chief.”
He also stepped up warnings about the danger posed by the jihad army, dubbed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
People with Western passports have joined the jihadi army, he said. Those “radicalized individuals,” he said, “could return to the U.S. or other Western countries and carry out terrorist attacks.”
“We want to confront this threat before its gets worse,” he said. ISIL should not get the opportunity “to carry out a broader, violent more catastrophic attack” similar to al-Qaida’s jihad attack on Sept. 11, 2001, he said.
“There is no evidence of an active plot right now,” he said. “That said, we are well aware of the threat posed by ISIL,” he said.