Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told troops at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in southeastern Georgia on Wednesday that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses an “imminent threat” to the United States.
The facility secures some of the Pentagon’s Ohio-class, nuclear-capable submarines.
“Make no mistake, and this country should not make any mistake on this, nor anyone in Congress — ISIL may not appear to be an imminent threat to the United States. It is a threat to the United States. It is a threat, a clear threat to our partners in that area, and it is imminent,” Mr. Hagel said just one day after giving members of Congress classified testimony on Iraq and Afghanistan, the national security website Defense One reported Thursday.
The Sunni terrorist group, which now calls itself Islamic State, controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi cities of Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi are under its control.
Earlier in the week, a letter from Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that chemical weapons stored in Iraq’s Muthanna facility north of Baghdad had been stolen by ISIL in June.
“The Government of Iraq requests the States Members of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,” Mr. Ali Alhakim wrote.