Sharyl Attkisson: It turns out the Arab spring movement created an environment for terrorism to grow and thrive. Steve Emerson is one of the worlds leading experts on radical Islamic terrorist groups. He leads the nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism but first let's listen to what president Obama said earlier this week about ISIS.
President Obama video clip: I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contain them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria they'll come in they'll leave but you don't see the systematic march by ISIL across the terrain.
Attkisson: What's your response to President Obama's comment?
Steve Emerson: I'm pretty shocked because last year he called it the JV squad. To call it contained... our intelligence on on the ground is so poor we have no idea about the number of fighters that are coming in from Europe every month nor do we know about the number of fighters that are coming in from Lebanon. And as far as being contained the territory shifts literally every week. So if he is saying contained maybe it's contained for that one moment. And frankly the notion that it's contained suggests that it's contained politically around the world and as we see in France it's not contained.
Attkisson: You've spoken to a lot of insiders in the government and also FBI agents what are they telling you about everything now?
Emerson: Well first of all I think off the record, well on background, FBI agents who want to retain their jobs are expressing exasperation at the fact that they do not have a handle and do not believe that headquarters has a handle or this administration has a handle on ISIS.
Attkisson: Administration officials - one of them told me three years ago on background that this sort of Islamic extremist terrorism was coming, obviously it was in the Middle East, coming to Africa, then they said Europe was next and then the U.S. Why was that so predictable and why have we seemed so utterly unable to do anything about it?
Emerson: Listen, history repeats itself. If you look at what happened in the 1990s you saw the bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center, it receded, then you saw the bombing of the USS Cole, you saw the bombings of the embassies in 1998 and then you saw the bombing of the World Trade Center. You saw the same pattern. It came back to us. They revisit the scene of the crime. We're going to see it again. The fact that they succeeded – eight guys with seven hand grenades, six Kalashnikovs have been able to paralyze an entire country with the third largest powerful military in the world what do you think that tells them? That tells them that they can do almost anything.
Attkisson: Steve Emerson thank you so much.