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General Dempsey, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if and when he finds that the Islamic State is plotting direct attacks on the US homeland or Europe, then he will recommend that the US take military action against the group in Syria. He also said the group should be constrained and defeated in partnership with US allies in the region, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The US has carried out 96 airstrikes against the Islamic State so far in Iraq, 62 of which took place near Mosul Dam. The top ISAF commander said that over the past eight months, Coalition bases in Afghanistan have been consolidated from 85 down to 42, and that by early November fewer than 24 bases will still be operating, many of them housing special operations troops.
A top adviser to President Obama said the administration is considering its response to the Islamic State threat, will do "what is necessary" to protect Americans, and will not be "restricted by borders." Joint Chiefs Chair General Dempsey floated the idea of containment. Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that ISIS members are "rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major US city and people just can't believe that's happening." An Aug. 9 Twitter posting appears to show a downtown Chicago building on June 20 with the threat that ISIS soldiers "will pass from here soon." A US official said that more than 100 US citizens have tried to fight in Syria. A classified Pentagon assessment said that Iran is continuing its buildup of weapons near the Strait of Hormuz while toning down its military rhetoric. Dias Kadyrbayev, a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, pled guilty to hampering the investigation.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Islamic State cannot be defeated without striking its base in Syria. Secretary of Defense Hagel warned that the IS poses "an imminent threat" to US interests everywhere, not just in Iraq, and said it is "as sophisticated and well-funded as any group" the US has seen. The US continued to carry out airstrikes against the IS in Iraq. Hagel did not foreclose the possibility of airstrikes in Syria. The Government Accountability Office concluded that the Defense Department broke the law by exchanging five Taliban commanders in Guantanamo Bay for Pfc. Bowie Bergdahl without notifying Congress in advance. The US posted new rewards for five Haqqani Network leaders, and added a Taliban hawala along with its owner and a Taliban commander to the US terrorist lists.