White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest credited President Barack Obama‘s “early investment in our military and our intelligence” that put the French “in a position to carry out this kind of response” to last week’s Paris attacks.
Earnest spoke Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.
“The United States and France has been for some time working to deepen our military and intelligence cooperation when it comes to Syria,” Earnest said. “And we have done that and we followed through on that.
“And it is because of that cooperation and because of the kind of logistical support that only the United States can provide, that France is actually even in a position to ramp up the strikes that they took,” he said. “So we’re seeing the fruits of (President Obama’s) early investment based on the France carrying out these actions.”
For example, also Wednesday, police raided a suburban Paris apartment where they believed the suspected mastermind of last week’s attacks was holed up. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks.
Wednesday’s operation ended with two deaths and seven arrests but no clear information on the fugitive’s fate. The dead included a woman who blew herself up with an explosive vest and a man hit by projectiles and grenades at the end of a seven-hour siege in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
“I think what is also true, what you’ve also seen, is the United States use all of our law enforcement and intelligence resources to assist the French as they carry out their investigation and even conduct some of the law enforcement activities that they’ve been engaged in,” Earnest said.
“So we are committed to being sure that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally as they confront this threat on their own soil,” he said. “There should be no denying the fact that the only reason that the French are in a position to carry out this kind of response is because of the early investment in our military and our intelligence that the President ordered more than a year ago.”
But former FBI special agent Clint van Zandt told U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday that France’s heavy response doesn’t necessarily mean Islamic State won’t try to attack within the United States.
” … I think it’s a logical escalation for them to do,” van Zandt told the magazine. “If one wants to expand their base of recruits, one of the ways you do it is showing success.”
The video can be watched here: http://on.msnbc.com/1PzKOFr
The Associated Press contributed to this report.