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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 26th, 2014
04:50 PM ET

Sen. Johnson calls for more U.S. military action in Iraq

(CNN) – Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, says he would be willing to send U.S. troops back to Iraq.

"I would be happy to send American military personnel into the Kurdistan region so we can help stabilize that," Johnson said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Pressed whether he would be in favor of sending combat troops in to defend Baghdad, Johnson said he wasn't sure, saying "I don't know what plan can (stabilize Baghdad) at this point in time."

"I absolutely support sending troops to protect Americans and evacuate them if it comes to that," said Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.

Echoing Republican colleagues, Johnson said the Iraq crisis is a direct result of the Obama administration did not negotiate a status of forces agreement to keep troops in Iraq after 2011.

Intelligence officials say they are concerned about how Americans are now fighting now for ISIS, estimating 50-60 in Syria. Some may have crossed the border into Iraq.

There is growing fear that they will return home to carry out acts of terrorism, and is emblematic of the "geopolitical disaster that is currently now Iraq," says Johnson.

"We realize that al Qaeda is not on the run. It has metastasized, it is gaining strength, it represents a real threat to our national security," said Johnson.

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