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September 11th, 2014
06:40 PM ET

Sen. Ayotte: Obama understated threat of ISIS

(CNN) – In a speech laying out his strategy to defeat ISIS, President Obama acknowledged Wednesday that there is no specific plot against the homeland.

Some experts, like a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, say there is a danger that the threat of ISIS is being overblown. But Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, disagrees.

"I think actually the President understated the threat last night," Ayotte said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

The Republican senator laid out information she received during briefings with the homeland security committee, which estimates that more than 100 Americans have attempted to travel to Syria, and several have become become suicide bombers. Another concern is the thousands of Western passport holders – individuals who would not need visas to enter the U.S. – that have joined ISIS.

"What we know about Americans, we even know less about tracking all of those Western passport holders," said Ayotte.

"We need to have a deep concern about this group and (the) impact it could have on the homeland," she said.

After previously rejecting calls from top advisers to arm and train some of the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS, Obama said that he now seeks specific congressional approval to do so.

"We're always stronger when people weigh in on a bipartisan basis," Ayotte said. "And I do think that he's going to be better off if he gets the buy-in from Congress."

For more of our interview with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, check out the video above.

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