Pentagon: 'No direction' from White House to 'tone down' ISIS threat

The Pentagon denied Monday that there was any change in tone with regard to the Islamic State, after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the terror group was not a direct threat to the U.S.

Appearing on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said: "There's been no direction from the White House or anybody else to tone down the way we're speaking about ISIL, and I think we've all been very consistently talking about the very real and growing threat that ISIL poses."

On Sunday, Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters on board a military plane traveling to Afghanistan that he would not recommend airstrikes in Syria because he believes the group is not currently plotting or planning attacks against the U.S.

"There is an immediacy to the threat that they pose," Kirby responded. "I think the general feeling is they're not capable of a 9/11-like style attack on the homeland right now. They certainly could with the use of foreign fighters impact Western targets, including American targets, if so they choose."

"[Gen. Dempsey] went on to say that the approach to ISIL in Syria and around the region needs to be taken on a more multilateral approach, that airstrikes alone are not going to solve the threat that they pose, it's not going to completely eliminate the challenge that they represent. And I think we all agree with that."

Kirby also defended the U.S.' commitment to diminishing the Islamic State as top Republican lawmakers underscored the threat on the Sunday talk show circuit.

"There's a lot of energy being put into this," he said, noting that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are playing an important role. "We are very much directly challenging this threat that they pose."