Report: US could have rescued ISIS hostages last June

The Daily Beast is reporting that both British and American officials are at a loss to explain why President Obama didn't order a rescue mission last June for western hostages despute having excellent intelligence of where they were being held.

After nearly a month of delay, the president eventually ordered the rescue mission to go forward - on July 4. The date is suggestive that at least part of the delay was for political reasons.

But the main reason for not going forward with the mission was simply that White House didn't trust British intelligence.

British officials, as well as private security contractors, said they were frustrated by Washington’s hesitance to give the go-ahead for a rescue attempt, which eventually was carried out on July 4, 2014, by which time the hostages had been moved. The following month, ISIS began beheading its American and British prisoners in a series of grisly Internet videos.

Toward the end of May, the British government had identified two or three locations in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, where the militants had moved hostages during the previous weeks and months. But the British were not absolutely sure in which location the Westerners were held. The captives included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well aid worker Kayla Mueller. The information—based on debriefings of European captives who had been released, satellite and drone surveillance, and electronic eavesdropping—was not definitive in May.

Then, in early June, London had a “positive identification and that information was shared with Washington,” said a British source. The delay of nearly a month before the rescue bid was mounted remains a source of bewilderment for British officials.

But a U.S. official said that inside the White House, Obama’s senior national security advisers were not willing to base a raid on intelligence developed by a foreign service. “The issue was that they didn’t trust it, and they wanted to develop and mature the intelligence, because it wasn’t our own,” said the U.S. official, who asked to remain anonymous when discussing sensitive hostage rescue efforts.

“They got the information. They just didn’t trust it. And they did sit on it, there’s no doubt about that,” the official said.

Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council Spokesperson, told The Daily Beast: “U.S. forces conducted this [rescue] operation as soon as the President and his national security team were confident the mission could be carried out successfully and consistent with our policies for undertaking such operations.”

We don't have all the facts and the White House may have had a good reason not to trust the intel. Also, if the Brits were so certain of the reliability of the intelligence, why didn't they carry out their own rescue mission? The British SAS (Special Air Service) are as capable special operators as any in the world.

In this case, it appears that President Obama's hesitation may have resulted in a lost opportunity to rescue American hostages. There's no guarantee they wouldn't have been killed in a rescue attempt. But they had a better chance for life with a rescue than hoping for leniency from ISIS butchers.

The Daily Beast is reporting that both British and American officials are at a loss to explain why President Obama didn't order a rescue mission last June for western hostages despute having excellent intelligence of where they were being held.

After nearly a month of delay, the president eventually ordered the rescue mission to go forward - on July 4. The date is suggestive that at least part of the delay was for political reasons.

But the main reason for not going forward with the mission was simply that White House didn't trust British intelligence.

British officials, as well as private security contractors, said they were frustrated by Washington’s hesitance to give the go-ahead for a rescue attempt, which eventually was carried out on July 4, 2014, by which time the hostages had been moved. The following month, ISIS began beheading its American and British prisoners in a series of grisly Internet videos.

Toward the end of May, the British government had identified two or three locations in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, where the militants had moved hostages during the previous weeks and months. But the British were not absolutely sure in which location the Westerners were held. The captives included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well aid worker Kayla Mueller. The information—based on debriefings of European captives who had been released, satellite and drone surveillance, and electronic eavesdropping—was not definitive in May.

Then, in early June, London had a “positive identification and that information was shared with Washington,” said a British source. The delay of nearly a month before the rescue bid was mounted remains a source of bewilderment for British officials.

But a U.S. official said that inside the White House, Obama’s senior national security advisers were not willing to base a raid on intelligence developed by a foreign service. “The issue was that they didn’t trust it, and they wanted to develop and mature the intelligence, because it wasn’t our own,” said the U.S. official, who asked to remain anonymous when discussing sensitive hostage rescue efforts.

“They got the information. They just didn’t trust it. And they did sit on it, there’s no doubt about that,” the official said.

Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council Spokesperson, told The Daily Beast: “U.S. forces conducted this [rescue] operation as soon as the President and his national security team were confident the mission could be carried out successfully and consistent with our policies for undertaking such operations.”

We don't have all the facts and the White House may have had a good reason not to trust the intel. Also, if the Brits were so certain of the reliability of the intelligence, why didn't they carry out their own rescue mission? The British SAS (Special Air Service) are as capable special operators as any in the world.

In this case, it appears that President Obama's hesitation may have resulted in a lost opportunity to rescue American hostages. There's no guarantee they wouldn't have been killed in a rescue attempt. But they had a better chance for life with a rescue than hoping for leniency from ISIS butchers.