Captain reportedly freed, 3 pirates dead and one captured (updated)
Congratulations all around to the daring warriors who rescued Captain Richard Phillips and captured one of his captors alive.
Update: Reports are that Captain Phillips jumped overboard again. Fragmentary reports suggest sharpshooters may have opened fire allowing him the escape. It is still unclear if there was an actual rescue operation launched.
Further update: The head of Maersk just had a news conference in Norfolk, and stated that a rescue operation approved by President Obama was involved. This is a very encouraging sign, if true.
Further update: Admiral Gortney, speaking from Bahrain to reporters at the Pentagon, just stated that there were standing orders allowing the Captain of the Bainbridge to take action if he saw that Captain Phillips' life was in imminent danger. When one or more AK 47s were pointed at Capt. Phillips, the Bainbridge acted. The Admiral stated that the sharpshooters were on board the Bainbridge when they fired. The Bainbridge was 25-35 meters away from the lifeboat at the time. The Admiral just confirmed that Capt. Phillips was tied up at the time.
Further update: A brief but nevertheless thrilling account of the Navy Seals' rescue from Ann Scott Tyson of the WaPo. These men are true heroes.
It also seems clear that the personnel on the spot, especially the sharpshooters on the fantail of the Bainbridge and her captain too, deserve our deep gratitude. American Special Forces are simply superb human beings, superbly trained. American military doctrine generally allows the commander on the spot considerable discretion, and it is clear that in this case, the wisdom of that approach was confirmed.
I remain concerned that the captured terrorist will be treated as a criminal defendant, with all the rights of discovery and other secret-busting apparatus that make criminal action inappropriate for terror groups. We know that he will not be subjected to any interrogation techniques that make him seriously uncomfortable.
Phil Aver in an email raises the question of whether or not the captured Somali had his Miranda Rights read to him in a language he understands. If not, he probably walks.