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Bridget Johnson

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August 20, 2014 - 4:01 pm

The White House said that it attempted to rescue U.S. hostages held by ISIS, including James Foley, who was beheaded in a video distributed by the terror group yesterday.

“Earlier this summer the president authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria,” Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “The president authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody.”

“The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Monaco said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

She added that “given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation.”

“But the president could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission and the dedicated intelligence and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that  the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

Foley’s news outlet, the Global Post, received an email a week ago from ISIS stating their intentions to execute the photojournalist.

“We received an email from the captors on Wednesday night of last week stating their intention to execute Jim,” Philip Balboni, president of the online news service, told a Boston Fox affiliate.

“The email was full of rage. We pleaded (to his captors) for mercy, but to no avail,” he added.

The White House knew of the email. It released the statement about the attempted rescue op hours after the news that ISIS gave warning of Foley’s execution.

In a Pentagon statement, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the operation “involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL.”

“As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harms’ way to try and bring our citizens home,” Kirby said.

“The United States government uses the full breadth of our military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

It has not been revealed exactly how many Western hostages are being held by ISIS, including journalists and aid workers.

At the end of the gruesome video of Foley’s murder, his executioner held journalist Steve Sotloff by the shirt and threatened to kill him next if Obama didn’t stop airstrikes against the caliphate.

At the State Department today, spokeswoman Marie Harf said they ”remain very deeply concerned” about Sotloff’s “safety and whereabouts.”

“Obviously, the intelligence community is looking to get anything they can to possibly use from this video,” Harf said. “Obviously I’m not going to outline what tactical military or intelligence options are at our disposal to respond here and don’t want to get ahead of any discussions in that regard. But we have the ability to hold people accountable for what they’ve done. We have reserved the right to take action to protect our people, including when our people have been harmed. The principle will guide what we do going forward.”

The U.S. military conducted an additional 14 strikes around Mosul dam today, she said.

When asked if any sort of rescue operation was in the works to get Sotloff, Harf replied, “I’m not ruling anything in or out specifically. I don’t — I’m not going to have more specifics to share with you right now on that.”

“But I just want to be very clear that we — no effort is spared in trying to bring our people home. While we can’t always talk about it publicly for obvious security and safety reasons of the remaining people being held, I just want to make very clear that we are taking and will continue taking steps.”

Foley’s parents appeared outside of their Rochester, N.H., home today to speak of their son — and the cruelty of his death.

“It’s horrific,” said John Foley. “People can die in lots of different ways but this was the most horrific and it haunts me how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is.”

His parents learned of their son’s beheading at the same time everyone else did — when ISIS posted the video on YouTube and distributed the link widely on social media.

“It testified to his courage. He was courageous to the end and I think he accepted his situation and I think he accepted God’s faith in him and his faith in God,” John Foley said.

James Foley’s mother, Diane, stressed that her son was ”a great American and he believed in the very best of this country.”

She said they pleaded with Obama to rescue Sotloff, and she asked people to pray for the president.

“How long are we going to tolerate this?” John Foley said of the terrorists’ crimes.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
government by 14 year olds.

Not because they attempted a rescue mission (if you even believe their story), but because they would reveal it in order to make people think they care after the gruesome beheading by the terrorists they fertilized.

Everything this crew does is embarrassing and disgusting, and much of it is criminal. And it just gets worse and worse.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
It must have been so secret that even ISIS didn't realize it was happening. If they'd repelled a military rescue op, they'd be bragging about it 24/7.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think this is nothing but a pack of lies.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (45)
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The administration is playing the CYA game again. What's their next move? Another passion-less speech by President Nero? What he told us yesterday, just before he went to the golf course, was a lot of background about ISIS that a lot of us already knew. He sounded pissed that he had to meet the family of the slain journalist and make the speech, knowing his golf game was interrupted by these terrorists and the terrible event. I play golf and enjoy it a lot, but I would never ever think of going golfing after having met that family and making the speech.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just like Carter and the Embassy hostages in Iran.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it would have been better if they hadn't told Qatar what they were planning on doing. Seems they are IS's biggest supporter (besides the US).
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

I had to read the article again and check the calendar to be sure it wasn't April 1st. Yet another failed children's crusade. Next a nasty letter or a tweet campaign. That will show them who's boss.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have obtained the mission's secret protocol through my super-secret sources at Cafe Aroma on Dizengoff St. in Tel Aviv. Meny the manager, a former Duvdevan commander turned pastry chef extraordinaire, clued me in based on his conversation with a former Seal or Sea Lion:

"We landed in Beirut. It was a moonless night. The promenade was resplendent as usual. Quietly, we snuck into the restaurant Le Sniffles on Rue de Liban, ordered escargot and Bordeaux red. Before the manager could alert Nasrallah's forces, we exited, slightly tipsy, and boarded the rubber-hulled dinghy's that returned us safely to the mother ship."

(Meny, though, has been known to dissemble...)
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Foley’s parents appeared outside of their Rochester, N.H., home today to speak of their son — and the cruelty of his death."

Optics.

https://twitter.com/jonathanwald/status/502293794533167104/photo/1
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe this crapola like I believe a masked aspergers syndrome afflicted 112 lb, 6' tall, 20 y.o. recluse w/ no known gun experience and nobody has seen for at least 3 yrs. shot his way through security doors/windows/cameras (using a 223 cal. rifle) wearing/carrying around 1/3 his body wt. in guns/ammo/body armor. he then supposedly fired like a professional shooter killing 6 adults and 20 children in around 5 minutes before blowing his head off w/ a 10 mm. pistol. see sandy hook school.

not to be outdone the police declared everybody dead w/in 8 mins. w/o any doctors present (as required by law) and refused to order any emergency air rescue, or even allow rescue ambulances anywhere near the school.
then they refused to allow the grieving parents to ever see the bodies of their children again, to 'control the situation', says the whacky coroner.

there are no pix of the shooter even though a new security system was in place. the school was heavily contaminated w/ asbestos, pcb's and had lead (paint) contamination so bad even the soil was contaminated. some portions of the school were absolutely filthy/grimy, and some parts spotless. the computer room was from another era, and the toilets, sinks, etc. were way higher than could be used by k1-4 small children. this is a very rich community full of millionaires.
there are no real pix of the 500 +/- children being evacuated. there were other people (off duty cops) apprehended running through the adjacent woods wearing camo. fatigues, and were never even mentioned in any reports by anybody, except those news agencies on the scene at the time.
according to researchers there are no death cert. on anybody supposedly killed, except the shooter whose death was recorded the day before in another state. the school was put off limits before being completely destroyed. the const. demo crews were required to sign nondisclosure agreements. I could go on and on about the problems w/ this so called school shooting.

and then we have bin laden. are there any seal team members still alive to tell the real story? osama could well be living in Miami beach under an assumed name for turning state's evidence (wink wink). I've been told that in the black ops community 'no body' means nobody was killed, at least during the original raid. Miami beach condo sure beats living out your last days in a cave w/ an oxygen tent.

believing lawyers/politicians in this country is a fools game. these people are professional scammers. i'll give odds that they have stolen everything of value in the 'people's white house'. this bunch of losers belonged behind bars long ago, right after fast & furious.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Note to the Obama administration:
Among grownups "tried real hard" is not the same as "got the job done"
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
“But the president could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission..."

Add that to the long list of things this President could not do.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you even believe this story by Obozo? These ISIL things are hardly secret keepers. It's probably public knowledge in much of that region where the hostages are kept. If not, swallow your pride and ask the Israelis. And if you can't go in and find the hostages; they could definitely can go in and make their leadership disappear. After Osama, I'm guessing the old "no assassinations" rule is dead.
9 weeks ago
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