In addition to the announcement that an American contractor and Italian aid worker held by al-Qaeda were killed in a January drone strike, President Obama announced that officials think two other Americans were killed as they fought for al-Qaeda.
One wasn’t killed in the same strikes as those that killed Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, but in “recent” counterterrorism operations, the White House said.
“We have concluded that Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qaeda leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qaeda, was killed in January, likely in a separate U.S. Government counterterrorism operation,” said press secretary Josh Earnest, subsequently admitting, like the deaths of the hostages, the terrorists’ deaths were an accident: “While both Farouq and Gadahn were al-Qaeda members, neither was specifically targeted, and we did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations.”
Rumors of the death of Gadahn, a convert who ran off to Pakistan before 9/11 and was the English-language mouthpiece for al-Qaeda, have swirled for years.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said “Gadahn and Farouq, two American citizens who joined al-Qaeda, got what they deserved.”
“Gadahn served as a chief spokesman for al-Qaeda while Farouq was a top-level operative in the organization,” Graham said.
“Based upon their direct and material support for al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, both men were subject to being killed or captured under the Law of War. Any American citizen who joins al-Qaeda or affiliated terrorist groups are subject to being killed under the Law of War. A decision to join groups like al-Qaeda or affiliated terrorist organizations is made at one’s own peril.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) noted that Gadahn was “raised in California with every possible opportunity and freedom.”
“And in the end, he spent years trying to destroy our freedoms and encouraging others with hate-filled speech after betraying our country,” Royce said.