Pentagon Leaders: Unsuccessful Hostage Rescue Was “Flawless Operation”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said the attempt to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, being held hostage by ISIL extremists in Syria was a “flawless operation,” but did not succeed because the hostages had been moved. “We all regret that the effort did not succeed,” Hagel said. But he added the US “will not relent” in its commitment to “bring our people home.” Hagel and Dempsey both rejected suggestions that the unsuccessful rescue was due to an intelligence failure, with Hagel noting that conditions change and “the enemy has a vote.” Dempsey said he was confident the hostages previously had been where the US Special Operations troops struck. Foley was murdered by his captors in a video released this week. Hagel said the Pentagon confirmed the previously secret operation because several news organizations were about to disclose it and President Barack Obama had informed the hostages’ families. Dempsey said he concurred with that decision on the understanding that “sources and methods” would not be revealed. Hagel noted that the Pentagon has not divulged any of the details and would not do so.