On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that reporting from The New York Times prevented U.S. coalition forces in the Middle East from killing the leader of the so-called Islamic State in a military operation.
The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, [Abu Bakr] Al-Baghdadi,” he tweeted.
He also claimed the newspaper is more concerned about “[t]heir sick agenda over National Security.”
While the president did not elaborate on this explosive claim, it appears it originated from security forum conference hosted by a Fox News anchor.
As CBS News reports:
During an appearance onstage with Fox News’ Catherine Herridge on Friday, Gen. Raymond Thomas revealed the U.S. had valuable intelligence about the ISIS leader’s whereabouts in 2015 until “there were some leaks about what we were up to.”
Thomas said U.S. forces raided a compound housing ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf in 2015, killing him in the operation. However, special forces captured his wife, who “gave us a treasure trove of information about where she had just been with Baghdadi in Raqqa,” he said.
“Unfortunately it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and then he went dead,” Thomas said. “That’s a challenge we have in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly.”
The Times story, published in early June, revealed this happened, but it does not appear to have detailed U.S. efforts to take out Baghdadi, but merely reported that coalition forces obtained this intelligence.
Killing the elusive leader would be a major victory for coalition forces, but experts don’t think that taking him out would end the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State.
Writing for Fortune, author of The Origins of ISIS Simon Mabon warns that if Baghdadi is dead someone else will likely fill his role. If that doesn’t happen, he speculates, the terrorist group would splinter into other, smaller groups that might actually make them more difficult to combat.
You can watch the full hour-long discussion with General Thomas below:
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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