Report: US Sat on Info About Hostages' Location

Daily Beast says US waited a month to act on British intelligence
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 4:26 PM CST
Report: US Sat on Info About Hostages' Location
In this May 30, 2013, photo, Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Ariz.   (AP Photo/The Daily Courier, Matt Hinshaw)

A few weeks after the US staged a failed rescue mission last July to retrieve ISIS hostages Kayla Mueller, James Foley, and Steven Sotloff, the Muslim insurgents started sending out a gruesome chain of beheading videos. Now US and UK officials are saying that the hostages had been moved just days before the rescue attempt—and that the White House sat on intelligence about the hostages' original location in Syria for a month before acting, the Daily Beast reports. British sources say London had narrowed it down to two or three sites by the end of May, and had a "positive identification" in early June that was shared with the US, the Beast reports; the rescue mission wasn't carried out until July 4. A US official acknowledges the White House did receive intelligence, but that it wasn't trusted because it was from a foreign source.

A spokeswoman for the NSC tells the Beast that "US forces conducted this [rescue] operation as soon as the president and his national-security team were confident the mission could be carried out successfully." Last August, NSC adviser Ben Rhodes insisted in a White House press briefing, "We have done everything that we can possibly do to try to bring home our hostages." And in a BuzzFeed interview this week, the president said that "we ... always devote enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world. I deployed an entire operation at significant risk to rescue not only [Mueller], but the other individuals … and probably missed them by a day or two." But Foley's mother, Diane Foley, long vocal about her displeasure over efforts to save her son, tells the Beast that French officials reportedly had a location in March 2014. "That's what's been so tough for us as families, because apparently they were held in the same place all those months." (More White House stories.)

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