If there was one thing the Obama administration did not need as it is careening from one international crisis to another, was compounding comparisons to the Carter administration and its botched attempt to rescue US hostages in 1980 Iran also known as Operation Eagle Claw. Well, as of moments ago, that comparison is now in play following what the Pentagon just revealed was a botched attempt to recue a number of American hostages held by ISIS, "early this summer." The reason why the mission failed: "tho hostages were not there." Why? "We don’t know. And that’s the truth. When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is."
From the spokesperson for the State Department Marie Harf:
The United States attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by ISIL. This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL. Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location. We put the best of the United States military in harms way to try and bring our citizens home.
And from ABC:
U.S. special operations forces early this summer launched a secret, major rescue operation in Syria to save James Foley and a number of Americans held by the extremist group ISIS, but the mission failed because the hostages weren’t there, senior administration officials told ABC News today.
President Obama authorized the “substantial and complex” rescue operation after the officials said a “broad collection of intelligence” led the U.S. to believe the hostages were being held in a specific location in the embattled Middle Eastern nation.
When “several dozen” U.S. special operation members landed in Syria, however, they were met with gunfire and “while on site, it became apparent the hostages were not there,” one of the officials said. The special operators engaged in a firefight in which ISIS suffered “a good number” casualties, the official said, while the American forces suffered only a single minor injury.
The American forces were able to get back on helicopters and escape.
“Intelligence is not a perfect science,” the senior official said. As to how the intelligence failed and why the hostages were not there, the official said, “The truth is, we don’t know. And that’s the truth. When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is.”
Much about the daring mission itself remains a secret -- officials said they did not want to reveal too much about the rescue attempt for fear of spoiling future efforts.
“It was conducted, but was not ultimately successful,” a senior U.S. official told ABC News.
The operation was what senior government officials described as a major undertaking -- involving special operations forces from multiple branches of the military, helicopters, fixed-wing airplanes, and surveillance aircraft.
One can see why the US tried to keep this mission secret, unless of course it was all fabricated overnight.
In other words, we tried to rescue some folks... from the other folks we gave weapons and training to for the past two years, the same folks we are also now trying to kill.