Friday, February 13, 2015

Ditherer in Chief

The Daily Beast is reporting that British intelligence told the Obama administration where American hostages were being held in Syria, but that the administration did not trust the information and dithered. By the time they launched a raid to recover the hostages they had been moved.

To my knowledge the story has not been widely reported in the media, so here is an introduction.  As you know, the Daily Beast is not part of the vast right wing conspiracy. The rest is well worth a read.

Jamie Dettmer and Shane Harris report:

The U.S. government obtained intelligence on the possible location of American captives held by ISIS in Syria last year, but Obama administration officials waited nearly a month to launch a rescue mission because of concerns that the intelligence wasn’t conclusive and some of it had come from a foreign service, U.S. and British officials told The Daily Beast.

British officials, as well as private security contractors, said they were frustrated by Washington’s hesitance to give the go-ahead for a rescue attempt, which eventually was carried out on July 4, 2014, by which time the hostages had been moved. The following month, ISIS began beheading its American and British prisoners in a series of grisly Internet videos.

Toward the end of May, the British government had identified two or three locations in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, where the militants had moved hostages during the previous weeks and months. But the British were not absolutely sure in which location the Westerners were held. The captives included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well aid worker Kayla Mueller. The information—based on debriefings of European captives who had been released, satellite and drone surveillance, and electronic eavesdropping—was not definitive in May.

Then, in early June, London had a “positive identification and that information was shared with Washington,” said a British source. The delay of nearly a month before the rescue bid was mounted remains a source of bewilderment for British officials.

But a U.S. official said that inside the White House, Obama’s senior national-security advisers were not willing to base a raid on intelligence developed by a foreign service. “The issue was that they didn’t trust it, and they wanted to develop and mature the intelligence, because it wasn’t our own,” said the U.S. official, who asked to remain anonymous when discussing sensitive hostage-rescue efforts.

“They got the information. They just didn’t trust it. And they did sit on it, there’s no doubt about that,” the official said.

If this is true, the Obama administration dithered. Obviously, its spokespeople have insisted that they did everything in their power to free the hostages. Given the new information, the families of the victims are even less persuaded than they were before.


Sam L. said...

Dithering would be expected; it's endemic to this administration.

David Smith said...

Turnabout is fair play. The Dutch underground warned the Brits that the 10th SS Panzers were in Arnhem, but Montgomery's staff didn't trust any intelligence "not invented here" with "here" excluding the RAF and Bletchley Park as well.

n.n said...

Premature, opportunistic evacuation has consequences. That said, another hit of opiates will calm the folks. Now we're covered.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

It certainly is interesting what Obama and his minions don't do, but it more instructive what they do do, and sometimes we take our eye off the ball.

The idea that Obama would not trust the British is part of a wider pattern in our relationship with the U.K. under this Administration. Dinesh D'Souza has his theories tied to Obama's dreams of his father's anti-colonial Marxist rankings. Whatever the case, at least Obama and Cameron can agree to take the Chamberlain approach to Iran and hope Iran negotiates in goodwill, scolding Congress from trying to stop this crazy diplomatic death wish in enabling a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.

What is astounding is the complicity of the media in the form of broadcast hyperactivity and lack of focus. "Never let a good crisis go to waste" was declared by this Administration and perfected in practice, to the delight and indifference of America's mainstream political media. While Kayla gets attention as a heart-tugging personal interest story, perverse and infuriating changes are going on with regards to our treatment of illegal immigrants, all amidst rising terrorism internationally and unchecked criminality domestically. Do we really think the Islamist masterminds are not watching (in good spirits) as have such lax and arbitrary border security?

To add insult to (impending) injury, we find that Obama's Progressive "think global, act local" immigration power grab is in full swing, Chicago style. There are now back doors to illegal immigrants voting, and now they not only get tax refunds (sent to actual addresses, no doubt), but they even get tax "bonuses" in the form of the earned income tax credit. What on earth are we doing? Our government is rewarding lawlessness.

Where is the Fourth Estate in covering this gross scandal? What would've been a huge, scandalous story in just the 1990s now gets a yawn (if that). Obama is acting unilaterally in sweeping ways to change America. Lots of people were puzzled by the Obama 2012 campaign slogan "Forward." Well, now we know where we're going. The Republicans won't do anything because they don't want to be portrayed negatively in the mainstream media, while ridiculing their core base as a bunch of crackpots to get laughs at DC press and party events.

We can laugh as much as we want about the Obama Administration's ineptitude at doing and not doing what we've traditionally expected the government to do and not do. What I suspect we're missing is this "ineptitude" is never cleaned up. There's just more of it. Is it unreasonable to wonder if it's not ineptitude, but part of the core policy implementation plan? A sort of Columbo strategy, a la Peter Falk's character?

What are we citizens to do? Kayla's gone, and the Lefties don't want to do anything miltarily so they can focus on their domestic agenda here at home. We've got Obama bitching about his budget wants and needs at a Home,and Security speech event, while not even securing the nation. We talk about Putin's kleptocracy, but aren't we living through a kleptocracy of political power in the USA? What is the value of U.S. citizenship anymore? If you want to "follow the money," keep in mind that the highest concentration of metropolitan wealth in the U.S. (evaluated by ZIP codes) is Washington, District of Columbia.