Secretary of defense Chuck Hagel denied that American intelligence failed in a major rescue mission to save slain American journalist James Foley and other hostages from the Islamic State, but also argued that the operation was “flawless.” The Obama administration said on Wednesday that the U.S. had launched a mission to rescue Foley this summer.
“Was this a failure of intelligence? No,” he told reporters at a Pentagon press briefing. “This operation, by the way, was a flawless operation, but hostages were not there.”
The administration decided to publicly acknowledge the secret mission after learning several news organizations caught wind of the mission and were likely to report on it, the Obama administration said. Hagel said it was important to note that the administration addressed the mission without revealing specifics.
The U.S. will continue to do everything it can to rescue and bring home American hostages in the future, Hagel said.