The CIA had concluded that the base contained a secret prison in which a number of western hostages were languishing. James Foley, 40, an idealistic freelance journalist from New Hampshire who had once been kidnapped in Libya and held for 44 days, was thought to be among them. When the commandos reached the base, scores of Isis fighters swarmed out. A US air force AC-130 gunship laid down a wall of fire, killing up to 15 of the jihadists. According to locals, some of the commandos were wearing Jordanian insignia, perhaps to mask their nationality. They entered the buildings and found the prison. But the hostages were not there. The special forces troops had found what they term a “dry hole”...
Pentagon sources said Foley and the others might well have been rescued but Obama, concerned about the ramifications of US troops being killed or captured in Syria, took too long to authorise the mission. Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.” Another US defence source said: "The White House constantly goes back and forth on these things. These people are a bunch of academics who endlessly analyse stuff and ordering up another deep-thinking paper but can't decide what to order for lunch."
Before you go, let's check in on another 'Smart Power' misadventure. The Obama administration "led from behind" and participated in a war to depose Libya's dictator from power in 2011, without Congressional authorization. When Obama's War Powers Act authority expired, even according to his own lawyers, he essentially found new lawyers and extended the hostilities. In the resulting power vacuum, the State Department failed to protect its personnel on the ground in Libya, ignoring and denying multiple requests for additional security in the country's most dangerous region. That led to 2012's Benghazi massacre. Less than two years later, the US was forced to evacuate our embassy in Tripoli as the country descended into full-fledged, failed-state chaos. That slide into the abyss is on the brink of completion:
Islamist militias have seized control of Libya's main airport, setting planes and surrounding buildings ablaze.The group called Dawn of Libya, consisting mainly of fighters from Misrata, captured the major foothold in Tripoli at the weekend from a rival faction from Zintan in western Libya. The fight has largely destroyed the airport and scarred the capital, prompting diplomats, foreign nationals and thousands of Libyans to flee. It followed weeks of fierce fighting. The group said it has also taken hold of other locations in the capital controlled by rival militias. The fight has largely destroyed the airport and scarred the capital, prompting diplomats, foreign nationals and thousands of Libyans to flee.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography