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Pentagon Reveals James Foley Secret Mission Had Failed; Executioners Contact Family Before Beheading Foley

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By Athena Yenko | August 21, 2014 12:22 PM EST

The Pentagon revealed that a secret mission to rescue James Foley and other Americans from the Islamic State had failed.

U.S. President Barack Obama had sent out several dozen Special Forces during summer to conduct the secret mission. However, the mission failed and the hostages were never found.

Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts during his vacation August 20, 2014. Obama on Wednesday condemned the Islamic State militants who beheaded an American journalist as "a cancer" and said "their ideology is bankrupt." "The whole world is appalled by the brutal murder of James Foley," Obama said, speaking a day after the militants released a video of Foley being beheaded. Obama said he called Foley's family to express his condolences.

"This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL (IS). Unfortunately the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

Mr Obama had authorised the rescue because he believed that the hostages were in danger with each passing day with the militants.

"The US government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself the President authorised the Department of Defence to move aggressively to recover our citizens," Mr Obama's counterterrorism aide Lisa Monaco said.

The Pentagon said that it cannot divulge full information regarding the mission to protect its military's operational capabilities. However, Monaco said that Mr Obama is proud of the US Forces who carried out the mission.

The number of hostages still with the ISIS is unknown. But as for journalist captives, The Committee to Protect Journalists estimate that there are still 20 journalists, most of them Syrians, are still missing in the country.

Meanwhile, Philip Balboni, chief executive of news site GlobalPost, to which Foley contributed while covering the war in Libya and then Syria before his abduction in 2012, revealed that the rebel group contacted them in the weeks leading up to Foley's execution.

Speaking on MSNBC television, Balboni said that the Islamists had communication with them and at one point expressed the willingness to negotiate Foley's life. However, the group just stopped communicating with them.

Balboni also revealed that ISIS had warned Foley's family that he will be killed. He said that the warning came after the U.S.'s bombing of Iraq to recapture the Mosul dam. He said that they did everything to prevent the killing from happening. They told the Islamists that Foley was just an innocent journalist who loves the Syrian people, who is very much knowledgeable of Islam and had only wanted to tell the story of the Syrian people.

Asked whether he thinks that U.S. bombing ignited Foley's murder, Balboni said that the bombing conducted by U.S. had sealed Foley's fate. He however, underlined that they, including Foley's family, did not blame Mr Obama's decision to launch airstrikes.

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(Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts during his vacation August 20, 2014. Obama on Wednesday condemned the Islamic State militants who beheaded an American journalist as "a cancer" and said "their ideology is bankrupt." "The whole world is appalled by the brutal murder of James Foley," Obama said, speaking a day after the militants released a video of Foley being beheaded. Obama said he called Foley's family to express his condolences.
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