THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
August 20, 2014
Statement by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco on Attempted Rescue Operation
As the Department of Defense has now announced, earlier this summer the President authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who werekidnappedandheld byISIL against theirwill in Syria. The President authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody. The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the President authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens. Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful becausethehostages were not present.
Given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation. But the President could not beprouderoftheU.S. forces who carried out this mission and thededicated intelligenceand diplomaticprofessionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as anothersignal to thosewhowould do us harm that theUnited States will not toleratethe abduction ofourpeople, and will spareno effort to securethesafetyofourcitizens and to holdtheir captorsaccountable.
Ourthoughts and prayers arewith the remaining hostages’ families and theirloved ones duringthisdifficult time. We continueto call fortheirimmediaterelease. On behalfofall Americans,wekeep theseindividuals and their families in ourthoughts and prayers.