Obama’s American hostage rescue failure: let the finger-pointing commence

obama-golfing-while-rome-burnsJust last month, Barack Hussein Obama was made aware that an American and an Australian were taken hostage from Afghanistan. For reference, please click on and read this post first by journalist Susan Katz Keating.

Whilst there was a window in which to rescue both, and SpecOp forces were ready, executive permission could not be acquired because Mr Obama was on vacation and golfing. The operators were told “the president can’t make time on his schedule to give the go-ahead,” a security source stated.

Because of the 24-hour delay — and there was a violent firefight on site — the forces were told they missed the hostages by four hours.

Susan Katz Keating provides this important update to her original story.

White House, Pentagon trade accusations about rescue failure

by Susan Katz Keating

White House and Pentagon officials are trading accusations and shifting blame following two failed attempts to rescue Western hostages seized in Afghanistan last month. Amid the finger pointing, new details are leading Capitol Hill lawmakers to question what they call “White House micromanaging” of war operations.

The disagreements concern what happened in Washington and on Martha’s Vineyard, an isle off the coast of Massachusetts, where Obama continued the vacation he began on Aug. 6.

Don’t go away. The crux of the biscuit is next:

What is in dispute is what happened next. The Pentagon insists that it sent mission plans with plenty of time for the National Security Council to seek presidential approval.

But a National Security Council spokesman says there wasn’t enough time to prepare “the decision documents” for the President. The spokesman is referring to a one-page document, with numerous attachments, that the President reviews and signs.

“On the first night in question, the decision never reached the President to make a decision,” a senior Pentagon official wrote in an email. “The fact of the matter is the President was never presented with a decision document that day.”

However, U.S. sources with knowledge of the mission said they heard a radio message that contained words to this effect: “The President can’t make time on his schedule to give the go-ahead.”

Am I detecting the dank odor of Bureaucratic Mouth Pablum, subtitled “Let the Finger-Pointing Commence”?

“We had the teachers (hostages) the first time,” the security source said. “We knew where they were. We were closing in. The White House screwed it up bad.”

Why yes, that would be perfectly in keeping with their past behavior. Because Susan Katz Keating makes her ultimate point here.

Hostage rescues long have been a delicate balance of intelligence and timing. During the Vietnam War, American commandos raided a POW camp in order to rescue dozens of prisoners held captive by communist soldiers near Son Tay in North Vietnam. The rescuers arrived on Nov. 21, 1970, only to find that the prisoners had been moved from the camp just days before.

Meaning: forty-six years later and we still don’t have a cogent, logical and rapid way to get ops like this approved — or we don’t give our military forces the authority to act when windows of hostage retrieval are tight?

My guess is: Obama couldn’t be bothered. He’s in Lame Duck Mode.

In the meantime, an American hostage is lost and his whereabouts are unknown.



My thanks to Susan Katz Keating for having the tenacity, guts and contacts to bring the issue to light. I have seen the incident discussed nowhere else.


Obama stops golf for no one, not even AMERICAN hostages


In Obama’s world, it’s a beautiful day to ignore American hostages.

My friend Susan Katz Keating is a journalist.  A real journalist; not like the bulk of the PlaySkool, T-ball journalistas we have today.

She began being paid (instead of being an “intern” or a “volunteer”) for her writing in college.  From the Left Coast she moved to the east coast where she lives today, and is extremely knowledgeable in military, intelligence and political activity, with many friends and colleagues in each area.  Her specialty is military journalism.  Hence, she has many contacts around the nation and around the world.  She has written for People, Readers Digest, Time, Soldier of Fortune, the New York Times, American Legion, VFW and Air & Space Smithsonian.  An author of nine books, she was also crew chief on a B-52 restoration.  She is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.  In her spare time she has broken the human genome, discovered warp drive and makes a mean cannoli.  Okay.  The thingie about genome and warp drive?  Not so much.

I could go on and on about her curriculum vitae, but I’d rather her story speak for itself.

From AMInewswire.com:

Hostage rescue was aborted while Obama vacationed

by Susan Katz Keting

Under the dim light of a quarter moon, a U.S. special operations team skimmed through the night skies above eastern Afghanistan, awaiting final mission approval from President Barrack Obama while speeding toward the objective. The commandos were fast on their way last month to rescue two western hostages held by hostile gunmen.

As the raiders approached their target — a makeshift prison compound — they suddenly were ordered to stand down. The president, who was vacationing on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, did not have time to give the required final go-ahead. He wanted 24 hours to consider the rescue.

A day later, Obama approved the mission. The commandos relaunched. This time, they reached the target — only to find the hostages had been moved four hours prior, said sources with direct knowledge of events.

Wait; was Obama golfing whilst Rome burned?  Please continue.

The missions took place Aug. 10 and 11, in Afghanistan, Thomas confirmed. He did not address operational details of the rescue missions; but AMI spoke to sources who provided details, some of which CENTCOM confirmed. 

The sources are security officials who are privy to the kidnaps and the attempted rescues. They do not work together and are affiliated with different agencies. The sources are not authorized to talk to the press, and spoke to AMI on condition of anonymity.

This is just last month, boys and girls.  AMI discovered that seven hostile combatants were killed, while no civilians or US forces were injured or killed.

“We had the hostages within reach,” said a source who met face to face with this reporter at a remote dockside setting in the United States to discuss the incident. The source insisted that the meeting be held outdoors and without access to electronic devices.

“The first time we went in, we had to stand down,” the source said. “The second time, the hostages were gone. Our special operations team went all that way for nothing.”

Around this time you should be asking “who were the hostages?” and “did the delay have an affect on the outcome and why?”

The special operators aimed to recover two civilians — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — who were kidnapped Aug. 7, in Afghanistan. The kidnapped men are English teachers at the American University in Kabul.

“We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen kidnapped in Kabul,” a State Department official said. “Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further.”

The hostages were one American and one Australian.

King and Weeks reportedly were snatched off the street around 8 p.m. Kabul time on a Sunday. Four assailants wearing what appeared to be official uniforms smashed a window to the teachers’ vehicle and pulled them from their car at gunpoint. A driver and a guard, both inside the vehicle during the incident on Dar-ul-Aman Road, were not captured, and were later questioned by police.

The kidnappings unfolded in Afghanistan shortly after President Obama and his family began an extended seaside vacation in Massachusetts.

Wait; am I detecting the odor of Titleist PRO V1 and Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816?

Over the course of the next two weeks, the Obamas enjoyed a holiday marked by trips to the beach (at Martha’s Vineyard), dinners with friends, and — for the president — round after round of golf.

“The hostages didn’t have the luxury of time,” said an official with knowledge of the events. “The president was on vacation. How could he not find time to approve this mission?”

Some 6,500 miles away in Afghanistan, meanwhile, efforts were underway to recover King and Weeks.

“Everybody that had the ability to rescue them was trying to find them and be in a position to rescue them,” said one security source.

Resources are in place, operators are primed and plans are in hand.

The mission needed only one more thing: the final go-ahead from the president, authorizing the rescuers to execute. In one ready room, the radio crackled to life. Instead of delivering the expected verbal green light, though, the voice on the radio gave other news:

“‘The president can’t make time on his schedule to give the go-ahead,'” the security source said.

Right.  Because FN Executive Chef Keith Cournoyer’s Seared Sea Scallops, lemon-spinach risotto & red pepper-caper butter are to die for.  You wouldn’t want to miss them.

The vacationing president wanted to push the mission back 24 hours, the source said. The commandos peeled off, and returned to base. Col. Thomas declined to say where the base was located, or what it was named.

One day later, President Obama did authorize a rescue mission, and the operators relaunched. This time, the raiders arrived on target at a compound in eastern Afghanistan.

“We assaulted the compound,” the security source said. “We knocked down walls. It was a high-profile breach.”

For more than an hour, the special operators fought inside the compound, engaging in small arms fire, the source said.

So: were the hostages there?  Were they freed?

The commandos asked people on scene: “Where are King and Weeks?”

The answer: the hostages had been moved four hours prior.

“Gone,” the security source said. “Vanished.”

And no one knows where they are.  They were missed by four hours.

“Humans are essentially ATM machines,” (Christine Fair, a security studies professor at Georgetown University) said. “[Captors] don’t actually keep the hostages. They snatch them and then sell them to whatever terrorist organization is willing to pay the most, whether it be the Taliban or some faction thereof.”

Custodial captors can take hostages to any number of places.

When asked, the White House officially shrugged its shoulders.  Meh.

The White House deflected questions on the situation overall.

When queried, the White House first directed this reporter to the State Department, then deflected to another department when pressed about the president’s authority as commander in chief of the armed services.

“Talk to the Defense Department,” national security press officer Mark Stroh told AMI.

But wait, there’s more.  Susan Katz Keating wrote on Twitter:

Hostage rescue in Afghanistan scrapped for lack of approval from POTUS. My story today.

The next Tweet was a bit thornier.

skk-hostages-1And thornier still.

skk-hostages-2She provided the White House with a chance to respond.  They didn’t, she wrote the story, they got pissed.

skk-hostages-3Susan Katz Keating stands by her story — as well she should.  The truth hurts.  However, what political hay could Mr Obama have made out of the incident?  None.  Hence: meh.

There you go, the loving, professional, diligent care and concern displayed by the current uninvolved and unconcerned lame duck occupant of the White House.

Americans can go to hell.  His Majesty is playing golf.