U.S. forces have made great headway in the fight against the radical jihadist group ISIS. With the majority of their fighters and higher ranking officers dead, they can almost be considered defeated. That alone is a victory in its self but unfortunately we cant crack the champagne just yet. Earlier this week, a key U.S. military official informed the public that a promising lead “went dead” on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi the leader of ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.
“We have absolutely dismantled his network,” Said Gen. Tony Thomas while speaking at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado. “I mean everyone who worked for him initially is dead or gone. Everybody who stepped to the plate the next time [is] dead or gone. Down through a network where we have killed, in a conservative estimate, 60,000 to 70,000 of his followers, his army.”
Fox News reports:
In a wide-ranging interview moderated by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Thomas, who leads the Special Operations Command, said his team was “particularly close” to Baghdadi after the 2015 raid that killed ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf. That raid also netted his wife, who provided a wealth of actionable information.
“That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Gen. Thomas stated. “The challenge we have [is] in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly. There’s a great need to inform the American public about what we’re up to. There’s also great need to recognize things that will absolutely undercut our ability to do our job.”
Although it is not clear where exactly the “media leak” was, Thomas seemed to be referring to a New York Times report from June 2015. The report explained in detail that U.S. intelligence agencies had “extracted valuable information.”
”New insights yielded by the seized trove – four to seven terabytes of data, according to one official – include how the organization’s shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, operates and tries to avoid being tracked by coalition forces,” The New York Times report from June 15th explained.
During his time speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, the General also took time to shed light on new information about the U.S. military’s involvement in Libya. In 2015 Fox News reported that six high ranking ISIS members made their way to North Africa to begin placing the groundwork for an ISIS satellite.
“They seized on Libya as a failed state…. They declared it a province. Our estimates were that, at the high-water mark, they had anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 folks primarily located in a seaside town named Sirte. They don’t exist anymore.”
In response to media claims that the CIA terminated a covert program that armed anti-Assad fighters in Syria, Thomas stated the story, originally found in the Washington Post, was incorrect to say that the purported move was to appease Moscow.
Gen. Thomas said his direction had been made very clear by his boss who is none other than Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
“It was ‘defeat ISIS,'” Thomas stated. “It’s now ‘annihilate ISIS.’ I think he put a non-doctrinal term out there to amp up the volume a little bit. We all got the message.”
Despite the latest victories by U.S. Forces, he explained that the U.S. strategy was no less complex. Due to activity by Syria, Iraq, Russian and Turkey in limited space. Thomas said it can be “Top-Gun-nish” for U.S. pilots that provide cover for operations on the ground.
“Right now, our pilots out there are getting painted radar-wise by Syrian aircraft [and] Russian aircrafts’ ground control intercept [have] that capability, so you can imagine how dicey it is for a pilot who’s on top of us to give us the necessary protection,” Thomas claimed. “[It’s a] pretty dicey situation in a very tight space there.”
Although mass media is a great way to keep the public informed there has be line that is drawn as to what information is off limits. There is no reason why a leak such as this should have ever been a problem, especially not by a large media outlet such as New York Times. It begins to bring in to question what is more important to these well known media sources such as CNN and The New York Times. Do they really care about the great country they are reporting in? A country where they have free press as a constitutional right.
You would think they would be more grateful to live in one of the few country’s that offer the freedoms that they so liberally exploit for their own gain. So, again I beg the question do they really care about this country and the people that live in it or are they only concerned with rating’s? I think the answer’s pretty clear but my opinion probably doesn’t matter to CNN or New York Times because I don’t read their garbage.