Obama: 'Significant Risk' Was Taken to Rescue Mueller, Other Hostages
President Obams told Buzzfeed News that the United States devoted "enormous resources" to rescuing Americans held by ISIS, including Kayla Mueller.
"I deployed an entire operation — at significant risk — to rescue not only her, but the other individuals who had been held, and probably missed them by a day or two," Obama said.
He added that the U.S. always devotes "enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world."
Yesterday, Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that the White House knew the locations of the hostages, but delayed the rescue mission.
According to Herridge, there was very specific intelligence about the location of a group of Western hostages in May 2014, so specific that intelligence officials even knew in which building they were being held.
"The question is why there was such a delay by the White House to act on this information," Herridge said. "They did not OK the rescue operation until about seven weeks later. And there was clearly a fundamental disconnect between the quality of the intelligence, which the rescue team felt was of a sufficient level that they could act, and what was described to me as a significant delay on behalf of the White House, asking for the intelligence to build up further before they would act."
Herridge said that this was the last and best opportunity to rescue all of the hostages together, because after ISIS learned of the possible raid, the hostages were no longer held together.
On "The Real Story" today, Gretchen Carlson discussed the president's comments with Capt. Ben Collins, an Army Special Forces veteran who served in Afghanistan.
Collins was not buying that the administration did all it could to rescue Mueller, James Foley and others. He said it all came down to how much risk President Obama was willing to take on.
"This president has shown that he is not really willing to risk a whole lot in this case. And I think he just wasn't willing to risk American lives being lost to make this rescue," he said.
Watch the segment above and more from the Buzzfeed interview below. President Obama said having to tell families of hostages that the United States will not pay ransoms to terrorists is "as tough as anything I do."
Reporting later in the show today, Herridge reiterated that the White House does not dispute that there was very specific intelligence in late May about where Kayla Mueller and the other hostages were being held in Raqqa, Syria.
"There is no dispute today about this five-week gap between specific intelligence, the rescue attempt and what we now know was a failed mission - the last, best opportunity to get the eight Western hostages," she said.
Watch her report below: