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    U.S. General: 2015 lead on ISIS leader al-Baghdadi “went dead” after NY Times leak

    U.S. General: 2015 lead on ISIS leader al-Baghdadi “went dead” after NY Times leak

    Pattern of media publishing sensitive intelligence information has accelerate recently to undermine Trump administration.

    The NY Times, The Washington Post and other major news media have been in a stiff competition to leak sensitive intelligence operational information in order to harm Donald Trump and his administration. Among other things, there have been repeated supposed intelligence community leaks disclosing the ability of U.S. intelligence to monitor conversations of the Russian ambassador with his superiors back in Russia.

    This is a pattern.

    When Trump had a White House meeting with the Russian ambassador, The NY Times was quick to publish that sensitive intelligence information shared with the Russians about ISIS terror threats to airplanes came from Israel. There is no evidence Trump disclosed Israel as the source. ABC News was quick to claim that Israel has penetrated ISIS’s inner circle, either through a mole or electronic means, or both. There is no evidence that Trump disclosed that to the Russians, and he certainly didn’t disclose it publicly. The NY Times did that, as did other news outlets. We don’t know if that media disclosure was true, but if it were, then the media provided ISIS with the information necessary to plug the leak.

    This isn’t the first time, and the NY Times indiscretion predated Trump. In 2015 the Times disclosed that the U.S. had obtained important information as to how ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi operated and avoided tracking.

    U.S. General Tony Thomas just blamed the Times disclosure for helping al-Baghdadi escape targeting. Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reports, ISIS broken, but leader slipped away due to leak, says key general:

    ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been “dismantled,” with tens of thousands of its jihadist fighters dead, but a promising lead on its leader “went dead” after a media leak, according to a key U.S. military official.

    “We have absolutely dismantled his network,” Gen. Tony Thomas, speaking of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, said at the Aspen Security Forum. “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.”

    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,” Thomas said. “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.”

    Herridge points out that Gen. Thomas appears to be referring to a June 8, 2015, Times article, A Raid on ISIS Yields a Trove of Intelligence:

    American intelligence agencies have extracted valuable information about the Islamic State’s leadership structure, financial operations and security measures by analyzing materials seized during a Delta Force commando raid last month that killed a leader of the terrorist group in eastern Syria, according to United States officials.

    The information harvested from the laptops, cellphones and other materials recovered from the raid on May 16 has already helped the United States identify, locate and carry out an airstrike against another Islamic State leader in eastern Syria, on May 31. American officials expressed confidence that an influential lieutenant, Abu Hamid, was killed in the attack, but the Islamic State, which remains resilient, has not yet confirmed his death.

    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.

    Trump jumped on Gen. Thomas’ comments to attack the NY Times:

    The Washington Post, reporting on Trump’s tweet, claimed complete ignorance as to why Trump would tweet that:

    In yet another tweet, Trump attacked the Times for reports that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose death in a Russian airstrike had been speculated last month, is still alive, according to Pentagon officials. It is not clear why the president holds the Times responsible.

    So where is al-Baghdadi now? There were numerous recent reports that he was killed, just as there had been reports in the past. But General James Mattis says there is no proof of his death and believes his is alive.

    UPDATE: The Times has demanded an “apology” from Fox News, but the Times demand does not actually contradict the Fox News report (the Times also claims the General was “misleading”). The Times points to a prior statement from the Pentagon about the raid, but that statement, as least as quoted by the Times in its statement, does not give all the details of the Times news report, specifically as to the value of the intelligence gained in tracking al-Baghdadi.

    But a review of the record shows that information made public in a Pentagon news release more than three weeks before the Times article, and extensively covered at the time by numerous news media outlets, would have tipped off Mr. Baghdadi that the United States was questioning an important Islamic State operative who knew of his recent whereabouts and some of his methods of communication. Further, the information in the Times article on June 8 came from United States government officials who were aware that the details would be published.

    Additionally, there is nothing inconsistent with the Pentagon having offered that statement AND The Times publication of additional information having alerted al-Baghdadi that he was being tracked and his trail later going “dead.”


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    gonzotx | July 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Treason, over time to be held accountable. Shut them down!

    ConradCA | July 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    You all need to realize that the NYT betrayed the country during Tyrant Obama the Liar’s reign in 2015.

      YellowSnake in reply to ConradCA. | July 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      A tyrant who peacefully turned over power to an opponent at the lawful end of his term?

      If he was such a tyrant, why aren’t you dead?

      YellowSnake in reply to ConradCA. | July 23, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Talk about a tyrant. Trump asserts he can pardon himself. That means he claims to be accountable to NO ONE. That is the very definition of a would-be tyrant.

      Did Obama ever make such a claim?

        Milhouse in reply to YellowSnake. | July 23, 2017 at 3:32 am

        Every president can pardon himself. That’s not surprising to anyone who’s read the constitution. Plenary means plenary. 0bama may not have tweeted it, but he was certainly conscious of it.

        Ragspierre in reply to YellowSnake. | July 23, 2017 at 9:39 am

        That’s silly. He’s accountable on several levels, including some that are subtle and informal.

        No POTUS can pardon him/herself if impeached and convicted. I do believe that the POTUS cannot pardon him/herself respecting state law violations, but that’s from memory.

          Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | July 23, 2017 at 10:57 am

          1. Once impeached and convicted he’s no longer president and can’t pardon anything. But a minute before the senate votes his pardon power is still plenary.

          2. Pardons by definition extend only to criminal offenses, not to torts or political offenses, so he can no more stave off any official’s removal by impeachment — including his own — than he can get someone — again including himself — out of a cell phone contract.

          3. He can no more pardon anyone for offenses against state law than he can pardon them for offenses against foreign law, or than a state or foreign governor can pardon offenses against USA law. He isn’t the president of the state or country against which the offense was committed.

    YellowSnake | July 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    In June 2006 we killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; the leader of the organization that became ISIS. Killing the leader clearly did not kill the organization. In fact the organization became, much, much more dangerous.

    The French killed the leaders of the Algerian revolt and 2 years later they were driven from Algeria.

    Does anyone think that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi didn’t notice that his closest associates were being regularly killed and that they had huge amounts of digital data that could have been captured? Wouldn’t he have changed up his methods to a degree that the information the Times published would have been known to him or no longer operative?

    To quote the Times “The Pentagon raised no objections with The Times before the story was published, and no senior American official ever complained publicly about it until now.”

      Are you suggesting that we throw them a party?

      Maybe the NYT should announce it?

      How many times do you need to make your point?

        YellowSnake in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm

        They say that is someone fools you once, it is shame on him. If you are fooled again, it is shame on you.

        Apparently you can be fooled by indigenous guerrilla movements every time. Oh, oh, oh if only we hadn’t been betrayed, we would have won in ………….. (fill in the blank)

        I’ll bet the world also treats you unfairly, too. Poor boy!

      Ragspierre in reply to YellowSnake. | July 22, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      Your thesis here seems to be that there is no benefit to killing the leaders of a movement. In fact, what you suggest is the movement just gets stronger.

      That is batshit crazy. If you can’t think of any examples where killing off the leadership of a movement crippled the movement (or would have crippled it), you are blind.

      Milhouse in reply to YellowSnake. | July 23, 2017 at 3:41 am

      He didn’t “change up his methods” until the NYT published it. Post hoc doesn’t necessarily mean propter hoc, but it certainly suggests it. The real question is whether we can be sure he would have changed anyway, and the answer is we can’t, so the NYT editors had no business publishing it. They wouldn’t accept that sort of excuse from anyone else, so we shouldn’t accept it from them.

    Sam in Texas | July 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    “But General James Mattis says there is no proof of his death and believes his is alive.”

    It’s like killing a mosquito inside the house. It isn’t dead until you see the carcass.

      YellowSnake in reply to Sam in Texas. | July 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      A lot of people on this very site believe in things they cannot see.

      Of course, when they are confronted by something they can see but don’t wish to, they can demand your standard of proof. That is important because if you seal your home with screens and fumigate, you might never see the dead mosquito. But that mosquito is dead.

    openeyes | July 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t expect much from the MSM media. They are libs who find it easy to leak, regardless of (or because of?) the damage it causes the US and its allies.
    I would expect however, for these generals and administration to get off their rear ends and track down the leakers, who are the criminals in these occurrences.
    Lock up a few of these slimeball leakers and there will be a reduction in leaks.

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