Ex-Rep. Hoekstra: What Happened to Wounded in Drone Strikes?

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 04:56 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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The lack of any information in regard to potential survivors and intelligence gathering after last weekend's drone attacks in Yemen has struck one expert as odd.

Last week, drone air strikes in a remote, mountainous region in southern Yemen reportedly killed between 75 and 90 suspected al-Qaida members, as well as a number of civilians.
Onetime Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that under normal circumstances there would have been word about possible survivors. But the mainstream media has not asked why there has been no such mention.

"How come no one is asking the question, 'Were there any survivors? Were there any prisoners taken? Where did those prisoners go? What's happening to them today?'" Hoekstra asked.

Story continues below video.

Hoekstra, who believes there is a "story that is not being told here," continued to outline why.

"There were reported three drone strikes, somewhere between 75 and 90 al-Qaida militants supposedly were killed. But you and I know that in every battlefield, there's a lot left, including wounded, in this case, wounded al-Qaida members.

"I suspect that immediately after the drone attacks, or within a very short period of time, the Yemeni Army, probably along with U.S. advisers and perhaps some special operations forces, went to the scene of the attacks, and what they found is they found wounded al-Qaida members, some of the leadership. Through press reports, we know that some of the bodies were taken to Saudi Arabia for identification. It's realistic to expect that we picked up some wounded, we probably captured some other people, but the real question is what happened to them?"

Hoekstra suspects that any prisoners taken by the United States have since been turned over to the Yemeni government and might never be seen or heard from again.

"Under the Bush administration, we would have taken those individuals into U.S. custody, we would have interrogated them, we might have brought some of them back to Gitmo," Hoekstra said. "Under the Obama administration, they have no idea what to do with these individuals as they're captured. So in this case, my guess is they were given over to the Yemeni government, and I'll tell you, I bet these guys wished they were on their way to Gitmo and that they were not under the control and the jurisdiction of the Yemeni government.

"In that part of the world, with those types of governments, [execution is] a possibility. I don’t think that they would have summarily executed them, they would have interrogated them, they would have gotten all of the information that they could out of these individuals, and then they may have summarily executed them, but they would have gone after their intelligence value. The real failure here on the Obama administration is that with the use of drone strikes and these types of things, getting intelligence from al-Qaida individuals and leadership that’s been captured, that's been gone for much of the last five years. It was a real element of the Bush strategy in a way that we collected intelligence.

"You can't get any better intelligence than human intelligence from people that you capture on the battlefield."

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