House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon attacked the White House for confirming the failed rescue attempt of American James Foley and called for an investigation into how the "damaging" information was leaked.
"Successful or not, such operations are incredibly sensitive, even after they have concluded," McKeon said in a statement, according to Politico
. "Disclosure of these missions puts our troops at risk, reduces the likelihood that future missions will succeed and risks the lives of hostages and informants alike."
The White House confirmed on Wednesday that U.S. Special Forces had attempted to free
Foley, the photojournalist beheaded by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, earlier this summer. But Foley and other American hostages were not at the location in Syria.
National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said the administration only admitted the botched rescue attempt after it had learned that several media operations were going to publish the information.
"It was clear a number of media outlets were preparing to report on the operation, and that we would have no choice but to acknowledge it," Hayden said.
McKeon, a California Republican, lashed out at the "selfish" person who leaked the information and urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to conduct an inquiry.
"While I believe it was unwise for the White House and Department of Defense to formally acknowledge this operation; it is outrageous that someone would be so selfish and shortsighted to leak it to the media," McKeon said.
Arizona Republican John McCain said that the Obama administration may have been responsible for the leak.
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"I don’t really like to impugn people’s motives all the time, but remember after we got [Osama] bin Laden all that stuff was leaked about it that was totally unnecessary and even compromised some of our capabilities," McCain told Fox News.
"This is sort of the same thing. They see the negative, the disapproval of the American people of the handling of this situation, so one can’t help but assume that this is sort of to try and help their PR that they tried to rescue the hostages."
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