Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Centcom | Mosul | battle plan | John McCain | Lindsey Graham

McCain, Graham: Leaking of Mosul Battle Plan 'Deeply Disturbing'

Image: McCain, Graham: Leaking of Mosul Battle Plan 'Deeply Disturbing'
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters inspect an rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher as they take control of the area, on the outskirts of Mosul. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 01:22 PM

Fears that the U.S. military's Central Command, with the approval of the Obama administration, leaked too many details of the planned joint operation to retake the key Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have bought a rapid and angry response from U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Az., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

In a letter to the White House, McCain and Graham wrote: "It was deeply disturbing to read today that an official from U.S. Central Command, in an official briefing to the media, provided detailed operational information regarding coalition plans to retake Mosul from ISIL. Never in our memory can we recall an instance in which our military has knowingly briefed our own war plans to our enemies.

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"These disclosures not only risk the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces. Given the serious impact of these disclosures, we want to know who at U.S. Central Command was responsible for this briefing, and whether they had prior approval from the White House to divulge this information.

"Those responsible have jeopardized our national security interests and must be held accountable," McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, notes.

An official from Central Command, who was not identified, told reporters not only that the assault would involve up to 25,000 Kurdish and Iraqi troops, but also that it is planned to launch by April or May, giving ISIS forces plenty of time to prepare, The New York Times reports.

The Obama administration appeared to be distancing itself from the announcement, with National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan commenting that "the U.S. military makes a judgment about what information is shared regarding their operations," the Times reports.

Stars and Stripes noted that the Central Command's announcement was even more detailed, stating that three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades will "help contain the Islamic State forces from the north of the city and isolate them from the west," while a "Mosul fighting force" and a reserve of three smaller brigades will launch the assault on an estimated 1,000-2,000 ISIS fighters who have had "plenty of time to build up their defenses."

The Central Command official said the announcement was made to emphasize "the level of commitment that (the Iraqis) have to this and the significance of this upcoming operation," Stars and Stripes reported.

Gen. Jack Keane, former Army chief of staff, told Fox News: "That is pretty amazing that that information's out there."

Still undecided is how much direct, on-the-ground involvement American troops will have as forward air controllers directing airstrikes on ISIS positions, and this is a decision which will be made by Obama, the Times reports.

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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Fears that the U.S. military's Central Command leaked too many details of the planned joint operation to retake the key Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS have bought a rapid and angry response from Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Centcom, Mosul, battle plan, John McCain, Lindsey Graham
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2015-22-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 01:22 PM
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