White House admits that it’s counter terrorism operation in January killed Weinstein and Porto who were being held hostage by al-Qaeda.
President Obama takes full responsibility for these operations…We would be conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future.
U.S. journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem, a film-maker who has reported extensively from Syria, says he interviewed a commander of the Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, who confronted ISIS to demand the release of Henning. Kareem says ‘anyone of any influence,’ including Al Qaeda, has sought to intervene on behalf of Haines, as he was a volunteer seeking to help Muslim refugees in the town of Dana and his abduction is ‘wrong under Islamic law’:
Four days after he was captured, the emir went to Al-Dana and said: ‘Look, what you are doing is wrong. You have no business what you are doing. You have no right to abduct him. You have no reason to detain him just because he is not Muslim’.
There were initial hopes that Henning would be released:
But then Henning was removed from his prison in Al-Dana and never heard of again.
The top U.S. counterterror official says ISIS presents a threat to U.S. security but is not as grave a threat as Al Qaeda. National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen says at a Brookings Institute event that the group could inspire a lone wolf attack by a sympathizer in the U.S.:
[ISIS] poses a direct and significant threat to us [and] has the potential to use its safe haven to plan and coordinate attacks in Europe and the United States
But it is not as capable of carrying out a large-scale attack as al Qaeda was before 9/11:
ISIL is not al Qaeda pre 9/11. We are not what we were pre 9/11. We are so much better postured, in so many ways, to see, detect, stop any attack like what we saw on 9/11.
The major threat is to U.S. troops in Iraq:
We have no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the United States … in the near term, we’re focused on protecting our personnel on the ground in Iraq.