The father of an aid worker who was captured by the ISIS terrorist group, said President Donald Trump made the right call by withholding details from Congress about the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is believed to have tortured and raped his daughter for a year and a half.
Carl Mueller—father of 26-year-old Kayla Mueller who was kidnapped while doing humanitarian work in Syria in 2013—told the Washington Examiner he and his wife, Marsha Mueller, hope the Trump administration will continue to investigate how his daughter died.
Kayla was reportedly held captive for 18 months and wrote to her family in smuggled letters that she was being held in “cold, dark places.” Fellow hostages also described the humanitarian worker as “a really strong girl,” who, even under torture, refused to convert to Islam.
It is believed that she was killed in 2015 during coalition airstrikes, however her cause of death has not yet been confirmed by the U.S. government.
Her parents on Oct. 27 told The Arizona Republic they hope the Oct. 26 raid will ultimately lead to the revelation of more details about their daughter’s capture and death. They said that ISIS terrorists sent photos to them of her daughter, but her body was never found.
Carl Mueller added that he noticed some of the media coverage of the raid focused on Trump’s decision to hide details from Congress.
“They were already berating President Trump for not telling the House Intelligence Committee about this raid,” he told the Washington Examiner. “And then the next day, Nancy Pelosi comes out and says she was upset that he told Russia and he didn’t tell the House Intelligence Committee.”
Trump told reporters in Washington on Monday that the White House didn’t notify the House Intelligence Committee about the raid because of concern that the information would be leaked by committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
“Well, I guess the only thing is they were talking about why didn’t I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee. And the answer is: Because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington,” Trump said.
“You know that. I know that. We all know that. I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak. He’s a corrupt politician. He’s a leaker like nobody has ever seen before.”
Carl Mueller told the Examiner that he stood with Trump on the decision to limit Congress’s knowledge of the raid.
“I came up with a simple formula, and I ask people to honestly answer the question that I raise, given all the leaks that come out of D.C. constantly, especially in the Trump administration. If you had the fate of 100 men on your shoulders—and if you made the wrong move, those men could lose their lives—if you had to make the call, how many people would you tell about this raid?” Mueller said.
“If there happened to be a leak, they could all die. He did the right thing. He was protecting those soldiers,” he added.
U.S. forces conducted the raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS and arguably the most wanted terrorist in the world, in Syria’s Idlib province. Baghdadi’s death marked a major blow to ISIS, which has already lost all of its territory in the Middle East since Trump took office.
The president has repeatedly accused Schiff of leaking information to the press. In February last year, Trump wrote on Twitter that Schiff “is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.” In March this year, Trump wrote, “Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the White House for not notifying Congress in her statement about the killing of al-Baghdadi. Trump had previously said the White House planned to notify Congress, “but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.