House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement following the U.S. operation to kill ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Sunday.
“Americans salute the heroism…and acknowledge the work of our partners in the region. We are relieved that no U.S. personnel died in this daring raid,” she said in a statement. “The death of al-Baghdadi is significant, but the death of this ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS. Scores of ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence and committing acts of terror.”
Pelosi, however, again criticized the White House for pulling back troops from Syria earlier this month, saying that “ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence.”
Meanwhile, her statement added, she said the House has to be told about such raids beforehand.
“The House must be briefed on this raid,” she said, adding that “our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”
Trump said in a press conference that Pelosi and other Congressional leaders were not informed about the raid beforehand due to potential leaks that could imperil the operation.
“We were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before,” Trump said. “There’s no country in the world that leaks like we do, and Washington is a leaking machine.”
He added that leaks would have possibly cost American lives.
“I wanted to make sure this was kept secret. I don’t want to have men lost and women. I don’t want to have people lost,” he said, adding that a “leak could have caused the death of all of them.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, also said that he wasn’t informed of the raid beforehand.
“In terms of notifying the Gang of 8, that wasn’t done,” he told ABC News.
Other Congressional members praised President Donald Trump for the move.
Al Baghdadi spread “fire and brimstone” on earth; now he feels it for himself in hell. To all who arranged his change of venue—the intel officers, the President, the warriors—thank you.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 27, 2019
“Al Baghdadi spread ‘fire and brimstone’ on earth; now he feels it for himself in hell,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) wrote. “To all who arranged his change of venue—the intel officers, the President, the warriors—thank you.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Trump’s worst critics should hail the announcement.
“Last night the best of America confronted the worst of mankind and the good guys won,” Graham said in a press conference. “This is a moment where President Trump’s worst critics should say, ‘Well done.’”
He noted that al-Baghdadi’s death is a landmark moment in the fight against terrorism.
But Graham cautioned that the war on terror “is by no means over. The caliphate is dead and leader of the caliphate is dead. And that’s a big deal.”