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Hagel defends disclosure of secret, failed raid to free US hostages in Syria

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday defended the decision to formally acknowledge a failed mission to rescue American journalist James Foley and others held in Syria earlier this year, amid criticism from Republicans over the disclosure.

The White House and Defense Department, in a rare public confirmation of a covert mission, acknowledged late Wednesday that President Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages held by Islamic State extremists. The mission was not successful.

Hagel echoed White House and State Department claims, though, in saying the only reason they acknowledged the mission was because media outlets already knew about it.

“There were a number of news outlets that were aware of the action, of the raid,” he said Thursday. “It was a decision made by the administration, which we concurred with, to address the mission.”

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