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White House Gives Rundown Of U.S. Rescue Raid in Somalia White House Gives Rundown Of U.S. Rescue Raid in Somalia

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National Security / NATIONAL SECURITY

White House Gives Rundown Of U.S. Rescue Raid in Somalia

photo of Yochi J. Dreazen
January 25, 2012

The White House provided National Journal with some background about the U.S. rescue mission that freed two aid workers—American citizen Jessica Buchanan and Danish citizen Poul Hagen Thisted—who had been held hostage by Somali pirates since October.


October 25: Jessica Buchanan and Danish citizen Poul Hagen Thisted are kidnapped in Somalia and taken hostage.  

October 26:  President Obama is advised of the kidnapping and asks to be kept apprised of Ms. Buchanan's status. Over the next three months, the president is provided updates and makes regular inquiries about efforts to locate Ms. Buchanan.

November 21: John Brennan meets with Danish Minister of Justice Morten Boedskov, and they discuss the status of Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted.

November 23: The president holds a meeting with top White House National Security staff and discusses the Jessica Buchanan hostage situation. The president directs that efforts to find Ms. Buchanan continue.

Week of January 16: New intelligence emerges and shows that Jessica's health was deteriorating rapidly. Brennan begins daily POTUS updates noting that an attempt to rescue Ms. Buchanan might be made in the near term. The president directs that planning proceed for a rescue.  

January 21:
Key national-security officials hold a secure video teleconference (SVTC) to discuss potential rescue options. Brennan briefs the president on the status of rescue efforts.

Monday, January 23:

7:15pm: Key national-security officials hold a SVTC to review options for rescue operation.

9pm: After discussing the proposed rescue operation with National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, Brennan briefs the president in the White House residence and the president authorizes the operation to proceed.    

Tuesday, January 24:

 

The president is provided half a dozen updates by Brennan during the day on movement of forces, progression of rescue operation, and extraction of hostages and forces.

6:43pm: Brennan briefs the president that Buchanan and Thisted are safe and in U.S. hands.  

10:32pm: The president calls John Buchanan, Jessica's father, and informs him of the successful rescue operation.

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