- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2015

Sen. John McCain, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, lashed out at President Obama Friday after a Pentagon official made public plans to attack the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq.

Mr. McCain demanded in a letter that Mr. Obama provide the name of the official who described to reporters Thursday how the Pentagon planned to send a force of 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters and regional police to Mosul to weed out the city’s 1,000 to 2,000 Islamic State militants.

The Arizona Republican also called for Mr. Obama to say whether the White House had given that official permission to discuss the war plans. Committee member Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican, co-signed the letter.

“These disclosures not only risk the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi and coalition forces,” the senators said in the letter. “Given the serious impact of these disclosures, we want to know who at U.S. Central Command was responsible for this briefing, and whether they had prior approval from the White House to divulge this information. Those responsible have jeopardized our national security interests and must be held accountable.”

The official, who works for U.S. Central Command, the branch of the U.S. military that plans and conducts operations in the Middle East, divulged details about how and when the large-scale attack would be launched during a teleconference with major news networks and regional trade publications.

“The mark on the wall that we are still shooting for is the April/May time frame,” the official said. “There’s still a lot of things that need to come together and as we dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts, we want them to go in that time frame because if you get into Ramadan in the summer in the heat, it becomes problematic if it goes much later than that.”

 


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