- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2015

The top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence questioned Sunday whether it was worth the risk for U.S. special forces to conduct the raid in Syria that killed an Islamic State commander.

About two-dozen Army Delta Force commandos raided a compound in eastern Syria, reportedly killing as many as 32 members of the terrorist army known as Islamic State, including Abu Sayyaf, who oversaw the militant group’s lucrative oil and gas operations.

“Nonetheless, this was an extraordinary risk,” Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If one of our people were captured, if we lost some of our special forces, there would be tough questions to answer about whether it was worth it,” Mr. Schiff said. “And I think notwithstanding the success of this operation, we still are going to have to ask those questions. Was the intelligence value that we hoped to gain and the fact that we are gaining worth this kind of risk?”

Mr. Schiff said the raid did not signal a “wholesale effort” of more commando raids against the Islamic State, which also is known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS, or that it signaled a shift to more U.S. troops on the ground to fight the group in Iraq and Syria.

“I don’t think this is a major escalation, but it’s a striking and risky success,” he said. “And hats off to those that were involved.”

He credited the intelligence community with helping achieve the success.

“Obviously, we had very good intelligence here. You can’t do an operation like this without knowing that your target is there, what kind of security they have, what the premises looks like, and enough to know you have a backup plan if things go wrong,” Mr. Schiff said.


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