Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today issued the following statement:
“Today’s announcement of a US military raid that resulted in the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria is good news for those terrorized by ISIS’s brutal campaign of violence and for U.S. national security. Today I especially remember James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller, and Peter Kassig, Americans who were killed at the hands of ISIS. I commend all involved, especially our courageous Special Operations and intelligence professionals. Though much of their work must remain outside the public eye, I honor their sacrifices and commitment.
“This morning, Trump thanked Russia and Syria for their support with the al-Baghdadi operation, yet these two countries have been among the most destabilizing to the region, creating the conditions that gave rise to extremism and chaos. Furthermore, though ISIS’s leader may be dead, its destructive ideology remains and continues to motivate what our own Defense Department estimates as 10,000-15,000 ISIS fighters working to reconstitute the terrorist group. Trump’s disastrous strategy in Syria does nothing to ensure the next Baghdadi does not again threaten the U.S. and our allies. Trump must see the value in trusting our intelligence officials and partners going forward to prevent ISIS 2.0.
“Finally, I am extremely troubled Trump notified only Republicans, but did not see fit to inform me or any Congressional Democrats of the operation. His implication that Speaker Pelosi, the elected representative third in line for the Presidency, cannot be trusted with sensitive information is tremendously problematic and insulting, and further politicizes foreign policy—especially when Trump himself has shown to be an untrustworthy guardian of our national security and sensitive intelligence information.”
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