Chewing gum AND walking. A refreshing president.
While you were sleeping and after giving an incredibly inspiring State of the State address, President Obama was busy overseeing/authorizing an daring hostage rescue of an American in Somalia and a Danish national.
U.S. special operations forces have rescued a kidnapped American aid worker and her Danish colleague in Somalia, the White House and officials with the aid organization said Wednesday. During the raid, all nine captors were killed.
Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were abducted by a group of armed men in the Somali town of Galkayo in late October. Both worked for the de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council, which provides shelter, protection, food and other assistance for thousands of displaced Somalians in Mogadishu. They were in Galkayo to monitor humanitarian aid activities, the council said.
Buchanan and Thisted were rescued early Wednesday local time (Tuesday evening in Washington), the Refugee Council said. The U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said special operations forces received information about where the captives were located, then confirmed their presence and staged the attack.
Here’s the official statement from the president:
On Monday, I authorized an operation to rescue Jessica Buchanan, an American citizen who was kidnapped and held against her will for three months in Somalia. Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our Special Operations Forces, yesterday Jessica Buchanan was rescued and she is on her way home. As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts.
Jessica Buchanan was selflessly serving her fellow human beings when she was taken hostage by criminals and pirates who showed no regard for her health and well-being. Last night I spoke with Jessica Buchanan’s father and told him that all Americans have Jessica in our thoughts and prayers, and give thanks that she will soon be reunited with her family. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice. This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people.
Multitasking at its finest. Wait for the Republicans to attack the president for this in three … two … one …
UPDATE: Two things. First, apparently President Obama didn’t actually authorize the hostage rescue while you were sleeping. He did it two days ago (maybe you were sleeping then, too, I dunno ; ) That said, I find it incredible that he delivered the amazing speech he gave last night, all the while knowing this was going on without anyone knowing about it. That’s beyond walking and chewing gum simultaneously.
Also, and this is pretty damn cool, the the team of Navy SEALS that pulled it off were the same team who killed Osama bin Laden.
The hostage rescue was carried out by the same SEAL unit behind the operation in Pakistan last May that killed bin Laden, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity to discuss the operation. It was not clear if any members participated in both operations. The unit is the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team 6.
One official said that the team parachuted into the area before moving on foot to the target. The raid happened near the Somali town of Adado.
New intelligence emerged last week that Buchanan’s health was “deteriorating rapidly,” so Obama directed his security team to develop a rescue plan, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly. A Danish Refugee Council official, Mary Ann Olsen, said that Buchanan was “not that ill” but needed medicine.
Boy, talk about padding your resume! Brave warriors, all of them. Our country is in their debt.