ABC, NBC Ignore U.S. and Iraqi Forces Capturing 5 Top ISIS Leaders

There was a lot of winning for the United States this week between the release of three American hostages from North Korea, unemployment at 3.9 percent, and on Thursday news broke that the U.S. had captured five of ISIS’s top leaders. But depending on which of the major network news outlets you watch, you may not have heard about the captured leaders. CBS Evening News was the only member of the big three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) to even mention it that evening. The national evening newscasts of Spanish-language Univision and Telemundo also kept quiet about it.

Five senior ISIS leaders have been captured in a joint operation involving Iraqi and U.S.-backed Syrian forces,” announced anchor Jeff Glor ahead of the full report. “It is the latest defeat for the extremist group, which has lost nearly all of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.

As Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues began his report, he played clips of Iraqi television showing off their recent victory. “The ISIS commanders' confessions were broadcast on Iraqi television this morning. One by one, the men in the yellow jumpsuits and handcuffs admitted to being top Islamic State leaders,” he reported.

As explained by Pegues, coalition forces had captured one top leader and it triggered “an elaborate intelligence operation” which used his phone to lure four others into a trap in Iraq. “The Iraqi government said information gathered during interrogations led to an air force strike it claims killed another 40 ISIS terrorists,” he noted as a video of a large building being turned to rumble and dust played.

And their capture could lead to greater victories in the future. “These guys have an understanding of what's happened to ISIS post-caliphate, where the senior leaders are in general, what their plans might be for going forward,” former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell told Pegues.

The information U.S. forces get from the captives could lead coalition forces directly to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “His removal would be a symbol of the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And he is a galvanizing force holding the rest of the group together. So if he went away, it would splinter apart,” Morrell added.

After the recorded report ended, Glor questioned Pegues on why it was still important for al-Baghdadi to be taken out. “Well, U.S. officials also believe al-Baghdadi is a threat because he's inspired attacks here in the U.S. For example, in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, which killed 14, the shooters pledged their allegiance to the ISIS leader,” Pegues explained.

It’s disappointing that ABC and NBC chose not to report this good news especially when they spent time on less important things. ABC had an exclusive where they were traveling along with a Mexican drug cartel as they made heroine and mocked the idea of a border wall. And NBC ran three different reports on the City of Pittsburgh including one about the view of the city from an incline. Top priorities.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

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CBS Evening News
May 10, 2018
6:38:39 PM Eastern

JEFF GLOR: Five senior ISIS leaders have been captured in a joint operation involving Iraqi and U.S.-backed Syrian forces. It is the latest defeat for the extremist group, which has lost nearly all of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. Here's Jeff Pegues with more on this.

[Cuts to video]

JEFF PEGUES: The ISIS commanders' confessions were broadcast on Iraqi television this morning. One by one, the men in the yellow jumpsuits and handcuffs admitted to being top Islamic State leaders. Their capture was the result of an elaborate intelligence operation run by Iraq and the United States. First came the capture of Ismail Elwan al-Eithawi, described as a close aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. U.S. and Iraqi forced then use an app on Eithawi's mobile phone to lure the other men across the Syrian border and into Iraq where they were arrested.

The Iraqi government said information gathered during interrogations led to an air force strike it claims killed another 40 ISIS terrorists. Michael Morrell is the former acting director of the CIA and a CBS News national security analyst.

MICHAEL MORRELL: These guys have an understanding of what's happened to ISIS post-caliphate, where the senior leaders are in general, what their plans might be for going forward.

PEGUES: U.S. Officials say ISIS leadership has been decimated through airstrikes and ground operations. But al-Baghdadi is believed to still be operating on the border between Syria and Iraq. U.S. officials and Iraqis are after al-Baghdadi.

MORRELL: His removal would be a symbol of the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And he is a galvanizing force holding the rest of the group together. So if he went away, it would splinter apart.

[Cuts back to live]

GLOR: So Jeff, one of the questions is the administration keeps saying that ISIS has been all but defeated. Why is it still important to remove Baghdadi?

PEGUES: Well, U.S. officials also believe al-Baghdadi is a threat because he's inspired attacks here in the U.S. For example, in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, which killed 14, the shooters pledged their allegiance to the ISIS leader. Jeff.

GLOR: Jeff Pegues, thank you.


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NBDaily Foreign Policy Iraq Middle East Bias by Omission Military War on Terrorism Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Jeff Pegues Jeff Glor