Earlier in the State Department briefing, AP reporter Matt Lee pointed out that Ahmed Abu Khattala was not in hiding as Bin Laden was for so many years, and basically asked why it took so long to capture him, especially when he did several news interviews.
Lee got little in response to his question from State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki, other than there were a ‘range of factors’ that led to Khattala being captured on Sunday and her reasoning that terrorists would gladly meet with news reporters to get their message out but wouldn’t likely meet with US Special forces if they scheduled a meeting with him.
Following up on Lee’s questioning, Fox News reporter James Rosen took the questioning further, asking why US Special Forces couldn’t have made an ‘unscheduled’ meeting with Khattala over the past 2 years to capture him.
Psaki dodged the question, suggesting, once again, that terrorist are likely to meet with news reporters to get their message out and that there was a ‘range of factors’ that only made Khattala’s capture recently.
Pushing his point, Rosen asked why US Special Forces couldn’t have pretended to be news reporters to capture Khattala. Psaki quipped that if he were volunteering himself for future endeavors they would take that into account.
Rosen pushed back, telling Psaki she wasn’t answering his question and decided to put it in the most simplest of terms, asking why a reporter was able to get within six inches of Khattala but the US Special Forces weren’t able to do so for more than two years.
Psaki still didn’t have a good answer, telling Rosen that it’s more complicated for US Special Forces to nab a terrorist that it is to call him up for an interview. Of course, she also threw out the ‘range of factors’ line again.