PRESCOTT, Ariz. (Christian Examiner) – Congressman Paul Gosar has shared details of an attempt to rescue Kayla Mueller that failed because she did not catch onto the secret mission, and President Obama has confirmed she was the subject of at least one other covert operation.
Mueller, a 26-year-old aid worker who was kidnapped in August 2013 while doing humanitarian work in Syria, died while in the hands of her Islamic State captors. Tuesday her family received information from IS extremists that included a photo which convinced authorities the young woman had died.
CBS News reported Mueller was given as a bride to a fighter with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Gosar, who is from Mueller's hometown of Prescott, told the Arizona Republic details about an effort that took advantage of that knowledge to try to free Mueller.
Gosar told the Arizona Republic authorities were able to get an operative into the Syrian terrorist camp where Mueller was being held. The man pretended to be Mueller's husband and demanded she be returned to him according to religious law. But, Mueller did not catch on. Possibly fearing she was being moved from a bad situation to one that was worse, she denied she had a husband and unknowingly ended the scheme to free her.
In defending his decision not to pay a ransom for Mueller, President Obama defended the longstanding U.S. policy by saying that giving in would only make Americans "even greater targets for future kidnappings."
But, he told Buzzfeed.com he had "deployed an entire operation -- at significant risk -- to rescue not only her but the other individuals who had been held and probably missed them by a day or two" in an attempt in July.
In a statement released by the White House, the president called ISIS (also, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) "a hateful and abhorrent terrorist group whose actions stand in stark contrast to the spirit of people like Kayla."
Mr. Obama was referring to a letter from Mueller -- written in November 2014 while she was in an ISIS prison -- that was made public by her family yesterday.
In the letter, she recalls being told by her Mom that "in the end the only one you really have is God."
"I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else," Mueller wrote. "[+] by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free."