Former CIA analyst says releasing video of al-Baghdadi raid would be ‘unhelpful’

Former CIA analyst and Hill.TV host Buck Sexton pushed back against President Trump’s idea of releasing a video showing the U.S. military raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“I would think that’s unhelpful to release the video over the long term,” Sexton, who is now a conservative political commentator, told Hill.TV on Monday.

But Sexton maintained that such a move would also depend on the contents of the video. 

“We always want to be on guard to make sure that we don’t inch toward the kind of barbarity that we see in our enemies,” he said.

Sexton’s comments come after Trump said Monday that he may release certain portions of a video depicting the raid that resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi over the weekend.

“We’re thinking about it. We may,” Trump told reporters when asked about the prospect of releasing the footage. “We may take certain parts of it and release it, yes.”

President Trump first announced the death of al-Baghdadi in a Sunday morning address, saying U.S. forces had trapped the ISIS chief in a tunnel. Al-Baghdadi subsequently detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

The raid was seen as welcome news from lawmakers, though it was later revealed that Trump did not tell key members of either party of the raid in advance.

House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were among those in the Gang of Eight who weren’t given a heads up. The Gang of Eight consists of a group of intelligence leaders typically informed of classified raids before they occur.

Trump has defended the move, particularly concerning his decision not to inform Schiff.

“Well, I guess the only thing is they were talking about why didn’t I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee,” Trump told reporters. “And the answer is: Because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington.”

—Tess Bonn

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