Trump cites 'Washington leaks' for keeping raid on ISIS leader from congressional leaders

President Trump said Sunday that he did not tell some congressional leaders about the U.S. military raid in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed, citing "Washington leaks." 

Trump said at the White House that "some" leaders were notified and that others were being informed as he announced the death of the terror group's leader to the public. 

"We were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before," Trump said. "There’s no country in the world that leaks like we do, and Washington is a leaking machine."

ADVERTISEMENT

"I told my people we will not notify them until our great people are out — not just in but out," Trump added. 

He later confirmed that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash MORE (D-Calif.) was not notified in advance. 

He said he did speak with Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill UN biodiversity chief calls for international ban of 'wet markets' Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets MORE (R-S.C.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTrump takes heat for firing intel watchdog during pandemic COVID-19 and the coming corruption pandemic Burr says intelligence watchdog should be 'independent' after inspector general firing MORE (R-N.C.) about the operation following its conclusion.

"I wanted to make sure this was kept secret. I don't want to have men lost and women. I don’t want to have people lost," he said. 

He said that a "leak could have caused the death of all of them." 

Trump said no U.S. forces were killed during the raid.

Reports began to surface late Saturday that U.S. forces had carried out a raid in northwest Syria and that al-Baghdadi was believed to have been killed. 

Trump tweeted Saturday night that "something very big has just happened," teasing his Sunday announcement.

He said the tweet went out after U.S. forces returned safely from the mission.