Former House Intel Committee Chair: 'No way we could have' killed ISIS leader without the Kurds

Former Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersThe Hill's Campaign Report: Red-state governors races pose test for Trump Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race Overnight Defense: House approves Turkey sanctions in rebuke of Trump | Trump attacks on Army officer testifying spark backlash | Dems want answers from Esper over Ukraine aid MORE (R-Mich.) said there was “no way we could have done” the mission to kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi without the help of Kurdish troops.

Rogers, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperRepublicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' Saagar Enjeti: Harris campaign 'is failing because she doesn't stand for anything' MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union” that having the Kurds as allies and retrieving intelligence from them enabled the U.S. to successfully carry out this mission.

ADVERTISEMENT
“There’s no way we could have done this,” Rogers said. “Remember those Kurdish forces were pushing back on ISIS.” 

“All of that, Trump should understand how impactful that was,” he added. “That was a change in operating in Syria and it did make a significant difference to push back and eliminate their land holding.”

The Michigan Republican emphasized that Kurdish forces most likely provided intelligence leading to al-Baghdadi’s death.

“You can’t do it without those allies of which candidly we just walked away from,” he said. 

Former National Intelligence Director James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Schiff: Barr 'weaponizing' DOJ 'to go after the president's enemies' MORE agreed that the Kurdish forces most likely played a vital role in the mission.

“I’m quite confident that our being on the ground and sharing tactical intelligence, ground-level intelligence with the Kurds, I’m quite sure had a lot to do with the success of this mission,” he said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE announced the removal of U.S. troops from Syria earlier this month, after which Turkey launched an offensive against the U.S. Kurdish allies, who Turkey views as terrorists. Several bipartisan lawmakers condemned the announcement, worrying that the Kurds would view the removal as a “betrayal.” 


The U.S. military utilized the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurds, to complete the mission of killing al-Baghdadi.