Judge Jeanine: American hostage Luke Somers, a freelance photographer ,was killed late Friday during a rescue attempt by US special forces. Somers was abducted last year and was being held by al Qaeda in Yemen. The murder raises new questions about how the US military will be able to respond to a spike in overseas kidnappings by terrorists. With me now, the founder of the Investigative Project Steve Emerson, and former CIA covert operation officer Mike Baker. All right, Mike. We've got two rescues attempts, the American hostage dead. Is there some truth to what the White House says about our intel not being as good as it should be?
Mike Baker: Well, you know, it's an odd thing to say if they are in fact pushing and saying it wasn't us. Part of it is they were concerned that they were getting some flack for not approving the initial unsuccessful raid quick enough. You could argue that, look, you control very little in a hostage rescue situation. Intel is never perfect in any of these things. We tend to be conditioned by feature films and beach books to think this is just a pretty simple thing, you find your target, go and rescue them. We have had a very good success rate. But things go wrong and you can never guarantee success when you're talking about an operation like this.
Judge Jeanine: Alright Steve, same question. Is it good to say that we couldn't find the guy twice?
Steve Emerson: Well it's not good to say it, but on the other hand I will give them credit for actually trying to carry out the operations, especially for a president that has eschewed extra judicial operations. I'm glad they're doing it but the reality is, as Mike pointed out, you're relying on local intelligence initially, and that local intelligence is going to shift and it's not going to stay stagnant. It's going to shift and you're not going to be able to rely on it when you're on the ground immediately. However, the reality is it does put us in a position where we're seen as a paper tiger now. Number two, they're going to take precautions now to make it almost impossible now to rescue other hostages.
Judge Jeanine: That was my point, Steve and Mike. I'm sure you would agree with me. There's in point in saying we tried but didn't get them other than to tell the enemy, you know what we're coming after our guys. But Steve I want toaskyou a question, then Mike I'm gonna go back to you. The group behind this, Steve, is al Qaeda. We're not talking ISIS now. We're not talking Syria and Iraq. How were these guys different from ISIS?
Steve Emerson: Well they're not different from ISIS. Actually they're in competition and what they realized is that ISIS enriched itself by the tune of tens of millions of dollars by taking hostages and getting them to be paid by ransom money. This is exactly what was going on with this set of hostages. They were going to get paid ransom money, had a set of demands. And al Qaeda realized ISIS was getting a lot of fame and recruitment. So now they [are] in competition [with ISIS….and its] now it's open season on Americans around the world. So al Qaeda now is in rivalry with ISIS in the same type of tactics, and you can be sure that al Qaeda is going to be killing Americans no matter where they are. Not necessarily directed by al Qaeda core but by al Qaeda- inspired people like in Abu Dhabi as we saw just last week, a woman who was killed. And Americans killed in the Sinai like the Israelis have been killed around the world.
Judge Jeanine: And Mike it seems as Steve is saying that Americans are going to be more at risk of being taken hostage. What can we do about this?
Mike Baker: Well, Americans and our allies, Westerners all over. But we do what we continue to do. It's a little unusual to say, also, that, you know, well, this unsuccessful raid makes us a paper tiger. It doesn't make us a paper tiger. It's just the reality of it. Again, every operation, every hostage rescue attempt presents its own difficulties. And we have the best trained personnel in the world in trying to conduct these operations. But I think we've gotten to this place in our lives where the administration and everyone else wants a zero risk world. But it doesn't work that way.
Judge Jeanine: I understand, Mike, that you want to take that side. But I think when you tell the world that we tried and we lost twice, there's no point in it. (crosstalk). Hillary Clinton thinks we need to empathize with our enemies. What do you think, Steve? Real fast, we're coming up against a hard break.
Steve Emerson: I think we should empathize with our friends first.
Judge Jeanine: Mike?
Mike Baker: It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous.
Judge Jeanine: I couldn't agree more. Steve and Mike, thanks for being with us.