Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth on Friday morning complained that mainstream media outlets had effectively ignored a recent story about five ISIS officials captured by Iraqi and American intelligence agents. The host singled out “the failing New York Times” in particular, rifling through the Times’ Friday print edition and noting that the news was nowhere to be found.
“I looked for the ‘five ISIS leaders captured’ in the failing New York Times, and in the print edition today, I have not seen it yet,” Hegseth said, employing President Trump’s favored title for the 166-year-old newspaper.
Earlier in the segment, host Steve Doocy had asked why no one was “talking about” the capture or “giving the president credit.” Hegseth added that “the so-called mainstream media that loves to hate this president” had repeatedly swept aside other similar “successes on the battlefield.”
There was just one problem: the Times had, indeed, covered the story. In fact, as Mediaite pointed out, the outlet was the first American publication to report the story in the United States, directly after Iraqi state TV had run a segment about it Wednesday morning.
On May 9, the Times ran an article by Baghdad bureau chief Margaret Coker, titled “Five Top ISIS Officials Captured in U.S.-Iraqi Sting.” The report revealed details that led to the arrests of five officials — Ismail Alwaan al-Ithawi, Saddam Omar Yahya al-Jamal, Mohammed Hussein Hadar, Abdul Qader Ashour al-Zobaie, and Omar Shahab Hammad al-Karbouli — who were detained during a months-long operation carried out by Iraqi and American intelligence agents earlier this year.
Ithawi, a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was first arrested by Turkish security forces on February 15, after authorities received an intelligence file from the Iraqis, according to the Times report. The other four men were later captured by Iraqi authorities during a border crossing after being lured from their hiding spot in Syria.
Neither U.S. officials involved in the operation nor Iraqi authorities divulged exact timelines for the arrests, although the Times report noted that their captures followed a coordinated airstrike near the Deir al-Zour district of Syria in “mid-April” that left 39 suspected ISIS members dead.
Iraq state television later aired footage of the five men wearing yellow prison jumpsuits, some with long beards and other clean shaven, the Times wrote. “Each appeared to be in good health,” the outlet added.
“We are pleased to see that the international cooperation established in this regard is yielding important results,” Turkish diplomat Hami Aksoy said in a statement this week.
Fox News has not yet clarified or corrected Hegseth’s earlier statements about the Times from Friday’s Fox & Friends segment.