U.S. President Barack Obama apologizes for a counterterrorism operation in January that accidentally killed two aid workers held hostage by al Qaeda. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday (April 23) apologized for a counterterrorism operation in January that accidentally killed two aid workers held hostage by al Qaeda, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. "As a husband and as a father, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the Weinstein and Lo Porto families are enduring today," Obama told reporters, with a deep sigh, saying he took responsibility for the deaths and has ordered a full review. "I profoundly regret what happened," Obama said, explaining he declassified some of the details of the operation so that the families could know what happened. The operation in which Weinstein and Lo Porto were killed also resulted in the death of an American al Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, the White House said. Another American al Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn, also was killed, likely in a separate operation, the White House said in an earlier statement. The White House expressed "tremendous sorrow" over the hostage deaths and said the United States had no reason to believe hostages were at the al Qaeda related compound targeted in the operation. The White House did not describe the operation, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it was a the first known instance in which the United States has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike. The White House said that while the operation "was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies, we are conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future."