The White House appeared to reveal the identities of special forces personnel on the ground in Israel in a Wednesday night social media post.
Following President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, the White House posted a photo to Twitter showing the president alongside what it called “first responders,” who are suspected of being special forces personnel. After observers pointed out that identifying features of the personnel were not blurred, the White House deleted the photo without explanation.
The Daily Caller is not sharing screenshots of the original image to prevent further spreading of the personnel’s identities, though it did corroborate the authenticity of the White House’s Twitter post through an archived page.
Biden confirmed earlier in October that some Americans were among the hostages taken by Hamas. The administration said the United States had sent hostage rescue experts to Israel to assist the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and U.S. special operation forces were placed on alert in a nearby country in case they were needed in Israel at a later date, two senior U.S. military officials apparently told The Messenger.
Advisors from the United States intelligence community were sent to the U.S. Embassy in Israel to assist a special operations team that had arrived earlier, the unnamed officials told the outlet. Since war broke out in the Middle East, the Pentagon has sent a small team of special operations forces to Israel to provide intelligence assistance to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and aid in its efforts to rescue hostages taken by Hamas, The New York Times reported Oct. 15.
An update to tweet below which also provides clarity: the U.S. sent advisors to augment an American special operations team already in Israel that’s assigned to the U.S. Embassy, U.S. military officials tell me. These advisors usually come from U.S. Special Operations Command. https://t.co/hus7MtqQYT
— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) October 10, 2023
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Oct. 10 said the United States had “people on the ground” to help Israeli forces with “intelligence and planning.” Austin appeared to confirm the presence of special operators during an Oct. 12 press briefing on Israel when a reporter asked him if “JSOC” (Joint Special Operations Command) was on the ground.
“There are personnel on the ground as part of a larger assistance package in support of CENTCOM [United States Central Command]. And that includes military personnel advising and consulting on hostage recovery efforts,” Austin responded.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Biden’s trip to Israel to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the country during its war against the terrorist organization Hamas. Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was also supposed to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Jordan to discuss humanitarian aid to Palestinians, though the arrangement was canceled after a hospital strike in Gaza on Tuesday night. (RELATED: Biden Announces $100 Million In Aid To Gaza Days After Hamas Stole Humanitarian Supplies)
Biden on Tuesday told Netanyahu he “wanted to personally come” to the country to show his support, adding that Americans are grieving and worried about the people of Israel. The president said the United States would continue to provide Israel with what it needs during its war against Hamas and will continue to fund the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system.