The White House intended to keep its attempted rescue mission in Syria of hostages held captive by the Islamic State secret, one spokesman has said.
According to the Associated Press, only when details of the operation were leaked by administration officials, the White House decided to comment.
We never intended to disclose this operation. An overriding concern for the safety of the hostages and for operational security made it imperative that we preserve as much secrecy as possible.
We only went public today when it was clear a number of media outlets were preparing to report on the operation and that we would have no choice but to acknowledge it.
A British family have told ITV News of their devastation after discovering a close relative is fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq.
A French journalist who was held hostage with James Foley in Syria has told ITV News it was "devastating" to see his murder.