If the Russian military, despite its boasts, failed to kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a May 28 airstrike, one American officer can certainly sympathize.
As he outlines in his new book, “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” (Dey Street), Brett Velicovich was part of a mission that came tantalizingly close to making the capture years earlier — only to miss by minutes.
Velicovich, who co-authored the book with journalist Christopher S. Stewart, was part of Delta Force, an undercover Army intelligence unit, and Velicovich’s specialty was operating surveillance drones.
In 2010, his unit hunted al-Baghdadi for months, launching more than 30 missions in an attempt to capture him. As they picked off and interrogated al-Baghdadi’s associates, Velicovich writes, the terror leader went underground.
Call him the man who can’t be