U.S. spies struggle with intelligence gap on the ground in Syria

Officials have told ABC News that the dearth of ground intelligence contributed to the failure of the operation and the difficulty of other hostage rescue attempts since.

Despite efforts to improve collection — which counter-terrorism officials have told ABC News has never included presidentially-authorized human intelligence on the ground in Syria — the U.S. has a long way to go, officials told lawmakers.

“I would not argue though that we have closed the gap on where we need to be in terms of our understanding, with granularity, about what is going on on the ground in Syria. In many cases the information we have about foreign fighters traveling to the conflict zone stops when they get there,” Rasmussen admitted.