In an interview with Diane Sawyer, President Obama discussed the dramatic rescue of two aid workers who had been held by Somali pirates since October. Obama said of his call with the father of American hostage Jessica Buchanan, "I cannot imagine what he went through - given Malia and Sasha - and for him to be able to stay strong and then for our incredible men and women in uniform to do what they do, it makes you proud about this country."
After Obama approved the plan on Monday, a team of Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia on Tuesday and by the time of the State of the Union, the President was told that Buchanan and Danish aid worker Poul Hagen Thisted were safe. The SEALs killed nine pirates and captured five others in the operation, whose urgency increased when the government received reports of Buchanan's failing health.
Buchanan's father John Buchanan said that on Tuesday night that someone from the Situation Room told him to keep his phone line clear, "A guy came on the phone and said 'Mr. Buchanan, the next voice you'll hear will be the President of the United States.' I said 'OK.' I'm thinking 'this could be some kind of cruel joke.' He said, 'John, this is Barack Obama. I've got some really good news for you. Your daughter Jessica has been rescued and evacuated by our SEAL team and she's on her way home." He said he empathized with me, having two daughters, and said something to the effect of how proud he was that our young people would go help these other people.'"
The overjoyed father heard from his daughter—"Daddy, I love you, and I'll be fine. I'm OK"—and Buchanan added, "We're just extremely grateful to God first, and to the U.S. government. They've been great throughout this whole thing - from the first day there were there, supporting us."
Obama also revealed that unlike the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, this time he didn't have time to say, "Godspeed" to the SEALs, "On this one, they were moving so fast that I actually had to give the order and the directions and then they were out. It was not a situation where I could actually talk to the folks who were directing the operation, and it was still ongoing while were in the middle of the State of the Union speech."