As early as May, the Obama administration had strong and specific information about the location of American James Foley and other hostages held in Syria, a source close to the discussions told Fox News, but the rescue mission was not approved until early July.

The gap raises new and compelling questions about whether the operation to save the American and British hostages was unnecessarily delayed for at least five weeks because the administration wanted the intelligence to develop further.

“We had a lot of really good information on where they were being held, very specific information,” said the source, who agreed to discuss the details on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The source added that the Islamic State captors felt so secure in their stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, that the hostages were moved between only a handful of locations. By late spring, the American and British hostages had been held for at least three weeks in one facility.

Other sources backed up the account provided to Fox News. The timeline seems to conflict with administration claims that the White House signed off on the operation as soon as the intelligence allowed.

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