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Op-Ed: Did ISIS Assassinate A U.S. Citizen In Adana, Turkey Who Worked At Incirlik Air Base?

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Two weeks ago, Middle Eastern news outlets reported that ISIS had claimed it was able to assassinate a U.S. citizen in Adana, Turkey and because of the covert nature of the assassination, ISIS delayed its public announcement of responsibility.  


An excerpt from the ISIS news agency, Amaq: 

Adana – Amaq Agency: Sources said to Amaq that a covert unit belonging to the Islamic State managed to assassinate an American officer working at Incirlik Air Base, in the Turkish city of Adana.  The sources mentioned that the operation took place in the officer’s home and explained that the delayed announcement of responsibility was in order to ‘ensure the safety of the covert unit which conducted the operation.’  Incirlik Air Base was placed under management of the U.S. Air Force and that of other countries of the International Coalition.  From the base, aircraft take off to bomb cities and areas under Islamic State control inside Syria.

As soon as this story broke, the Pentagon issued its statement stating it denied ISIS’ claim that it had assassinated a U.S. citizen.  The Pentagon stated that the U.S. citizen, 61 year-old Thaddeus Borowicz, died as a result of trying to gain entry into his 10th floor apartment through an open window by securing a cable around his waist that was anchored to a chimney, which the cable snapped and he fell to his death.  Upon further research of the cause of death of Mr. Borowicz, another news site reported a few gruesome details the Pentagon didn’t: Mr. Borowicz was practically ripped in half  

As he fell Borowicz’s legs were torn off by the iron door of the building and he died at the scene… locals said they discovered Borowicz’s upper body at the entrance of the apartment and found his legs three meters away.”  

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to believe ISIS’ claim that they in fact assassinated Mr. Borowicz by pushing him out his own apartment window, but as it stands now, the Pentagon was implicit that Mr. Borowicz died as a result of a tragic accident.  I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone would tie a cable around their waist and attempt to gain entry into his 10th floor apartment open window or not.  Why not just get a spare key from the landlord or even call for a locksmith?  Adana, Turkey is home to Incirlik Air Base, where several hundred U.S. military reside and serve, I would find it hard to believe that obtaining a spare key would be out of the question, especially if one lived on the 10th floor and was locked out.  

If the man was in fact assassinated, what would be the motive for the Pentagon to deny it? My gut tells me it has everything to do with not “insulting” Turkey and its leader, Erdogan due to maintaining access to Incirlik Air Base as a strategic base in the fight on ISIS. Erdogan has been heavily accused by several world leaders of working with ISIS for none other than greed and the most prominent country to publicly accuse him is Russia.  The Kurds have long accused Erdogan of consorting with ISIS and even had the Turkish military and police forces attack several Kurdish towns in Turkey.  

Of course, this is just my theory on it all, because as my grandfather would say quoting a line from Hamlet, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”  It just doesn’t make sense to me at all but then again, the truth can be stranger than fiction.  Do you think ISIS assassinated Mr. Borowicz and if so, what’s the motive for the Pentagon to deny an assassination happened? Sound off in the comments below!


Theresa Giarratano is a retired US Army NCO studying Middle Eastern affairs with special emphasis on global terrorism. Her current status is assisting the Kurdish people by disseminating information regarding the fight against ISIS via social media platforms.