[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/04/12/somalia.pirates/art.phillips.navy.jpg caption="Capt. Richard Phillips, right, stands with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Frank Castellano after Phillips' rescue Sunday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama granted two separate requests from the Defense Department to go forward with a military operation to rescue Captain Richard Phillips, an administration official tells CNN.
Related: Hostage captain rescued, 3 pirates killed
Obama granted the authority to use appropriate force with the focus on saving and protecting Phillips’ life. The requests were made by the Pentagon Friday and Saturday. For technical reasons, authority was granted two different times, according to the official, because different U.S. forces moved in the region near the coast of Somalia.
CNN has also learned that Obama has phoned Phillips on board the USS Boxer as well as Phillips’ wife and family at their home in Vermont.
In a statement issued by the White House after Phillips had been successfully rescued, the president said his administration is “resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region.”
“To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes."
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