- Senior officials reveal the US Navy SEAL operation in Yemen resulted in no tangible intelligence
- Trump Administration claims the mission was a success
- Raid led to the death of one US seal and at least 25 civilians, including children
- Operation may have been intended to eliminate Al Qaeda commanders
- Killed Navy SEAL’s father urges Trump not to hide behind his son’s death and investigate the raid
A deadly commando raid at the end of January in Yemen, the first such operation undertaken by the Trump Administration, which resulted in the death of a one US Navy SEAL and dozens of civilians, including children, has resulted in no major intelligence gains, according to a report.
Even though the Trump Presidency has alleged that the Yemeni SEAL operation had resulted in “actionable intelligence”, senior US officials told NBC News they were “unaware” of any such intelligence gathering gains accomplished by the raid.
The Yemen Raid
US President Donald Trump’s operation in Yemen on January 29, 2017, led to the killing of SEAL Ryan Owen, the wounding of six other US service members, and the deaths of at least 25 civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Among those were 9 children under 13 years of age, including the 8-year-old daughter of U.S.-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
A Pentagon official has told NBC News that the US Department of Defense did not dispute the cited casualty figures.
US aircraft worth USD 70 million was also destroyed in the Yemen raid. The Pentagon has three operations investigating what appears to have been a botched operation.
A senior Congressional official briefed on the matter told NBC News that the Trump Administration had yet to explain what necessitated the use of US ground troops in Yemen.
He said he was unaware of any new threats from the Al Qaeda terrorist network in the Arabian Peninsula whose affiliate was targeted by the SEAL raid.
This one and other cited US officials revealed that the raid was supposed to kill or capture one or several militants. Remarks to this end have also been made publicly by Republican Senator John McCain.
At first, the US military, did not confirm these conclusions styling the raid in Yemen a “site exploration mission” for intelligence gathering. Later, defense officials acknowledged the conclusions that the operation was intended to eliminate certain Al Qaeda militants.
According to reports, the SEAL raid killed Sheikh Abdel-Raouf al-Dhahab who is deemed an Al Qaeda leader by the US Department of Defense but not by the Yemeni government.
It has also been revealed that plans for the operation were drawn up under the Obama Administration but it declined to give it a go citing concerns that the raid might lead to an escalation in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The new US President Donald Trump authorized the mission five days after his inauguration on January 20.
No Evidence of Success
The report reminds that the White House repeatedly characterized the Yemen SEAL raid as a successful operation
“We gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer alleged.
“I can tell him that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero and the information that he was able to help obtain through that raid, as I said before, is going to save American lives,” he said in response to criticism by William Owens, the father of killed Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.
“The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation,” Spicer insisted.
However, NBC News quotes “multiple senior officials” as saying that they had not seen any evidence to support that claim.
The only example the US military has provided has turned out to be an old bomb-making video that was of no current value.
“When we look at evidently very little actual intelligence out, the loss of a high-performance aircraft and above all the loss of a highly trained special forces member of SEAL Team 6, I think we need to understand why this mission, why now, what happened, and what the actual output was,” commented retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO commander and current NBC News security analyst.
William Owens, father of the killed Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, has criticized the seemingly botched US raid in Yemen, and has revealed he had refused to meet with President Donald Trump.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into [President Trump’s] administration?” Owens told The Miami Herald in an interview.
“For two years prior … everything was missiles and drones (in Yemen)….Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?“ added the father, whose youngest son became the first US soldier to die in combat under the Trump Administration.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said on refusing the meet Trump as the President was heading from Washington to attend the transfer of Ryan Owens’ remains.
William Owens, himself a military veteran, criticized Trump for using a combat death to attack those who are calling for an inquiry.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he said.