A new report says President Donald Trump agreed to a U.S. military raid in Yemen on Jan. 29 because former President Barack Obama opposed it.
An unidentified senior White House official leaked to NBC News that Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Trump that the capture of Qassim al-Rimi, head of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, would be a "game changer."
To help convince Trump into agreeing to the raid in Yemen, they reportedly told him Obama was not brave enough to green light the mission.
The raid failed to kill al-Rimi, but did take the lives of one Navy SEAL, 14 al-Qaida fighters and 30 civilians. The White House called the raid "a successful operation by all standards."
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The New York Times notes that Obama nixed the risky attack in the mountainous village because military officials wanted to try it on a moonless night and the next opportunity would have been after he left office.
Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is a White House adviser, joined Trump at a dinner with Steve Bannon, chief political strategist, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn, to discuss the military operation, which Trump approved.
An unidentified senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News how "almost everything went wrong" in the raid. The people in the targeted area were tipped off by something, and began firing at forces on the ground.
A senior military official said some women, who were armed, opened fire on U.S. and United Arab Emirates forces.
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Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed, and an MV-22 Osprey -- a military aircraft that has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities -- had a problem landing and was crippled.
According to the military official, two Harrier jets and two helicopter gunships attacked the target area, and destroyed the MV-22 Osprey.
NBC News reports that al-Rimi released an audio recording on Feb. 5 that mocked Trump: "The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands."
The Pentagon said the U.S. forces did find "materials and information that is yielding valuable intelligence."