World

No Intel From Raid That Killed SEAL, 29 Civilians

| by Ray Brown

Unnamed intelligence sources said no significant information about terrorist activity was obtained in a Jan. 29 ground raid in Yemen that killed one Navy SEAL and 29 Yemeni civilians.

Pentagon officials told NBC News that the botched raid, approved by President Donald Trump just five days after taking office, that no "actionable intelligence" was obtained, despite Trump administration claims there was a significant acquisition of information regarding terrorist activity in the Arabian Peninsula.

The ground raid in Yemen was a rare military action in that country that has caused controversy after the death of William "Ryan" Owens, a Navy SEAL who was killed in the attack, along with 29 civilians, including an 8-year-old girl. But the raid went wrong, according to The New York Times, and a great deal of gunfire was exchanged, leading to the many fatalities.

Ryan Owens' father, Bill Owens, made headlines in recent days when he declined Trump's request to attend the transfer of his son's casket at Dover Air Force Base. Bill Owens had requested it be a private ceremony for family only and was informed shortly before the ceremony that the president wished to attend.

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“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” the father said of the president's request.

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen -- everything was missiles and drones -- because there was not a target worth one American life," Bill told the Miami Herald. "Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

Bill said he wants a full investigation into the raid and his son's death.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer addressed the gold star father's comments during a news conference on Feb. 27 and insisted that vital information had been acquired.

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"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. "The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation." 

Since the raid, the Yemeni government, which is backed by the U.S. in its civil war against Houthi rebels, revoked permission for U.S. forces to conduct further ground raids, according to The New York Times. Neither the Yemeni government or the U.S. government has publicly announced the suspension.

Sources: NBC News, New York Times (2), Miami Herald / Photo credit: Owens Family via Miami Herald

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