President Donald Trump reportedly approved a Navy SEAL attack on an alleged al-Qaida compound in Yemen without sufficient intelligence, leading to the death of one U.S. service member and several civilians, including women and children.
U.S. Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the raid and at least 10 women and children were killed in the attack. Fourteen suspected al-Qaida militants also died in the raid.
According to Reuters, U.S. military officials said Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.
It's not clear why the military officials asked for presidential approval to carry out the attack if adequate planning and preparation had not been completed.
Before leaving office, former President Barack Obama had been asked to approve the Yemen raid. But The New York Times reported that Obama did not want to carry out the attack at the time because the Pentagon wanted to do the mission on a moonless night and the next such night would not occur until after he left office.
Although the raid allowed the elite U.S. commandos to gather significant intelligence about al-Qaida operations, The New York Times reported that "almost everything that could go wrong did."
Several misjudgments on behalf of the U.S. military led to a 50-minute firefight with militants that killed Owens, wounded three other Navy SEAL members, and forced the U.S. military to deliberately destroy a $75 million aircraft.
The Navy SEAL team reportedly knew its mission had been at least partially compromised before arriving at the target, but continued anyway.
“They kind of knew they were screwed from the beginning,” a former SEAL Team 6 official told The New York Times.