Multiple senior Pentagon officials have told NBC News that the January raid in Yemen which claimed the life of a Navy SEAL led to no valuable intelligence.
The Trump administration has claimed that the raid was a huge success with White House Sean Spicer in one press briefing claiming that any attempt to question the raid’s success would be dishonoring the Navy SEAL that died in the operation, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens. However, the success of the operation has roundly been questioned and debated.
During his first address to a joint session of Congress, perhaps Trump’s greatest moment was when he addressed the widow of officer Ryan, Carryn, who was in the audience seated next to the President’s daughter, Ivanka, prompting a two minute standing ovation.
“I just spoke to [Defense Secretary] Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, ‘Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies,'” Trump said during his address on Tuesday.
Vice President Mike Pence again confirmed the White House’s defense of the raid on Wednesday, saying that it was a “highly successful operation against al Qaeda” in an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘For the Record’ with Greta Van Susteren.
However, while the Pentagon says that Navy SEALs grabbed laptops, hard drives, and cellphones during the raid in January, ten senior officials who were briefed on the matter told NBC News that the mission provided no significant intelligence.
The Associated Press quoted a senior U.S. official describing a three page inventory of information gathered from the compound, including information on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s training techniques and targeting priorities. However, U.S. officials said that the information on the list was neither actionable nor vital, with one senior Pentagon official describing the information as “de minimis,” and things that the U.S. government already knew.