Yemen SEAL Raid Has Yielded No Significant Intelligence, say Boxtops
Cynthia McFadden, William Arkin, Ken Dilanian, NBC ‘News’, Feb 27 2017
Last month’s deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a Pindo Navy SEAL and a
number of children most of a village, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, Pindo boxtops told NBC News. Although they had said the raid produced “actionable intelligence,” senior boxtops who spoke to NBC News said they were unaware of any. The father of the dead SEAL questioned the premise of the raid in an interview with the Miami Herald published Sunday. Bill Owens, whose youngest son Ryan was killed during the raid, asked:
Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into the new administration? For two years prior, everything was missiles and drones. Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?
A senior Congress crittur briefed on the matter said the Trump administration has yet to explain what prompted the rare use of Pindo ‘supergrunts’ © in Yemen, but he said he was not aware of any new threat from AQAP. That crittur & others we spoke to echoed the remarks of Walnuts McCain, that the raid was designed to kill or capture one or more militants, something the military did not initially acknowledge. Instead, they called it a “site exploitation mission” designed to gather intelligence. Later, they fell into line with McCain’s characterization, saying they were hoping to kill or capture certain militants, though they declined to name them. NBC ‘News’ and other media outlets have reported that Sheikh Abd’el-Raouf al-Dhahab was among the dead. The Pentagon calls him an AQ leader. The Yemeni government disagrees. Plans for the raid were begun during the Obama administration. Just five days into his presidency, Trump greenlighted the mission. The White House repeatedly called the mission a success. A DoD boxtop also pushed back Monday afternoon, saying the raid has yielded “a significant amount” of intelligence. But the only example the military has provided turned out to be an old bomb-making video that was of no current value. Spicer said on Feb 8:
Anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of CPO Owens. We gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent further potential deaths or attacks on Pindo soil. I can tell [Bill Owens] on behalf of the president that 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 Pindo grunts. The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation.
Multiple highly decorative boxtops told NBC ‘News’ they have not seen evidence to support that claim. In addition to the death of Ryan Owens, six other Pindo grunts were wounded. And at least 25 civilians were killed, including nine children under the age of 13, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. One of them was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki. A Pentagon official told NBC News today the Pentagon does not dispute these numbers. A $70m Osprey aircraft also was destroyed. The Pentagon already has at least three investigations into the raid underway.