U.S. intelligence officials are now trying to identify hundreds of al-Qaida operatives with contacts gleaned from a late night Jan 29 raid by Navy SEAL team 6 deep inside Yemen, CNN reports.
The reports contradict previous claims from NBCNews Tuesday that no actionable intelligence was gained from the raid. President Donald Trump, the Pentagon, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer have consistently said the intelligence gained from the raid was valuable, and would save American lives.
Officials told CNN that some of the operative contacts found in the raid were in the West, but not in the United States. U.S. officials also found information regarding training camps used by the groups, explosive-manufacturing techniques, and possible targets being considered by the terrorist group.
The raid has become a hot-button political issue after Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens was killed in the midst of the operation. New details of the raid indicate that after the SEALs pushed the al-Qaida terrorists out of their primary residence, they retreated to a nearby building and began indiscriminately firing. The terrorists also lobbed grenades at the SEALs, despite the presence of numerous women and children. Innocent civilians were killed in the raid, the Pentagon indicated, emphasizing the women in the compound who took up arms against the SEALs.
After the SEALs realized that they could not shoot their way out of the encounter they called for air support and extraction. A Marine Corps MV-22 lost power upon arrival and crashed, injuring three additional servicemembers.
“Almost everything went wrong,” a U.S. defense official told NBC News after the operation.
The father of Owens told the Miami Herald he spurned Trump when the coffin arrived at Dover Air Force base, and that he demanded “an investigation” into his son’s death. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to the request Monday, saying that the U.S. military would already be conducting three separate investigations into the incident, and defended the raid.
“I can tell him that on the 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 was going to help save American lives,” Spicer said.
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