Donald Trump, in a Tuesday interview, denied responsibility for the death of a Navy SEAL on a January 27 raid against a terrorist hideout in Yemen — a raid in which military sources said “almost everything went wrong.”
In the raid, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, 36, was killed. Owens was a member of the Navy’s elite commando squad known as Seal Team Six. He was the father of three children. Owens’ own father, also named William Owens, has called for an investigation into his son’s death and declined to meet with Trump in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where a memorial service for the slain Navy SEAL took place.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said in an interview with The Miami Herald. “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. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”
According to a Reuters report citing military sources, Trump approved the raid in casual fashion while dining with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.”
“As a result,” the sources told Reuters, “the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced Al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.”
But in an interview broadcast Tuesday on the Fox News program Fox and Friends, Trump appeared to deflect the blame for the botched raid that cost Owens’ life.
“This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do,” Trump told the Fox and Friends panel. “They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do—the generals—who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”
Watch Trump’s response when asked about the father of slain SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who died in the Yemen raid pic.twitter.com/lOrAx6KAdz
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 28, 2017
Trump also described the Yemen raid, which targeted a heavily fortified Al Qaeda outpost, “a very successful mission” and claimed that the raid — in which at least 14 civilians, nine of them children, were also killed — produced “tremendous amounts of information.”
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However, according to an NBC News report on Tuesday, more than a full month after the raid, there has still been “no significant intelligence” derived from findings at the Al Qaeda base.
This is what a real American Hero looks like! Rest in peace William “Ryan” Owens. pic.twitter.com/NyJoVvC09j
— Military Earth (@MilitaryEarth) February 16, 2017
White House Press spokesperson Sean Spicer had said on February 8 that “we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil.”
[Featured Image By Pool/Getty Images]