Trump: ‘Highly successful’ Yemen raid on group tied to San Bernardino attack produced ‘vital intelligence’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 1, 2017

The U.S. special operations raid in Yemen in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens lost his life was highly successful and resulted in “large amounts of vital intelligence,” President Donald Trump said on Feb. 28 in his address to a joint session of Congress.

“Ryan died as he lived: A warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” Trump said.

Navy SEAL Ryan Owens

Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, was a guest of the president for the speech.

The Jan. 29 commando raid in Yakla village in central Yemen targeted Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists. AQAP has been linked to several terrorist attacks in the United States, including the 2015 San Bernardino and 2016 Orlando attacks.

The inspiration for both terror attacks was Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born Al Qaida terrorist. Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011 in Yemen but lives on through online English-language lectures on jihad.

Trump said Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis “reconfirmed that, 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.”

U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed and six others wounded in the Yemen raid. Unconfirmed reports from Yemen said 25 civilians also were killed in the commando raid, including the daughter of Awlaki, according to a report by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon.

Officials said the covert military operation produced a large volume of valuable intelligence information on AQAP and its activities, according to the March 1 report.

“The raid did achieve its objectives even if it did so at a significant cost,” said one official familiar with details of the raid. “And it did produce a lot of intelligence — terabytes of information and multiple devices along with information on hundreds of people.”

The official said the raid was likely the “most significant AQAP haul in recent years.”

The official said an NBC News report from Feb. 27 asserting the Yemen raid produced no significant intelligence was wrong.

NBC cited “multiple senior officials” as saying they were unaware of valuable intelligence taken from the raid.