President Donald Trump defended his decision to green light a Navy SEAL raid on an al-Qaida compound in late January, in a Tuesday interview with “Fox and Friends.”
The father of slain Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens previously said he spurned Trump at the transfer ceremony of Owens’s body, and questioned the circumstances under which the raid was ordered.
“I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation,” Owens’s father declared to the Miami Herald. 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.
Trump told “Fox and Friends,” “according to General Mattis, this was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”
The circumstances surrounding the raid and its order remain murky. Spicer previously indicated that the raid was passed off to the Trump administration by the Obama administration. After the raid was executed, one senior defense official told NBCNews that “nearly everything went wrong.”
Another former Seal Team 6 member told The New York Times the SEALs “kind of knew they were screwed from the beginning.” When the SEALs arrived they were engaged in a nearly 50-minute firefight, which killed one U.S. service member and injured six others. U.S. military officials told Owens’s father his son was killed in the early minutes of the firefight, which also included female al-Qaida combatants.
“Several women in the compound immediately, ran to pre-established positions — as though they had trained to be ready, and trained to be combatants — and engaged with us,” according to Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. Davis elaborated that this is the first known time to the U.S. military that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula employed women in an attack.
A $75 million MV-22 Osprey also experienced a “hard landing” and had to be destroyed by a follow up U.S. airstrike to protect proprietary technology.
“Almost everything went wrong,” a U.S. defense official told NBC News after the operation.
The Pentagon confirmed that civilians were killed in the raid, saying, “[AQAP] has a horrifying history of hiding women and children within militant operating areas and terrorist camps, and continuously shows a callous disregard for innocent lives.” One of the civilians who may have been killed is the 8-year-old daughter of former al-Qaida leader Anwar Al-Awlaki.