A January military operation in Yemen that took Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens’ life and was hyped by President Trump at his first address to the nation is now being touted as a significant Intel success story. On Thursday, Pentagon officials said, “they are now taking action to locate and monitor hundreds of people or contacts found as part the intelligence retrieved during the deadly raid.”
The terabyte’s worth of intelligence gathered from computers and cell phones is now being reviewed at the National Media Exploitation Center outside Washington, which analyzes documents, electronic media, cell phones, video and audio tapes seized on overseas missions.
Early reports suggest some of the information recovered provided the location of safe havens, explosives manufacturing facilities, training, and future targets were acquired in the January ground operation.
The Department of Defense confirms three alleged terrorists Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims along with 14 others were killed during the firefight. But Al Qaeda in Yemen claims more than 30 civilians were slaughtered, including Anwar al-Awlaki’s 8-year-old daughter. Awlaki was the first known American to be killed in a Yemen drone strike back in 2011.
“AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies,” US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said last week following a series of US airstrikes in Yemen against the terror group.
The SEAL Team 6 mission ran into trouble the moment members reached the targeted housing compound in an isolated portion of Yemen.
“There were a lot of female combatants who were part of this… as it was taking place, female fighters ran to pre-established positions — as though they had trained to be ready, and trained to be combatants — and engaged with us,” Davis said.
Despite an hour-long firefight, the special operators were able to successfully acquire numerous computers and cell phones that contained valuable intelligence information.
However, the purportedly compromised operation injured three Americans, destroyed a $75 million MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and more tragically killed Owens.
Notwithstanding the loss of life and equipment, officials at the White House, as well as the Pentagon said the mission that was planned under the Obama administration was ultimately successful.
Critics were eager to discredit President Donald Trump’s first covert operation. “Given the public’s concerns about the raid’s costs and other media reports about the raid, the administration has an obligation to disclose support for this claim,” Democrat Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Intelligence Committee said.
Perhaps more concerning is the fact military officials are saying the January raid was compromised from the get-go. Numerous reports indicate that the SEALs did not have a chance and were greeted by well-prepared terrorists. If this is true, then it means someone leaked classified information to residents at the terrorist hideaway.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) told reporters: “There’s been major crimes committed. What I’m concerned about is no one is focusing on major leaks that have occurred here. We can’t run a government like this. A government can’t function with massive leaks at the highest level.”
To this end, Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence fired three Pakistani brothers, Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan from their $160,000 IT managing information technology jobs. They worked for dozens of House Democrats on the Committee for Foreign Affairs and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including the now disgraced DNC chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Shultz.
The brothers along with a wife were told that a criminal investigation was ordered for the unlawful use of congressional IT systems, including the possible removal of classified data and overbilling.
Eva Malecki, communications Director for the US Capitol Police confirmed the ongoing investigation to this reporter. “At the request of Members of Congress, the United States Capitol Police are investigating the actions of House IT support staff. We have no further comment on the ongoing investigation at this time.”
According to the Daily Caller, “Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism… including covert anti-terrorism activity… including the Yemen operation” (emphasis added).
More fallout from the January military raid continued this week as Yemeni Foreign Minister, Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi said in a statement that reports of a suspension of cooperation with the US military were unfounded.
“Yemen continues to cooperate with the United States and continues to abide by all the agreements. The Yemeni government is involved in talks with the US administration on the latest raid.”