The Defense Department will conduct a "three-pronged" review into the death of a Navy SEAL last month during a special operations raid, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.
While lamenting the loss of Ryan Owens, Spicer responded to criticism by the SEAL's father, who called for a deeper investigation into his son's death.
"There will be three reviews done by the Department of Defense because of the nature of this," Spicer said, noting that it's standard procedure to review any action that led to the loss of American or civilian life or damage to U.S. military hardware. In this case, all three occurred.
When asked for his response to Owens's criticism, Spicer, a Naval officer himself, struck a somber tone.
"I can’t possibly imagine what he’s going through in terms of the loss of a son. I can tell him that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero, and the info that he was able to help obtain through that raid, as I've said before, is going to save American lives," Spicer said.
"The mission was successful in helping to prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation."
The elder Owens told The Miami Herald that he refused to meet President Trump when he came to his son's funeral and questioned the rationale behind the mission.
"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?" Owens asked.
"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?’’
Earlier this month, Spicer bristled when confronted with criticism about the raid from Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.), who used the word "failure" to describe the raid, noting reports of civilian deaths and that al Qaeda forces in Yemen may have been alerted to the raid ahead of time.
McCain later clarified in a statement that he can't call "any operation that results in the loss of American life a success."
Spicer told reporters during the daily briefing earlier this month that criticism of the raid does a "disservice" to Owens.