Report: Senior officials say Yemen raid yielded no significant intel

Report: Senior officials say Yemen raid yielded no significant intel
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Multiple senior Pentagon officials told NBC News that the recent raid in Yemen, which killed a Navy SEAL, led to no valuable intelligence. 

The success of the raid has been publicly debated, and the White House has continued to defend the operation. Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed during the raid.

A major moment during President Trump's address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday night came as he spoke about the raid and acknowledged Owens and his widow Carryn, who was in the audience next to Ivanka Trump. Lawmakers applauded her for about two minutes.

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"I just spoke to [Defense Secretary James] Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, '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,’” Trump said during the joint address on Tuesday.

But 10 senior officials briefed on the raid told NBC News that the mission provided no valuable intelligence. 

Vice President Pence reaffirmed the White House's defense of the raid on Wednesday, calling it a "highly successful operation against al Qaeda" in an appearance on MSNBC's "For the Record" with Greta Van Susteren. 

The officials say the information collected during the raid is not actionable and the U.S. intelligence community already knew most of the collected intel.

While a Yemeni tribal leader, Sheikh Abdel-Raouf al-Dhahab, whom the U.S. considered to be a terrorist, died in the raid, officials say he was not a big target.

The Obama administration first considered the operation, but evaluated it as risky. They ultimately decided to leave the decision with the Trump administration. 

The decision for the raid has been highly criticized. It reportedly killed many civilians, including a number of children, and a $75 million U.S. military aircraft had to be destroyed to keep it from falling into enemy hands.

"When you lose a $75 million airplane and, more importantly, an American life is lost and wounded, I don't believe you can call it a success,” Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era Earth Day founder's daughter: Most Republican leaders believe in climate change in private Trump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing MORE (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told NBC News.

Trump shot back at the senator on Twitter. And White House press secretary Sean Spicer later said that "anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens."

Owens’s father questioned the rationale behind the order and has called for an investigation. 

The military is still reviewing what occurred during the raid as well as assessing the usefulness of the gathered intel.