Yes, The Yemen Raid Produced Valuable and Actionable Intelligence

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Mar 10, 2017 1:30 PM
Yes, The Yemen Raid Produced Valuable and Actionable Intelligence

When Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed in a January raid on an Al Qaeda compound in Yemen, most in the media jumped to discredit the results of the operation since President Trump gave the approval. 

After President Trump honored Ryan's widow Carryn during his first address to a joint session of Congress, she was accused of allowing herself to be exploited and used as a pawn to cover for a failed mission.

 

But according to the Pentagon and CENTCOM, valuable intelligence about how Al Qaeda operates was gathered during the raid and will help prevent future attacks by the terror organization. 

"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," Secretary of Defense General Mattis said.

Details about how Al Qaeda builds explosives destined to take down airplanes were gathered, in addition to hundreds of names belonging to fighters planning attacks around the world. 

Several US officials told CNN Thursday that the US is now taking action to locate and monitor hundreds of people or "contacts" found as part the intelligence retrieved during the deadly raid last month in Yemen targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Some of these people are believed to be in the West, but not in the United States.

The government is taking action to find and monitor these AQAP-linked individuals because of the threat they may pose to Europe, the officials added.

The fact that officials said they are actively pursuing leads uncovered from the raid indicates that the intelligence was indeed actionable despite some media reports to the contrary.

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.

Defense officials have told CNN that information pertaining to the location of safe havens, explosives manufacturing, training and targets was acquired in the January ground operation.

Further, the type of intelligence gathered indicates President Trump made the right call to approve the raid. 

The top U.S. commander for the Middle East told senators Thursday that he has completed an exhaustive review of the Yemen raid that killed a Navy SEAL, and has concluded there were no lapses in judgment or decision-making surrounding the operation.

Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, said he sees no need for additional investigations into the January mission that triggered debate in Washington over what went wrong and whether important intelligence was actually gathered.

In the end, he said, "I was satisfied that none of those indicators that I identified to you were present. I think we had a good understanding of exactly what happened on this objective and we've been able to pull lessons learned out of that, that we will apply in future operations." He said there was no need for an additional investigation.

Votel added that he believes the U.S. gained valuable information on al-Qaida militants.