Without a doubt, the most memorable moment of President Donald Trump’s address to Congress in Tuesday was when he honored the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was killed in January’s raid in Yemen.
“I just spoke to General 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,’” he stated. “Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom — we will never forget him” he continued.
The alleged fact-checkers were quick to pounce on that quote, claiming that no significant intelligence was in fact collected.
What a great message the Left wants to send. “Trump is 100 percent responsible for your husband’s death – oh, and he died in vain” appears to the the memo. Well, thank God they’re wrong, and ironically it’s thanks to reporting from Trump’s least favorite network CNN that suggests otherwise.
To quote: The US is working to locate and monitor hundreds of people, or “contacts,” found as part of the intelligence retrieved during the raid last month in Yemen targeting an al Qaeda affiliate, several US officials told CNN.
The sources said some of these people are believed to be in the West but not in the United States.
This raid on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula site has become controversial following the death of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, whose father has demanded an investigation into the approval and execution of the January operation.
As CNN has reported, laptops and cell phones were grabbed during the raid. Multiple senior US officials told CNN the intelligence recovered is vital and is in fact being acted upon.
Separately, a defense official said that the latest strikes overnight in Yemen targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were not connected to the intelligence obtained in January’s raid, as the airstrikes had been planned for some time.
Army General Joseph Votel told CBS News on Monday that “The object was to go in and collect intelligence. We accomplished that, so from that perspective it was successful. I certainly understand how the [Owens] family would look at this in a different light.”
On Tuesday, an unnamed senior U.S. official told ABC News that “intelligence gathered during the raid has provided insights into AQAP’s activities, particularly the terror group’s recruiting, training techniques and explosives manufacturing.” Additionally, the official “said the intelligence has providing information about who the terror group is targeting.”
So in that light, is there any reason to question Trump’s claim that “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”?
It looks like we need someone to fact check the fact checkers.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]