A Navy SEAL raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen in January has yet to yield any significant information, military officials told NBC News. The raid, the first of the Donald Trump presidency, resulted in the death of one SEAL and a number of Yemeni civilians including some children, one of whom was the daughter of a U.S. citizen, officials say. Despite the unusual act of ordering U.S. ground troops into Yemen, a senior official told NBC that little of value had been obtained from the property seized from the al Qaeda compound. This report contradicts White House claims about the nature of the operation. After the father of the slain SEAL refused to meet with Trump, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told press on Monday that "I can tell [the father] that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero and the information that he was able to help obtain through that raid, as I said before, is going to save American lives ... The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation."
The White House has described the raid as primarily an information-gathering operation, despite reports that its primary goal was to capture or kill Qasim al-Raymi, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Raymi was apparently not killed or captured, and later seemingly released recordings mocking Trump. Other reports described dysfunction during the raid's planning stages. The operation, which was initially discussed during the Obama administration, was reportedly greenlit just five days into the Trump administration, with what intelligence officials described as insufficient information or support. Al Qaeda fighters reportedly became aware of the operation before the SEALs struck, leading to crossfire that killed one SEAL and injured six others. Speaking to NBC, Pentagon officials reportedly did not dispute claims that at least 25 Yemeni civilians were killed.