Former Obama official: Trump's deadly Yemen raid wasn't planned under Obama's watch

More and more keeps coming out about the operation in Yemen

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 3, 2017 1:39PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump's first major military operation, a Navy SEAL raid in Yemen that left multiple civilians dead as well as American Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, may not have been as extensively planned under Obama's administration as Team Trump initially suggested.

Colin Kahl, who served as a national security official under President Barack Obama, fired off a series of tweets on Thursday arguing that while the Defense Department had discussed Yemeni raids with Obama in a general fashion, the specific raid attempted by the Trump administration was not brought up.

Later, when an anonymous official told The Washington Post that "the raid had been planned several months and was given full consideration by the previous administration," Kahl made it clear that this was not true.

The raid, which was postponed until a moonless night would give the military an advantage, resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, including women and children. The military claims it was a success in terms of gathering valuable intelligence about terrorism.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis, a captain in the Navy, told The Washington Post that "this was an operation that for reasons of the calendar had a date when it was most optimally conducted. That date happened to fall after January 20th, and that’s when we sought the authority for and received the authority for proceeding with it." He also denounced claims by The New York Times that the mission had been compromised, saying, "we have nothing to suggest that this was compromised."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Barack Obama Donald Trump Navy Seals Yemen