Sean Spicer defends U.S. raid in Yemen as "absolutely a success"

Yemen's top diplomat said the country has called for a "reassessment" of a January 28 raid that left multiple civilians and a US service member dead, but did not issue an outright ban on future American-led missions, a report said Wednesday.

The president of Yemen voiced concerns about the raid according to the country's ambassador to the United States, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, reported The New York Times.

Planning for the mission, which resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William Owens, stretched from a year ago, but was approved by Trump as his first major military operation.

Though his comments came as response to an NBC report saying al-Rimi was the "secret" target, tribal leaders told the Associated Press in the aftermath of the raid that the USA had been looking for him.

The leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula reportedly mocked President Donald Trump as the "White House fool" in an audio recording released Saturday following a US commando raid that left more than a dozen AQAP jihadis dead.

U.S. Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the raid, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants.

"While numerous objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success", McCain said in his Tuesday statement. I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took, full stop.

Watch the exchange above.

The White House said critics of the controversial mission including Sen. John Mc Cain were doing a

Yesterday, McCain told reporters the mission was a "failure" and said the Senate deserves answers about what happened in order to prevent future mistakes. In a statement released after those comments, McCain didn't use the word "failure" again, but said he would not describe it as "a success".

"It is tough to ever use the word success when you know that someone has lost their life", Spicer said on February 2.

Spicer's comments clash with an NBC report that the raid meant to take out al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula's leader Qassim Al-Rimi, who survived the raid and later mocked Trump on an audio recording.

"It's not true what's being said", a senior Yemeni official in Aden, referring to the reports of a Yemeni ban on USA special forces operations.

Despite the warnings of several top ex-senior officials including a former Central Intelligence Agency and NSA director, who had said that Trump's travel ban could endanger troops and hurt national security, it is still unknown at the time if the Yemeni ban is a form of retribution towards the Trump executive order that disallowed refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries including-Yemen (before being temporarily revoked).

Spicer did argue (without evidence) that the raid had saved the lives of American civilians (even as it killed an 8-year-old one). It should go without saying, though, that it's no disservice to a fallen soldier's memory to say that his mission didn't achieve its ultimate goal when he fought honorably and valiantly in the effort.

"They understand the fight and commitment that we both share", Spicer said. "And you know, I said we should have never been there".



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