White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that a counter-terrorism operation that resulted in the first combat casualty of President Donald Trump’s term will undergo three reviews, but that the administration is “very comfortable with how the mission was executed.”
“There will be three reviews done by the Department of Defense because of the nature of this,” Spicer told reporters during his daily press briefing.
“It is standard operating procedure for the Department of Defense to undergo what they call a 15-6 review,” he said, apparently referring to Army Regulation 15-6. “That review, in this case, is three-pronged because there was a fatality and the loss of life, there’s that; because there were civilians involved, that’s another; and then third is because there is hardware, a helicopter that was damaged.”
Spicer said that the White House is “very comfortable with how the mission was executed.” He also said that the raid “was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation.”
“As I mentioned before, I think you can’t ever say that when there’s most importantly loss of life, and people injured, that it’s 100 percent successful,” he said. “But I think when you look at what the stated goal of that mission was, it was an information and intelligence-gathering mission. It achieved its objectives.”
William “Ryan” Owens died Jan. 28 of wounds sustained during the raid on an al-Qaida base in Yemen. Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in February to join Owens’ family and meet his remains.
During that process, known as “dignified transfer,” Owens’ father said he did not want to meet the President.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” William Owens said on Friday in an interview with the Miami Herald.
He questioned the decision to launch the raid and said Trump shouldn’t “hide behind” his son’s death to avoid an investigation.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?” he said. “The government owes my son an investigation.”