They don’t call you “Mad Dog” if you’re the kind who will put up with nonsense — especially if that nonsense comes from the mainstream media — and it looks like the media are about to find that out from Defense Secretary James Mattis.
According to a report in Thursday’s Washington Examiner, the defense secretary was fuming over media reports that a Navy SEAL raid on Al Qaeda assets in Yemen — which cost the life of SEAL William “Ryan” Owens — was a failure with no significant useful result.
Mattis was especially livid about reports from NBC News like this one titled “Yemen SEAL Raid Has Yielded No Significant Intelligence: Officials.”
In the report, NBC states that “(a)lthough Pentagon officials have said the raid produced ‘actionable intelligence,’ senior officials who spoke to NBC News said they were unaware of any,” and that “(a) senior congressional official briefed on the matter said the Trump administration has yet to explain what prompted the rare use of American ground troops in Yemen, but he said he was not aware of any new threat from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”
“That is inaccurate,” a senior Pentagon official told the Examiner when talking about NBC’s claims, arguing that a “cache of seized computers, cellphones and hard drive(s)” had produced intelligence about terrorists associated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and their location.
The Pentagon official also argued that “the raid was considered worth the risk of sending U.S. ground forces because AQAP has a history of plotting, inspiring, and exporting terror to America and the West, and because the U.S. has no military presence on the ground.”
Among AQAP-affiliated individuals were so-called “underwear bomber” Richard Reid, the terrorists in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack and the Boston bombers. The Pentagon has called AQAP the “most capable element of Al Qaeda in exporting terror to the West.”
“Valuable and actionable intelligence was taken in this operation,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters last month.
Mattis himself was quoted by President Donald Trump in the president’s speech to Congress, saying that the Yemen operation was “a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy,” according to The New York Times.
If Mattis is angry at the media — and he has every right to be — it probably won’t be long before he starts attacking them himself. After all, the Trump administration has shown a definite willingness to take on the mainstream media.
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