On Tuesday and Wednesday, President Trump was loudly contesting comments from military officials that a January Yemen raid yielded “no actionable intelligence.” Thursday, US warplanes started pounding Yemen, carrying out dozens of airstrikes continuing into Friday.
It wasn’t surprising that the two were linked in the minds of many, or at least seen as meant to be linked. Pentagon officials, however, today confirmed that there wasn’t actionable intelligence, and all the airstrikes were totally unrelated to any intelligence gathered in the raid.
Military.com quoted an unnamed “senior US defense intelligence official” on the matter, who conceded that “we found an awful lot of telephone numbers” and some intelligence on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s leadership and activities, but nothing useful for any airstrikes.
The official was optimistic that the phone numbers would allow them to figure out who some of the people in AQAP’s network were, but that all of the airstrikes being carried out now were planned well before President Trump’s inauguration.