WASHINGTON — The US military on Friday took down the link to a video that it said it secured from a raid in Yemen last week just hours after posting it, having realized that far from showing off the intelligence gained from the raid, the videos were a decade old.
The video, titled "Courses for Destroying The Cross," was first released in 2007 and had been online for years, as it turns out. In the less than two-minute long video, which was widely circulated after it was pushed out on Friday morning, there are several clips showing a man in a white robe and black mask explaining how to make a bomb using chemicals.
The Pentagon said that even if the video had been posted before, it was also captured during the raid and said the date of its production didn't matter, Navy Capt Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters. The raid, Davis said, was still helpful in learning about al Qaeda training and tactics. The released video was just a sampling of what was captured, Davis said.
A defense official told BuzzFeed News that the raid was intended to gather intelligence about al Qaeda's external operations, not to thwart a specific future attack. The US military believed the site was a key hub for the terror group.
The release of the old video was an embarrassing admission about the Jan. 29 raid, the first approved by President Donald Trump since his term began, which has been swirling in controversy since its existence was first revealed. There are reports that children were killed and that female fighters pinned down Seal Team 6 during an hour-long fire fight.
Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed during the raid. The father of three was reportedly on his 12th deployment. Another six troops were wounded.
The mistake comes at a time when allegations of "fake news" have been a patina on every major news story, be they actual fabricated stories or items that the Trump administration and its allies have disagreed with. Pentagon officials had scheduled a 2 p.m.briefing to provide more details of the raid, in the wake of what some military officials felt was inaccurate reporting about the raid. The department canceled the briefing upon realizing its mistake.
Just one hour earlier, US Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in the Middle East, put out a statement heralding the released video, as being among the materials gathered from the raid.
“The videos are one example of the volumes of sensitive al-Qaeda terror-planning information recovered during the operation,” said Col. John J. Thomas, US Central Command spokesman, said in that statement. “What was captured from the site has already afforded insights into al-Qaeda leadership, AQAP methods of exporting terror, and how they communicate.”
Nancy Youssef is a national security correspondent with BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Nancy A. Youssef at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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