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February 3rd, 2017
Moulton, Gallego, and Brown: “We write to express concern and request an urgent briefing.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Anthony Brown (D-MD) sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the recent U.S. military operation in Yemen. Moulton, Gallego, and Brown serve on the House Armed Services Committee and request an urgent briefing on the decisions that went into the operation.
“As Commander in Chief, President Trump has a responsibility to keep our nation and service members safe, and that means making smart national security decisions,” said Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA). “We therefore request a briefing on the decisions and decision-makers involved in the Yemen raid.”
“The House Armed Services Committee has a solemn responsibility to learn more about how the chaotic operation in Yemen was planned, approved and executed,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07). “The members of our Committee and the American people deserve more information about how President Trump weighed the risks to our military personnel before and during the raid.”
Full text of the letter below:
As members of the House Armed Services committee, we write to express concern and request an urgent briefing (in a classified format, if necessary), from both the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the recent U.S. military operation in Yemen.
U.S. Central Command and press reports have confirmed U.S. Navy SEAL, Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens was tragically killed in a January 29 raid on an Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) compound in Al-Bayda, Yemen. Our hearts go out to Chief Owens family during this incredibly difficult time.
Local sources have said that about 30 people, including 10 women and children were also killed which was corroborated by an investigating team from U.S. Central Command.
We are particularly concerned about reports that U.S. military officials have indicated the operation was hastily executed, and approved without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup.
We are also concerned that reporting has indicated the only non-Department of Defense officials involved in approving the operation apart from the President were White House Strategist Steven Bannon and White House Advisor Jared Kushner. This troubling development is consistent with other decisions by the President that marginalize the advice and expert opinion of the intelligence community and wider National Security Council as conceived in the 1947 National Security Act of the United States.
Therefore, we are requesting an urgent briefing on the planning process behind the operation, the targeting procedures involved, the extent to which the advice and input of the intelligence community was included, as well as a post-operation civilian casualty assessment.
We have no higher responsibility than to keep our nation and our service members safe. Thank you for your cooperation in helping us meet this responsibility.
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