White House responds to father of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

White House spokesman Sean Spicer responded to the father of US Navy SEAL Chief William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed in action during a raid in Yemen, saying that the Department of Defense would launch three investigations into the operation.

Chief Owens' father, Bill Owens, in an interview with the Miami Herald on Sunday, urged Trump to provide answers to questions about the raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of his son, as many as 29 civilians, and the destruction of an MV-22 Osprey helicopter.

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into his administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?'' Owens told The Herald.

8 PHOTOS
President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
See Gallery
President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Marine One with US President Donald Trump flies with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force Base February 1, 2017 in Dover, Delaware, for the dignified transfer of Navy Seal Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens who was killed in Yemen on January 29. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), US Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner watch from the Rose Garden as Marine One carrying US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka takes off from the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed William 'Ryan' Owens early January 29, in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard the Marine One to greet the remains of a U.S. military commando killed during a raid on the al Qaeda militant group in southern Yemen on Sunday, at Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware, U.S. February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Two military aides carry the nuclear football as they prepare to travel with U.S. President Donald Trump on Marine One at the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In early February, Spicer responded to reporters' questions on the Yemen raid by saying "I think anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens ... the raid, the action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success."

But Owens' father made it clear he firmly supports investigations into the raid, and that he's not pleased with the White House seemingly using his family's tragedy to avoid answering questions about it.

William US Navy photo.

"Don't hide behind my son's death to prevent an investigation," Owens said. "I want an investigation. ... The government owes my son an investigation."

Spicer replied to Owens' request for an investigation, saying it is "standard operating procedure" for the Department of Defense to review missions like the Yemen raid. In this case, according to Spicer, the investigation will be three-pronged, as the raid involved loss of equipment, loss of civilian life, and loss of a US Navy SEAL.

Spicer reiterated the importance of the information gained in the raid, which he has repeatedly characterized as helping to save American lives. Again Spicer shied away from calling the raid a "100% success," as it involved the death of Chief Owens.

Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Long War Journal, previously told Business Insider that Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen does plan international attacks. He said some of the intelligence on these attacks can only be recovered by going in and actually confiscating hard drives.

Ultimately, Roggio said it would be "hard to know" if the mission succeeded or not without seeing the intelligence recovered — "and we're never going to see it."

20 PHOTOS
The best US military photos from 2016
See Gallery
The best US military photos from 2016

An Air Force F-22 Raptor flies over the Arabian Sea to support Operation Inherent Resolve, January 27, 2016.

(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

Marine Corps Sgt. Josh Greathouse scans the area during a perimeter patrol in Taqaddum, Iraq, March 21, 2016. Greathouse is a team leader assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response, for US Central Command.

(Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rick Hurtado)

Navy Seaman Fabian Soltero looks through shipboard binoculars aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Atlantic Ocean, March 25, 2016.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor L. Jackson)

USS Bulkeley receives fuel and cargo from dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers during a replenishment at sea in the Persian Gulf, February 25, 2016. The guided-missile destroyer was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Lieberknec)

Navy Seaman Brice Scraper, top, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Miller verify the serial number of a training missile on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea, October 5, 2016. The Reagan was supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Burke)

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brianna Caballero maneuvers a harbor patrol boat to load it onto a trailer for maintenance on Naval Support Activity Bahrain, January 6, 2016.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Granger Jr.)

Soldiers offload equipment and supplies from a CH-47F Chinook helicopter after landing on Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, April 24, 2016. At 17,400 feet, Mount Foraker towers above.Air Force Maj. Steve Briones and 1st Lt. Andrew Kim fly a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over Turkey, January 6, 2016. Coalition forces fly daily missions to support Operation Inherent Resolve.Members of the visit, board, search, and seizure team for the guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez operate a rigid-hull inflatable boat in the Gulf of Aden, April 26, 2016. The Gonzalez was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

(Army photo by John Pennell)

Air Force Maj. Steve Briones and 1st Lt. Andrew Kim fly a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over Turkey, January 6, 2016. Coalition forces fly daily missions to support Operation Inherent Resolve.Members of the visit, board, search, and seizure team for the guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez operate a rigid-hull inflatable boat in the Gulf of Aden, April 26, 2016. The Gonzalez was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

Members of the visit, board, search, and seizure team for the guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez operate a rigid-hull inflatable boat in the Gulf of Aden, April 26, 2016. The Gonzalez was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.Air Force Maj. Steve Briones and 1st Lt. Andrew Kim fly a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over Turkey, January 6, 2016. Coalition forces fly daily missions to support Operation Inherent Resolve.Soldiers offload equipment and supplies from a CH-47F Chinook helicopter after landing on Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, April 24, 2016. At 17,400 feet, Mount Foraker towers above.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Pasquale Sena)

Sailors move a T-45C Goshawk aircraft on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Atlantic Ocean, February 5, 2016. The Eisenhower was preparing for inspections and conducting carrier qualifications.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anderson W. Branch)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney breaks away from the fleet-replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn after a replenishment at sea in the Mediterranean Sea, August 14, 2016. The Carney was patrolling in the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility to support US national-security interests in Europe.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Weston Jones)

A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft prepares for takeoff from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in the Pacific Ocean, August 26, 2016.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael T. Eckelbecker)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristen Neufeld performs maintenance on a Mark 38-25 mm machine gun aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson at its home port in San Diego, August 18, 2016.

(Navy photo by Seaman Theo Shively)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Evans repairs an antenna system during a replenishment at sea involving the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey, and the Military Sealift Command combat support ship USNS Arctic in the Persian Gulf, September 2, 2016.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard)

Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross move ropes during a sea-and-anchor detail near Aksav, Turkey, January 7, 2016. The Ross was conducting a routine patrol in the US 6th Fleet area of operations to support US national-security interests in Europe.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Stumberg)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Trevor Ellam signals to the fleet-replenishment oiler USNS Laramie from aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Stout during a replenishment at sea in the Persian Gulf, October 14, 2016. Ellam is a boatswain’s mate. The Stout was supporting security efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Bill Dodge)

Marines depart a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter aboard the amphibious-assault ship USS Makin Island in the Pacific Ocean, October 22, 2016. The Makin Island was supporting the Navy’s maritime strategy in the US 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. The helicopter is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163.

(Navy photo by Seaman Devin M. Langer)

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Fulks motions to crew members on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Philippine Sea, February 24, 2016. The Stennis provides a ready force to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

(Navy photo by Seaman Cole C. Pielop)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen patrols the eastern Pacific Ocean, March 10, 2016. The Lassen was supporting Operation Martillo with the US Coast Guard and partner nations within the US 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Huey D. Younger Jr.)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

NOW WATCH: Watch the US Navy shoot down a missile with another missile

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Trump boosts defense spending by $54 billion: 'We have to start winning wars again'

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport