Military botches release of video seized in Yemen raid

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Yemenis gather around a burnt vehicle at the site where a mine, that Yemeni soldiers were taking away in their vehicle, blew up in a marketplace on September 3, 2016 in Huta, the capital of the southern province of Lahj, a bastion of Al-Qaeda jihadists. The mine, that the Yemeni soldiers had "dismantled", exploded when they stopped at a market, killing three soldiers and wounding at least seven civilians. / AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI (Photo credit should read SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images)

[Update: 2:48 p.m.]

The US military is scrambling to explain an embarrassing mix-up after it released video obtained from Sunday’s raid in Yemen that turned out to have already been published online. A military spokesman acknowledged it was released without having been thoroughly analyzed. The video was meant to demonstrate the value of the weekend raid whose stated aim was to recover key intelligence about al Qaeda. But the footage released Friday morning actually consisted of video that had been previously published by Al Qaeda itself online. The video was pulled because “we didn’t want to make it appear that we were trying to pass off old video,” said US Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas. The mistake was due “to our lack of having time to properly analyze it.” Thomas was adamant there was no pressure to release anything.

The US military released short excerpts of al Qaeda training videos representing some of the intelligence recovered from Sunday’s counterterrorism raid against al Qaeda in Yemen. An official at Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, described the clips as excerpts from “al Qaeda terrorist training videos,” calling the release “a first look” at what the military recovered.

“These instructional videos (show) would-be terrorists how to manufacture explosives and build bombs,” according to a description written by the US military.

Following the raid on Sunday, the military said the operation was geared toward collecting as much intelligence on the terror group as possible in order to facilitate future raids and strikes against al Qaeda down the road and prevent terror attacks. The release comes amidst questions about the raid, the decision to go ahead and multiple problems the troops encountered on the ground, including the death of one Navy SEAL and civilians.

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