World News

Pentagon can't confirm al-Baghdadi was crying before he died

Posted October 28, 2019 8:43 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2019 4:53 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — The country’s top military officer said on Monday that he does not know where President Donald Trump got his information that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, died “screaming, crying and whimpering.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that he does not have similar information, but said Trump may have gotten his details from a conversation with military personnel on the ground who were involved in the raid.

“I know the president had planned to talk down to the unit and unit members,” Milley said. “But I don’t know what the source of that was. I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members.”

Milley said he had not spoken with those commanders on the ground.

His comments echoed those made the day before, by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who also said he did not have the same “details” that Trump shared with the country about the Islamic State leader’s last moments.

White House officials have declined to say how the president got the information about al-Baghdadi’s “screaming” and “whimpering” during the raid. Some echoed the Pentagon assertion that Trump may have spoken with commanders or Delta Force team members on the ground.

Milley said that, later this week the Pentagon likely will make public some video of the raid. “I will wait until everything is appropriately declassified here in the coming days,” he said.

Since the raid two days ago, Trump has been far more forthcoming in releasing details of what happened than the Pentagon.

Milley also said on Monday that the military would not yet release any photos of the dog who was wounded in the raid. “The dog is still in theater, returned to duty,” he said. “So we’re not going to release just yet photos or names of dogs or anything else.”

Two hours later, Trump tweeted a photo of the dog.

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