Footage of the US special forces raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Syrian compound reportedly consisted of overhead surveillance footage and no audio, prompting questions over the extent of the dramatic licence taken by Donald Trump in describing the final moments of one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
US officials who also watched the feed have declined to echo details of Trump’s macabre account of the Isis’s leader death on Saturday, including that Baghdadi was “whimpering, crying and screaming all the way”
The soldiers involved would have been wearing body cameras, but that footage was yet to be given to the White House at the time of Trump’s press conference, the Times report said.
The US defence secretary, Mark Esper, declined to endorse aspects of Trump’s cinematic account in an interview with ABC’s This Week programme on Sunday morning.
“I don’t have those details,” Esper said, when pressed on how Trump knew Baghdadi had whimpered and cried. “The president probably had the opportunity to talk to commanders on the ground.”