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Pentagon Can’t Confirm al-Baghdadi ‘Whimpering’

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

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that he does not have similar information, but said Mr. 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,” General Milley said. “But I don’t know what the source of that was. I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members.”

General 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 Mr. 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 Mr. al-Baghdadi’s “screaming” and “whimpering” during the raid. Some echoed the Pentagon assertion that Mr. Trump may have spoken with commanders or Delta Force team members on the ground.

General 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, Mr. Trump has been far more forthcoming in releasing details of what happened than the Pentagon.

General 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.”

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