New information calls into question whether an American-made Patriot missile defense system stopped a ballistic missile attack last month by rebels in Yemen at Saudi Arabia's capital city of Riyadh, The New York Times reported Monday.
President Donald Trump even touted the U.S. missile system to reporters the day after the incident happened.
"Our system knocked the missile out of the air," Trump was quoted as saying aboard Air Force One on his way to Japan on Nov. 4. "That's how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we're selling it all over the world."
But the Times said a research team looking at evidence in photos and videos now believes those early reports were wrong and that "the missile's warhead flew unimpeded over Saudi defenses and nearly hit its target, Riyadh airport. The warhead detonated so close to the domestic terminal that customers jumped out of their seats."
CNBC reached out to the Pentagon for comment but a spokesman referred questions to the Saudis. CNBC also reached out to the Saudi Ministry of Defense but it didn't respond to an email request for comment.
U.S.-made air defense systems are relied on not only by the Saudis to defend against missile attacks from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but by South Korea, Japan and American forces to counter against North Korean missiles. But experts say the defense systems can miss targets and are not foolproof.