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View Full Version : Army hid info about Tillman's death



gabosaurus
04-21-2007, 12:15 PM
This is typical Pentagon. They care more about their image than the rights of individual soldiers and their families. More proof that the ground troops are numbers and not people.
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Within hours of Pat Tillman's death, the Army went into information-lockdown mode, cutting off phone and Internet connections at a base in Afghanistan, posting guards on a wounded platoon mate and ordering a sergeant to burn Tillman's uniform.

New investigative documents reviewed by The Associated Press describe how the military sealed off information about Tillman's death from all but a small ring of soldiers. Officers quietly passed their suspicion of friendly fire up to the highest ranks of the military, but the truth did not reach Tillman's family for five weeks.

The clampdown, and the misinformation issued by the military, lie at the heart of a congressional investigation.

"We want to find out how this happened," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House oversight committee, which has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday. "Was it the result of incompetence, miscommunication or a deliberate strategy?"

It is also a central issue as the Army weighs punishments against nine officers, including four generals, faulted in the latest Pentagon report on the case of the NFL star-turned-soldier. Military officials said those recommendations could come in the next several weeks.

It is well known by now that the circumstances of Tillman's April 22, 2004, death were kept from his family and the American public; the Army maintained he was cut down by enemy bullets in an ambush, even though many soldiers knew he was mistakenly killed by his own comrades. The nearly 1,100 pages of documents released last month at the conclusion of the Army Criminal Investigation Command's probe reveal the mechanics of how the Army contained information.

For example, the day after Tillman died, Spc. Jade Lane lay in a hospital bed in Afghanistan, recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by the same fellow Rangers who had shot at Tillman. Amid his shock and grief, Lane noticed guards were posted on him.

"I thought it was strange," Lane recalled. Later, he said, he learned the reason for their presence: The news media were sniffing around, and Lane's superiors "did not want anyone talking to us," he said.

Inside Forward Operating Base Salerno, near Khowst, Afghanistan, a soldier heard the dreaded call come across the radio: "KIAs." There were two fatalities, one Afghan ally and one Army Ranger.

The soldier checked a roster and discovered the fallen American was Tillman. He rounded up four others and broke the news but withheld Tillman's name.