Showing posts with label Soldiers Killed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soldiers Killed. Show all posts

June 30, 2020

AP Reports The US knew About Bounties on U.S. Soldiers For Over a Year

By Mike Allen

In 2017, American soldiers wait on the tarmac in Logar province, Afghanistan. Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP


Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, AP's James LaPorta reports

  • The assessment was included in at least one of President Trump's written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to officials.
  • John Bolton, then national security adviser, told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019. 
  • The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified.

As the U.S. investigates whether any Americans died as a result of the Russian bounties, officials are focused on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy:

  • Three Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
  • The Defense Department identified them as Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del.; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pa.; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y.

 Two officials told the N.Y. Times (subscription"that the intelligence was included months ago in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief."

  • "One of the officials said the item appeared in Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27."

October 20, 2017

No Mention of Soldiers Killed in Niger for 12 Days, Did Trump Forget?

 One of four US soldiers killed in Niger. The guy that send them there did not even say sorry
Did He forget?
 What happened in Benghazi?
On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in an infamous terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya at the time, was killed.
The incident prompted an extensive, costly investigation and was a source of controversy for Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State when the attack occurred. It was still around as a thorn in her 2016 presidential campaign.
The Obama administration's initial explanation of the attack, which was based on faulty CIA intelligence, led to accusations of a cover-up from Republicans. Some also accused the administration of withholding military assistance to the Benghazi compound.
Clinton and the Obama administration were widely criticized, but no evidence of a cover-up was ever found, and House Republicans even released a report that cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing over Benghazi in June 2016. 
Still, Benghazi remains controversial and a talking point for conservative news outlets, especially Fox News.  
What happened in Niger?
The soldiers killed in Niger were part of a 12-man team of Green Berets, training Nigerian soldiers in a remote part of the country. These soldiers belonged to the Third Special Forces group based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 
As they were leaving a meeting with local community leaders on October 4, they were ambushed by roughly 50 fighters believed to be linked to ISIS (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is also active in the surrounding region). 
The soldiers were driving unarmored pickup trucks and immediately returned fire. The firefight reportedly lasted roughly 30 minutes. It was eventually broken up via French air support and the soldiers were evacuated with helicopters. 
Initially, the government only confirmed three had been killed and two wounded in the incident, along with two. But it was eventually reported a fourth soldier had gone missing during the ambush. His remains were found by Nigerien forces roughly 48 hours after the ambush.
The Department of Defense at first withheld information about the missing soldier. The circumstances of how he was separated and the nature of his death are unknown. 
Many questions about what occurred remain, especially regarding why intelligence apparently didn't indicate the soldiers would meet such heavy resistance.  

Are there any legitimate parallels between Benghazi and Niger?

Beyond the fact four Americans were killed in the respective incidents in Niger and Benghazi, the only parallel is the botched initial responses by both the Obama administration and Trump — responses that only led people to ask more questions about what went down.
It took Trump 12 days to respond to the deadly incident in Niger and he only did so after questioned by a reporter. In his response, Trump falsely claimed past presidents, including President Obama, didn't call the families of fallen soldiers. He then called the widow and mother of one of the soldiers, Sgt. La David Johnson, only to end up disrespecting the family on Tuesday night. The president allegedly said Johnson "knew what he signed up for" during the call. 
Trump denied it, but Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the fallen soldier's mother, told The Washington Post, Trump "did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband." 
Johnson was the soldier who was separated from the 12-man team during the ambush. The circumstances of Johnson's death and the fact he was missing for two days is perhaps the most curious aspect of the incident in Niger. Specific details on why he was left behind have not yet emerged, hence the questions that have followed Trump's controversial treatment of this deadly incident. 
The other three soldiers killed in the ambush have been identified as Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, 35; Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, 39; and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright, 29. 

Why is the U.S. in Niger?

Many Americans may not have known the U.S. was present in Niger until this incident, which is another parallel to Benghazi.
The truth is the U.S. military has been involved in a broad effort to combat terrorism across Africa for years and Niger is just one of many countries the U.S. is currently present in. This started far before Trump — the U.S. military has had a presence in Niger since 2013, when Obama was still president. 
The U.S. military is also active in Chad, Somalia, Libya, and Cameroon, among other countries in Africa. In May, a U.S. Navy Seal was killed in a raid on an Al-Shabab compound in Somalia. This was the first combat death involving a U.S. soldier in Somalia since the well-known "Black Hawk Down" incident in 1993, which resulted in the deaths of 18 American service members.
At the moment, there are roughly 800 U.S. troops in Niger, and the U.S. is in the process of building a major drone base in the city of Agadez, located in central Niger. The four U.S. soldiers killed on October 4 were training Nigerien forces in the broader counterterrorism effort. 
The Department of Defense announced Tuesday it was launching an investigation into the incident in Niger. But is this "Trump's Benghazi"? Only time — and maybe a congressional investigation or 4,000 — will tell.

February 28, 2017

A Soldiers Life Lost in Yemen but Commander in Chief Passes the Buck

The Buck Does Not Stops Here
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which led to the death of Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens, was planned by military officials before he came into office.

"Well, this was a mission that was started before I got here," the president said on "Fox and Friends." "This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected."
"My generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I believe, and they lost Ryan," Trump added, saying that buck stops "before I got here."

NBC News confirmed that the plans for the raid began under the Obama administration, but were not pursued because of a substantial escalation in Yemen. But five days into his administration, Trump chose to greenlight the operation.

A number of Pentagon officials told NBC News that the raid yielded no significant intelligence, though it led to the death of Owens and a number of children.

Related: Yemen Raid Had Secret Target: Al Qaeda Leader Qassim Al-Rimi

Despite the losses, the Trump administration has maintained that the mission was a success. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the military operation yielded "unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil."

After the White House was hit with criticism for the mission, Spicer doubled down. During a Feb. 8 press briefing, he said that "anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens."

Williams Owens, the Navy SEAL's father, told the Miami Herald on Sunday that he doubted the need for the raid and called for an investigation.
When Trump traveled to the airport to meet the homecoming casket of Chief Owens, William Owens refused to meet with him.

Spicer said on Monday that three Pentagon reviews of the raid would take place, as is military protocol.

"I met most of the family, and I can understand people saying that. I'd feel you know, I'd feel — what's worse?" Trump said.

“But again this is something they (U.S. military officials) were looking at for a long time now," Trump added.


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