Your relationship with government is simple: government knows everything about you, and you know nothing about government. In practice this means government can do whatever it wants to you before you know it's going to happen. Government policy makers think this is a good way of ensuring citizen compliance. Thus, all of these investigations are retrospective -- they look back at the squirrely shit that government has pulled, and occasionally wring their hands about trying to avoid it happening in the future. Not inspiring reading, but necessary if you are to face the cold reality that Big Brother is more than watching.


Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:41 am

Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for conducting this hearing.

There are, I think, two issues. One is the treatment of the family of the fallen soldier. My impression and experience here so far in Congress is that the military takes very, very seriously its obligation to the soldier and to the family members to try to provide them with as much information as possible, understanding the desperate need that a mom and a dad have, a brother and a sister, to know as much as they possibly can about the circumstances of their loved one's death. And we have been through that here with you, and I don't think I will go onto that enormously.

I think there is a second issue that has been raised, and it is whether the pressure on the administration to give good news versus bad news about its initial decision to go to war at times causes the information to be emphasizing the good instead of the bad, and, at its worst, to actually distort what the facts are.

What is significant about this war, in contrast to any other in our history, is that the sacrifice associated with the war has been borne entirely by the men and women and their families of an all-volunteer military. It is the first war where we have had multiple tax cuts. It is the first war where we have paid for it by going off budget. It is the first significant war where it has been an all-volunteer force, and there has been no draft requiring middle-class or well-to-do families to be part of it, whether they wished to or not.

And the question I have, and I am going to direct this initially to General Myers, is this. General, in contrast to Vietnam, which was a war that was going on when I was in college, every time there was a fallen soldier whose remains were returned to Burlington, VT, or Springfield, MA, or Chico, CA, the local press was there. It was a solemn occasion. It was sad, but it was real. And it conveyed to that local community the awesome price that this war was inflicting on the lives of their neighbors.

It is my understanding that the Pentagon policy in this war is to deny access to the press upon the return, the official return of the soldier's remains. And can you advise me whether I am correct on that?

General Myers. My understanding is that the policy for the folks returning through Dover, that there is no press there. It is a policy in respect for the families. Other than that, you are absolutely right. And I think, by the way, that is appropriate. I don't think it is appropriate to hide the fact that the men and women in this country are dying in the defense of this country. And we should never do that, because people need to understand the sacrifice. And as you pointed, out too few people understand that.

I might just add it is not the military; there are Ambassadors, foreign service officers, a lot of American civilians and third-country nationals that share this risk with us in Afghanistan and are killed, as well in Iraq.

Mr. Welch. This policy was changed. In the past the press has been allowed to document the arrival of our returning fallen soldiers. Correct?

General Myers. I can't tell you. I do not recall if it was changed.

Mr. Welch. I mean you are my age or older.

General Myers. Right. Yeah. It must have been somewhere along the line, if you recall it that way. I was overseas for most of the sixties when Vietnam was going on and part of that process, so I don't remember what was happening back home frankly.

Mr. Welch. Secretary Rumsfeld, could I ask you to comment? What would be the rationale for the Pentagon denying access to a respectful press to document the return of the remains of a fallen soldier?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I think you would have to ask the Department of Defense Public Affairs people, but my recollection is the same as General Myers'; that the policy at Dover is that the press does not cover that arrival, but that it is up -- I thought it was up to the families to determine the extent to which the press would or would not be involved in the actual memorial services or burial services, and that -- it leaves it to the families to make those decisions.

Mr. Welch. But the official return in the custody of military personnel of a casket --

Mr. Rumsfeld. They remain in the custody of the military personnel until they reach the family.

Mr. Welch. But it is different the way this is handled in this war, Iraq and Afghanistan, than it was, for instance, in Vietnam.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I don't know that. I accept your comment but I just --

Mr. Welch. General Abizaid.

General Abizaid. Sir, I don't know what the policies are on returning soldiers. I do know that since I have been retired, the press certainly covers those services that take place in northern Nevada and eastern California, and they always do so in a most respectful way.

Mr. Welch. And the soldiers when they return initially, they arrive at Dover?

General Abizaid. Most remains go through Dover, yes, sir.

Mr. Welch. And no press is allowed to document their return?

General Abizaid. I don't know. I think it would be best for me not to answer. I don't know.

Mr. Welch. All right. I waive the balance of my time. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Lynch [presiding]. The gentleman yields. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Idaho.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:41 am

Mr. Sali. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Either General Abizaid or General Brown, it would be fair to say that when there is an event that is suspected of involving friendly fire, that has an impact on morale on your troops, doesn't it?

General Brown. Absolutely.

General Abizaid. That is correct.

Mr. Sali. And if I understand things correctly, at this point you really have to choose what the procedures will be for the military. If you have an allegation of friendly fire, which I understand was already in the works on April 23, 2004, you knew that there was some suspicion at least.

You have to choose at that point whether you disclose to the family or whether you don't disclose to the family and wait until the outcome of the investigation before you announce that there was or was not some, perhaps, involvement with friendly fire from the death.

You have to choose between one of those two things; is that correct?

General Brown. I don't think you have to choose. I think that is maybe part of the problem. There are people that believe that you have to wait until the investigation is fully completed before the family is allowed to be told. I believe those were older Army regulations.

The current Army regulation, as I understand it, is that you immediately notify the family if there is an investigation going on, but in all cases sooner than 30 days. No later than 30 days the family has to be notified if there is an investigation going on and kept informed of the ongoing investigation, as I understand the regulation.

Mr. Sali. Am I correct from the time of Corporal Tillman's death to the time the investigation was finished was, in this case, 37 days?

General Brown. I'd have to look at the time line. I don't know, Congressman.

General Abizaid. Congressman, on the 28th I approved the report that came from General McChrystal's command as being definite proof of friendly fire. The May 28th.

Mr. Sali. May 28th, a little over 30 days in this case, versus what you are telling me now, General Brown, is that the requirement is now 30 days.

General Brown. The requirement is no later than 30 days.

Mr. Sali. But it could be up to the full 30 days.

General Brown. And I'm not sure why the regulation is written that way. I am assuming there could be some extenuating circumstances that they give you the 30 days, but I think the requirement is to notify the family immediately, but no later than 30 days.

Mr. Sali. Immediately following what?

General Brown. Immediately following the beginning of an investigation.

Mr. Sali. But that could be up to 30 days later?

General Brown. I believe that's what the regulation says, and I'd be glad to take it for the record and provide that Army regulation to you.

Mr. Sali. OK. I would appreciate it if you would do that.

It seems like we're fighting over about 6 days here in difference in time. If you are saying that it could be -- within 30 days, no longer than 30 days would meet the current regulation; is that correct?

General Brown. Well, I think it goes back to my earlier point that it doesn't matter what the regulation says, it has to be followed. So if there were errors made in the execution of that policy or there were people that didn't understand that was the policy, then that is where there may be a problem.

Mr. Sali. The regulations that were in place at the time were followed; is that correct?

General Brown. I don't know. I'd have to go back and see what -- the regulation that we are talking about that is the current regulation, as I understand it, was enacted in 2003.

Mr. Sali. Can you let me know about that?

General Brown. I will be glad to.

Mr. Sali. Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from California.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:43 am

Mr. Issa. I thank the gentleman. I just want to -- I hated to get into Vietnam, but we have gotten into it. I want to go through a couple of quick things.

During Vietnam, we drafted men and women. Several of you are Vietnam vets. At that time, as I understand it, we were drafting those who didn't go to college, those who couldn't get deferments, that was a war of the poor and a war of the minorities. At the time, that was the way it was said, and as someone who entered the service in 1970, I saw it that way.

Today, isn't it true that every man and every woman joins the military voluntarily, we have no draftees left on active duty, they have all either enlisted or reenlisted; that every one of these people for the first time is somebody who went to war knowing they were going to war?

Certainly Corporal Tillman enlisted knowing that our Nation was at war. Isn't that true?

And I appreciate -- General Brown? I have just two quick questions. One as a Vietnam era vet, a Vietnam vet actually.

General Brown. Right.

Mr. Issa. You remember the military where, if you were a rich college kid, you didn't go for the most part; and we had the minorities as draftees, the poorest as draftees, versus today every man and woman enlisted, and we have no draftees on active duty.

General Brown. Correct.

Mr. Issa. I wanted to make clear that Corporal Tillman, like every one of the men and women serving today, did so voluntarily.

The Vietnam War was not a panacea of the right way to do it. What we're doing today is the right way, and I think you would all agree this is the right way to run the modern military as volunteers, knowing volunteers.

General Brown. Sir, it is my opinion -- I served in the draftee Army, and I served in Vietnam; and I also served in the all-volunteer Army, and the all-volunteer Army is better.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:44 am

Mr. Lynch [presiding]. The panelists are allowed to answer the gentleman's question if they would like to elaborate.

OK. The Chair yields himself 5 minutes.

Gentlemen, I want to extend my thanks for your willingness to come forward and help the committee with its work. I want to acknowledge the Tillman family, and my heart goes out to them for having to relive this every time a hearing is held.

Now, a number of us, including Mr. Murphy, Mr. Welch, Mr. Shays and others, have been out to the area where Mr. Tillman was ambushed. And we certainly appreciate the complex battle space, as you have described it, and we can understand that there was some chaos in this firefight.

However, I do want to follow the time line here because Chairman Waxman spoke earlier about the testimony of Specialist O'Neal. And as you may remember, Specialist O'Neal was with Corporal Tillman on the ground there, on that canyon road near Manah. And Specialist O'Neal went back to Salerno, just north of that area, a couple of days after the firefight, and actually he wrote a witness statement in the immediate aftermath of Corporal Tillman's death that made it quite clear that this was a case of friendly fire.

But then something happened. Someone rewrote that statement and the revised version -- we had Specialist O'Neal in, and we showed him the statement and we asked, Did you write this part? No, I didn't. Did you write this part? No, I didn't.

So there was a drastic revision between what the eyewitness wrote and what eventually went to the press and went to some of you. And we don't know if it went to the President or not, but it served at least in part as the basis for the Silver Star citation. We know that.

And while we understand the chaos that might have occurred during this firefight, this rewriting, this revision, happened after the fact, after the smoke had cleared. And I can appreciate the frustration of some of my colleagues who feel that something else is going on here, and we're not sure what.

Some people think it was a mix-up, not a cover-up; and I can certainly appreciate them feeling that way. But we have had an opportunity, all of us, a lot of us, to go out there and also observe the high excellence of our military, the high excellence of our military officers and folks in uniform. And they have performed brilliantly. And yet here we have this major, major disconnect between what the people on the ground observed and recounted, and then the report that gets out to the press and the public and to the family.

And another issue that is confusing is the P-4 memo. It was written explicitly to warn the senior defense officials and the President that Pat Tillman, it was highly possible that he died of friendly fire. But from the testimony today it would seem that no one passed this information to either Secretary Rumsfeld or the President. And knowing what I know about the best of the military, I find that mind-boggling, just stunning, that this happened.

I want to ask you -- because I haven't heard a good explanation today, I have to say that, and I am trying to pull all of this together -- we talked about six different investigations. Can anybody on this panel give me an answer, how that happened, that the specialist, on-the-ground eyewitness right beside Corporal Tillman, right in the unit, wrote an accurate description of what happened indicating friendly fire; and yet downstream we follow that time line, we in the Congress and the American people got a different story. And I need to know the answer to how that happened.

That's why we are having -- we owe this to the family. And I understand that there was some element of this that folks wanted to honor the memory of Corporal Tillman in the highest tradition of the military. And he was a hero; the minute he put on that uniform, he was an American hero, and nothing changes that.

But we also owe it to our servicemen to accurately account for them. And we owe it to their families who offer up their sons and daughters to serve this country.

So I ask you, can anybody here on this panel explain how that happened? Explain to the American people how that happened?

Mr. Secretary.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I -- needless to say, it happened the way you've described it and the way the various investigations have reported it. It happened in the field that somebody took somebody else's words and altered them. I have no idea who did it. I have no idea what their motive might have been.

I had no knowledge that had happened.

Mr. Lynch. General Myers.

General Myers. It would be extremely difficult to divine that. I would really like to know, obviously, why somebody would do that. I don't have any idea.

And certainly it is the way you described it. I haven't seen how the words were altered, but it is inappropriate and inexcusable. But I don't know why.

Mr. Lynch. General Abizaid, good to see you again, sir.

General Abizaid. Sir, it is good to see you as well.

It is very difficult to come to grips with how we screwed this thing up, but we screwed this thing up. It was clear to me on April 28th, when I talked to the platoon leader who was Corporal Tillman's platoon leader, that he did not think of it as being anything other than an enemy action. We didn't talk long about it. He had been wounded. But he didn't give any indication of friendly fire at that time.

Clearly, General McChrystal knew by the 29th that there was a high probability, as he described in his message, that there was friendly fire. The message that General McChrystal sent to me, which was delivered late for problems that took place at my headquarters -- as a result of problems that took place at my headquarters, undoubtedly delayed the information being relayed to the chairman in the manner that it should have been.

When I discovered the problem, I relayed it to the chairman in as timely a manner as I could, given the circumstances. But it was clear that somewhere between the 29th and the -- and the period where I notified the chairman that this P-4 just hadn't gone to me. It had gone to General Brown, it had gone to the Department of the Army, and it was my supposition that the Department of the Army was acting on the notion that friendly fire had occurred, which can probably be the reason that the chairman accounts for -- and again this is supposition on my part, it is not a fact, I don't know what happened -- which is why the chairman recollects having heard it as early as the 30th or the 31st, whatever day it happened.

Again, no excuses can be offered, but I can tell you a couple of facts. General McChrystal reported the incident in a forthright and in a timely fashion.

That the information flowed poorly through the chain of command to include me is a problem of the chain of command, both administrative and operational. It should have been handled better and it wasn't. From that, a lot of other bad things may have flowed.

But it is clear that all along fratricide was called as early as the April 29th, and that on May 28th, we conclusively stated it was fratricide, a report that I rendered to the chairman and to the Secretary.

In terms of fratricide investigations, by the way, that's not a slow investigation. That's a fast investigation. In looking back, of how we go about investigating these things after they've happened, it may seem slow; but in my experience with a lot of fratricides, it went probably faster than most.

Mr. Lynch. Thank you.

General Brown, any conclusion?

General Brown. Sir, I'd just say, as I mentioned earlier, as Secretary of the Army Geren said, it could not have been more poorly handled. I think it was a process -- it is a difficult process to start with, and it was just very poorly handled.

When I got the P-4, I made the assumption -- and probably a bad assumption, since I was an "info'' addressee and not the "to,'' that flow of information would flow through the chain of command. It would have been simple for me to pick up the phone and call the General. I didn't.

I did respond to the P-4, back to General McChrystal. But, quite frankly, I just made the assumption -- a bad assumption now, I know -- that normal P-4 traffic moves pretty fast, that would go to the chairman immediately.

So it's unfortunate it was poorly handled, and unfortunately it is the Tillman family that had to pay the price for it.

Mr. Lynch. Thank you, sir.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Murphy, for 5 minutes.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:45 am

Mr. Murphy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I understand we have votes pending, so I will be brief.

Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here today. I joined Representative Lynch and some others of our colleagues in a trip earlier this year to Iraq and Afghanistan; and frankly, as someone who has never worn the uniform or fired a gun or been shot at, I left there with a deep and, frankly, unconditional sense of appreciation for what our men and women are doing there. And I thank you for your role in leading them.

My question is this: It is my understanding that the Pentagon regulations require that a family be notified that a fratricide investigation is pending even before the official results are concluded. And I have a little bit of trouble -- and I will present the question first to General Myers -- with the contention that simply because the malfeasance wasn't in your direct chain of command that the leaders of the military didn't have an accompanying personal or moral responsibility to act on what they knew was misinformation being given to the public -- and certainly, if not misinformation, a complete lack of information given to the family.

I know this is a complex question for military leaders when you have a responsibility to break outside of the chain of command, when you know that something is being miscommunicated or you know that something is being uncommunicated. I will ask it of General Myers first.

There are a couple of weeks, 2 or 3 weeks, that you have been informed that there is a fratricide investigation going on. The family has not been notified. There are Sports Illustrated articles and much public awareness of the initial conclusion of death of Mr. Tillman. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in retrospect, do you feel that you had a personal or moral responsibility to alert the family even though the chain of command may not have dictated that it was your responsibility?

General Myers. I think it would have been absolutely irresponsible of me to interfere with the Army procedures, frankly. First of all, they are not Pentagon regulations; they are Army regulations. The Army was the one that had the regulations that said we have to notify the family as soon as we know of the possibility.

And frankly, with the investigation ongoing, what I was concerned about was exerting any kind of undue command influence if this ever got to UCMJ, if it ever got to the Secretary's desk; if he ever said, What do you think, which would have been the only reason I would ever look at it -- if the Secretary would say, Give me your opinion on this.

You want to stay out of those matters so that you cannot be used by some defense attorney that, Gee, we have had Myers saying this and the Secretary saying this; therefore, my client who is accused of wrongdoing is not guilty. There is obviously command influence.

So it didn't occur to me at the time, clearly. I knew there was an investigation ongoing. I thought that was appropriate. I didn't know what had been told to the family or not been told. I just wasn't aware.

I mean, it sounds harsh, and it is harsh, but the reality is there is a lot of things going on, and this -- Corporal Tillman's death was significant, but it wasn't the kind of issue that occupied a whole lot of time. As John said, we were working on the battle of Fallujah. We had a myriad of issues. Abu Ghraib had just broke; we spent a lot of time in the media with Abu Ghraib. There were a lot of issues taking our attention.

I think it would have been irresponsible for the chairman to get involved in what are Army matters. I would have to override the Secretary of the Army, acting Secretary. That would be something that would be totally inappropriate, or get into General Schoomaker's, Chief of the Staff of the Army's, business.

Mr. Murphy. I appreciate there were a lot of pressures occupying your time and occupying an immense amount of the public's time. There were some things that many, many people were paying attention to. Do you feel, in retrospect, that you should have asked during those intervening weeks whether or not the Tillman people knew?

General Myers. No, the matter should have been handled by the Army. And it would not -- I mean, I don't think it would have occurred to me to say, Gee -- I mean, this was not -- unfortunately, not the first fratricide, not the first death.

Even if it is not fratricide, there are issues with the family members that the services are handling. And I don't think it is my position, certainly not in any of the statutes or even morally, I believe, to get involved when other people are trying to handle that.

I mean, that's the services' business, and it is pretty explicit. It would have been very unusual for me to ask those kinds of questions, and frankly, it didn't occur to me.

Mr. Murphy. General Brown, do you regret not looking back, not asking more questions about what the family knew? Do you feel you had an obligation, whether or not it was within the direct chain of command, to intervene and try to make sure -- am concerned mostly about the family, I think. As the family has noted, this was a fraud perpetrated on the American public as well. But specifically, in relation to the family, why weren't more questions being asked within the chain of command of whether or not the family was being told?

General Brown. What I would say is that the Army ran this investigation. They also run the casualty notification process, and so do it routinely. And so when you see them doing the actions that they are supposed to be doing, I was not questioning them every day, were you doing every step in the process.

Quite frankly, when I found out there was an issue that the family hadn't been notified, by asking the question -- which was before the press release, I asked the question, had the family been notified by the Army and our Army component, and I found out that they had not.

And then we tried to take actions to help facilitate getting the family notified before the press release came out, when I did ask the question.

Mr. Murphy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Waxman [presiding]. Thank you Mr. Murphy. Mr. Honda.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:46 am

Mr. Honda. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate the witnesses' presence and your endurance at this time. Let me get back to the P-4 discussion, quick question.

P-4 is the classified memo to those that the memo has been written to; is that correct?

General Abizaid. That's correct, sir. I mean, it is -- in the channels that this was sent, it was actually sent in very highly classified channels.

General Myers. But a P-4 can be unclassified.

Mr. Honda. So it was an important memo?

General Abizaid. There are a lot of different P-4s that are sent around, but it is usually commander-to-commander communication.

Mr. Honda. And these are for the eyes, including those who are cc'd?

General Brown. I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question.

Mr. Honda. It is also not only for -- the memo is directed to a couple of people, but someone said that the others were cc'd.

General Brown. Right.

Mr. Honda. And that also means that this was meant for your eyes also?

General Brown. Right.

Mr. Honda. I'd like to read the last sentence of the P-4 memo and ask for a clarification of the gentlemen here.

In this sentence, General McChrystal writes that he feels it is essential that the three generals receive information about Corporal Tillman's death, and here is why.

He says, "In order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country's leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death becomes public . . .''

He says, "if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death are ever made public.'' For the record, were you involved in any discussion about withholding information about Corporal Tillman's death from his family or the American public?

Second question: Was there any conversation that the information about his death would never be released to his family or the public?

General Brown. There was no conversation about his death or fratricide ever not being released. There was never a discussion on that.

The only discussion I ever heard -- and we weren't the investigating body or the notification and next-of-kin responsible agency -- was the normal assumption that people were waiting until the investigation was concluded before the family would be notified. OK.

So then that is -- that is routinely understood. And as a matter of fact, it is as I understand from this hearing this morning, that is still current Marine Corps policy, that the investigation is completed and then the family is notified.

So that information would have been protected at that time so that it was not released to the press, so that the family would not wake up and find it in the press prematurely, before the investigation was completed and signed off by the combatant commander.

General Abizaid. Yes, sir, there was never any intention at any level to keep the idea that it was fratricide from either the family or the public. It was clear that it would be disclosed at the appropriate time, as decided by the Department of the Army.

Mr. Honda. General Myers.

General Myers. I agree with General Brown.

Mr. Honda. You are saying that there were no discussions, or you were not involved in any discussions about withholding information from the family or the public?

General Myers. I was not involved in any discussions where withholding information from the family or the public, or anybody, ever came up.

Mr. Honda. OK.

General Myers. I was not.

Mr. Rumsfeld. Nor was I.

General Brown. Sir, if I could go back to that for just a second, when we get a casualty notification, which in my headquarters we will get for every one of our casualties, we are very careful to protect the names of the individuals, and the individuals, until the family notification of next of kin has taken place. So that would fall into the same category.

Mr. Honda. The P-4 was written April 29th, 7 days after the incident. So the 7 days ensuing, for 7 days there wasn't an investigation, and there was a report by Mr. O'Neal; is that correct?

General Brown. I don't know. A report by Mr. O'Neal, I'm not familiar with.

Mr. Honda. He is the gentleman who wrote the initial report.

General Abizaid. I know there was an initial 15-6 that was initiated, but I would have to look at the report to say what date it was initiated. Perhaps we could find that information.

Mr. Honda. And the contents of that first report were changed, and it appears on the P-4 as it has been changed. Are you aware of that? Or is that a correct statement?

General Brown. Just to be clear, could you restate that statement again? And I think we will have better chance of answering it.

Mr. Honda. There was previous testimony that there was a written report by a combatant next to Mr. Tillman, who wrote down the events, the accurate events of his death. And I understand through the testimony today that has been changed and that change is reflected in the P-4. Is that a correct statement?

General Brown. I don't know.

General Abizaid. Here is what I do know, to make sure that we are all talking about the same dates.

The incident took place on the 22nd. The chain of command, through me, was notified of Corporal Tillman's death.

There was a P-4 sent on the 29th.

The first 15-6 report was completed on the 4th of May, and it was deemed not sufficient by General McChrystal, and another 15-6 officer was appointed on the 8th of May.

And on May 25th, that report reached my headquarters, and on May 28th, I approved that report.

Those are the dates as I know them.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:46 am

Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Mr. Honda. I appreciate your joining this committee for this hearing and the previous one. You are not a member of the committee, but I know of your strong interest in the concern about Corporal Tillman.

Could I just ask this question? Is it -- on how many occasions would you get a P-4 memo saying, Let the President and the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Armed Services know about a certain fact, get it to them because we want to help them avoid embarrassment?

Have you ever received a P-4 like that, General Brown.

General Brown. Never, sir.

Chairman Waxman. General Abizaid, did you ever receive a P-4 like that?

General Abizaid. Yes, I've received some very interesting P-4s; and sometimes they would say, Make sure the President knows, or make sure this happens or that happens.

There is an interesting thing about the P-4 that says, Deliver during normal duty hours; and so again General McChrystal did exactly the right thing. He sent a timely message in a timely fashion through the most secure channels.

And, again, it went to Tampa. I was forwarded. It didn't get to me in a timely fashion, forward. That's a problem that was strictly in my command.

But, again, when I told the chairman, I did not tell the chairman in order that the chairman would run to the Secretary and then run to the President. I told the chairman so he would know, and I explained to him in general terms the basic information in the P-4.

Chairman Waxman. Did you tell him that this was something that we ought to -- he ought to let the civilian authorities in the White House, even the President, know this information to avoid embarrassment?

General Abizaid. I don't know that I used those words, but I said that it was important that the leadership know. And between the chairman and me -- I mean, it's clear that the leadership up above us is the Secretary and the President.

Chairman Waxman. Yes. See, the issue is not just failure to let the family know; there is an issue of whether there was a failure to follow the routine way things are handled, to let the President know, to avoid embarrassment, let the President know and our Nation's leaders know.

General Myers, have you gotten P-4 memos that asked you to let the President and our national leaders know something?

General Myers. I probably have.

Chairman Waxman. And when you get that kind of information, what do you do with it?

General Myers. You have to put your judgment on it, because people are recommending to you what they think is appropriate, and you have to put your judgment on it.

Like I said, in this case, what would have been logical would have been to inform the Secretary. I can't recall that I did that. I don't know. I don't have any documentation that says I did that.

But that would have been a logical thing to do when I got a P-4 like this, to say, Mr. Secretary, you know this has now gone from "Corporal Tillman was killed by enemy fire'' to "possible fratricide.'' But that would have been the logical thing to do.

I can't tell you that I did it, because I just don't recall whether I did it or not.

Chairman Waxman. OK. Well, let me conclude the hearing by indicating the facts that General Myers and General Brown knew about the friendly fire issue at the end of April.

General Abizaid learned on May 6th.

Secretary Rumsfeld learned on May 20th.

All of these are the senior leaders that knew before the public and the family --

Mr. Rumsfeld. Could I correct that?

Chairman Waxman. Yes.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I want to make sure this is precisely accurate. I do not believe I testified that I learned on May 20th, and if that impression has been left, I don't want that left.

My testimony is that I do not recall; that is the letter I gave to the IG. I was told that a person was in a meeting after May 20th when I was informed. But that is -- I just simply do not know when I first learned of the possibility of fratricide.

Chairman Waxman. I appreciate that correction.

General Abizaid. And, sir, if I may, I also wanted to make sure that the 6th is a logical day. It is not "the'' day; the day is somewhere between 10 and 20 days after the event. It's the best that my staff and I could come to a conclusion on at this point.

Chairman Waxman. You were all very busy. There is no question about it.

General Brown. Sir, one other thing, if I could interrupt also to correct.

Your statement was that I knew about the friendly fire, I knew that there was an investigation ongoing, the potential for friendly fire.

General Myers. That goes for me, too.

General Abizaid. And for me, as well.

Chairman Waxman. Well, you all knew or didn't know within that timeframe. But it appears that all of you had some indication before the ceremony where the world was being told that Corporal Tillman was killed in the line of duty. He was getting the Silver Star. It was a memorial service where this information, this misinformation, was given out.

And you have all admitted that the system failed. So I just think that the public should have known, the family should have known earlier who was responsible. But -- none of you feel that you personally are responsible, but the system itself didn't work.

Ironically enough, the President could have called you all in and said, Why didn't I know about this when there was a P-4 memo? But somehow or another it seemed like the President avoided embarrassment as well. So maybe somebody did know at the White House that this was likely to be friendly fire, on more thorough investigation.

You have been here a long time. I appreciate your taking the time to be with us. We are obviously trying to find out what went on and who had responsibility, who dropped the ball.

The system didn't work. Errors were made. That's too passive.

Somebody should be responsible, and we're trying to figure that out.

That concludes our hearing today, and we stand adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 1:33 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
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