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 12:34 am

Mr. Shays. Reclaiming my time, I want to be on record with the fact that I think this was a huge screw-up, bordering on the lines of malfeasance, and I think we all agree with that. So I am not belittling the issue. I am just simply saying this committee should be spending time dealing with some other issues that we clearly have to wrestle with.

Ms. Norton. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Kucinich.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:34 am

Mr. Kucinich. I thank the gentlelady. I think it is very important for this committee to put into context the Tillman case, because there is an underlying question here that I don't believe has been probed adequately. With respect to my good friend on the other side of the aisle, when you are talking about matters of fact and fiction in a war, it is incumbent upon this Congress in its oversight capacity to be able to determine whether or not there was a particular type of management of the news of the war.

And so in connection with that, Mr. Rumsfeld, can you tell this committee whether or not in your capacity as Secretary of Defense you had discussions within the White House regarding press strategies that would be involved in the communication of the events of the war to the American people?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I can say without qualification that I can't recall ever having a discussion with anyone in the White House on press strategy relating to the Tillman matter in any aspect of it.

Mr. Kucinich. Did you ever have discussions in the White House, generally speaking, about press strategies with respect to the conduct of the war in Iraq?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I am sure that the subject of the press and the government's dealing with the press has come up on a number of occasions. I can recall one when General Casey was out there and there were questions raised about the relationship that the command had with some Iraqi press people. And there was a criticism, for example, of the fact that stories were ending up in the articles which were accurate, but would not have been in there had there not been some relationship between his command and the reporter. And there was a big debate on that.

I remember another example, which General Myers will remember well, and that is the very phrase "global war on terror'' and the differences that some people had, thinking that terror is not -- you don't war on terror. Terror is a technique of choice, a weapon of choice for a terrorist, but it is not something you necessarily war against. And that type of thing would be discussed. And I frequently would end up using the phrase that this was the first conflict of the 21st century, and it was really a struggle against violent extremists.

Mr. Kucinich. Was there a press strategy in the White House with the war in Iraq?

Mr. Rumsfeld. You would have to ask the White House. I am not --

Mr. Kucinich. Was there a press strategy that the Department of Defense was expected to be mindful of with respect to the conduct of the war in Iraq?

Mr. Rumsfeld. To my knowledge there was no White House press strategy that the Pentagon was told to be mindful of.

Mr. Kucinich. Was there a Department of Defense press strategy with respect to the war?

Mr. Rumsfeld. If there was, it obviously wasn't very good.

Mr. Kucinich. You know, maybe it was very good, because you actually covered up the Tillman case for a while, you covered up the Jessica Lynch case, you covered up Abu Ghraib. So something was working for you. Was there a strategy to do it, Mr. Rumsfeld?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Well, Congressman, the implication that you said "you covered up,'' that is just false. You have nothing to base that on. You have not a scrap of evidence or a piece of paper or a witness that would attest to that. I have not been involved in any coverup whatsoever, and I don't believe there is an individual at this table, who I know well and observed at close quarters in very difficult situations, who had any role in a coverup on this matter.

Mr. Kucinich. Thank you for acquitting yourself. I was speaking of the Department of Defense, and I was speaking of things that are manifest and obvious.

We held a hearing on the Tillman case, we held hearings on Abu Ghraib, and the hearing on this. You have not been able to establish how is it that this news could get out; no one managed it, no one communicated it to the American public, it just happened. I mean you haven't really given this committee a good explanation as to how it happened, Mr. Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld. This committee has held many hours of hearings on the subject, and they have had the witnesses of the people who were responsible for the management of this issue, and it was the U.S. Army.

Mr. Kucinich. Was there any outsourcing of that message? Was the Rendon or Lincoln Group involved in communicating any messages --

Mr. Rumsfeld. You would have to ask them. You would have to ask the Army.

Mr. Kucinich. Did the Department of Defense have any connection at all with any outside individuals to communicate messages to the general public to help in the shaping of that message? Was there a press strategy involved?

Mr. Rumsfeld. On this subject, not to my knowledge.

Mr. Kucinich. Was there a press strategy involved?

Mr. Rumsfeld. On this subject, not to my knowledge.

Mr. Kucinich. Was there a press strategy involved generally that you used --

Mr. Rumsfeld. I have already answered that question.

Mr. Kucinich. Well, I don't think you have. Not to my satisfaction.

Mr. Rumsfeld. To the best of my ability.

Mr. Kucinich. Was the Rendon Group involved in communicating a press strategy on behalf of the Department of Defense with respect to the war in Iraq?

Mr. Rumsfeld. You would have to ask the people in the Department.

Mr. Kucinich. You have no knowledge of this whatsoever?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I am aware that there have been, over the years, contracts with that organization from various entities within the Department and outside of the Department. Whether there was in a manner that would fit your question, I am not in a position to answer.

Mr. Kucinich. You just said that you have some awareness of it. Could you elaborate on that, sir?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I elaborated to the extent of my ability. I know that there are some entities in the Department that have used contractors for some things of that type over the years. And you would have to ask experts on that subject, not me.

Mr. Kucinich. Mr. Chairman, I think it is very important that this committee determine whether or not the outsourcing of press was one of the elements responsible for communicating to the public something that seemed to be beyond the understanding of the Department of Defense.

Chairman Waxman [presiding]. Thank you, Mr. Kucinich.

Mr. Kucinich. Thank you.

Chairman Waxman. Mr. Yarmuth.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:35 am

Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks to all the witnesses. I apologize if the questions I ask will cover ground that has already been covered.

Secretary Rumsfeld, you testified on a number of occasions that you don't remember when you were first alerted to the fact that the Tillman death had been mischaracterized. Do you remember whether you were satisfied or dissatisfied as to whether you had been notified in a timely fashion?

Mr. Rumsfeld. You are directing the question to me?

Mr. Yarmuth. Yes, sir.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I tell you, earlier on in this hearing I indicated that there was the problem of command influence. And I think I indicated that it is not a surprise to me that the Secretary is not brought into periodic reports on what is taking place with various investigations of a criminal nature -- potentially criminal nature.

Mr. Yarmuth. I am speaking before there would have been any reason for an investigation. When you were -- at some point you obviously knew that -- you came to know that there was suspicion that the Tillman death had not been characterized appropriately or accurately.

Mr. Rumsfeld. True. And at that moment there was already an investigation going on, because it was a --

Mr. Yarmuth. My question, though, sir, is do you remember whether you were upset that you had not been notified, or was this something that you would have expected not to be notified about? Did this bother you that you weren't notified?

Mr. Rumsfeld. As I say, the fact that I was not an addressee on the P-4 did not surprise me. There are all kinds of communications that I was not engaged in.

Mr. Yarmuth. So you would not necessarily have expected to be notified about this on a timely fashion. That is the question I am asking.

Mr. Rumsfeld. It does not surprise me that I was not. It was not something that I would have had a voice in or a role in.

Mr. Yarmuth. How did people who worked for you know when to tell you about things that they thought you ought to know?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Oh, goodness. How did they know? You would have to ask them. But what we had is frequent meetings. We had a roundtable session almost every day. And the senior people from the various entities within the Department were there, and their task was to raise issues that they thought the group and I ought to be aware of. And General Myers participated in those every day.

Mr. Yarmuth. So you didn't have any policy as to what people should bring to your attention and what they shouldn't?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Except the one I mentioned earlier, which is the one of command influence, where the general counsel issued regulations -- not regulations, recommendations for the senior people in the Department to be very careful about getting into and commenting on, internally or externally, investigations and matters that potentially could end up in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as indeed this has.

Mr. Yarmuth. General Abizaid, what about you? Did you have policies as to when you should be informed about things such as whether a casualty had been mischaracterized?

General Abizaid. Yes, sir. I wanted to know right away what happened. Of course.

Mr. Yarmuth. And were you satisfied in this case that you were?

General Abizaid. No, I was not satisfied.

Mr. Yarmuth. Some of this seems -- and maybe I am naive -- but seems surprising to me, because we have this perception of there being fairly rigid lines of command in the military. And it seems to me it would be fairly simple -- and I hope you will explain to me why I am wrong -- to go down that line of command, starting at the top, and say, basically, did you know? Why didn't you know? And to follow that line down. Is that not a reasonable expectation?

General Abizaid. I think that this was a simple case that should have been transmitted efficiently and quickly. It was not. It should have been transmitted the day after the P-4 arrived in my headquarters. But as I have testified, there was a problem somewhere between the 28th, and I guess that probably the earliest I would have told the chairman is the 6th. But I called him from Qatar. I was in Qatar the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th. And when I called him I was embarrassed about it. And I do take responsibility for the fact that my headquarters screwed up. I didn't punish anybody. We fixed the problem. It wasn't the first P-4 that went astray and it wasn't the last one. But it happened, and that is all I can say about it.

Mr. Yarmuth. I know my time is about to expire, so I just want to ask one further question of Secretary Rumsfeld. Was there ever, other than this particular -- you talked about the investigation. Was there any other circumstance in which the people who worked for you were directed not to inform you about certain things? Were there things that they were told you weren't supposed to be informed about?

Mr. Rumsfeld. No. And I did not want to leave the impression in this instance that I was -- instructed anybody to not inform me of something like that. What I was describing was the admonitions that the general counsel issued directly to me and to others that you must not get -- you should not get involved in matters where, as the general said, a defense attorney could allege that you had exerted undue command influence in a way that damaged the case or polluted the environment for the defendant, either favorably or unfavorably. And that is something that people were aware of. Not that they shouldn't tell me something, but that I shouldn't get involved in those things. And people watched a pattern of behavior, I suppose, and I didn't get involved with them, except one time.

Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you.

Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Burton, do you seek recognition?
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:35 am

Mr. Burton. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I am late. Mr. Secretary, it is nice seeing you again.

Mr. Rumsfeld. Thank you.

Mr. Burton. June 25, 2002, you wrote a snowflake to Army Secretary Tom White, and you wrote, "Here is an article on a fellow who is apparently joining the Rangers. He sounds like he is world class. We might want to keep our eye on him.'' Can you tell us what you meant by that?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Exactly what I wrote. That a fine individual who was quite prominent had joined the Rangers. And that was a good thing.

Mr. Burton. Well, when you said to Secretary White keep his eye on him, you meant that he has potential?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I wouldn't know that. I just think here is an individual who is serving his country and is prominent and gave up a good deal to do that; and that we, as people in the Department, ought to acknowledge that and be grateful for his service, as I was.

Mr. Burton. You didn't single him out asking for progress reports or anything like that?

Mr. Rumsfeld. No. Of course not.

Mr. Burton. OK. Thank you very much.

Chairman Waxman. Let's see, the next one in line is Mr. Hodes.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:36 am

Mr. Hodes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Gentlemen, as I understand it, there have been at least six different investigations into this matter. It appears that each of those investigations had serious flaws. First there was Captain Scott's investigation, completed within 2 weeks of the incident. Second, Colonel Kauzlarich's investigation -- I don't know whether I have butchered his name -- which was finished on May 16, 2004.

The DOD IG concluded that these two investigations were, "tainted by the failure to preserve evidence, a lack of thoroughness, and the failure to pursue investigative leads.''

Third was an investigation by General Jones completed 6 months later. The IG had similar criticisms of that report.

Fourth, the IG report itself, issued in March of this year. But the IG was unable to determine who doctored key witness statements supporting the Silver Star award.

And fifth, was an Army Criminal Investigation Division investigation finished at the same time as the IG investigation. This report inexplicably concluded there were no rules of engagement violations, even though there was a friendly fire fatality and multiple injuries.

And finally, as of yesterday, General Wallace has completed his investigation. General Wallace's investigation apparently suffered from an overly narrow scope, failing to examine the actions of key military leaders. And we have before us the top military brass involved in these questions at the time: General Brown, General Abizaid, General Myers, and Secretary Rumsfeld.

Now, let's put aside for a moment the merits of each of the individual investigations. Do you all, gentlemen, agree that it should not take six different investigations, 3 years, congressional investigations, and millions of taxpayer dollars to address the significant failures that have occurred in this case?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Absolutely.

General Myers. Agree.

General Brown. Yes, sir.

General Abizaid. Agree.

Mr. Hodes. Secretary Rumsfeld, the approach of ordering a series of military investigations that are limited in scope and that do not address the question of what top officials knew appears to be the Department of Defense's MO when it really doesn't want accountability.

When the allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib arose in 2004, the Pentagon took the same approach. First, there was the Taguba investigation, limited to the conduct of the military police at Abu Ghraib. Second was the Fay investigation that examined the conduct of the military intelligence personnel at Abu Ghraib, but there was no inquiry into the involvement of the civilian leadership. Third was the Army Inspector General's investigation, which focused on interrogation practices in general in Iraq and Afghanistan, without examining the role of top Pentagon leadership. In all there were over a dozen investigations by the Pentagon into detainee abuse issues, but none has resulted in a full understanding of the civilian leadership's involvement in the abuses. None has resulted in a full understanding of your involvement or the involvement of the White House.

Mr. Secretary, do you see the parallels here? Do you see why some would think that in the case of both Abu Ghraib and in the Tillman investigation there were deliberate efforts to avoid accountability? And if you see that, the manner in which this serial kind of narrow investigating, never answering the questions about who at the top knew what is a problem, what do you think ought to be done so that the American people can be assured that the top leadership in this country is accountable, is willing to come forward and tell the truth, and is going to take the actions to reassure the American public that abuses won't happen again?

Mr. Rumsfeld. Congressman, I don't obviously agree with your characterization of the history of this. There was an independent panel that looked at Abu Ghraib at the senior level and issued a report. There is a problem, I don't disagree at all, with the perception that you end up in a situation like the Tillman case, where you have five, six or seven separate investigations. And there are a variety of reasons as to how they got from where they were to where they are today with the most recent Army investigation and announcement.

None of the answers are satisfactory. It is unfortunate. It is harmful. It causes exactly the perception that you are promoting. And it is regrettable.

Mr. Hodes. What should be done about it?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I don't know. I wish I had some brilliant answers. One of the things I might just mention is that under Goldwater-Nichols, the command responsibility is separated from the organized train-and-equip responsibility. And as a result, you end up with people who are down one of those chains of accountability and responsibility, and some people who are down the opposite chain, the administrative as opposed to the command. However, in the middle at various places, there are individuals who have a hat, if you will, in both of those. And you end up frequently with a long pause as to who should do what, who has the responsibility. Should it go up? Should the court martial or the investigation be done at this level or that level? Should it be done in the administrative chain or the command chain? Obviously, the problems usually happen in the command chain, so there is a tendency to be biased toward that.

On the other hand, you take a man like John Abizaid, who was the combatant commander in that case, he was fighting a war. He was busy. He was traveling all over the world. And there is an attraction to moving the responsibility for such an investigation over to the administrative chain, because those individuals are not engaged in the actual chain of command and wrestling with those problems.

I don't know what the answer is. But I know that there is a tension there that I find confusing as to who is going to take responsibility for it from the bottom up. And you end up -- possibly one of these gentlemen who have lived it can make a better analysis than I have, but I have been concerned about it, and expressed concern about it within the Department, and I think it in some way contributes to the problem that you are talking about.

Mr. Hodes. Thank you. I see my time is up.

Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time is up, but General Abizaid, did you want to comment on that point?

General Abizaid. Sir, I think it is very important to understand that the way the warfighting system is designed is to keep the operational commanders' hands free with forward- looking battlefield activities and operational decisions. The administrative chain of command in this case, going through the Department of the Army, handles things like notification of families, awards, logistics, etc. And I think it would not be beneficial to try to saddle the combatant commander with all the administrative functions, because it would cause his staff to become too big, too unwieldy, and would frequently cause that person to take their eye off of the immediate actions going on in the battlefield.

And I would like to point out that during this time period, if it had been the only event that was occurring in the theater, it could hardly be understood that the information didn't flow freely. But the battle of Fallujah was taking place around this time, all sorts of various military activities, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, 27 different countries in the region responding to various political-military activities, etc.

It is absolutely essential that we keep track of what is happening in order to make sure that the right resources are applied at the right place and that lives are preserved in the way that we conduct our military operations.

Chairman Waxman. Thank you, General. Mr. Shays.

Mr. Shays. I have had my time.

Chairman Waxman. Oh, you have had your time. So the next would be Mr. Davis.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:37 am

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Secretary Rumsfeld, I understand that Mr. DiRita was one of your closest advisers. And I would like to ask about your knowledge of Mr. DiRita's actions with respect to the White House. In the 1970's you issued your famous Rumsfeld's Rules, with lessons for the Secretary of Defense. Here was one of those lessons: "Manage the interaction between the Pentagon and the White House. Unless you establish a narrow channel for the flow of information and tasking back and forth, the process can become quickly chaotic.''

Was Mr. DiRita your channel to the White House?

Mr. Rumsfeld. No, Mr. Congressman, he was not. He was a link in the sense that he was in charge of the Public Affairs Office. And the public affairs officers in the executive branch of the government do communicate on a regular basis, including the White House. There were multiple channels to the White House. There was not a single one. There can't be, regrettably. I mean the chairman has already indicated he not only was the senior military adviser to me, but also to the President, to the Secretary of State, the National Security Council, and the Vice President. But the principal link tended to be my senior military assistant.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. This may have been mentioned earlier, but we have a copy of an e-mail dated April 23, 2004, the day after Corporal Tillman was killed, from Jeanie Mamo, the White House --

Mr. Rumsfeld. From whom?

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Mamo. From Jeanie Mamo, who was the White House Director of Media Affairs, to Mr. DiRita. The e-mail asked for information about the circumstances surrounding Corporal Tillman's death. The question I wanted to ask, though, is were you aware that the White House contacted Mr. DiRita and requested information?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I have no recollection of that from that time, and I have not heard of this e-mail even in the preparation for this hearing.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Let me ask, could there have been some reason that Mr. DiRita didn't inform you of these communications, or would it be normal for him to inform you that he had been contacted by the White House?

Mr. Rumsfeld. When he was head of Public Affairs, which I think is the case at this time, he met in the roundtable, he met every day with the chairman and with me. What he decided to inform me of was his call.

But someone just put this in front of me, and I have not read it. It says, "Jeanie, is there anyone who can hook me up with someone at the Pentagon that can give me an off-the-record brief on the mission in Afghanistan where the former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed yesterday?'' and that was from a press person, I believe. Jeanie Mamo, I don't know who that person is. I think it is a press person, not the White House, but I just don't know. It says Sports Illustrated.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Well, when he replied to the White House, Mr. DiRita stated, "See what we can do. Details are sketchy just now.''

Mr. Rumsfeld. Apparently this is a request from someone in the press for him to give him some information. And the -- it looks like the request, this Jeanie Mamo is from the press or else -- and sent it to the White House or to DiRita. I just don't know. I don't know anything about it.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Except that memo is actually a White House official.

Mr. Rumsfeld. She is?

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Yes.

Mr. Rumsfeld. OK.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. But my question is did Mr. DiRita ever tell you what information, if any, he ultimately gave to the White House?

Mr. Rumsfeld. No, I have no idea. Normally what he would do would be to talk to the Army and see what the Army had to say, was saying publicly about it, and then have the Army talk to the White House or the press person.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. One person the committee interviewed was NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Vance J. Craddock, who previously served as your senior military assistant.

Mr. Rumsfeld. Right.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. General Craddock told us bluntly that Mr. DiRita often cut him out of the loop on military matters. And here is what General Craddock said, "I will tell you there could have been discussions and meetings that I would not have been privy to, because occasionally that happens. The fact of the matter is, and I will just tell you that DiRita and I occasionally got into a bit of a dither over the fact that I felt he was not informing me of military issues or that he felt I was usurping his authority to deal with political issues.''

General Craddock told us there were oftentimes events that happened in Public Affairs that were, quite frankly, between Mr. DiRita and the Secretary. And I guess what we are trying to find out here is were there communications back and forth between you and Mr. DiRita that the military people were not getting?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I am sure that if you take the senior 8 or 10 people that reported to me, that in each case there were activities that I would deal with them individually on and not include the whole group. There is no way the whole group could be involved in every single thing that was going on.

For example, the senior military assistant might be involved in military personnel matters, whereas DiRita would not be in Public Affairs. And vice versa. There might be some Public Affairs issue that the senior military assistant might not be involved in.

Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. It has expired?

Chairman Waxman. Yes.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. So it is possible that Mr. DiRita and yourself could have had discussions or communications about military matters that --

Mr. Rumsfeld. No. No. That would be highly unlikely. I just can't imagine it. No. The military matters I dealt with basically were through General Myers and General Pace. And to the extent the senior military assistant was appropriate to have him involved, he was involved. But there was generally a division of labor. It is not a perfect division. There is no way you can say this matter was only military or only public affairs. Obviously, the Tillman matter was a combination of military and public affairs problems. And so too with any number of things. So frequently the group discussed things in the roundtable meetings.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. So you disagree with General Craddock. Thank you very much.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I can't do that. General Craddock is a terrific officer. I don't know what he said. I don't know the context of the questions he was asked. And therefore, to say I disagree with him, I think probably wouldn't be accurate unless I invested some time to really understand what he was saying.

Mr. Davis of Illinois. Thank you very much.

Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Davis. Mr. McHenry.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:38 am

Mr. McHenry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you all testifying today.

The one thing that has not been read into the record -- it has been submitted to the record -- is the chairman at the beginning of this meeting, of this hearing, spoke of the word "embarrassment'' in the P-4 memo. What he did not actually highlight, which I think we all should highlight, is that there was a man involved here. And I say this to my colleagues and I say to all of those who were listening, there was still heroism involved in this incident. And I think some of this is about trying to point fingers and score political points.

I don't think that is what it should be about. Let's talk about who Corporal Tillman was. And from this P-4 memo, the potential that he might have been killed by friendly fire in no way detracts from his witnessed heroism or the recommended personal decoration for valor in the face of the enemy. I think that is what this hearing should be about, that valor in the battlefield of putting himself in harm's way, not about pointing fingers after the fact.

I think this has been much covered, that there were screw-ups in the bureaucracy. And there were screw-ups. And I think everyone agrees. I don't think there was a coverup. I think there was a screw-up, and that has had a lot of coverage.

Corporal Tillman was killed in a complicated battlespace geometry involving two separate Ranger vehicle serials traversing through severe terrain along a winding 500- to 600-foot defile in which friendly forces were fired upon by multiple enemy positions. This is a complicated battlefield environment. And I know from the gentlemen testifying here today who are generals or retired generals, you have been under fire. And you know how complicated this is.

So let us think and give Corporal Tillman his due for that heroism in the battlefield. Let us give him his due, and let's properly quote the record of what he submitted himself to in the battlefield.

And so with this, I would be happy to yield to my colleague from California, Mr. Issa.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:38 am

Mr. Issa. I thank the gentleman. I think you characterized a lot of what this committee hearing should be about. I want to take note of how it was advertised, to be quite frank. I think that is appropriate at this point, the Tillman fratricide, that is fair.

What Defense Department officials knew, you know, I don't think that is what this hearing realistically is about. I think it has become pretty obvious that at the lowest levels people understood there were a problem. At the level of a full colonel, it was reported and reported promptly. Clearly, there was some confusion about when who got told during the specific investigation, because those investigations don't just find out was it friendly fire. They find out how it happened so it wouldn't happen again.

General Brown, is that essentially the real reason behind what I think is, what, a 15-6, is to make sure these don't happen again?

General Brown. Right. A 15-6 is a military investigation.

Mr. Issa. Right. So the fact is that there was a failure to disclose, pursuant to Army regulations that were about 2 years old, to disclose that it may have been friendly fire to the family. And that is certainly beyond regrettable.

But the actual investigation, I just want to get this into the record, was begun promptly, related to how he was killed and the possibility it was friendly fire. Is that correct?

General Brown. That is my understanding from General McChrystal. He called me the day that he was going to initiate the 15-6.

Mr. Issa. And at the end of that, is there an after-action report? Are we better able to prevent this from happening in the future as a result of that investigation? Has that circle of quality been adhered to?

General Brown. I think it has. We had that discussion I guess before I left command, to ensure that we were doing a good job of capturing lessons learned to ensure that these kind of events didn't happen again. I think in the TTP, or tactics, techniques, and procedures that were used that day, the radio problems, all the other issues I think have been addressed, and they are trying to use that 15-6, at least at the Rangers and down at General McChrystal's organization, to ensure we don't have those kind of problems again.

Mr. Issa. Additionally, at the Department of Defense, as a result of the pain and suffering the Tillman family went through because of the misinformation, has it been made clear that this should never happen again, that the family has a right to be informed promptly so that this particular mistake couldn't happen again?

General Brown. Well, I can speak for SOCOM, but at the Special Operations Command it is perfectly clear.

Mr. Issa. OK. I thank the chairman.

Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired. Ms. Norton.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:39 am

Ms. Norton. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to be clear that the family asked this committee to investigate the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death, and that Kevin Tillman himself indicated that this hearing was no reflection upon the bravery of this hero. And no implication should be left that our continuing investigation is anything but an attempt to do what this family wants done.

Secretary Rumsfeld, you have indicated, I think quite eloquently, that it is your responsibility, the responsibility of the military, to tell the truth. And I want to make sure this also involves uncovering the truth, particularly in light of allegations that have been made in the press and elsewhere about whether you sought deniability in reconstructing what you were told and when in responding to the Inspector General in particular.

Your lawyer, in preparing a response to the DOD Inspector General, said that you asked a junior staff member in your office to help determine when you learned that Corporal Tillman's death was a possible fratricide. The staff of our committee then contacted that staff member, and he told us of placing a few phone calls, found a person who had been in a meeting with you on May 20, 2004, during which he said Corporal Tillman's case was mentioned. Now, this person claimed, however, that he was not the source of the information and cannot remember who was. This does not sound like the most thorough attempt to reconstruct what you knew or what actions you took.

During our own investigation, the committee staff talked with Lieutenant General Craddock. Now, he was your senior military assistant at the time in 2004. And he told us that he worked closely with you on a daily basis, sometimes in touch with you many times a day. But he says that your office never contacted him to ask for his recollection or documents. I am asking, why did you not consult this close assistant of your own, General Craddock, before responding to the Attorney General [sic] concerning what you knew and when you knew it?

Mr. Rumsfeld. My recollection of this is close to that. It was the -- I believe the last series of days I was in the Department. There were a great many things going on. The Inspector General asked some questions. And my civilian assistant, Mr. Rangel, as I recall -- I said figure out if there is any way we can know when I was told, because I don't remember.

Ms. Norton. Your Senior Military Assistant might have been one way you might have known.

Mr. Rumsfeld. He, of course, was gone.

Ms. Norton. That didn't keep him from being consulted.

Mr. Rumsfeld. I understand that. I am going to answer your question. He then checked with some people, and one of the individuals said what you said he said; namely, that he was in the room when I was told, and it was on or after he got back from Iraq. And that was this Colonel Bucci who has been mentioned previously. We were not asked -- we were asked what we recalled and recollected. We were not asked to undertake an investigation and go back and consult a series of people and find out the answer. That was the job of the Inspector General. I think you said Attorney General, and I think you meant Inspector General.

Ms. Norton. Inspector General, sir.

Mr. Rumsfeld. That was his job to try to fashion all of that. And he did, and he produced a report, and he said he felt that my responses were -- met his question.

Ms. Norton. Mr. Secretary, he was trying to find out something very specific, what you knew and when you knew it. And his job was to question you and to find out, to the best of your ability, what you knew and when you knew it. And here was your senior military assistant, the one person we would have expected you to consult with, and he was not consulted. And I am asking why was he not consulted?

Mr. Rumsfeld. My guess is there were any number of people who were not consulted. And I guess the answer to that question is one would have to ask the Inspector General or ask Mr. Rangel.

Ms. Norton. No, I am asking you, because you didn't consult them, sir.

Mr. Rumsfeld. No, they asked me what I recalled, and I told them what I recalled.

Ms. Norton. I am simply noting that you did consult a junior member of your office, but not the man who would have been most likely to know, the man who reported to you several times a day. You didn't consult as well with Mr. DiRita, your director of communications, who during this period had been in touch with the White House. Didn't you feel it important to consult with him before responding?

Mr. Rumsfeld. I did not consult with a junior member of my office. I consulted with the senior civilian assistant, who is your principal assistant as Secretary of Defense, along with your senior military assistant. Mr. Rangel was that individual. He is the one who then talked to people to find out, and one of the people he talked to was Colonel Bucci. Mr. DiRita also was no longer in the Department. There are any number of people one could have -- we could have gone to Dick Myers, who was no longer in the Department. And there must have been 20, 30 people who were in the roundtable meeting, where I may very well have been informed. But I was asked what I recalled, and I gave a very direct, honest answer to that.

Ms. Norton. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I understand. The point is when the Inspector General is trying to find out something that is very difficult for you, yourself, out of your own consciousness, to have remembered, to have consulted with those most likely to have helped you remember would have seemed to be appropriate in uncovering the truth.

Thank you very much.

Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Ms. Norton.
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Postby admin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:40 am

Mr. Welch is next, but Mr. Davis wanted to just make a statement.

Mr. Davis of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to note for the record you and I have signed a letter to Claude Kicklighter, the Inspector General, and to Brigadier General Rodney Johnson, the Provost Marshal and the Commanding General from the Army Criminal Investigation Command, asking if they did look at the personal e-mail accounts of soldiers, which was a common means of communication over there, as we said, to try to keep all the stones, look under every one of them. We think this will make the investigation more complete. I want to note that for the record.

Chairman Waxman. Thank you. We have joined together in that letter. Mr. Welch.
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