Report On Pat Tillman's Friendly Fire Death Set For Release

Report On Pat Tillman's Friendly Fire Death Set For Release
March 14th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Report On Pat Tillman's Friendly Fire Death Set For Release

Report On Pat Tillman's Friendly Fire Death Set For Release
San Francisco Chronicle
March 14, 2007
Pg. 8

By Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer
The Pentagon has completed an 18-month investigation into the friendly fire death of former pro football star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and has scheduled an unusual series of simultaneous briefings later this month to reveal the findings.
The long-awaited report will be released March 26, the Defense Department said Tuesday, with congressional and media briefings in Washington at the same time as the Tillman family receives the report in San Jose.
Conducted by the Office of the Inspector General -- the Pentagon's internal investigative arm -- the report is supposed to determine whether criminal charges should be filed in Tillman's April 22, 2004, death and whether high-ranking military officers attempted to cover up the fact that Tillman was killed by fellow Army Rangers.
The controversy over Tillman's death has dogged the U.S. military and the Bush administration. His family members and supporters have charged that the government tried to use Tillman's celebrity as a public-relations prop for the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and that the circumstances of his death have been inadequately investigated.
Tillman, a graduate of Leland High School in San Jose, gave up a successful career as a safety for the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers in April 2002, alongside his brother, Kevin. Saying he wanted to help defend his country after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he was sent to fight in Iraq -- a war that he told his fellow soldiers he opposed.
The Tillman brothers were later sent to Afghanistan, where Pat was shot as he advanced up a hill toward suspected Taliban guerrillas in a remote, mountainous area near the Pakistan border.
After his death, the Army initially told Tillman's family and the public that he had been killed by the Taliban, and President Bush lauded him as "an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror."
Five weeks later, the Army admitted to Tillman's family that he had been killed by fellow Rangers. Since then, seven soldiers have been given administrative reprimands but no high-ranking officers as yet have been disciplined, despite reports that Army investigations had found that Gen. John Abizaid, then the head of U.S. Central Command, knew soon after Tillman's death that friendly fire had killed him.
Release of the Pentagon report is scheduled just days after an expected House vote on Iraq war funding. Findings of a cover-up in the Tillman case could further embarrass an already embattled Bush administration.
The report's planned simultaneous release in Washington and San Jose brought criticism from members of Congress who have helped the Tillman family's quest for information in the case.
"I think they should have talked to the family first -- the day before, or even a couple hours before, to give the family the ability to read the report and absorb it before they're contacted by the media," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who is also a declared candidate for president in 2008. "It's not fair, it's not very thoughtful or respectful."
Daniel Kohns, spokesman for Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, said Honda hopes the Pentagon will end "several years of obfuscation and delay" in the case.
"The family of an American hero should be given honest and substantive answers pertinent to this issue, which hasn't been the case heretofore," Kohns said.
Mary Tillman, Pat and Kevin's mother, declined to comment Tuesday.

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