Friday, October 20, 2017

After Criticism, FBI to Investigate Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger (VIDEO)

At the Wall Street Journal, via Memeorandum, "Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Sparks FBI Probe, Criticism."

And at Politico, "Mattis says Niger ambush was ‘considered unlikely,’ pledges probe: An ambush that killed four U.S. troops in Niger is under investigation, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday":

In the face of growing scrutiny, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday said the type of attack that killed four U.S. troops in Niger earlier this month was "considered unlikely" and pledged to release the findings of a Pentagon investigation "as rapidly" as possible.

"I would just tell you that in this specific case contact was considered unlikely," Mattis said of the ambush against members of the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, which is advising local anti-terror units in the region.

"But there's a reason we have U.S. Army soldiers there and not the Peace Corps, because we carry guns and so it's a reality," he added. "It’s part of the danger that our troops face in these counterterror campaigns."

Mattis' remarks come as the White House and Pentagon are taking heat from Senate Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain, who threatened early Thursday to issue subpoenas to get more information on the Oct. 4 incident, which has been blamed on militants allied with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

McCain has slammed the Trump administration in recent days for not being forthcoming about the ambush, and asked again Thursday if the administration is sharing enough, he responded, "Of course not."

"It may require a subpoena, but I did have a good conversation with General McMaster, and they said that they would be briefing us," McCain told reporters on Capitol Hill, referring to White House national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. "We have a long friendship, and we'll hopefully get all the details."

McMaster, speaking at an event sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said he was hurt by McCain’s criticism and defended the National Security Council’s consultation with Congress.

"It hurt my feelings. You know, I love and respect Sen. McCain," McMaster said. "And if Sen. McCain says we need to do a better job communicating with him from our departments, from the NSC, we’re going to do it."

President Donald Trump has also come under fire in recent days for how he handled communications with the families of the fallen, some of which have claimed he was insensitive in phone calls.

Trump waited nearly two weeks before making mention of the Niger incident, even though his staff had drafted a statement of condolence for him on Oct. 5...