View Full Version : New Documents Shed Light On Pat Tillman's Death

07-27-2007, 07:23 AM
New documents shed light on Pat Tillman's death


July 26, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO -- Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The doctors -- whose names were blacked out -- said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman's comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.

The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Among other information contained in the documents:

In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."
Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.
The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.
No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene -- no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.

The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman's death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.

With questions lingering about how high in the Bush administration the deception reached, Congress is preparing for yet another hearing next week.

The Pentagon is separately preparing a new round of punishments, including a stinging demotion of retired Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., 60, according to military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the punishments under consideration have not been made public.

In more than four hours of questioning by the Pentagon inspector general's office in December 2006, Kensinger repeatedly contradicted other officers' testimony, and sometimes his own. He said on some 70 occasions that he did not recall something.

At one point, he said: "You've got me really scared about my brain right now. I'm really having a problem."

Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, who has long suggested that her son was deliberately killed by his comrades, said she is still looking for answers and looks forward to the congressional hearings next week.

"Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It's about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived," she said.

The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman's body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead. The doctor said he took the unusual step of calling the Army's Human Resources Command and was rebuffed. He then asked an official at the Army's Criminal Investigation Division if the CID would consider opening a criminal case.

"He said he talked to his higher headquarters and they had said no," the doctor testified.

Also according to the documents, investigators pressed officers and soldiers on a question Mrs. Tillman has been asking all along.

"Have you, at any time since this incident occurred back on April 22, 2004, have you ever received any information even rumor that Cpl. Tillman was killed by anybody within his own unit intentionally?" an investigator asked then-Capt. Richard Scott.

Scott, and others who were asked, said they were certain the shooting was accidental.

Investigators also asked soldiers and commanders whether Tillman was disliked, whether anyone was jealous of his celebrity, or if he was considered arrogant. They said Tillman was respected, admired and well-liked.

The documents also shed new light on Tillman's last moments.

It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O'Neal, who was at Tillman's side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, 'Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."

07-27-2007, 07:33 AM
Tillman probe a 'sham,' says his mom


Friday, July 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

Pat Tillman was killed in combat in 2004.

WASHINGTON - Pat Tillman's family yesterday ripped the Army's latest investigation of the pro football star's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan as a "sham" meant to protect higherups.

"It's so humiliating and disrespectful," said Mary Tillman, mother of the Arizona Cardinals defensive back who joined the Army and became a Ranger after 9/11.

"It's one more example of the Army investigating itself," she said. "It was all done to glorify this war. It's a sham. Pat deserves the truth."

Army Secretary Pete Geren is expected to recommend next week against criminal action but urge that four generals and three other officers be reprimanded for "critical errors" that misled the family and the nation into thinking Tillman was killed in combat in April 2004.

The officers also allowed the approval of Tillman's Silver Star award, which said he died in a charge against the enemy when he was actually killed by machine-gun fire from his own platoon.

Geren is also expected to recommend that retired Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, former head of Army special operations, be demoted one rank to major general. The action would cut Kensinger's monthly pension from about $8,800 to $7,900.

Five weeks after Tillman's death, when Kensinger already knew about the friendly-fire reports, he joined the family at a nationally televised memorial service but did not dispute the Silver Star citation.

Mary Tillman said Kensinger "was just the fall guy" for others in the chain of command. She suggested that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also knew that her son had fallen to friendly fire but kept the facts hidden so his death could be used as propaganda for the war.

Brig. Gen. Gina Farrisee, who oversaw the Silver Star award, is expected to receive a letter of censure.

Mary Tillman said Farrisee had seen coroner's reports after her son's death and "knew immediately something was suspicious."

"She knew damn well something was wrong" but let the award process go ahead, the mother said.

07-27-2007, 07:38 AM
Report: Army Withheld Truth About Tillman (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1681)

Families Frustrated in Quest for the Truth (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1892)

Tillman's Parents Are Critical Of Army (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2059)

Army Kept Truth Of GI's Death From Family (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4615)

Family Demands the Truth (Pat Tillman was against the Iraq war) (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5131)

Army Probes Whether Tillman Death Was Homicide (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8708)

Kevin Tillman, Pat's Brother, Writes A Letter To The American People (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13160)

Pentagon Lacks Indepdent Watchdog (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13513)

07-30-2007, 08:03 PM


28 July 2007

THE death of American hero Pat Tillman has been exposed as a cover-up going all the way to the top in the White House.

His shooting in Afghanistan three years ago hit the headlines because he had walked away from a £2million-a-year football contract to join the Army after 9/11.

At first the US military claimed the he had died in an al-Qaeda ambush. But weeks after being awarded a prestigious Silver Star, top brass confessed the 27-year-old had been a victim of friendly fire.

Now the truth has been found buried in 2300 pages of testimony from US Army medical examiners and only revealed under a Freedom of Information Act request.

It shows Tillman was cut-down by an M-16 rifle fired from just 10 yards which left three bullet holes in his forehead.

And just moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky soldier under fire to "stop snivelling".

Army lawyers later sent each other congratulatory emails when an Army probe resulted in non-criminal punishments.

No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene. Yesterday, Tillman's mother Mary, who has long suspected her son was deliberately killed by his comrades, said she was still looking for answers.

She said:" It's about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived."

Congress will next week start a fresh hearing into the deception and how high it went in the Bush administration.

08-01-2007, 12:37 PM
Censured general evades subpoena to appear before Tillman hearing

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Censured_general_evades_subpoena_to_appear_0801.ht ml

Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday August 1, 2007

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) revealed in a Wednesday hearing that Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, who was censured Tuesday by the Army for deceiving investigators regarding the announcement of the death of Army Specialist Pat Tillman, has evaded a subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"General Kensinger refused to appear today," Chairman Waxman said in his opening statement. "His attorney informed the committee that General Kensinger would not testify voluntarily, and if issued a subpoena would seek to evade service. The committee did issue a subpoena to General Kensinger earlier this week, but US Marshals have been unable to locate or serve him."

The announcement came at the start of a hearing on the friendly fire death of Tillman, an NFL player who joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, Tillman's example was highlighted by the Bush administration to praise the heroism of Americans voluntarily fighting in the 'Global War on Terrorism' before fratricide was revealed to be the cause of his death. Wednesday's hearing focused on what Defense Department officials knew about the cause of Tillman's death.

The hearing included testimony from ex-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, appearing in this public setting for the first time since his November 2006 resignation. Rumsfeld had told the committee he would not appear before the committee until late Tuesday night when he changed his schedule.

Also appearing before the committee were Gen. John P. Abizaid (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Central Command, Gen. Richard B. Myers (Retired), Former Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown (Retired), Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command.

While Waxman praised the witnesses for attending the hearing, and the Army for pressing its investigation, he also criticized the White House for failing to provide more information to the committee.

"The concealment of Corporal Tillman's fratricide caused millions of Americans to question the integrity of our government, but no one will tell us how and when the White House learned the truth," the California Democrat said.

Subdued Rumsfeld offers several 'I do not recalls'
Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) offered his own harsh remarks on the manner of the announcement of Tillman's death.

"Testimony from our previous hearing, and the results of six separate Army investigations all showed the tragic truth can only fall somewhere between screw-up and cover-up, between rampant incompetence and elaborate conspiracy," the Ranking Republican on the committee forcefully stated. "And once you're descending that continuum, it almost doesn't matter whether the failure to follow Army regulations...was inadvertent, negligent, or intentional."

But while Davis assailed the Pentagon's secrecy, he was defensive of the White House.

"Nothing in our inquiry thus far demonstrates that the Defense Secretary or the White House were aware that this was a friendly fire incident before late May [2004]," the Virginia Republican said. "That we have not learned otherwise may perplex those who assumed the worst given the gross mishandling of this tragedy."

After being sworn in, Rumsfeld offered a brief opening statement in which he expressed his regrets about the manner in which the Tillman family was notified of the Corporal's death.

But, he insisted that he did not recall much about the circumstances beyond the statement he had already presented to the Pentagon's Acting Inspector General in December 2006.

"I do not recall when I first learned about the possibility that Corporal Tillman's death might have resulted from fratricide," he read from the memo.

He also acknowledged that he was informed of Tillman's friendly fire death on May 20, 6 days before the Tillman family was notified.

Following terse opening statements from the other witnesses, Rumsfeld then received extensive questioning from Rep. Davis. He also said he could not recall the details during the questioning.

"I don't recall precisely how I learned he was killed - it could have been internally, it could have been through the press, it was something that obviously received a great deal of attention," he told Rep. Davis.

He also stated he had 'no recollection' of discussing the matter with the White House until after it was revealed that Tillman had died from friendly fire.

Rumsfeld went on to say that he did not have any recollection of seeing the 'Personal-4' or 'P-4' memo from Afghanistan which warned senior leaders that Tillman's death may have been caused by fratricide.

The ex-Secretary of Defense went on to answer a variety of questions about his complaints about the notification process on Tillman's death. He continued to express regret through the questioning with Davis.

"It is a most unfortunate situation that anyone has to agree is something that the department has to find ways to avoid in the future," he told the ranking minority member.

Congressman challenges timeline on notification
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was not fully satisfied with Rumsfeld's explanation, and challenged how it was he was not informed until May 20 of the friendly fire incident.

"At least 30 people knew, including some of the highest ranking military officials in our government," Cummings pointed out. "If this was cmmon knowledge among the top military ranks, Secretary Rumsfeld, something that was talked about across the backyard fences, how is it you didn't know?"

Rumsfeld responded that there were 3 million people in the Department of Defense.

"It's not possible for someone to know all the things that are going on," he said.

Cummings was dubious, pointing back to Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-NY) earlier referencing of memos written by Rumsfeld showing that he was aware of Tillman's career in particular because of his story as an athlete-turned-soldier.

"I would not be asking you these questions if it were not for the fact that we had a hero here, one that you were well aware of," the Maryland Democrat responded.

Cummings' questions eventually caused some of Rumsfeld's traditionally feisty spirit to emerge.

"I know that I would not engage in a cover up," he said with some anger in his voice. "I know that no one in the White House suggested such a thing to me. I know that the gentlemen sitting next to me are men of enormous integrity, and would not participate in something like that."

08-01-2007, 04:19 PM
Kucinich grills Rumsfeld on 'cover up' at Tillman hearing

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Kucinich_grills_Rumsfeld_at_Tillman_coverup_0801.h tml

Michael Roston and David Edwards
Published: Wednesday August 1, 2007

In a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the friendly fire death of Army Specialist Pat Tillman, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) grilled former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on whether or not the White House and Pentagon had a strategy to shape press coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Was there a Department of Defense press strategy with respect to the war?" the Ohio Democrat asked.

"If there was, it obviously wasn't very good," Rumsfeld quipped back.

The Rumsfeld remark drew Kucinich's ire.

"Well you know maybe it was very good because you actually covered up the Tillman case for awhile, you covered up the Jessica Lynch case, you covered up Abu Ghraib, so something was working for you," he said. "So something was working for you."

Rumsfeld angrily denied any cover up "on this matter."

The ex-Secretary of Defense denied knowledge of any outside contractors spreading a false message to the press on Tillman's death. But he then acknowledged the existence of contacts between the Pentagon and outside contractors to shape messages related to public affairs "over the years."

In turn, Kucinich called for hearings on the subject.

"Mr. Chairman, I think it's important that the Committee determine whether or not the outsourcing of press was one of the elements responsible for communicating something to the public that seemed to be beyond the understanding of the Department of Defense," Kucinich remarked in closing.

The full exchange between the two is taken from CNN's live video webcast of the hearing.

Video At Source

08-04-2007, 07:46 AM
AP: Tillman Memo Contradicted Citation


Aug 3, 4:59 PM (ET)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Just a day after approving a medal claiming former NFL player Pat Tillman had been cut down by "devastating enemy fire" in Afghanistan, a high-ranking general tried to warn President Bush that the story might not be true, according to testimony obtained by The Associated Press.

Despite this apparent contradiction, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was spared punishment in the latest review of Tillman's shooting. On Tuesday, the Army overruled a Pentagon recommendation that he be held accountable for his "misleading" actions.

In a sometimes contentious November interview under oath and via videoconference, Pentagon investigators sharply questioned McChrystal about the conflicting accounts, according to the testimony obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.

McChrystal acknowledged he had suspected several days prior to approving the Silver Star citation on April 28, 2004, that Tillman may have died by fratricide.

He said that suspicion led him to send a memo to top generals imploring "our nation's leaders," specifically "POTUS" - the acronym for the president - to avoid cribbing the "devastating enemy fire" explanation from the award citation for their speeches.

"Why did you recommend the Silver Star one day and then the next day send a secret back-channel message warning the country's leaders about using information from the Silver Star in public speeches because they might be embarrassed if they do?" an investigator asked McChrystal.

Despite numerous questions, the general never directly explained the discrepancies.

"That question seems to imply the fact that we were giving the award with one hand and then with the other hand saying it was something different," he protested. "But that's exactly the opposite of the way I felt and feel now."

McChrystal told the investigators that he believed Tillman deserved the award, and that he wanted to warn top U.S. military and political leadership that friendly fire was a possibility.

"Because I thought it was friendly fire I thought it was important that key attendees know that that theory could become the finding of the investigation, and if they were going to make a statement about 'killed by enemy fire,' it might not be certain," McChrystal said.

The "secret back-channel message" was a memo known as a P4 that McChrystal wrote on April 29, 2004, to Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, and to two other generals.

The P4 noted rumors that Bush and other top officials "might include comments about Cpl. Tillman's heroism and his approved Silver Star medal in speeches." He warned that it "might cause public embarrassment" if the circumstances of Tillman's death were released.

In the Silver Star citation, McChrystal had praised Tillman for placing himself "in the line of devastating enemy fire."

Tillman's comrades who were nearby in the moments before he was killed have testified that fellow Americans were shooting at them. A few also have testified that the enemy may have been firing as well, but ineffectively. No enemy bullet, rocket or mortar appeared to come close to Tillman during his last minutes on a barren hillside in eastern Afghanistan.

McChrystal was then and remains commander of the covert Joint Special Operations Command, the military's clandestine "black ops" corps, which fights in the shadows of battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

Among those who work with him, McChrystal is respected and admired for his leadership and integrity. He also has the trust of Bush, who - despite the secrecy of McChrystal's operation - publicly praised him last year when Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Attempts to reach McChrystal this week by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful.

McChrystal also declined an invitation to appear Wednesday before a congressional committee investigating the misinformation given to Tillman's family and the American public following his friendly fire death in Afghanistan.

Tillman's parents have been critical of the military's punishments surrounding their son's death. The Army waited about five weeks after it suspected friendly fire was involved before telling Tillman's family the true nature of his death.

McChrystal testified in a previous investigation that he had decided not to tell the Tillman family of friendly fire "based on my thought that providing incorrect information before an initial investigation was complete was not in line with normal policies." However, Army regulations require that families be notified when such an investigation is under way - not when it is completed.

Like several other officers involved in the case, McChrystal testified that he did not know about the rule.

After a year-long inquiry that ended in March, the Pentagon's acting inspector general found that McChrystal should be held "accountable for the inaccurate and misleading assertions" in the Silver Star award recommendation; and for failing to notify the officials processing the award that friendly fire was likely.

"The P4 message did not request or suggest any action to correct the information in the award recommendation package," wrote Thomas Gimble, then the Pentagon's top investigator.

Gimble recommended that the acting Army secretary "address and take action" against McChrystal and one subordinate for failing "to submit an accurate Silver Star recommendation." McChrystal was the highest-ranking of nine officers Gimble recommended be "held accountable" for their involvement in the aftermath of Tillman's death.

But the Army cast that aside Tuesday when it overruled the Pentagon's recommendation.

Another Army general, William Wallace, concluded McChrystal had behaved reasonably in assuming the supporting material presented to him for Tillman's Silver Star recommendation was accurate. The Army's statement Tuesday made no mention of McChrystal's acknowledgment under oath that he had known prior to approving the Silver Star that fratricide was a strong possibility.

Asked by a reporter at a news conference Tuesday why McChrystal did not simply call Tillman's family, Army Secretary Pete Geren said that was the job of another chain of command run by Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., who then led Army special operations forces.

Kensinger, who has since retired, was censured by the Army for allegedly lying to investigators and for a "a failure of leadership."

08-04-2007, 08:05 AM
Know what pisses me off about the Tillman thing? Mainstream media NEVER would have picked this up if he weren't in the NFL. I remember when he LEFT for Iraq, the OH SO BIG DEAL about an NFL player turning down money to go and risk his life, with never a WORD about those who did it who weren't NFL players. I have no doubt plenty of guys have been scagged over there.

08-10-2007, 12:59 PM
Bush Can't Recall on Tillman


Associated Press Writer
Thursday August 9, 2007 6:46 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Thursday he can't recall when he learned that Army Ranger Pat Tillman died by friendly fire, not at the hands of the enemy in Afghanistan, as the Pentagon originally claimed.

"I can't give you the precise moment, but obviously the minute I heard that the facts that most people believed were true were not true, that I expect there to be a full investigation and get to the bottom of it," Bush said in response to a question at a news conference.

His comments came as congressional Democrats press an investigation to determine what the White House and top Defense Department officials knew about the circumstances of Tillman's death on April 22, 2004, and when. Though Tillman's direct superiors knew almost immediately that his death was friendly fire, the truth was kept from the public and Tillman's family for five weeks.

Tillman's death attracted attention because he had turned down an NFL contract to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"I can understand why Pat Tillman's family, you know, has got significant emotions. A man they loved and respected was killed while he was serving his country," Bush said.

"I always admired the fact that a person who was relatively comfortable in life would be willing to take off one uniform and put on another to defend America, and the best way to honor that commitment of his is to find out the truth, and I'm confident the Defense Department wants to find out the truth too and will lay it out for the Tillman family," Bush said.

House Democrats and Tillman's family contend that even after seven investigations, the truth remains obscured.

At a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and several of his top generals denied any cover-up, rejected personal responsibility and could recall little about how and when they learned of Tillman's death.

Tillman family members say they believe officials at the highest levels of government hid facts to limit public relations damage.

Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is pressing the White House for drafts of a speech that Bush delivered at the White House Correspondents Dinner on May 1, 2004. In the speech, Bush lamented Tillman's death but made no reference to the real circumstances of it.

Two days earlier, a top general had written a memo to Gen. John Abizaid, then head of Central Command, warning that it was "highly possible" that Tillman was killed by friendly fire and making clear that the information should be conveyed to the president. The White House has said there is no indication that Bush received the warning.

The Army has laid most of the blame for the bungled response to Tillman's death on Philip Kensinger, a retired three-star general who led Army special operations forces after 9/11, censuring him for "a failure of leadership" and accusing him of lying to investigators.

10-24-2007, 02:49 AM
I have no doubt plenty of guys have been scagged over there.

Hey AuG, is "scagged" the early 1990's GHWB/Iraq version of Vietnam-era "fragged?" I remember HST described Del Webb as a "fatback grossero scag baron" in Fear-n-Loathing, but thats probably not anywhere near what you described.

P.S. Was the "good Dr. HST" that used to post here at YBBS the actual, genuine Gonzo-CO-dwelling, machine-gunning article?

10-24-2007, 11:07 AM
scagged is to knock off a superior officer. Fragged is to kill someone in combat as far as I know...