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Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

Representing the 24th District of Florida

Wilson Statement on Pentagon Chief’s Decision to Not Punish Senior Officers in Niger Ambush

Jun 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Wilson issued the following statement in response to Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan’s decision to not discipline senior officers in the botched Niger ambush:

“Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s failure to hold senior commanders accountable for the 2017 combat mission in Niger that led to the barbarous deaths of four American soldiers is, quite frankly, baffling, and yet another example of what happens when someone with questionable qualifications for the job he holds is tasked with such a complex problem.

“There is no question that the soldiers who were killed, including my constituent, Sgt. La David Johnson, were sent on a mission without the proper intel or equipment and were woefully unprepared to participate in counterterrorism operations. Despite widespread evidence of bad decision making across the board, junior officers have been forced to bear the brunt of responsibility, while more senior officials go unscathed and one is in line for a promotion.

“More important, nearly two years after this tragedy, the fallen soldiers’ families are still begging for answers and the Pentagon’s failure to provide them has opened new wounds that a medal of valor or redacted copy of an insufficient investigative report cannot heal.

“Secretary Shanahan, who has no military experience, may be satisfied with the report’s findings, but I am not, and will continue to support the four families in their pursuit of the truth.”