Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford: We Owe the Country, Especially Families of the Fallen, More Info About Niger Ambush
General Joseph Dunford held a press conference at the Pentagon today, where he announced the the government should provide more information about the Niger Ambush where four American soldiers lost their lives this month.
After the joint chiefs chairman laid out an updated timeline on the attack that killed Sgt. La David Johnson and his three colleagues, he faced questions about why the government’s investigation hasn’t clarified more details about the operation. When CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked his questions to Dunford, he noted how the Trump Administration has suggested that the press “shouldn’t ask such tough questions” to military figures.
Dunford responded by saying questions about transparency were fair, and that the government owes the public information about what the military is trying to accomplish in Niger and around the world.
“I think first and foremost in this particular case we owe the families as much information as we can find out about what happened,” said Dunford. “And we owe the American people an explanation of what their men and women were doing at this particular time.”
Dunford went on to say he expects military investigators to debrief Gold Star families about the deaths of their loved ones, and that the Armed Forces owe Americans “transparency” when further information is clarified.
“[The American people] should know what the mission is and what we’re trying to accomplish when we’re there,” the general said.
Dunford said the four American soldiers were killed in a firefight after they engaged ISIS militants during a reconnaissance mission in hostile territory. The fighting went on for “several hours,” though Dunford said that the troops requested an airstrike only an hour after making initial contact with the enemy.
Enemy casualties have not been determined as of yet, but five Nigerian partners were killed along with the American forces.
Dunford said that the White House was notified about the ambush shortly after the troops’ bodies went missing, and their retrieval was accomplished through an international recovery effort.
As the press conference continued, Dunford was asked about those who have compared the Niger ambush to the Benghazi embassy attack. The chairman’s response: “I personally see no utility in comparing this incident to any other incident. We lost 4 Americans in this incident, we had 2 others wounded, that makes it a big deal to me…I personally am not comparing this to any other incident.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[Image via screengrab]
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