Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified before Congress on Wednesday and claimed there was no cover-up in the death of “former football star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan three years ago.”
Rumsfeld, at times combative with lawmakers, acknowledged that he urged Pentagon colleagues to “keep an eye on” Tillman when the former Arizona Cardinals safety gave up a lucrative football contract to enlist in the Army. But he said that he had no memory of when he first learned that Tillman’s death on April 22, 2004, might have resulted from fratricide, instead citing the recollection of an aide who attended a meeting with Rumsfeld shortly before the real circumstances of Tillman’s death were made public.
“It was badly handled, and errors were made, but . . . I know that I would not engage in a coverup,” Rumsfeld told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Flanked by three current and retired generals, he said: “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.”
The WaPo reports that “members of Tillman’s family, including his mother, Mary, sat in the back of the hearing room and watched the proceeding silently, often with pained expressions.”
They did not meet with Rumsfeld and made no statements to reporters afterward. Tillman’s brother, Kevin, who was in the same convoy as his brother but did not witness the events, told the committee in April that the military engaged in “deliberate and calculated lies” in an effort transform his brother’s death into “an inspirational message.”
Raw Story reports “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.”
Video and transcripts of the hearing are available here. The Tillman family and the American public deserve to know the truth.
Enough Is Enough.