U.S. military officials are refusing to provide the most basic information about the death of an American contractor in Iraq, for which two Marines and a sailor are reportedly under investigation.
The Daily Beast has identified the contractor as former Green Beret Rick Rodriguez, who worked for Lockheed Martin in Irbil. Rodriguez died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Jan. 4, reportedly from injuries that he sustained during a fight with U.S. service members.
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson confirmed that one of its employees had been "fatally injured" while supporting U.S. special operations forces taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, but the company is not releasing his name "out of respect for the family's desire for privacy."
The New York Times reported that the two Marines and Navy corpsman under investigation for Rodriguez' death are assigned to a Marine special operations unit. A spokesman for Marine Special Operations Command had little information to share on Tuesday.
"We're aware of the non-combat related death of a contractor supporting a forward-deployed MARSOC unit in the Operation Inherent Resolve theater of operations," said Maj. Nick. Mannweiler. "MARSOC is providing all requested support to investigators as they look into this incident."
Officials with Operation Inherent Resolve and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service declined to comment on Tuesday because the investigation into Rodriguez' death is ongoing.
Rachel VanLandingham, a former military attorney, said she did not think there is a legal policy that prevents the Defense Department from discussing this matter.
"As far as I know, Congress has never passed a law explicitly requiring the federal government to share information about an on-going criminal investigation prior to the formal charging stage (when pre-trial discovery obligations kick in)," said VanLandingham, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who teaches at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to Marines and guests during the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston Luncheon at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Nov. 12, 2018. Gen. Neller was the guest of honor and guest speaker. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz)
WASHINGTON — The commandant of the Marines has warned the Pentagon that deployments to the southwest border and funding transfers under the president's emergency declaration, among other unexpected demands, have posed "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency."
In two internal memos, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said the "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment along the border that President Donald Trump ordered last fall, and shifts of other funds to support border security, had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries, and delay urgent repairs at bases.
The Pentagon's chief spokesman is refusing to say whether the last ISIS stronghold in Syria has fallen a day after President Donald Trump announced the caliphate's demise for the fourth time in as many months.
"Wherever ISIS exists, we will continue to pursue them with our partners and allies in the region," Charles Summers told reporters on Thursday at a Pentagon media event.
When asked if the fight to clear ISIS from Syria's Middle Euphrates River Valley has ended, Summers replied, "We continue to fight against ISIS wherever they may be."
Never bring a knife to a gunfight. Unless you're John Wick, in which case you can bring whatever the fuck you want — a pencil, a katana, a stolen horse, a set of antique knives, a crotch rocket, or a pair of flak-jacketed war dogs.
Either way, the result's going to be the same: John Wick is the only one walking away from that fight.
Should your friend and humble Pentagon correspondent live for another 50 years, you can expect to read a Pentagon Run-Down in 2069 about how many U.S. troops President George P. Bush III plans to leave in Syria. (Assuming, of course, that Joe Biden doesn't run in 2068.)
Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that up to 1,000 U.S. troops could make up the residual force in Syria. The Pentagon pushed back on that story unusually hard, presumably because defense officials are terrified that Trump will think the military is trying to force him to commit more troops to Syria.
A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber from the US Air Force Andersen Air Force Base in Guam performs a fly-over at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Chong)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday complained that flights by U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers across the Baltic Sea near Russia's borders were creating tensions in the region, but Washington said they were needed to deter potential adversaries.