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The Pentagon Scapegoated Junior Officers For The Niger Ambush. Then Mattis Got Involved
The Department of Defense last month did an about-face on the punishments handed down to members of the Green Beret team deemed responsible for the deadly Oct. 4, 2017, ambush in Niger that left four Army Special Forces personnel dead, the New York Times reports, shifting blame from junior officers to more senior commanders following a furious intervention from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
- According to the New York Times, a "livid" Mattis chewed out "top military officials" involved in the Niger investigation after purportedly reading news reports regarding letters of reprimand handed down to Capt. Mike Perozeni, the team leader of Operational Detachment Alpha Team 3212 singled out for blame for the ambush.
- Perozeni, his second-in-command, and four others in the chain of command were punished in line with the long-awaited Pentagon investigation that, released in May, appeared to lay blame at the feet of the junior officers, citing an absence of “key pre-deployment collective training” and “pre-mission rehearsals" as well as a lack of appropriate equipment for such an excursion.
- But, as the New York Times reported in early November, "those absent from the six letters of reprimand include the two senior officers who approved the mission and who then oversaw the operation as it went fatally awry." This reportedly infuriated a Mattis, who officials described to the Times as "dissatisfied with the punishments given largely to junior officers."
- Mattis' rage reportedly got results: One senior officer "who had largely escaped punishment was told he would be reprimanded," the New York Times reported. "Another senior officer’s actions before and around the time of the mission were also under new scrutiny. And this week, Capt. Michael Perozeni ... received word from the Army: His reprimand was rescinded."
- For a blow-by-blow of the post-investigation Niger blame-game, read the full New York Times story here.
SEE ALSO: Senior Army General Reportedly Asked Whether Green Beret Ambushed In Niger Was Eligible For Medal Of Honor
President Donald Trump, speaking during a closed-door speech to Republican Party of Florida donors at the state party's annual Statesman's Dinner, was in "rare form" Saturday night.
The dinner, which raised $3.5 million for the state party, was met with unusual secrecy. The 1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom at the south end of the resort. Reporters were not allowed to attend.
But the secrecy was key to Trump's performance, which attendees called "hilarious."
Riding the high of the successful event turnout — and without the pressure of press or cell phones — Trump transformed into a "total comedian," according to six people who attended the event and spoke afterward to the Miami Herald.
He also pulled an unusual move, bringing on stage Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who Trump pardoned last month for cases involving war crimes. Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his soldiers shoot at unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker.
Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.
Then a thumbs-up.
McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.
By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.