By Klaus Marre - 03/24/07 01:40 PM EDT
If the Pentagon does not take appropriate steps in response to a report to be released Monday that is expected to strongly criticize high-ranking military officials for their role in the handling of the friendly-fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) threatened Saturday that he would call for congressional hearings on the issue.
A leaked account of the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General investigation said up to four generals would be criticized for actions they took or did not take in the aftermath of Tillman’s death in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reported Friday that, even though soldiers on the scene of Tillman’s death knew that it was caused by friendly fire, his family did not find out about this until five weeks after the killing.
“It is my sincere hope that [DoD] reveals, at long last, the complete truth in this matter, and explains its successive failures to do so in the years following Pat’s fratricide,” Honda said in a statement. “I also expect DoD to detail measures it will implement to prevent such failures from impacting service member families in the future. Should this not be the result of the latest investigations, I will immediately call for Congressional hearings to bring justice to Pat’s memory, closure for his family and to ensure service members’ confidence in their commanding officers and civilian superiors.”
The lawmaker also said he is “dismayed” that Tillman’s family did not get to review the results of the investigation before it is published.
“The Tillmans have been subjected to great sorrow beginning with Pat’s death, and over the course of a deeply flawed and possibly dishonest series of prior investigations,” the lawmaker said. “In light of what they have undergone, giving them a reasonable opportunity to review the findings would have only been fair and just.”
Tillman decided to give up his lucrative NFL career to join the armed forces following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His friendly-fire death and the Pentagon’s bungled response to it made national headlines.