Defense Department explains timing of release of airstrike probe

The Defense Department opted to release details of the probe, which pinned blame on both nations for a late-November U.S. airstrike that killed more than two dozen Pakistani troops, just as many Americans are beginning their holiday travel and celebrations.

Reporters in the Pentagon briefing room Thursday morning, however, mused about how they expected a Friday late-afternoon release. Dropping big news that is not necessarily good publicity for a federal agency late on a Friday is a much bemoaned — but often used — Washington practice.

Asked about this by The Hill, senior Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said bluntly in an email of the investigation: “It’s done.”

During a briefing at the Pentagon on the investigation, Pentagon press secretary George Little added more on the timing. He said officials felt they had little choice to but to release details of the probe because of “leaks.” 

Some details of the probe’s findings have appeared in media reports this week.