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Shanahan tells House panel he ordered new review of 2017 Niger ambush

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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the House Armed Services Committee he has ordered a new review into failures that led to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger in October 2017, according to Task & Purpose.

Shanahan told Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) that he was not satisfied with his predecessor James Mattis’s review of who should be punished in connection with the ambush or rewarded for heroism, according to the publication.

{mosads}”When I came into this role … [Mattis] had convened a review and that recommendation was brought to me,” Shanahan said. “I did not find that sufficient, so I convened my own review so I can ensure from top to bottom there is the appropriate accountability.”

Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David T. Johnson were killed in the ambush by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria forces.

In December, shortly before his resignation, Mattis berated top military officials for concentrating the blame for the ambush on the mission’s team leader rather than the commanders responsible for oversight and approval of the mission, according to the publication.

In February, a Special Forces lieutenant colonel was fired from his position as battalion commander of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, reportedly due to Mattis’s frustration that he had been cleared of all wrongdoing in connection to the ambush, according to Task & Purpose.

Gallego, a Marine veteran, expressed frustration with what he said was the Pentagon’s continued withholding of information relating to the ambush.

“The Pentagon’s unwillingness or inability to comply with a mandate to provide Congress with a comprehensive list of lessons learned, provide families to the Soldiers killed on the raid with appropriately redacted mission reports, reprimand those senior officers responsible for the systematic failings that led to this disaster, and award those who showed heroism despite a hopeless tactical situation is an indictment of the level of competence, professionalism, and deference to Congressional authority that seems to accurately describe leadership at DoD at present,” he said in a statement, according to the article.

Tags James Mattis Patrick Shanahan Ruben Gallego

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