Kaine: Deadly Niger mission was unauthorized

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto House Iran bills | Dems 'frustrated' after Iran briefing | Lawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR Senate Democrat demands State Department reinstate NPR reporter on Pompeo trip MORE (D-Va.) said on Wednesday that a mission in Niger that left four American soldiers dead was unauthorized and “people will be held accountable.”

"I believe that the troops who were sadly killed in Niger in October of 2017 were engaged in a mission that they were not authorized by law to participate in and that they were not trained to participate in. And that is a significant reason that they tragically lost their lives," Kaine told CNN’s “New Day.”

Kaine, who is part of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, said he learned that from a Tuesday briefing.


CNN reported that the troops were searching for a high-value target and they later went back to an “advisory capacity” with the Nigerien forces they had been working alongside.

Other Senators that were at the briefing left “somewhat shocked,” according to Kaine.

The primary mission of the troops in Niger was to advise and assist a small unit of Nigerien soldiers. In October, the troops were ambushed near the Nigerien village of Tongo Tongo by a local affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In previous remarks after Tuesday’s briefing, Kaine had said the briefing “raises questions about why people were hiding from us what they were doing” and that he thought the military was hiding the objective of the mission from Congress.