Two and a half years after the tragic crash of a CH-47D Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan carrying 17 Navy SEALs, five Navy SEAL support, five National Guardsmen and three Air Force members on a mission named Extortion 17, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing originally designed to learn the causes of the crash.
By the time it was held, however, it had morphed into mostly just a testament to our fallen heroes. Among the dead on Extortion 17 were members of Navy SEAL Team VI, the force that masterfully killed Osama Bin Laden just 92 days before the fatal mission. It is thus no wonder that the Taliban – which had been alerted to their involvement in the death of bin Laden by Vice President Biden when he revealed their identities in the lead up to the 2008 presidential elections – viewed them as a rich and satisfying retaliatory target.
Among the questions several grieving family members had hoped would be answered by the congressional inquiry were:
- Why the Obama administration disclosed the identity of SEAL Team VI after the death of Osama bin Laden, putting a target on the backs of the troops on Extortion 17 and their families.
- Why the troops' request of pre-assault fire was denied.
- Why a less vulnerable helicopter was not used for the mission.
- Why the "black box" of the helicopter was never found, with officials claiming an alleged flash flood.
- Why seven Afghan commandos were substituted out within 30 minutes of the takeoff and why the seven Afghans' identities who replaced the original Afghans are undisclosed.
- Whether the Afghan commandos onboard compromised the crew of Extortion 17 as part of yet another example of Taliban infiltration and a green-on-blue attack.
- Whether Afghan President Karzai "sold" the coordinates of Extortion 17 to the Taliban to get something in exchange.
- Why a Muslim cleric at a ramp ceremony was allowed to damn the fallen soldiers to hell as infidels for not believing in Allah.
- Why some of the family members were told that their sons had to be cremated when, after requesting autopsy reports, they discovered their sons to be completely intact?
Regrettably, few of these questions were answered at the hearing. A statement by one of the coached witnesses produced by Obama's military establishment testified that a post-crash investigation avoided questioning any Afghan military personnel. Our clients believe that the mission was indeed compromised by the Afghans who were inexplicably switched out 30 minutes before Extortion 17 took off. Given the number of green-on-blue attacks, whereby our Afghan "allies" turn on our servicemen and kill or wound them intentionally, it is likely Extortion 17 was set up. See "Pentagon official defends ill-fated SEAL mission."
Of the five witnesses present at the hearing, including political appointee Garry Reid, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, four were strictly involved in mortuary affairs. In fact, a few of them had only been in his position for a year or two. As emphatically pointed out by the one congressman who showed some desire to learn the truth, John Mica from my home state of Florida, the military brass who could have been put on the carpet to tell the truth were conspicuously not called to testify. And, as for our clients, some of the families of our fallen heroes were barred from testifying after being promised they could have their say.
Notwithstanding the other unanswered questions, a real investigation into the possibility of Afghan complicity cannot be avoided. It is possible that the corrupt president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, sold out our best and brightest to placate the Taliban. Recently, Karzai has secretly met with the Taliban in an attempt to negotiate behind the backs of the U.S. and other allies. It is also more than likely that Karzai financially benefited from any such "transaction," as he is a notorious criminal who has stashed away in various foreign banks boatloads of money, gained from misappropriating and stealing American and other assets and monies.
At the outset of the hearing, Sub-Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz addressed the families, many of whom attended the hearing with me, by saying that one of its purposes was to dispel the "myths" about the fatal crash of Extortion 17. Regrettably, the only myth that was dispelled is that Congress had the ability and fortitude to take on a corrupt military establishment that is running interference for the commander in chief, Barack Hussein Obama, whose rules of engagement facilitated the deaths of the crew of Extortion 17. These rules of engagement barred pre-assault fire on the mission and thus prevented the crew from engaging the enemy before it engaged them. In short, these rules of engagement put the protection and well-being of Muslim insurgents and the civilian Islamic population, which the terrorists use as human shields, before our own troops.
While the families are grateful to the committee and Rep. Chaffetz for holding a hearing, it did not produce the necessary answers to their questions. It was instead rife with Obama Defense Department lies and prevarication. The families now must seek justice for their sons by filing suit to hold Karzai, his terrorist-dominated country, the Taliban and Iran, which pays bounties for U.S. servicemen killed in the war, accountable and to bring justice and closure to this catastrophe.
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