Last night I attended a meeting of the Lake Norman Conservatives as they welcomed Billy and Karen Vaughn to share the story about Extortion 17 and the great danger our military servicemen are facing from both domestic and foreign enemies. Immediately following the event, the Vaughns made the trip from Huntersville, North Carolina to Washington, DC for the scheduled hearing today on Extortion 17. Sadly, it appears that the hearing was nothing more than a joke as only one serious question was asked and no serious answers were provided. In fact, many of the committee members didn't even show up. Look at this picture from the hearing:
Here's how many committee members showed up pic.twitter.com/GzA28j3yuf
— Karen Vaughn (@ForOurSon) February 27, 2014
The video of the hearing, which lasted less than two hours, can be viewed here. While there were lots of "condolences" offered to the family and lots of patting on the backs among representatives about having a hearing, which took up considerable amounts of time that could have been better spent asking serious questions about why Extortion 17 was shot down and the lives of 30 Americans, including some of the most elite special forces in the world, only one serious question arose.
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) declared that certain things could not be discussed, which were of a classified nature. He claims that "it is imperative that we do this, so that we do not allow insurgents and other enemies of the United States of America to gain an operational advantage."
However, what the committee doesn't tell anyone is that people who are not a part of our Special Forces are given this information. Afghans are constantly embedded with our military and even observe and sometimes call the shots when conducting special operations know some of the same information the families of the fallen in Extortion 17 are not given.
Some of the questions included whether or not the US should be putting 'black boxes' on Ch-47D's. Honestly, this seems totally irrelevant to the fact that there was no malfunction of the helicopter. Other questions, which are of a serious nature, were asked such as why an Afghani cleric was allowed to perform a memorial for American servicemen, where he allegedly condemns our fallen forces to hell. This question was repeated on several occasions.
Florida Representative John Mica seemed to actually get the issue, or at least part of it.
Congressman Mica stated, "This is one of the greatest losses of life that we've had in any single incident (in the Afghan War and in the history of the Navy SEALs)."
Mica asked Garry Reid, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Special Operations & Low Intensity Conflict for the US Department of Defense, "What was used? Was it a MH-47, or is there a difference between a Ch-47D helicopter?"
Reid stated that Extortion 17 was the Chinook model and the "D" stands for Delta.
Mica then led on, "This was a high risk mission?"
Reid affirmed that the commander of the mission had deemed it a "high risk mission."
"We put our men in equipment that couldn't be protected," Mica responded. "I chaired aviation. We have equipment for commercial airliners that's available. I've been in Afghanistan and they only put me on certain types of flight equipment that would protect me, particularly from RPGs (Rocket propelled grenades). Why would we risk a high risk mission by putting our men on this kind of equipment?"
"I'm very concerned that you put our people at risk on equipment, when we know we have equipment for a high risk mission, where they wouldn't be put at risk or killed," he continued. "We do have that equipment, don't we Sir?"
"Sir, specific to this 'No'" Reid affirmed.
"We do not have equipment in Afghanistan that would have allowed some protection against RPGs is what you are telling me and this committee?" Mica queried.
"For this particular… that's correct," said Reid.
"And this was a high risk mission," Mica chided. "Now you also testified that those guys or whoever fired this were in some building. I'm very concerned about the people that were in that building. Don't we assess the risk, and you just said that it was a high risk mission that these guys are there. I don't know if we can discuss the post investigation, about the Afghans and how much information they had about the mission, and if that mission placed those people in a position where they can use those RPGs to take down a piece of equipment that couldn't protect our people."
Mica stated that the committee needed to be hearing from the individual at US Central Command, who was in charge of the mission, as it appears that there was poor judgment in the use of what Billy Vaughn called a "jalopy" helicopter.
While Reid said, "no Afghans were provided information on the mission," that is clearly refuted later in the hearing when the issue of Afghans being a part of the mission was discussed. Afghans were embedded with Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. In fact, 8 Afghans were killed aboard Extortion 17. Sorry Mr. Reid, I call it like I see it and you clearly are not being honest here. You are lying.
While Reid did clarify that no Afghans outside that team knew where they were going, this is also questionable, as Afghans have eyes on the entire operation as it is being conducted.
Mica's facial expression around the 54.25 mark in the hearing video indicate that he isn't buying what Reid is selling. "I would like to see further reports and I'd like it to be referenced, and if it is classified information…but I'm very concerned that the right equipment wasn't used, we put our people at risk, and also we….I just do not trust the Afghanis. When I was there, I'm telling ya, they're… everything they do, I would question."
There were also comments by Mica regarding how the remains of our soldiers were treated. Some were cremated without family authorization, such as Navy SEAL Michael Strange. Some had headstones identified incorrectly. The issue regarding the Islamic cleric taking part in a memorial for fallen Americans is also questionable.
Mica focused on the use of proper equipment for the Special Forces, which should lead to the issue of the rules of engagement, which are threatening the life of Americans in Afghanistan. The rules of engagement are also what allowed our forces to watch as their "family" was blown out of the sky and they watched as those who did it retreated, being denied any means to retaliate.
Is anyone going to ask about rules of engagement in the #extortion17 hearing? That is the issue, not family support. They want answers.
— Tim Brown (@FPPTim) February 27, 2014
These rules of engagement come from a Muslim Brotherhood led White House, with an alleged Muslim Brotherhood member in the Oval Office, who has a brother who is a Muslim Brotherhood member who finances the Muslim Brotherhood and had Homeland Security advisers who are intimately tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Congress has still not provided answers on Fast and Furious or Benghazi, yet there has been more coverage of these two scandals than Extortion 17. However, more Americans were killed in Extortion 17 than Benghazi and Fast and Furious combined.
All in all, though, in my estimation there were no tough questions offered by the committee, except by Rep. Mica, that really brought out anything. If fact, you will get more documentation and honesty from Billy Vaughn's book BETRAYED - The Shocking True Story Of Extortion 17 As Told By A Navy SEAL's Father and on Freedom Outpost, than you will from the hearing today. In my estimation, it appeared more like patronizing the family members of our fallen and less than getting at the truth. Call me cynical, but I'm not the only one.
Screw the American warrior...but hey, Congress did their job, right?
— Karen Vaughn (@ForOurSon) February 27, 2014
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