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Niger ambush details scarce as McCain suggests need for subpoena

Posted by on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:07 PM
  • 12 Replies

The ambush in Niger earlier this month that left four U.S. troops dead has been the subject of immense speculation, not only concerning President Trump’s public response to the tragedy but also about what actually happened on the ground that day.

Asked by Fox News on Capitol Hill if the administration has been forthcoming about the attack, Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., replied, “of course not” and added, “it may require a subpoena.” 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the attack is under investigation, and the Pentagon has dispatched a general officer to Niger to probe what happened. 

While details are elusive, Fox News has compiled the following timeline of the ambush and its aftermath, which all started with a routine mission to meet village elders:

A dozen U.S. Army soldiers, mostly Green Berets, along with 30 Nigeriens, traveled 125 miles north from their base at Niger’s capital, Niamey, in unarmored trucks on a routine mission and to meet with local village elders in Tonga Tonga, near the border with Mali, on Oct. 4.

U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, West Africa on October 4, 2017, poses in a handout photo released October 18, 2017.  Courtesy U.S. Army Special Operations Command/Handout via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC12B2744EB0

U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson was killed when his patrol was ambushed in Niger.

After the meeting with the village elders ended around dusk local time, the U.S.-led patrol was ambushed by roughly 50 militants from a new ISIS-affiliated group, Islamic State of the Sahel. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however, and a leading terrorist group in the region, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has not been ruled out.

Islamic State of the Sahel’s leader, Adnan Abu Walid, is thought to have been holding an American aid worker from Niger hostage for a year.

A senior defense official told Fox News the U.S. troops were fired on once they were already in their vehicles. The vehicles then scrambled to “get off the X” -- escaping the ambush site using evasive driving maneuvers -- and a gunfight ensued.

At about 5 p.m. ET the Pentagon alerted the White House that U.S. troops had been attacked in Niger. Later that night, U.S. Africa Command confirmed in a statement “that a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger. We are working to confirm details on the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground."

Two U.S. Army Green Berets and two other soldiers were killed and two other Green Berets wounded. One U.S. Army soldier attached to 3rd Special Forces Group, Sgt. La David Johnson, had vanished — and it was feared he had been taken hostage by the terrorist group — until his body was discovered roughly 48 hours later, after an “intensive” search using both drones and U.S. special operations soldiers on the ground, a U.S. official debriefed on the incident told Fox News.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, died from wounds sustained during enemy contact. All three Soldiers were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) on Fort Bragg. The incident is currently under investigation
Black, a native of Puyallup, Wash., enlisted in the Army in October 2009. His awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge - Sharpshooter with Rifle. Staff Sgt. Black served as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D).

Staff Sgt. Bryan Black was killed during an ambush in Niger.

At the time of the attack, the Pentagon asked Fox News not to report a U.S. soldier was missing because U.S. special operations forces were headed to Niger for a possible rescue mission.

dustin

Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright was killed when his patrol was ambushed.

Fox News is told that during the search for Johnson, there always were either French, Nigerien or U.S. troops on the ground looking.

jeremiah

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson earned several military commendations.

Special Operators were rushed to the scene as soon as it was known that a soldier was missing. 

There was no U.S. drone overhead when the joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol was attacked because the patrol did not anticipate making contact with an enemy force.

“The patrol that was attacked last week had actually done 29 patrols without contact over the previous six months or so; no indication that this was going to occur. I would say that what was actually very positive about it was the fact that they were able to have close-air support overhead, about 30 minutes after first contact, which is pretty impressive,” the Director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., told reporters Oct. 12.

Two French Mirage fighter jets showed up overhead during the attack, but did not open fire on the militants. The jets, however, flew low enough to scatter the group. The government of Niger does not allow armed drone flights overhead, despite the U.S. military operating two drone bases and roughly 800 American troops in the land-locked West African nation, which is about twice the size of Texas in area.

Two French Gazelle helicopters arrived a short time after enemy forces scattered and one of them retrieved two wounded Green Berets and flew them back to the capital for treatment.

A short time later, a private U.S. contracted helicopter recovered the bodies of the three Green Berets killed in the attack, a U.S. official told Fox News. U.S. Africa Command confirmed the detail.

“Berry Aviation was on alert during the incident in Niger and conducted casualty evacuation and transport for U.S. and partner forces,” said Robyn Mack, a spokesperson.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

by on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:07 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:25 PM
There was no U.S. drone overhead when the joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol was attacked because the patrol did not anticipate making contact with an enemy force.

Really? Really!!!

Where was their protection?
Reading.Rainbow
by Sif on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:29 PM

If... Just if this happened, not saying it did, just if...


If Trump pissed off a country, which was an ally and had protective forces there...

Then they withdrew their troops because of it...

Then these guys were killed because they did not have proper protection....




Would you be mad at Trump?

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:30 PM
2 moms liked this
I'll answer.


No, because Benghaziiiii


Quoting Reading.Rainbow:

If... Just if this happened, not saying it did, just if...

If Trump pissed off a country, which was an ally and had protective forces there...

Then they withdrew their troops because of it...

Then these guys were killed because they did not have proper protection....

Would you be mad at Trump?

handy0318
by Bronze Member on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:33 PM

I'm glad that McCain is keeping a close eye on this. There needs to be more answers, to be sure.

MsDenuninani
by A.Ham on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:43 PM

I do not know what to think at this point.  I'm glad people are taking note -

Here's what's being passed amongst my leftie social media feed -

While everyone is so busy talking about the president's handling of his call to the widow of the soldier killed in Niger, you're all missing the important part of that story, the part about what happened that night in Niger.
The story that is emerging is so much worse than anything that happened in Benghazi, but the same GOP Congress that investigated Benghazi with a fury seems to have little or no interest in this story.
Here's what we know so far...
These soldiers went to a meeting in an area near the border with Mali. This is a well known hot spot for ISIS activity.
Our soldiers were not backed up by US Military air support. No, they were backed up by the French, who were not authorized to intervene or even fire a shot.
Our soldiers did not have armored vehicles. They traveled in pickup trucks.
Our soldiers were given faulty intel that said "it was unlikely that they would meet any hostile forces." Of course, they walked into an ISIS ambush. It was chaotic and they took three casualties.
It took the French 30 minutes to arrive. When they did they were not authorized to help. So, a dozen of our Green Berets fought a battle with more than 50 Isis fighters, without help, for 30 minutes.
Finally, a rescue helicopter arrived, but it was not a US military helicopter. No, we apparently outsourced that job to “private contractors.” So, these contractors landed and loaded the remaining troops, the injured and the dead.
Here's where this gets really bad...
Because they were not military, they never did a head count. That is how Sgt. La David Johnson was left behind.
That's right...they left him behind.
According to the Pentagon, his locator beacon was activated on the battlefield, which indicates that he was alive when they left him there.
They recovered his body 48 hours later but are refusing to say where. According to his widow, she was told that she could not have an open casket funeral. This indicates that he was mutilated after being left behind on the battlefield.
This is what led to the nonsense we're obsessing over. This is the real story. As usual, you're allowing it to be about Trump's distraction, but this is Benghazi on steroids.
The Trump Pentagon gave these men bad intel, no support, outsourced rescue people and then tried for more than a week to pretend it never happened. In that time, Trump spoke on many occasions and never mentioned it. He tweeted attacks on many but never mentioned these men. Only after pressure from the media has he bothered to even acknowledge these men and their service

Billiejeens
by The Librarian on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:43 PM
1 mom liked this

Here is what I don't get.

Why did the President send his surrogates out to claim that these 4 deaths were caused by an internet video?


Quoting Reading.Rainbow:

If... Just if this happened, not saying it did, just if...


If Trump pissed off a country, which was an ally and had protective forces there...

Then they withdrew their troops because of it...

Then these guys were killed because they did not have proper protection....




Would you be mad at Trump?


Reading.Rainbow
by Sif on Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:49 PM

I guess just because they're allowed to lie to us if they think it's a National Security issue...

Quoting Billiejeens:

Here is what I don't get.

Why did the President send his surrogates out to claim that these 4 deaths were caused by an internet video?


Quoting Reading.Rainbow:

If... Just if this happened, not saying it did, just if...


If Trump pissed off a country, which was an ally and had protective forces there...

Then they withdrew their troops because of it...

Then these guys were killed because they did not have proper protection....




Would you be mad at Trump?



Sisteract
by Whoopie on Oct. 20, 2017 at 4:43 PM

The FBI is also involved-

BmoreRavens
by Silver Member on Oct. 21, 2017 at 3:31 AM

It is very important that they get to the bottom of this ... and answer to the American people ... bu insane Congresswoman Wilson attempting to make this Trump's Benghazi ...  after attempting to make Maria Trump's Katrina ... is absurd.

Sparkles4Lui
by Platinum Member on Oct. 21, 2017 at 8:44 AM
I heard that his body was found a mile away from the ambush took place. :(
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