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Leaked Tillman Memo Warns of Bush Embarrassment

Posted on Mar 30, 2007

A memo addressed to Gen. John Abizaid revealed that Pat Tillman’s death probably involved “friendly fire” and warned that the president could embarrass himself by claiming other circumstances. The document, dated seven days after Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, implicates higher-ranking officers than those cited by a military investigation into a possible coverup.

AP via SFGate:

Just seven days after Pat Tillman’s death, a top general warned there were strong indications that it was friendly fire and President Bush might embarrass himself if he said the NFL star-turned-soldier died in an ambush, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

It was not until a month afterward that the Pentagon told the public and grieving family members the truth—that Tillman was mistakenly killed in Afghanistan by his comrades.

The memo reinforces suspicions that the Pentagon was more concerned with sparing officials from embarrassment than with leveling with Tillman’s family.

In a memo sent to a four-star general a week after Tillman’s April 22, 2004, death, then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that it was “highly possible” the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire.

“I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Cpl. Tillman’s death become public,” McChrystal wrote.

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By Paul Boyce, April 3, 2007 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Army Acting Quickly to Resolve Remaining Concerns in Cpl. Tillman’s Death

Army Ranger Cpl. Pat Tillman died a hero April 22, 2004, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.  At great personal risk, he acted immediately to save others by attempting to identify his position when he, another Soldier and an Afghan Military Forces member came under “friendly fire.”  “On that tragic day, the Tillman family lost a loved one, a son, a brother, a husband,” Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren reminded the American public March 26 during a nationally televised press conference.  On that April day three years ago, “Cpl. Tillman joined the hallowed ranks of the now more than 3,000 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror,” Geren said.  “Our Army grieves the death of every one of those Soldiers and shares the grief of every bereaved family.”

On March 26, the Defense Department Inspector General recommended the Army consider appropriate corrective action with respect to those Army officials identified in the report.  Mr. Geren immediately directed Gen. William S. Wallace, commanding general of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, to review the DoD IG report and take appropriate action with regard to the Army officers identified.  Gen. Wallace, a four-star general officer and combat veteran, has at his disposal a full range of investigative and disciplinary options.  An initial progress report should reach the Army leadership later this month.

“We have investigated, taken corrective action and will continue to hold ourselves as an Army accountable not only to the Tillman family, but to every Army family,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody said during the same Pentagon press conference.

“We as an Army failed in our duty to the Tillman family, the duty we owe to all families of our fallen Soldiers:  give them the truth, the best we know it, as fast as we can,” Mr. Geren explained.  Timely and accurate family notification is a duty based on core Army values.  As an Army, we already have incorporated lessons learned from this tragic event and from other casualties over the past three years.  “Our failure in fulfilling this duty brought discredit to the Army and compounded the grief suffered by the Tillman family,” Geren said.  “We pledge to do better.”

Very respectfully,
Paul Boyce
U.S. Army, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

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By moni, April 1, 2007 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s no wonder that Rumsfeld “stepped down” from his position of power even after insisting that he would never succumb to the pressure to do so when rumors were flying to the contrary. 

Why is it that some of us could see right through his BRAVADO and incessant bragging from the very onset and others were gung-ho behind this fiasco of a war?  Hundreds of thousands were in the streets across the Globe imploring the BU$Hlies; (esp. Rummie, Chain-knee, Rice, Wolf-man, Perlie, et. al.) to NOT GO to WAR.  But they were dismissive of us even to the point of mockery.
This story of the loss of the Tillman’s son says it all.  The old men in the easy-chairs have no compunctions about sending OTHER parents’ children to WAR.  They are even willing to exploit them after death.

The WAR has been disasterous to hundreds of thousands of people.  It has been an exercise in FUTILITY.  We will probably never know how many other men, women and children of enormous potential (as in the case of Pat Tillman), perished.  World Civilization has been robbed of that collective potential.  The countries of Afghanistan and Iraq have practically been laid barren.  What have more . .  . and more . . . and more . . . deaths after 9/11 proven ?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Do you think the “friendly soldier(s)” who shot their own platoon member is/are getting mental health treatment at one of the VA hospitals these days ?  What a heavy burden to have to carry through-out the rest of their lives.
“WAR !? What is it good for ? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING”!

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By David Parish, April 1, 2007 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The leaked memo came from Gen. Gary Jones 15-6 investigation (the 3rd Tillman cover-up ... err,“investigation”).

Look for yourself: go to, do a “pat tillman” search, bring up “Pat Tillman’s Father: Memo Proves Coverup”, then open the PDF “Army evidence ...” under the Pat Tillman Investigation colum.

If you skim the table of contents (pp 1-12pdf)you will notice that the entire 5th volume of the report contains “classified” material. Even withing the unclassifed material, all the names are redacted and some of the text within the material.

On page 10 pdf you will find an item marked BG with the title “292234Z APR 04 Message and response CLASSIFIED - See Volume 5”.  That date and time matches the leaked memo.

Also, on p. 23 pdf, you’ll find a reference to the P4 message and a statement that prior to the memorial service Gen. Abizaid and the Secretary of the Army knew a friendly fire investigation was underway.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to read the rest of Volume 5.  Such tidbits such as :  the original 15-6 investigation by CPT Scott and his findings and recommendations, field grade article 15, award processing documents, initial casaulty reports, and a few statements.

Of course, nothing has been covered up.  Missteps occurs, mistakes were made, Bush was out of the loop ...

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By BigSwtWill, April 1, 2007 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gee. I’m so incredibly flabberghasted that all this is coming to light..Wow! If this isn’t a prime example how utterly lame our media has been during this administration’s whole tenure then i don’t know what is. How long ago was Pat killed? There have been any number of stories and articles describing the sorted details of probably “the” most tragic figure of our time.(tragedy..look it up under Shakespeare, putz)But all the while it was business as usual with the networks..Anybody bother to do any investigating? Maybe delve a lil’ deeper, hmm. Media has taken healthcare’s template and ran away and hid. By that i mean the $ is not in the cure. It’s in the daily,weekly,monthly,and yearly grind of maintainance. Where are the Bob Woodwards of our era? probably living vicariously through some lame reality tv “event”. I cannot say enough great things about Mr. Patrick Tillman. I live in the Valley of the Sun and I watched him play like a phoenix for ASU(‘96 National Championship run beyond memorable)and the Cards. If he didn’t end up in the Hall he most assuredly would have been a colt hero for mine and future generations. Bush mutters some platitude that i’m sure he gave two shits about when he said it. It was regarding Character. Tilly was the only person i’ve ever seen that just oozed character. His folks must think that’s sad consolation, but I know i’m a better person and I feel better about life knowing that whoever’s runnin’ the show got it right at least once. I hope you do finally get to “Rest in Peace” Pat both literally and figuratively. Much Respect/Out, Wms07

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By 911truthdotorg, March 31, 2007 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a shock!

The deceiving liar-in-chief knew the truth and still used Pat Tillman’s death as a recruiting tool.

What do you expect from a cowardly chicken hawk?

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Demand a new, true 9/11 investigation.

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By Dale Headley, March 31, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Consider this:  If the memo stopped at John Abizaid’s desk, how did it get into Pentagon files?  And if it was in the Pentagon’s files, how is it possible that Secretary Brownlee did not see it, as he claims?  And finally, if Brownlee saw it, how is it possible that President Bush did not?  All of this is prima facie evidence that Bush knew the truth and decided to withhold it from the American people for political expediency.  Of course, I guess it’s always possible that Brownlee is, like Alberto Gonzales, unaware that all this “Shocking! Shocking!” stuff was going on in the back room.

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By Quy Tran, March 30, 2007 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ha, ha, ha ! One more “victory” for Bush administration’s friendly fire. Pat Tillman’s death was a bell told the end of Bush/Cheney government. Lying, lying, and lying. No more than lying to keep this criminal gangs survive without glory !

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