Although Pentagon investigators determined quickly that he was killed by his own troops, five weeks passed before the circumstances of his death were made public. During that time, the Army claimed he was killed by enemy fire.Now the White House has refused to turn over papers that would implicate the Bush administration in the cover up.
Tillman's family and others have said they believe the erroneous information peddled by the Pentagon was part of a deliberate cover-up that may have reached all the way to President Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. The committee said Friday it had scheduled a second hearing on Tillman's death for Aug. 1, this time to probe what senior Pentagon officials knew and when.
White House Denies Request for Documents in Ex-NFL Player's Death
The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."Tillman gave up his football career after 911 to fight al-Qaeda but was critical of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration. The only reason the administration could have for refusing to supply the documents is they were involved in the cover up.
Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the leading members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, objected to the refusal yesterday in letters to the White House and the Defense Department.
White House and Pentagon officials have turned over about 10,000 pages of material, but Waxman and Davis said those papers do not include critical documents that would show communications between senior administration officials and top military officers shortly after Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.
Here is the official reaction from the Oversight Committee.
Today Chairman Waxman and Ranking Minority Member Davis sent a letter to the White House objecting to the withholding of documents related to the death of U.S. Army Corporal Patrick Tillman, who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004. As a result of deficient responses from both the White House and Defense Department, the Committee also announced an August 1 hearing to examine what senior Defense Department officials knew about Corporal Tillman’s death.
Following the Committee’s April 24, 2007, hearing on the Tillman fratricide, the Committee wrote to White House Counsel Fred Fielding seeking “all documents received or generated by any official in the Executive Office of the President” relating to Corporal Tillman’s death. The White House Counsel’s office responded that it would not provide the Committee with documents that “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and produced only two communications with the officials in the Defense Department, one of which was a package of news clippings. The response of the Defense Department to the Committee’s inquiry was also deficient.
In response to the deficiencies in the White House and Defense Department productions, Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Davis today sent letters to White House Counsel Fred Fielding and Defense Secretary Robert Gates requesting complete document production by July 25, 2007. Chairman Waxman also wrote the Republican National Committee to request communications about Corporal Tillman’s death by White House officials using e-mail accounts controlled by the RNC.
In addition, the Oversight Committee announced that a hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, to investigate what senior officials at the Defense Department knew about Corporal Tillman’s death.