WASHINGTON (March 23, 2007) -- A Pentagon investigation will recommend that nine officers, including up to four generals, be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, senior defense officials said.
The Defense Department inspector general will cite a range of missteps and inappropriate conduct as the military probed the former football star's death on the battlefront in 2004, said one defense official.
The official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it appears that senior military leaders might not have had all the facts or worked hard enough to get the facts of what happened on that day in April 2004.
The Army persisted in telling Tillman's family he was killed in a conventional ambush at least 11 days after the death, at his nationally televised memorial service -- when dozens of soldiers knew that was not the case.
Many soldiers -- those immediately around Tillman at the scene of the shooting, his immediate superiors and high-ranking officers at a command post nearby -- knew within minutes or hours his death was caused by friendly fire. The inspector general's investigation has focused on how high up the chain of command that knowledge went.
Officers from the rank of colonel and up will be blamed in the report, according to one officer who has been informed of the findings.
The commander of Tillman's 75th Ranger Regiment was Col. James C. Nixon. Last year he was named director of operations at the Center for Special Operations at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
According to the officials, the report will not make charges or suggest punishments, but it will recommend the Army look at holding the nine officers accountable.
The Army, which requested the inspector general review last year, said in a statement that it "plans to take appropriate actions after receiving the inspector general's report."
The inspector general is expected to release the report March 26, and also speak to Tillman's family about the results of the investigation.
The report's findings were first reported by CBS News.
The Associated Press News Service
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