Classified Report Slams Military Over October Deaths in Niger by Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef – Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—Poor training, complacency and a culture of excessive risk contributed to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers during an operation in Niger in October, according to a classified Pentagon report.
The report, described by officials familiar with its contents, details a series of missteps and describes a disregard for military procedures and for the chain of command.
Among other things, the report discloses that low-level commanders, determined to make a mark against local jihadis in the West African nation, took liberties to get operations approved through the chain of command.
In the ill-fated October mission, at least one officer copied and pasted orders from a different mission into the so-called concept of operations to gain approval, the officials said.
The officials who described the report said it wouldn’t recommend punishment for anyone. Ultimately, the Army and the Special Operations Command have the authority to pursue court-martial charges or other disciplinary proceedings against those involved.
Family members of the four fallen soldiers are being briefed this week on the report, which is more than 6,000 pages long.
The investigation stemmed from an Oct. 3, 2017, mission in which about a dozen U.S. soldiers and special-operations force members, along with roughly 30 Nigerien soldiers, set out on what began as a planned meeting with local officials. But by the next day, the troops instead were assigned to another part of the country to search the suspected abandoned house of an associate of Adnan abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, an affiliate of the extremist movement…