One man who lost his son when the Taliban in Afghanistan shot down a U.S. Chinook helicopter in 2011 that was carrying 17 Navy SEALS, five SEAL support personnel, 5 national guardsmen, and 3 Air Force members says he has high hopes that a review of the incident by Congress will provide answers for family members who have accused the Obama administration of putting political ends over the safety of their loves ones.
The helicopter was shot down just three months after Vice President Joe Biden revealed that SEAL Team Six carried out the operation in Pakistan that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Fifteen members of SEAL Team Six were among the 30 Americans killed in the Chinook incident.
In an interview with WND today, Doug Hamburger, whose son, Patrick, was lost that day in August 2011, said: “It looks like people finally are realizing there was a big part of this story that has been missing. We don’t really know what those answers are going to be.”
His comments came after members of Congress said they would look into the controversy that has developed over the worst single-day loss of life for the U.S. in Afghanistan.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is among those demanding answers.
Hamburger said he believes the nation’s rules of engagement for military operations overseas need to be reevaluated.
He told WND the federal government provided only partial information about what happened to the service members. When family members started asking additional questions, they were told to drop it.
He said he believes American soldiers are sent into harm’s way, then ordered not to take reasonable precautions.
“We’re not allowing our warriors to protect themselves and take care of their missions,” he told WND. “My son, Patrick, trained with his Army aviation unit for two years – they always preached safety. It was all about safety, making sure they could get Special Forces into battle and out of battle. But you go over there, and the rules of engagement throw out safety. That’s the tragedy.”
Hamburger is part of a lawsuit brought by Freedom Watch’s Larry Klayman. Other plaintiffs are Charles Strange and Sidh Douangdara.
Defendants in the case are Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who are accused of disclosing classified information about the team’s success in Pakistan and putting a “target on the backs” of the SEALs and their families.
“Predictably, the Taliban retaliated by blasting the helicopter out of the air and killing all on board,” FreedomWatch said in its announcement about the case.
Also named as defendants are the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Islamist Afghan President Hamid Karzai, “who is alleged to have tipped the Taliban off about the coordinates of the Extortion 17 operation, the helicopter that was blasted out of the sky carrying our nation’s heroes,” FreedomWatch said.
Klayman, who said reports have confirmed Iran pays a bounty of $1,000 to the Taliban for each American soldier killed, is a former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor.
“It is hypocritical and outrageous that while the Obama Justice Department can criminally charge Edward Snowden for allegedly disclosing classified national security information and wage an international manhunt for his arrest, Biden and Panetta get off scot-free for their callous, cynical, opportunistic illegal release of the identity of SEAL Team VI in the bin Laden killing – allegedly orchestrated to boost President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s re-election prospects in the months leading up to the 2012 November 6 election,” Klayman said.
“This underscores how the nation’s ‘leaders’ in Washington are not held to the same standards as are other citizens. It therefore falls upon the families of Navy SEAL Team VI and special ops servicemen to seek justice in the civil courts, as Biden and Panetta are ‘not above the law.’ The hard reality is that Biden and Panetta are alive ‘feasting’ on their ‘political notoriety,’ power, and wealth, while the brave heroes who gave their lives for our nation’s security are dead, thanks to them!”
The case seeks $200 million in damages.
Klayman told WND that among the suspicious circumstances that need explanation is the fact that seven Afghan service members had been scheduled on the helicopter flight with the Americans but were switched out for others at the last second.
And how did someone know the coordinates of the helicopter?
And where did the weaponry come from?
“It’s all suspicious [to the families],” Klayman said. “There are no answers to these questions.”
He said it’s apparent that the U.S. is putting “Muslim interests ahead of our own,” which raises another long list of questions.
The complaint charges that after the successful military raid in Pakistan, “defendants Biden and Panetta, acting on behalf of President Obama and themselves for political purposes leading up to and to further their prospects in the 2012 presidential election, purposefully and publicly disclosed that SEAL Team Six was responsible for conducting the successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, thereby making members of Seal Team Six and other special operations servicemen a target for retaliatory attacks.”
Earlier, WND reported that Strange, father of slain SEAL support specialist Michael Strange, told talk-host Michael Savage he believes the U.S. government sent his son and his colleagues to their deaths.
Now, prompted by the concerns expressed by family members, Chaffetz said his subcommittee on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the crash.