More than two years after President Obama reassured the father of a member of SEAL Team 6 that the government would look into the death of his son, the father is still waiting for a response, and his suspicions are growing.
On Aug. 9, 2011, Taliban forces were waiting for a Chinook helicopter carrying members of the elite unit SEAL Team 6 to approach its landing site. The helicopter was attacked from three sides in a coordinated ambush.
Although it was known Taliban forces were in the area, the SEALs did not have the air cover that was a standard procedure for missions of that type. During the ambush, the Chinook was reportedly shot down by a shoulder-fired missile, killing all 38 people on board, including 25 American special operations personnel, five U.S. Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, a U.S. military dog, seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan interpreter.
Charles Strange, whose son Michael was killed in the ambush, said in a meeting with President Obama after the attack he whispered in the president’s ear to ask him if there would be a congressional investigation into the death of his son. Obama whispered back, “We will look very, very, very, deep into this.”
However, more than two years after the attack, the families are still waiting for answers, and they now have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to find out what happened. The lawsuit is being handled by Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch, who is also a former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor.
The suit is asking for $200 million in damages against Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for revealing that SEAL Team 6 carried out the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Also named as defendants are the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is alleged to have tipped the Taliban off about the coordinates of the Extortion 17 operation.
Despite the amount of damages sought, Klayman says the issue is not about the money but rather to ensure that the rules of engagement and other events leading up to the ambush are changed to protect soldiers in the field.
‘We do want answers’
“While we do want answers, we also want the rules of engagement changed to ensure that their sons did not die in vain,” Klayman said. “The military and the administration should have known better. They should have known that SEAL Team 6 was a target because they made them a target.”
Among the current rules of engagement are orders not to fire unless specifically fire upon. The reasoning behind the order is that the military is there to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
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