KWAME HOLMAN: Army Ranger Pat Tillman died in April 2004 in Afghanistan. Initially, the Army said the former NFL star was killed by hostile fire. But five weeks later, after a widely publicized memorial service and the posthumous awarding to Tillman of the Silver Star for Bravery, it was revealed that Tillman's fellow soldiers shot him to death during a chaotic nighttime firefight in the Afghan mountains.
Ultimately, there were six military investigations into Tillman's death, raising questions as to whether the military deliberately withheld the truth. And at a congressional hearing in April, Tillman's brother, Kevin, a fellow Army Ranger, blasted the initial misreporting about his brother and asked for further inquiry.
KEVIN TILLMAN, Brother of Pat Tillman: It's a bit disingenuous to think that the administration did not know about what was going on, something so politically sensitive. So that's kind of what we were hoping you guys could get involved with and take a look.
KWAME HOLMAN: Today, the same House Government Reform and Oversight Committees called in the top military leaders at the time for answers.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), California: We will be examining the actions of the senior leadership at the Department of Defense.
KWAME HOLMAN: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying for the first time since resigning from the Pentagon last year, was joined by former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, General John Abizaid, the former combatant commander in Afghanistan and Iraq, and General Bryan Brown, who was head of Special Operations Command.
The committee tried unsuccessfully to subpoena Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, who headed Army Special Operations Command and oversaw Tillman's Ranger unit.
Yesterday, the Army formally reprimanded Kensinger for deceiving officials investigating the Tillman case. He could be demoted and may have his pension reduced.
Committee Chairman Henry Waxman focused on a memo from Army General Stanley McChrystal sent a week after Tillman's death in April 2004, advising Abizaid, Kensinger and Brown that Tillman may have been killed by his own troops.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN: When did you receive this memo?
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID (Ret.), U.S. Army: I believe that the earliest I received it was on the 6th of May. The existence of the message came to my attention, but it was known within my staff that something was out there, and we found it. I called the chairman; I told the chairman about it. And it was my impression from having talked to the chairman at the time that he knew about it.
REP. TOM DAVIS (R), Virginia: The tragic truth can only fall somewhere between screw-up and cover-up, between rampant incompetence and elaborate conspiracy.