In a typical Washington dance known as the “Potomac Two-Step”, anything that goes right will have a hundred fathers, but if anything goes wrong, that operation is an orphan.
Several members of Congress are now claiming this week they had no idea the U.S. military had a presence in Niger after four troops from the 3rd Special Forces Group were killed there in an ambush on October 4.
The fact that Special Forces and other US troops were in Niger since 2013 wasn’t a black operation or a secret. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has been openly posting on Twitter about U.S. involvement in Niger for years. And thousands of troops serve across Africa every day. And the Senate Armed Services Committee has been briefed on their involvement in Niger since the deployments are not classified.
Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told CNN Monday he was not aware of the U.S. military’s involvement in Niger. He’s not alone. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said he didn’t know.
“When you consider what happened here—the four sergeants lost their lives—I think there’s a lot of work that both parties and both branches of government need to do. Not only to stay more informed, but to focus on why we’re there and what happened to get to the bottom of this,” Casey said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Sunday he was unaware U.S. troops were in Niger and had only been given a “little insight” on the October 4 ambush. Graham said lawmakers would be briefed next week “as to why they were there and what they were doing.”
Senate documents, however, show Graham was in attendance at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in March when General Thomas D. Waldhauser, AFRICOM’s commander, specifically discussed the U.S. military’s presence in Niger.
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