What they knew about Army Ranger Cpl. Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire -- and when they knew it. Two key questions a House panel is asking former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and three retired Army generals on Capital Hill today.
In his opening statement, Rumsfeld quoted from a letter he had sent the House committee last year saying " I do not recall when I first learned about the possibility that Cpl. Tillman's death might have resulted from fratricide."
Rumsfeld was joined by Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. John Abizaid, former chief of U.S. Central Command; and Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown, former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. All of the generals are now retired.
Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the panel also wanted to question Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, whom the secretary of the Army censured Tuesday for his handling of the military's investigation into Tillman's death. Kensinger refused to appear even though he was subpoenaed. Now a review is underway to see if Kensinger should be stripped of a star.
On Tuesday, the Army found the retired three-star general "guilty of deception" after reviewing recommendations from the Pentagon's inspector general and Gen. William Wallace, a four-star general who investigated the death and its aftermath.
Army Secretary Pete Geren testified "When you look at all of the events that led to where we are today ... and you look at what Gen. Kensinger's role was, had he performed his duty, we wouldn't be standing here today."
Tillman turned down a contract offer from the NFL Arizona Cardinals to join the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks. He was killed by members of his own platoon in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. For five weeks, his family was not told that the death was a result of friendly fire.
General Kensinger failed to notify Tillman's family in a timely manner of the friendly-fire investigation, failed to notify then-Acting Secretary of the probe and failed to launch a safety board to investigate the incident, Geren also testified.
Seven months later the Army started its investigation into Tillman's death. Geren also stating that Kensinger "provided false official statements in order to protect himself from criticism."
So Gather Members... Do you think the truth will come out at this hearing? Do you believe it was one General's decision to cover up the incident? Please comment on the Army's handling of the death of Pat Tillman.