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Cummings Issues Statement on Niger Ambush Report

May 10, 2018
Press Release

Cummings Issues Statement on Niger Ambush Report

Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Defense’s public release of an eight-page summary report on the October 4, 2017 Niger ambush:

 

“I want to express my profound sympathies to the families of the four U.S. service members who were killed by militants last October in the Niger ambush.   The Department of Defense’s internal examination reveals alarming systemic flaws that must be addressed.   Unfortunately, the report has no information about any actions taken or not taken by President Trump or any White House official before, during or after the attack.  As part of a pattern of walling off the White House from credible oversight, Chairman Gowdy has blocked all requests to seek a briefing or documents from the White House, or to let the Committee debate or vote on a subpoena.  I once again call on Chairman Gowdy to join my request for the White House to provide a briefing and key documents to Members of this Committee so that we may conduct the credible investigation the American people deserve and help prevent future tragedies for U.S. forces serving abroad.”

 

Background

 

October 25, 2017: Chairman Gowdy sent a joint letter with Ranking Member Cummings to the Department of Defense requesting a briefing, but refused to join a letter on the same date requesting a similar briefing from the White House.  The White House did not respond to this letter in any way. 

 

February 21, 2018: Ranking Member Cummings sent a letter to Chairman Gowdy urging the Committee request key documents and communications from the White House including any orders given to the Department of Defense, when President Trump first learned of the attacks, and any actions taken in response.  Chairman Gowdy did not respond to this letter in any way. 

 

Chairman Gowdy’s actions in this investigation stand in stark contrast to his request to the White House in the Benghazi investigation.

 

On December 29, 2014, Chairman Gowdy sent a letter to the Obama White House requesting 12 broad categories of documents relating to the attacks in Benghazi, including calendars and meetings attended by the President. 

 

In response, the Obama White House provided nearly 1,500 pages of documents in eight separate productions, including emails from top White House officials such as Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, and emails between National Security Council staff and other agencies the night of the attacks.

 

When Gowdy served as Chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, he sent multiple requests for documents and information to the Obama White House to investigate the deaths of four Americans, including letters on April 23, 2015August 7, 2015, and March 16, 2016.

 

Similarly, during the Oversight Committee’s investigation of the fratricide of U.S. Army Corporal Patrick Tillman, then-Chairman Henry A. Waxman and then-Ranking Member Tom Davis sent bipartisan requests to the White House.

 

Chairman Gowdy promised a public hearing on the report, however no date has been set.

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115th Congress