The AP reports that one day after approving a medal claiming former NFL player Pat Tillman had been cut down by “devastating enemy fire” in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal tried to warn President Bush that the story might not be true.
In a sometimes contentious November interview under oath and via videoconference, Pentagon investigators sharply questioned McChrystal about the conflicting accounts, according to the testimony obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.
McChrystal acknowledged he had suspected several days prior to approving the Silver Star citation on April 28, 2004, that Tillman may have died by fratricide.
He said that suspicion led him to send a memo to top generals imploring “our nation’s leaders,” specifically “POTUS” — the acronym for the president — to avoid cribbing the “devastating enemy fire” explanation from the award citation for their speeches.
“Why did you recommend the Silver Star one day and then the next day send a secret back-channel message warning the country’s leaders about using information from the Silver Star in public speeches because they might be embarrassed if they do?” an investigator asked McChrystal.
Despite numerous questions, the general never directly explained the discrepancies.
Despite this apparent contradiction, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was spared punishment in the latest review of Tillman’s shooting.