John McCain floats subpoena power to compel details on Niger ambush

As details of the ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers remain scarce, McCain is looking for answers

By Charlie May

Published October 19, 2017 5:11PM (EDT)

John McCain (Ron Sachs)
John McCain (Ron Sachs)

With several questions looming after four U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger more than two weeks ago, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has not ruled out seeking a subpoena in order to find answers.

"It may require a subpoena," McCain, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, told CNN on Thursday.

Four Green Berets were killed and two more were injured on Oct. 4, when they had been "ambushed while conducting a joint patrol with about 40 Nigerien soldiers," as Salon previously reported.

The White House was silent on the deaths of four Americans for 12 days, despite the president being notified immediately, and despite a statement having been drafted the very next day.

Covert military operations in West Africa receive almost no attention but under the umbrella of the interminable war on terror, U.S. special forces have been conducting missions across the continent for quite some time. Niger alone is home to roughly 800 U.S. troops and a drone base in the capital, Niamey.

The Pentagon is conducting "an initial review" to search for answers surrounding the attack, but McCain is not looking to wait for more details.

"That's not how the system works. We're coequal branches of government," McCain told CNN. "We should be informed at all times."

McCain said President Donald Trump's administration had not provided enough details about the ambush and would consider supporting an investigation by Congress upon receiving the information his committee "deserves and needs," CNN reported.

"That's why we're called the Senate armed services committee. It's because we have oversight of our military," McCain said. "So we deserve to have all the information."

The so-called war on terror has reached its third U.S. president, one who promised torture and indiscriminate bombing when he was on the campaign trail. However, what the U.S. military has been doing in Africa, including any potential ramifications, has remained almost entirely secret under the guise of national security.

Charlie May

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Africa Covert War Drones John Mccain Niger President Donald Trump Us Military