The Defense Department's inspector general has concluded that as many as nine officers are responsible for mistakes and irregularities during the investigation into the "friendly fire" death of former NFL player Pat Tillman in Afghanistan in 2004, problems that led to major delays and errors in explaining the facts to his family and the public, defense officials said yesterday.
The report is scheduled for public release on Monday, when Tillman's family also expects to receive a briefing in California. Members of Tillman's immediate family have been fighting for nearly three years to learn the truth about the case, amid a series of investigations into why his death was initially reported as occurring during a heroic attack on enemy fighters when instead the soldiers in his unit knew immediately that he died when they mistakenly shot him in a dusty canyon pass.
Officials yesterday declined to discuss specifics of the report but said the inspector general identified a range of problems, including minor errors in procedure up to allegations of officers making deliberately misleading statements about the case. One defense official said the report includes generals among the officers identified as having made errors in judgment. CBS News and the Associated Press reported last night that as many as four generals are blamed.