Donald Trump and his administration spent two weeks essentially pretending that a deadly U.S. military operation in Niger didn’t exist. After Trump’s lack of phone calls to the fallen soldiers’ families turned the Niger op into a media frenzy, Trump and his people then insisted that it was a mere reconnaissance mission, and blamed it on an intelligence failure. Now a survivor of the Niger mission and other inside sources are confirming it was something different entirely.
The unnamed survivor and unnamed military official both spoke with ABC News and offered the real picture of how the mission morphed away from its original intent, and how it turned deadly (link). The U.S. soldiers had indeed initially been sent on a reconnaissance mission, but while they were in the field, they were ordered to pursue and capture or kill a specific enemy target. One of the sources says that because the soldiers were out in the field for too long on a “mission that morphed, they were spotted, surveilled and ultimately hit.”
The U.S. soldiers on the recon mission were ordered to divert in favor of targeting the enemy target, even after a second supporting team was unable to join them. It’s not yet clear who changed the orders, or how high up the chain it went. However, this did come just five days after the nation of Chad pulled its support troops from the Niger effort, in retaliation for Trump’s decision to add Chad to his racist Muslim travel ban.
There are still several other questions about the Niger mission. Why did Donald Trump work so hard to try to cover it up in the first place? Why did he then lie by claiming it was a recon mission? Why did he use a private contractor to evacuate U.S. soldiers after the mission went wrong, instead of using the military itself? Finally, how is this all related to Niger’s decision to sign a military alliance with Russia just seven weeks earlier?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report