An Aug. 1 A-section article incorrectly described a former title of retired Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., who has been censured for misconduct in the investigation of the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. Kensinger previously served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Army General Censured Over Tillman Probe
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, July 31 -- Army Secretary Pete Geren has censured a retired three-star general for misconduct in the investigation of the 2004 "friendly fire" death of former National Football League player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman. Geren also recommended that the general be evaluated for a possible demotion, an extremely rare move.
Geren announced on Tuesday that he had censured retired Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr. after senior Army officers determined that Kensinger lied to investigators about when he learned that Tillman's death was a suspected friendly-fire case. Investigators found that Kensinger was alerted to Tillman's fate days before he attended a nationally televised funeral service for Tillman, at which time family members believed the Army's story that he had died while attacking enemy forces in Afghanistan.
"Your failings compounded the grief suffered by the Tillman family, resulted in the dissemination of erroneous information and caused lasting damage to the reputation and credibility of the U.S. Army," Geren said in a letter to Kensinger, released Tuesday.
Kensinger, who was the commanding general of the U.S. Special Operations Command until his retirement in February 2006, argued against an administrative reprimand. "Never did I lie or would I lie, deceive, or intend to obstruct or mislead in any fashion," he wrote in an official rebuttal.
Two one-star generals also received written punishments for their roles in the case. Geren said that although the case was "poorly handled" and that regulations for notifying the family were not followed, there was never an effort to cover up Tillman's death or any conspiracy to mislead the public. Tillman's family continues to seek more information about the case.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday morning about what senior defense leaders knew regarding Tillman's death. The committee expects testimony from former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and several retired generals who held senior positions at the time of the incident, including Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of the Central Command, and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A committee spokeswoman said that a subpoena was issued for Kensinger to appear, but that U.S. marshals had not been able to serve him as of late Tuesday.