Kensinger's attorney in Tillman case lashes out at Army
The attorney for a retired three-star general censured last week for misconduct in the 2004 "friendly fire" death of former NFL player Pat Tillman has lashed out at top Army officials. Charles Gittins, Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger's attorney, described his client as the "fall guy" of the investigation.Gittins told ESPN.com that Kensinger has neither received a copy of the censure nor spoken about it with the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren. Kensinger, 58, was censured by Geren after senior Army officers determined earlier this year that Kensinger lied to investigators about when he learned that Tillman's death was a suspected friendly fire case. Investigators determined that Kensinger had been alerted of those suspicions days before he attended a nationally televised memorial service for Tillman on May 3, 2004. At that time, the Tillman family and the public still believed the Army's initial report that he had been killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan 11 days earlier, on April 22. Kensinger was unavailable for comment, but Gittins said he is baffled by the Army's handling of the censure. "I explain it as extremely poor leadership," Gittins said. "Unconscionably poor leadership, in fact. For my client to find out on the news that he has been censured by the Secretary of the Army is disgracefully cowardly ... I assume the Secretary of the Army wasn't lying ... but my client hasn't seen anything about it." Department of the Army spokesperson Paul Boyce said the correspondence regarding the censure had been sent to Kensinger, but added, "Rest assured, if Mr. Gittins' client has not received the first letter, we'll get out another copy to him and the general most quickly." Boyce provided a number of related documents to ESPN.com, including a memorandum signed by Kensinger acknowledging receipt of an April 25, 2007, administrative reprimand issued to him by Gen. William Wallace, who had been assigned by the Secretary of the Army to review the Department of Defense Inspector General's findings in the Tillman incident. Kensinger filed a rebuttal to the reprimand, but the Secretary of the Army formally censured Kensinger on July 30 on the same grounds.
|On April 29, 2004, then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commanding general of Joint Special Operations Command, sent a "Personal For" [P4] message to three Army commanders: Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command; Gen. Bryan Douglas Brown, then head of the U.S. Special Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, then head of the Army Special Operations Command. The message read: "Sir, in the aftermath of Corporal Patrick Tillman's untimely yet heroic death in Afghanistan on 22 April 04, it is anticipated that a 15-6 investigation nearing completion will find that it is highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire. This potential finding is exacerbated by the unconfirmed but suspected reports that POTUS [President of the United States] and the Secretary of the Army might include comments about Corporal Tillman's heroism and his approved Silver Star medal in speeches currently being prepared, not knowing the specifics surrounding his death. The potential that he might have been killed by friendly fire in no way detracts from his witnessed heroism or the recommended personal decoration for valor in the face of the enemy. Corporal Tillman was killed in a complicated battlespace geometry involving two separate Ranger vehicle serials traversing through severe terrain along a winding 500-600 foot defile in which friendly forces were fired upon by multiple enemy positions. Corporal Tillman disembarked from his vehicle, and in support of his fellow Rangers and demonstrating great concern for their welfare over care for his own safety entered the enemy kill-zone into which both enemy and friendly fire impacted. I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country's leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public." This is the reaction to the memo from Mary Tillman, Pat Tillman's mother: "That memo is damming as hell. And yet, nothing happens to [McChrystal]. He is writing fraudulent language in that memo. He is giving examples of how they can script the Silver Star award, even though Pat was killed by fratricide. And he is saying we need to keep our leadership abreast of things so they don't embarrass themselves, if the circumstances of Pat's death should become public He should be saying 'We're going to have to put a hold to the silver star and we're going to have to notify the family [of suspected friendly fire].' That is what he would say if he was innocent, but he is not. He is trying to find a way that they can continue this false, elaborate story of theirs. And the fact that he is off the hook is atrocious."|
PAT TILLMAN INVESTIGATION
• House report cites 'lack of recall'
• Tillman's widow calls for 'authentic leadership'
• Kensinger's attorney lashes out at Army
• Bush doesn't remember when he learned of fratricide
• Fish: Another hearing, more frustration for Tillman family
• Rumsfeld defends himself in Congressional hearing
• Retired three-star Gen. Kensinger censured in cover-up
• Doctors: Closeness of Tillman's wounds suspicious
• Retired general faces demotion in death of Tillman
• Tillman info sought from White House, Pentagon
• Tillman hearing is 'just the start'
• Army Ranger 'ordered' to conceal Tillman details
• Report: Army cut off communication after Tillman died
• Report: House committee to hold hearings
• Tillman's dad: Memo supports cover-up theory
• Report: General warned about friendly-fire death
• Family pushes for congressional hearings
• Military: Nothing criminal in Tillman's death
• Ranger: Account of death was 'doctored'
• Statement from Mary Tillman and family