Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Boxer: Soldier's 'family was not told the truth'

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer released documents today that appear to show that the Army completed its investigation in September 2005 into the deaths two years ago of two California National Guard soldiers in Iraq, but waited nearly nine months to inform the family of its conclusion that the two Americans had been killed by Iraqi forces during a joint patrol.

"The family was not told the truth," Boxer, D-Calif., told reporters during a conference call. "It's troubling that the Pentagon would withhold this information from the family. It's troubling that Specialist McCaffrey told his family that he had been attacked twice before by Iraqi soldiers. It's troubling that it took the involvement of a Senate office to get the autopsy and a written report about his death."

A Pentagon document that the senator obtained today indicates that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command had completed by Sept. 30, 2005, its investigation into the June 22, 2004, deaths near the town of Balad, Iraq, of Spc. Patrick Ryan McCaffrey, 34, of Tracy, and 2nd Lt. Andre Demetrius Tyson, 33, of Riverside.

But the unclassified document indicates that the Army did not provide any clarification to the McCaffrey and Tyson families, who had been told by the Army in a preliminary casualty report that the soldiers' patrol had been ambushed by small arms fire from enemy insurgents.

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