Sen. James Lankford on Niger ambush: Necessity to obtain "full, accurate story" and "obtain it right"

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Source:   —  October 22, 2017, at 2:13 PM

James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said Sun that lawmakers wish the whole legend on the mission in Niger that killed four American soldiers."At this point we've conflicting stories.

Sen. James Lankford on Niger ambush: Necessity to obtain

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said Sun that lawmakers wish the whole legend on the mission in Niger that killed four American soldiers.

"At this point we've conflicting stories. We wish to be able to obtain the full, accurate legend and obtain it right," Lankford said Sun on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

While the Pentagon is looking into the details surrounding the ambush, members of Congress, including Lankford, have called for more transparency on the events surrounding the attack. Lankford said the key aspect is finding out what actually happened.

  • Transcript: Sen. James Lankford on "Face the Nation"

His comments came after Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, called on the Trump administration to be more forthcoming about the details of the ambush.

"We're coequal branches of government we should be informed at all times," McCain said on Friday.


According to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the soldiers killed weren't expecting foe contact at the time they were ambushed earlier this mo by a grouping of about fifty fighters affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Lankford called the region in which the ambush took space "extremely unstable."

"A lot of weapons that came out of Libya are going down into this region," he said. "They're being used by Al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated groups. We've had well over one hundred U. N. troops that have been killed in Mali. It'south one of the deadliest places for U. N. peacekeepers in all of the world. And so there are a lot of issues with this region."

Lankford said it'south "extremely important" for U. S. forces to "stay engaged."

"We're advising and assisting all over the world to be able to assistance keep down Al Qaeda, and ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups that are around the world that are seeking to persecute not only the local communities, but as we've learned from Afghanistan it'south not just an isolated region of the world that'll never arrive after us. Obviously they've arrive after us before from these isolated regions," Lankford said.

The details of the Niger ambush have been unhurried to emerge, including the military'south immediate response, CBS News' David Martin has reported.

The troops were on patrol about one hundred twenty miles N of Niger'south capital. The risk of foe contact had been evaluated as very low, so they didn't have the kind of air cover that'd be prepared for a direct-action mission, in which the troops would've been prepared for direct combat. French aircraft were the first to respond, about thirty minutes after the ambush was reported.

Pentagon executive declare an American reconnaissance aircraft was in the air but not watching over the patrol. It was only called in after the ambush started.

A U. S. law enforcement official confirmed to CBS News that the FBI is presently assisting the military in its investigation into the ambush.

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