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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Mary Tillman not satisfied with military's report

ESPN.com news services

Pat Tillman's mother said Tuesday that the Tillman family is pursuing congressional hearings on her son's death.

"I want a congressional hearing because I want to find out what actually happened," Mary Tillman said in a telephone interview on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio. "I would like to have it all aired out in a congressional hearing."

Elected officials also are calling for congressional hearings in the 2004 friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose, Calif.), who represents the Tillmans' district, formally requested hearings from the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Mary Tillman said that "it was pretty obvious they were lying to us" when the military found no criminal wrongdoing in her son's death.

"They only presented the point of view of the soldiers in the vehicle … they never brought into play what the other witnesses said," she said.

The military concluded Monday that nine high-ranking Army officers, including four generals, made critical errors in reporting Tillman's death, but there was no criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of the former NFL player.

In releasing a pair of reports on Tillman's killing, however, defense officials did not rule out that criminal violations may have been committed by officers who provided misleading information as the military conducted its investigation. While saying they believed there was no orchestrated cover-up, they left the decision on whether crimes occurred to the Army.

Army and Defense Department investigators said officers looking into Tillman's death passed along misleading and inaccurate information and delayed reporting their belief that Tillman was killed by fellow Rangers.

The investigators recommended that the Army take action against the officers, but suggested no specific punishments and left it to the Army to decide what to do. Possible steps could include demotions, dishonorable discharges, jail or letters of reprimand.

Mary Tillman said she was most shocked when the military said that no rules of engagement were broken.

"The first investigative officer said there was evidence of homicidal negligence and criminal intent. He stands by that. Yet his report has been devalued because they don't want that out in the public eye," she said.

Mary Tillman said the facts of the incident support the argument that rules of engagement were broken.

"They fired in at soldiers who weren't firing at them. They fired in an area where hands waving and they fired at a building. All of those things are breaking rules of engagement," she said.

Mary Tillman said she became very upset when it was portrayed at her son's memorial service that Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire, when the military knew that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. "This was an attempt to dupe the public and promote this war and get recruitments up," she said, "and that is immoral and it's a travesty."

Tillman also questioned the fact that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wasn't aware that Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

"It seems to me that Rumsfeld would have to be aware of it," she said.

Mary Tillman said she thinks her son would have been outraged at how he was used by the military after his death and that the military used her son's death as a public relations vehicle to deflect attention from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Irag.

"I definitely think Pat was used," she said. "When he was killed I think they saw this as an opportunity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.