December 16, 2013, 01:18 pm
Congress to hold hearing on SEAL Team 6 crash
By Jeremy Herb
A congressional oversight committee will hold a hearing in January on a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 Americans, including 22 members of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6.
The House Oversight subcommittee on National Security, led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), will hold the hearing sometime in January to probe the 2011 crash, a spokeswoman for Chaffetz said.
Witnesses for the hearing have not yet been determined, the spokeswoman said.
Chaffetz’s panel began investigating the deadly crash in the summer, after victims’ families said the Pentagon did not provide sufficient answers about the attack on Aug. 6, 2011, the deadliest single day of the 12-year Afghanistan war.
Chaffetz met with the families in what he told The Hill was an “emotional” gathering. He said at the time he planned to submit questions to the Pentagon and prepare for hearings.
The families of the SEAL members have said that the Pentagon provided incomplete and contradictory information about the mission, known as Extortion 17.
Documents provided to the families indicate that the Pentagon doesn’t believe the SEALs were targeted in the wake of the SEAL Team 6 Osama bin Laden operation on May 1, 2011.
In a transcript reviewed by The Hill, a Pentagon official says the attack was the result of a low-level fighter getting a “lucky shot,” and not an "established ambush."
But Charlie Strange, whose son Michael was among those killed, said insurgents were boasting on the Internet they had taken out Team 6 shortly after the crash.
Thirty-eight people, including eight Afghans, were killed on the CH-47 Chinook helicopter that was shot out of the sky by Afghan militants.
Chaffetz told Foreign Policy, which first reported the January hearing, that he wants to find a resolution to shed more light on what transpired, even if it doesn't alleviate all of the families’ concerns.
"I hope to be able to get answers that the families have been unable to secure," Chaffetz said. "I think they have raised some legitimate questions, and the Pentagon has been inadequate in their response.”