Correction: The previous title was in error. It was not Admiral McRaven who said this was a big deal. It was his aide. The title and article have been corrected to reflect that correction.
In an ongoing series I am going to maintain, I’m going to bring to the forefront in an attempt to get answers to very real questions about the downing of SEAL Team Six on Extortion 17 in August of 2011. These questions are also going to consider that these same types of endangerment of members of our Special Operations (forgive me, I used Special Forces several times in the last article) continue to this day in Afghanistan. Consider that there were eight Afghans on board Extortion 17 on August 6, 2011 as it was shot out of the sky and America lost nearly two dozen Navy SEALS, along with Army Rangers and National Guard pilots. It was a devastating blow, as this was the same SEAL Team that was alleged to have taken out Osama bin Laden just months prior.
Many of the families believe it was an inside job and so does a former Navy JAG officer. The more one begins to look at all the aspects of what took place surrounding Extortion 17, the more one must conclude that there is a cover-up that took place and continues to take place to this very day. That cover-up dwarfs what took place in Benghazi.
So, first let’s clear up one thing. There were a total of eight Afghans on board Extortion 17. One of them was an interpreter. However, the other seven, we have absolutely no idea who they were.
Don Brown, former Navy JAG officer and author of Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six that exhibit 1 of the Colt Report, told Sons of Liberty Media that thought the manifest records are to be thorough in documenting who boards the helicopter, this was not done properly. In fact, the names of the seven Afghans who were listed on the manifest were reported to be alive. So, who were those men on board and were they engaged in a possible firefight before the helicopter was shot down?
On Tuesday, I fact reported on the that Afghan leaders have an eye on every Special Operation the US conducts inside Afghanistan. They can even squash the mission if they so choose. If that is true, then someone knows exactly who was on Extortion 17’s final flight.
According to testimony, the Joint Services Theater of Operations J3 Officer told the Deputy investigating Officer that the manifest was accurate… except for the identities of the Afghans.
IO-DEP: was there a manifest for that aircraft back at the-
JSOTF J3 (Operations Officer): Yes, sir. And I’m sure you know by now the manifest was accurate with the except ion of the [Afghan] personnel that were on. So the [Afghan] personnel, they were the incorrect – al seven names were incorrect. And I cannot talk to the back story of why, but-
At this part in the testimony, the J3 officer was cut off and the commander for the Joint Services Theater Operations, who outranked the J3 officer blurted out:
JSOTF CDR: But the bottom line is: We knew the total number that were on the aircraft. We knew the total number the we were trying to account for on the ground.
So, while they knew how many people were on board, someone actually committed a military crime by not thoroughly vetting the manifest and those who boarded Extortion 17.
Brown points out that the mandated requirement of the Preparation and Use of DD Form 2131, Passenger Manifest reads as follows:
J. PREPARATION AND USE OF DD FORM 2131, PASSENGER MANIFEST
1.Use the DD Form 2131, Passenger Manifest, Figure V-21, to list the names of the deploying personnel. Units may use a typed list in place of the DD Form 2131 if the form is not available.
Brown told Sons of Liberty Media that all information is required. In fact, the information that is to be required is very specific. The passenger information must include the following:
- Last, First and Middle name of passenger
- Social Security Number
- Status (Active, Civilian, Guard/Reserve)
- Line NO.
- Checked Baggage and weight
- Carry-on weight
- Weight of passenger
- Emergency contact information (including last, first and middle name and telephone number)
Additionally, the Department of Defense requires the commander to certify the following:
The troop commander signs the anti-hijacking statement (shown below) on the passenger manifest, regardless of the form used.
“I certify that no unauthorized weapons/ammunition/explosive devices, or other prohibited items are in the possession of those personnel for whom I am the designated manifesting representative or troop commander, and that their authorized weapons have been cleared.”
So, at the very least, the commander in charge is responsible for a manifest that did not secure the flight of Extortion 17. According to Brown, in the military, this is a crime and as such there should be a just punishment for the negligence.
How was this discovered? It was fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn’s father, Billy Vaughn. He discovered the discrepancy as he poured over the 1,200 page Colt Report on the downing of Extortion 17 and wrote about it in his book Betrayed: Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror.
When he made mention of it during a visit by Admiral William H. McRaven to his home in January of 2013, Vaughn commented to him, “This must not be a big deal.” However, McRaven’s aide, a sergeant major, told him, “Mr. Vaugn, it’s a very big deal. Because it was passed over. It’s a very big deal. That should never happen.”
Furthermore, he added, “In fact, we had to notify the men we thought were on the chopper. We had to notify them and tell them their sons were okay.”
So, America, we need answers as to why unknown Afghans were allowed to board Extortion 17 under false identities. We also need to make sure the commander who signed off on the manifest is held accountable. And finally, if you are one that thinks this is no big deal, consider that at least two of our men who died had bullets removed from them and that evidence (Yes, it is evidence) was destroyed. Was there a firefight inside the helicopter just prior to the firing of the RPG that took out the helicopter? I don’t know, but it’s time the Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) start getting serious answers to these questions. So far, all I’ve seen from his committee hearing was a dog and pony show, and even at that, it left us with more questions than answers.
Our troops are being demoralized. It’s time the American people raised their voices on behalf of them.