Two months after the lethal ambush in Niger that killed four American troops in October, U.S. forces were involved in another skirmish in the central African nation with militants linked to the Islamic State. If this story sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it was first reported last week, fully three months after the battle.
Pressed for an explanation of the delay at a Defense Department briefing Thursday, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White offered a stunning justification: U.S. “troops are often in harm’s way, and there are tactical things that happen that we don’t put out a press release about,” she said. “We also don’t want to give a report card to our adversaries. They learn a great deal from information that we put out.”
In other words: The military will decide whether Americans find out what the military is doing in their name.
White cast the secrecy as a matter of security, a characterization that is misleading at best: This is not a case of the public demanding notice before every troop movement in a known warzone. It is not analogous to announcing D-Day in advance. This is a secretive intervention in a nation where the military has no legal authority to act. It is a blatant disregard for the Constitution’s assignment of war powers to Congress and the Pentagon’s accountability to civilian leaders and the citizenry. It is reckless executive war-making concealed from the public eye.
[Read It All]