Chairman Gowdy and Vice Chairman Russell Statement on Niger Briefing

Published: May 22, 2018

Washington, DC – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and National Security Subcommittee Vice Chairman Steve Russell released the following statement after the Committee held a classified briefing on the October 2017 ambush of U.S. and Nigerien soldiers near Tongo Tongo, Niger. 

“We appreciate the Department’s willingness to brief Members of the Committee on the findings and recommendations of their investigation and answer questions related to the October 2017 ambush of U.S. and Nigerien soldiers in Niger.

We acknowledge the heroism of our four U.S. soldiers, Sergeant First Class Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright, and Sergeant La David Johnson, who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. We extend our gratitude to their families and loved ones. 

The Committee looks forward to holding an unclassified public hearing to examine the report’s findings after the House Armed Services Committee holds their hearing.”

Briefers

Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier, Jr. (USA)

Investigating Officer and Chief of Staff, U.S. Africa Command

U.S. Department of Defense

Mr. Andrew F. Knaggs

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Counter Terrorism

U.S. Department of Defense

Background

  • On May 14, 2018, Chairman Gowdy requested a classified Member briefing on the investigation. 
  • On May 10, 2018, Committee staff received a classified briefing on the investigation. 
  • On April 23, 2018, the Committee received the classified report from the U.S. Department of Defense. 
  • On April 20, 2018, the Committee held a staff briefing on security issues in Niger and the surrounding region.
  • On April 19, 2018, Chairman Gowdy requested a briefing on the investigation following the production of the report. 
  • On March 6, 2018, the Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting a copy of the report upon completion. 
  • In February 2018, Rep. Russell conducted a congressional delegation to Niger, including Ouallam and the location of other U.S. Special Operations Forces in the country and region.
  • On November 9, 2017, the Committee held a classified briefing with U.S. Department of Defense officials regarding the attack in Niger.
  • On October 25, 2017, the Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting a briefing regarding the Niger attack.

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