Family members of the 38 military personnel killed in the Aug. 6, 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan called for a congressional investigation into the failed Navy flight operation conducted in war-ridden Afghanistan.
“On May 3, 2011 Vice President Joseph R. “Joe” Biden Jr., leaked confidential information to the media that jeopardized the lives of all Navy SEALs and their families,” said Karen L. Vaughn, mother of deceased U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron C. Vaughn. SEALs are the Navy’s principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.
“Aaron, who was a member of SEAL Team Six, was aboard the doomed CH47-D Chinook helicopter,” she said.
Extortion 17 was the in-theater call sign of the helicopter-flight mission that was shot down by Afghan militants.
A former team leader at SEAL Team Six who spoke to Human Events under the condition of anonymity said, “There is no question that Biden’s outrageous bragging outed the operators of SEAL Team Six. By throwing the spotlight on the Team, he put lives in jeopardy. The SEALs on Extortion One-Seven paid the price.”
All passengers on board were killed which included 22 American special operations personnel, three members of the U.S. Air Force, five Army National Guardmen and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos and one Afghan interpreter.
Biden publicly confirmed that it was SEAL Team Six, who raided and killed Osama Bin Laden just two days prior, Vaughn said. “My son called to tell me there was chatter about revenge.”
The vice president’s outburst is unacceptable, she said. “Biden created a media circus surrounding a highly secretive team. He should be in prison for high crimes and treason.”
After Biden’s statement, reports indicated that over 100 Al Qaeda infiltrators crossed the Tangi River Valley into Afghanistan with the expressed intent of shooting down an American helicopter, Vaughn said.
We had the intelligence in real time, but did nothing to stop our enemies from shooting us down, she said. “Within three months of their threats, Extortion 17 happened.”
“I can do nothing to bring Aaron or the others back, but I can demand answers to suspicious events,” she said.
An Army military investigation ensued at the aftermath of Extortion 17, and a 1,250-page report was published in Oct. 2011, she said. “However, the report was quickly pulled off-line and the military was asked to retrieve the CD’s from the families, but declined in order to avoid suspicion.”
Vaughn said the government is withholding facts and leaving many questions unanswered. “The documentation raises more questions than it answers.”
She said they still do not have an answer as to why an outdated Chinook helicopter, that was never meant to go into a battle-zone, was employed that evening. “These choppers are used for hurricane relief in areas such as Haiti or for transporting troops from one forward operating base to another, not the heated battle fields of Afghanistan.”
“We have much more sophisticated choppers for special-operation services; why didn’t we use one of them?” she asked.
The report indicated there was no return fire from the Chinook, she said. “We were told by officials that the rules of engagement prevented our military from returning fire.”
Vaughn said in a high-level security meeting between Rep. Thomas J. “Tom” Rooney (R. -Fla.) and Pentagon officials, the congressman was told that return fire was not possible because the military did not know where the shots came from.
It was this dangerous strategy that precipitated the Extortion 17 crash, she said.
“This is a confused and politically motivated ideology not willing to recognize the enemy,” she said. “The American people deserve answers. Aaron deserves an answer.”