The Pentagon’s newly released 8-page report on the Niger incident had a very clear narrative. From the moment local commanders endorsed the mission to the recovery of the four bodies of slain US soldiers, the report goes out of its way to lionize everyone’s actions, and downplay errors.
This makes sense, because underlying these conclusions is the fact that the Pentagon has no intention of holding anyone to account for the mistakes made. Yet the summary report’s decision to tread very lightly on a lot of potentially embarrassing specifics means that it ultimately raises a lot more questions than it answered.
Fortunately, a lot of those answers exist, as this 8-page version was just a summary of a 180-page full report on the incident. The administration is keeping that carefully secret, however. They say that the report needs to be heavily reviewed, and redacted, before ever being made public.
The need for such redaction doesn’t make much sense if the summary is accurate in portraying this as a straightforward case of 100 militants managing to infiltrate across the Malian border and ambush a group of US and Nigerien troops and then disappear back across the border.