(CNN) — The mother of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former NFL player killed
by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004, on Tuesday rejected
the latest explanation from the U.S. military about her son’s death.
“It became very obvious early on that they were lying to us,” Mary
Tillman said on ESPN Radio’s “Dan Patrick Show.” “They were only
telling one side of the story. They weren’t telling the other side.”
The military reported Monday that nine military officers, including
four generals, will face “corrective action” for making critical
mistakes in the aftermath of the Army Ranger’s death.
An investigation by the Army’s inspector general and Criminal
Investigation Command concluded officers in Tillman’s chain of
command knew almost immediately after his death that he had been
killed by fire from his own platoon, but that information was
withheld from his family for more than a month, in violation of Army
The investigation also concluded that inadequate initial
investigations “contributed to the inaccuracies, misunderstandings
and perceptions of concealment.”
Tillman’s mother was not convinced.
Everyone involved in the shooting knew almost immediately that her
son had been shot three times in the head by his own troops, she said.
Yet, at the memorial service for her son in May 2004, the military
said Pat Tillman had been killed by enemy fire, she said.
“That was not a misstep, that was not an error,” she said. “This was
an attempt to dupe the public and to promote this war and to get
recruitments up, and that is immoral.”
Mary Tillman called for a congressional hearing “to have it all aired out.”
She added, “I really don’t know what happened. We’ve been told so
many different things.”
Mary Tillman said she was not excluding the possibility that her son
was shot intentionally.
“Pat was used,” she said. “Once he was killed, I think they saw this
as an opportunity.” She noted that April 2004 was the worst month up
to that time in the year-old Iraq war, and the shooting occurred
right after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke.
The latest investigation “only presented the points of view of the
soldiers in the vehicle” who fatally shot her son and an Afghan
soldier and wounded two others, she said.
“They never brought into play what the other witnesses said,” Mary
She described as “shocking” the military’s claim that no rules of
engagement were broken.
The platoon members “fired at soldiers who weren’t firing at them in
areas where hands were waving and at a building,” she said. “All of
those things are breaking rules of engagement.”
The soldier believed to have shot her son three times in the head was
asked whether he had made a positive identification of the target
before firing, she said. “This soldier said, ‘No, I wanted to be in a
firefight,’ ” she said. “That was a definite breaking of the rules of
She said the military is still spinning the story for its own gain.
“The first investigative officer, in his statement to the third
investigative officer, said in his opinion, there was evidence of
criminal intent, and he also used the term ‘criminal negligence,’ “
“Yet his report has been devalued because it doesn’t go along with
what they want out in the public eye.”
In 2002, Pat Tillman, a safety with the Arizona Cardinals, turned
down a multimillion-dollar contract offer and instead joined the
Army, a decision he said was a response to the September 11, 2001,
He was shot April 22, 2004, in a remote area near the