Friday, September 08, 2006

White House’s Tough Frances to Head up Tillman Investigation?

The White House top advisor on homeland security is one tough cookie according to Time magazine. Frances Frogos Townsend is known for her “competence, her crispness, and ability the President the straight scoop”. One example involved Fran giving a profane remark which quickly melted red tape.

Red tape has repeatedly frustrated the investigation into the death of Pat Tillman, the former NFL football player turned Army Ranger. The Army opened its fifth investigation into his death this past spring. The story is chronicled in Sports Illustrated. It describes Pat’s mothers fight to find out what really happened to her son.

The initial report citing gross negligence of the commander and two gunners had been deep sixed, soldiers testimony changed, and Pat’s uniform and body armor had been burned within three days of his death. One officer had the gall to say this about the Tillmans:

“not being Christian, I’m not really sure what they believe or how they can get their head around death. So, in my personal opinion, sir, that is why I don’t think they will ever be satisfied.”

Of course their dissatisfaction has nothing to do with the government’s lying to them about the cause of Pat’s death, friendly fire from his own side. With evidence of an initial cover up, why should the Tillman’s trust the second much less the fifth investigation? If they were good Christians, how would that matter?

White House Homeland Security Advisor has a track record of her own with investigations. Fran led the White House Lessons Learned investigation post Hurricane Katrina. With no one grieving mother to birddog the report, a similar whitewash still stands. Apparently Mrs. Townsend didn’t issue enough profane words for a competent investigation to be completed.

The issue of evacuating hospital and nursing home patients both pre and post storm got short shrift in the White House investigation. Despite video of President Bush asking FEMA chief Michael Brown about hospital patients the day of landfall, the feds allowed patients to suffer in dead hospitals for up to 5 days. The facility with the most patient deaths, 24, warranted not one mention in Fran’s report. LifeCare is a long term acute hospital which rented space in Memorial Hospital. Just weeks before Katrina smacked the Big Easy, The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare. This famously politically connected investment house’s portfolio company got a free pass from Fran. She is yet to answer the question why?

Pat’s death is on investigation number 5 while the death of 24 patients doesn’t even make investigation #1. It seems the deep sixing is sticking on the Katrina Lessons Learned report. On second thought, putting Fran on the Tillman investigation may not be such a good idea after all!

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