Monday, May 23, 2005

Tillman's kin rap Army's 'outright lies'
Tillman's kin rap Army's 'outright lies'


The parents of slain NFL star-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman are blasting military brass for the "outright lies" they told about their son's death.

"They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up," Patrick Tillman Sr. told The Washington Post about his son's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year.

"I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

Tillman, 27, turned down a multimillion-dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was killed April 22, 2004, while hunting Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The military initially claimed he was killed by the enemy, and even awarded him the Silver Star posthumously. Army brass waited weeks after they knew the real cause of Tillman's death to tell his family.

"The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him isabsolutely heartbreaking and tragic," his mother, Mary Tillman, said. "The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."

Patrick Tillman Sr. ripped military officials for conducting a "botched homicide investigation" and said high-ranking Army officers told him and his family "outright lies."

"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore," the father said. "Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny ... and no one has."

Mary Tillman said her son's death and the deception about it "keeps slapping me in the face."

"I think there's a lot more yet that we don't even know, or they wouldn't still be covering their tails," she said.