Congressman Murtha's libelous claims about the Kelo unit's performance in Haditha were always reported as having been based on a military briefing. Turns out that's not so:
Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.
But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17.
On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
A spokeswoman for Murtha was not immediately available.
What took General Hagee so long to clear the record? Was he afraid that once the civil suit against Murtha proceeded to discovery, his silence would appear more and more like complicity?
Clarice Feldman 8 04 06