On Sunday, 60 Minutes covered the friendly fire incident in June 2014 in Afghanistan that took the lives of five members of a U.S. Special Force team. 60 Minutes has now been accused of withholding details that implicate Air Force top brass.
The 60 Minutes’ crew focused on a report of the incident prepared by Air Force Major General Jeffrey Harrigian, which rightly concluded that the “incident was avoidable.” The survivors featured in the 60 Minutes’ piece took exception to Harrigian’s finding that placed blame on the Air Force controller (JTAC), the B-1B Lancer crew, and on the victims and survivors themselves.
Nowhere in the 60 Minutes’ piece is it mentioned that the B-1 bomber is incapable of providing Close Air Support. The survivors’ assertions that had the right airframe responded to the scene, the five men might be alive today, appear to have ended up on the editor’s cutting room floor.
The survivors and others have argued that the Air Force sent a bomber to do the job only an A-10 can do. Yet, nowhere in the 60 Minutes’ piece is the A-10 mentioned once.
On Monday, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) “Tom Chuck” Norris questioned whether the 60 Minutes’ crew left out the information due to a connection between the CBS Board of Directors and Northrup Grumman.
Norris was responding to questions during an appearance on the James T. Harris radio show. Harris had questioned Norris as to why the 60 Minutes’ piece did not mention the A-10. “After watching last night, I am sort of glad that 60 Minutes put this piece out there,” said Harris, “but it was amazing to me that not one time was the A-10 – that the plane – was not even mentioned. Is it possible that was part of the deal that they cut – you know that the network cut- with the Air Force so they could tell the story? It wasn’t a flat-out propaganda piece in support of the B-1, but there was no mention of the one plane that was designed to provide Close Air Support. I find that strange.”