“Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools.”
ROMANS 1:22 KJV
Extortion 17. 17 seconds out. Night time. The Rule of 150 feet. Y 2000. The 30 second rule. SparkLe.
# 39 was a fire walker.
‘BETRAYED’ Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror: The Shocking Sacrifice of America’s Special Ops Forces
by MAJ. GEN. PAUL E. VALLELY, US ARMY (RET) July 15, 2013
The Tragedy of Extortion 17 (the demise of Navy SEALs and other Special Ops)
On August 06, 2011, Taliban forces ambushed the US Army helicopter CH-47, call name “Extortion 17,” in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan. This transport helicopter was moving an American reaction force in a relief operation of US Army Rangers that were engaged in a three-hour firefight. Thirty Americans, twenty-five of which were Special Operations, Were aboard that helicopter. One of these warriors was Navy SEAL, Aaron Vaughn.
The tragedy of Extortion 17 on that fateful night in Afghanistan will not fade away because of the efforts of a few brave men and women. Billy Vaughn, father of fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, and Major General Paul Vallely are among them and are now relating a grave incident and its political roots.
Billy Vaughn stands in the defense of American freedom from tyranny; and MG Paul Vallely (US Army Ret.) stands by his side because of his clear-cut military perspective and his extensive background in Special Ops. Together they offer their book today and Hugo House Publishers, Ltd, is preparing to release it – all about the tragedy of Extortion 17:
Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror: The Shocking Sacrifice of America’s Special Ops Forces
The book goes beyond which was discussed in their press conference of May 9th, 2013 at the National Press Club accompanied by other family members of the fallen and noted members of the military. It exposes the political policies and failed ideology that precipitated the unconscionable tragedy of Extortion 17. The book is co-authored by Billy Vaughn and Major General Vallely (US Army Ret). This heart-wrenching book is a must-read.
The book also raises awareness and presents details regarding the possible infiltration of the Taliban into the Afghan Government, and sheds light on other security issues. The official release of the book August, next month, the 2nd anniversary of the demise of Extortion 17 and the death of 30 American warriors. Read about the hard truths.
The warriors on that CH-47 Chinook helicopter were compromised by their leaders:
- the same ‘leaders’ who are supposed to be uniting and securing this nation,
- the same ‘leaders’ who have ordered surveillance on Americans through the NSA,
- the same ‘leaders’ who have used the IRS to stymie voices of dissent in our country’
- the same ‘leaders’ who investigated the press and media, and singled out news organizations,
- the same ‘leaders’ who forced unwanted and crushing regulations and laws upon us,
- the same ‘leaders’ that left not just our fighting men and women at risk, but our country, our homes, our families unprotected and unsafe.
© Stand Up America 2013 A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund, which supports families of fallen soldiers, their families, and those who are stepping up to serve; and Operation 300, which supports specifically the children of fallen warriors.
The book is being offered for pre-publication sale now in July, our 237th anniversary, as a way of honoring our founding fathers, and the many brave men and women who continuously put their lives on the line to declare America’s freedom from tyranny and terror.
Paul E. Vallely (MG, US Army) retired in 1991 from the US Army as Deputy Commanding General, US Army, Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. General Vallely graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned in the Army in 1961 and is now Chairman of Stand Up America and the Legacy National Security Advisory Group. He with LTG Tom McInerney authored the book, “Endgame” -The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.
Obama stonewalls SEAL Team 6 helicopter crash probe, watchdog says
Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times – Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The Obama administration is violating a judge’s order to turn over documents in the Aug. 6, 2011, shootdown of a U.S. helicopter — call sign Extortion 17 — that killed members of SEAL Team 6 in Afghanistan, a watchdog group is charging.
On the fourth anniversary of the worst one-day loss of military life in the war on terror, families of the dead say they are aghast that the government will not honor basic requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
“It has now been four years since Extortion 17 was shot down,” said Doug Hamburger, whose Army air crew son, Patrick, was one of the 30 Americans killed. “I find it quite disturbing that the government is not willing to give us the answers we deserve. I find it very irritating that we will not question the Afghans about their knowledge of what took place that night.”
U.S. Central Command’s official investigation concluded that a rocket-launched grenade from a Taliban fighter standing near the landing zone clipped a rotary wing, sending the Ch-47 Chinook into a violent downward spin. It was the worst day for fatalities in the history of naval special warfare.
The tragedy took some of the glow off SEAL Team 6’s grand achievement just three months earlier: A team penetrated Pakistan airspace, infiltrated a compound in Abbottabad and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The families accept the fact that a single shot brought down the helicopter. But some say the official report, which contained no direct criticism of decision-makers that day, did not delve deeply enough.
They believe SEAL Team 6 had a target on its back and that persons inside the Afghan National Security Forces may have tipped off the Taliban that night in Tangi Valley. That is why, they say, a fighter just happened to be stationed in a turret within 150 yards of a landing zone that had never been used before.
A Defense Department special operations official told a House subcommittee last year that there is no indication the mission was compromised by the Afghans.
Family members are hoping Freedom Watch, a watchdog legal group led by Larry Klayman, can force new disclosures using the power of the FOIA process.
Since filing a lawsuit, Mr. Klayman says, he has been “stonewalled” by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the CIA and the National Security Agency.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in February signed an order requiring the Obama administration to release documents on a continual basis through the spring and summer. The Justice Department said at least 50 documents in the Pentagon have been identified as relevant, but only one has been turned over. And Justice unilaterally set a new deadline for the release and then ignored it, Mr. Klayman said. Throughout, he said, Justice lawyers have refused to take his phone calls.
“They don’t even produce under their own self-imposed deadline,” Mr. Klayman told The Washington Times. “We’re pleading with the judge to do something, and he’s just sitting on it.”
In one of his motions, Mr. Klayman stated: “As this Court must be aware, this is not an ordinary Freedom of Information Act case, it involves obtaining records concerning the deaths of Navy SEAL Team 6 and other special operations forces on a mission with the call sign Extortion 17. The families of these deceased heroes have been stonewalled by the Obama Department of Defense and the Obama National Security Agency in disrespect over their sons’ unexplained tragic deaths. Many of these family members are undergoing psychological care over what has become a double tragedy: the deaths of their sons and the cover-up for which these family members feel betrayed by their own government.”
Mr. Klayman said the NSA has agreed to provide some information. Since the agency’s main task is to eavesdrop on phone and Internet messages, it may have recorded communications related to the attack.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said there would be no comment beyond its court filings. Its lawyers have told the judge that the process of locating relevant documents and removing classified information takes time.
It was exactly four years ago, at 2:22 a.m., that a rebuilt conventional CH-47 Chinook helicopter took off from a forward operating base, carrying some of the most skilled and advanced warriors ever molded by U.S. special operations.
Onboard were 17 members of SEAL Team 6; five naval special warfare operators, including one to intercept communications and another to handle Bart the war dog; five Army flight crewmen, including a National Guard and an Army Reserve pilot; and three Air Force personnel. The force included seven Afghan soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.
The mission itself has proven controversial to some family members. The immediate reaction force (IRF) was assembled hastily for insertion into Tangi Valley to help Army Rangers capture fleeing Taliban.
The Rangers were not in need of rescue. Military officers interviewed by investigators said they could not recall an IRF ever being sent for such a mission.
The Chinook was descending on a noisy battlefield where Apache helicopters and a C-130 gunship had been buzzing overhead for three hours, alerting Taliban fighters. Planners selected a landing zone that had never been used before. The Chinook had no Apache escort, as did the Ranger team that enjoyed the element of surprise when it touched down hours earlier.
The two Apaches, Gun 1 and Gun 2, on scene were never emphatically told to move near the landing zone to scan for threats. They stayed fixed on enemy “squirters,” or runners, until just a few minutes before landing.
“Honestly, sir, I don’t think anybody had really looked at the LZ,” said the pilot of Gun 1. “I mean, at any time if we would have found these squirters, or they would have found weapons, we were — the way I was understanding it, we were going to be clear to engage due to the fact that they had weapons, but we had to [positively identify] them first.”
He added: “So we hadn’t started looking at the LZ yet, just due to there was so much more of a threat to the east with the squirters. I would say that on the three-minute call is when Gun 2 started looking at the LZ, giving an LZ brief op. I would say that was the first time that we really had eyes on the LZ.”
No one saw two Taliban armed with grenade launchers standing on a mud-brick turret well within range of the descending chopper.
The navigator on the AC-130 gunship said there was simply too much gun and engine noise to think that the Chinook could make an undetected entrance.
“One of the other things that we did talk about — kind of what you’re hitting on, sir, is about the fact that, you know, for three hours we had been burning holes in the sky,” the officer told investigators. “You’ve got [Apaches] flying around, so there’s a lot of noise going on and, basically, this entire valley knows that there’s something happening in this area. So, to do an infil on the X or Y, you know, having that element of surprise in the beginning of an operation is good, but by the time we’ve been there for three hours, and the party’s up, bringing in another aircraft like that, you know, may not be the most tactically sound decision.”
Today, some family members are not just disappointed in the investigation and the FOIA process, but also in how the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security conducted a brief hearing in Feb. 2014.
No family members were allowed to testify. The Pentagon’s witness stuck to a theme that no mistakes were made that night, though the investigative file contained testimony from a number of witnesses saying the mission was riddled with missteps.
“The hearing as it took place was meant to honor the heroes of Extortion 17 instead of to answer our questions,” Mr. Hamburger said.
“During the last several years it is evident that our government has spent a lot of time and resources covering up the truth on many things from both our allies and the American public,” Mr. Hamburger added. “Things like Benghazi and the NSA. I am afraid that with this FOIA case that the government is purposely delaying turning over documents because they need the time to redact and to delete things they do not want the American public to become aware of.”
Charlie Strange, whose Navy cryptologist son, Michael, was on Extortion 17, told The Times last year that it was too much of a coincidence for Taliban to be standing so near the landing zone.
“Somebody was leaking to the Taliban,” said Mr. Strange. “They knew. Somebody tipped them off. There were guys in a tower. Guys on the bush line. They were sitting there, waiting. And they sent our guys right into the middle.”
Extortion 17 is a Bigger Scandal and Betrayal than Benghazi
Extortion 17 could be a bigger scandal and betrayal of Americans than Benghazi. While Benghazi resulted in four American deaths, Extortion 17 resulted in 38 deaths, including nearly two dozen Navy SEALs. Many of these SEALs were made famous, credited with the killing of Osama bin Laden. The Chinook helicopter they were aboard was shot down by Taliban forces, which written testimony confirms knew the elite forces were coming into the area. Families are going after the Obama administration for what they believe were leaks that led to their family members’ deaths. According to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, “We’re going to dive into this.”
Billy Vaughn, father of slain Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, recently told Freedom Outpost that the family wants to see Vice President Joe Biden and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held accountable for national security breaches when they outed the SEALs.
Not only were the SEAL team members furious and shocked over the big mouths of the Obama administration beating its chest with pride over the success of killing bin Laden, but the families were equally enraged. The message compromised the safety of the unit, as well as their families.
At a gathering at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. for the 50th anniversary of the Atlantic Council, a mere two days after the raid, Vice President Joe Biden remarked to the audience,
“Let me briefly acknowledge tonight’s distinguished honorees: Adm. Jim Stavridis is the real deal; he could tell you more about and understands the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALS and what they did last — last Sunday.”
“And what was even more extraordinary was — and I’m sure former administration officials will appreciate this more than anyone — there was such an absolute, overwhelming desire to accomplish this mission that although for over several months, we were in the process of planning it, and there were as many as 16 members of Congress who were briefed on it, not a single, solitary thing leaked. I find that absolutely amazing,” Biden added.
Forget Edward Snowden. Joe Biden made one of the biggest leaks of national security information in recent history!
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made leaked similar information while in Afghanistan.
Karen Vaughn, joined by her husband Billy, on Fox News said, As soon as Joe Biden announced that it was a SEAL Team who took out Bin Laden, within 24 hours, my son called me and I rarely ever heard him sound afraid in his adult life…. He said, ‘Mom, you need to wipe your social media clean…your life is in danger, our lives are in danger, so clean it up right now’.”
Mr. Vaughn, showing his anger and disgust with Biden, ripped the media. “The media has let this man get away with saying ‘Uncle Joe’s gaffes, Uncle Joe’s gaffes,” he said. “This is not Uncle Joe and he’s not some senile old grandfather. He is the second in command of the most powerful country in the world and he needs to take responsibility for the comments he makes and quit being given a pass.”
Additionally, Charles Strange, father of fallen Navy SEAL Michael Strange, has been just as outspoken as the Vaughns against both Barack Obama and Joe Biden. In July, Strange told WND “Obama sent my son to his death.”
Strange also recounted his interview with talk show host Michael Savage:
After the revelations of Joe Biden that SEAL Team 6 carried out the operation that has alleged to have killed Osama bin Laden, Strange said that members of the SEAL team echoed to their families similar concerns to that of Aaron Vaughn.
Strange told Savage that on at least three separate occasions, in June 2011, his son grabbed him by the arm and announced that he had prepared his will.
Charles Strange recalled his son’s words, “Something’s going on with the team. Somebody’s leaking things out. Something’s going on.”
Savage asked: “Your son knew he was being sent to his death?”
“They knew,” Strange answered. “They knew something was up. Every one of them.”
What’s even more disturbing is that the military claimed that the bodies were so badly burned that they had to be cremated, and they were cremated without the families’ consent.
Strange believes the military is lying.
“I saw Mike’s dead body,” he said in an interview. “It was clearly recognizable. He was clutching his gun. He wasn’t burned to a crisp. Why did they cremate my boy? They didn’t need to do that. Something’s not right.”
Rep. Chaffetz, who said he saw a photo of a deceased SEAL, believes the same thing. “The body I saw didn’t need to be cremated,” he said.
To add insult to injury, a Muslim cleric was allowed to pray at the funeral of the fallen SEALs in 2011, reciting words to the effect, “That the fallen seals should be damned and go to hell as infidels.”
Yet, America is told to be sensitive about burning the real infidels’ Qur’an, while it’s perfectly OK for our military to burn Bibles.
Perhaps, instead of the administration worrying about Edward Snowden’s revelations of its own violations of the Constitution, it should be a little more concerned with the real national security violations of men like Biden and Panetta, or maybe the American people should be concerned with the biggest national security threat to the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.
Learn more about Extortion 17 and what is being uncovered in Billy Vaughn’s book Betrayed: Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror.
Betrayed: The shocking true story of Extortion 17
By Allen West10:00am January 31, 2014
If you’ve seen the recent big screen stories of US Navy SEALS in Afghanistan, in Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty, you are no doubt struck by the sacrifices these elite warriors make on the modern battlefield and the impeccable examples of heroism these movies have portrayed — not propaganda but truth.
However, there is another US Navy SEAL story from Afghanistan that’s not receiving much attention, simply because its truth is an indictment of failure on the part of the Obama administration, US Congress, and senior military leadership.
It is the story of the fate that befell a CH-47D helicopter, call sign Extortion 17.
Back on August 6, 2011, six months after Navy SEALs had terminated Osama Bin Laden, America suffered the single largest one-day loss of life in the ten year combat operation in Afghanistan. It was also the largest loss of Navy Special Warfare life in their history.
The mission that fateful evening entailed US Army Rangers going into the Tangi River valley in Wardak Province in Afghanistan after Taliban leader Qari Tahir.
As the Rangers landed and executed their mission, the Aerial Weapons Team (AWT) in two US Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters observed two individuals fleeing, but permission to engage with 30mm guns was denied.
The AWT then observed these two individuals, who they assessed to be armed, link up with six others who took up positions near the proposed helicopter landing zone (HLZ) that would be used later. Again, permission to engage was denied.
Back at the Forward Operating Base, the decision was made to launch the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). But just before takeoff, seven Afghan Commandos who were listed on the manifest to accompany the mission were switched out, and the new Afghans were not manifested.
The QRF loaded onto a CH-47D Chinook aircraft headed into a hot HLZ zone where combat operations had been raging for some three hours. The lumbering CH-47D is slow and possesses less maneuver capability than the normal special operations MH-47 aircraft.
Unescorted, the CH-47D made its way to the area of operations in the Tangi River valley, a Taliban stronghold. Because of the rules of engagement, no pre-assault fires were approved on the HLZ and there were no “eyes on” the HLZ to support the QRF infiltration.
It was easy pickings for the enemy. From a prepared firing position atop a building, they launched three rocket-propelled grenades. One hit the CH-47D’s tail rotor blade and in approximately 5 seconds it broke up into three pieces and crashed into a dry creek bed in a ball of flames.
The AWT had eyes on the point of origin of the RPG shots but the AH-64s were denied approval to engage the enemy — who were seen handing down equipment and fleeing the area.
I recommend you all pick up a copy of the book, Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s father by Billy Vaughn. Billy and Karen Vaughn live just north of me in Stuart, Florida, and I came to know them as they reached out to me while I served in Congress on this matter.
I know the story in detail because I received the classified briefing on the incident. In Billy’s book, you feel his pride in his son and the moment when he learned of his son’s death. You share the emotional strain of the family as they deal with the loss of Aaron.
But you also share the anguish of a father who learns he has been lied to as he uncovers the truth. You’ll read the declassified documents and investigation report that Billy had to read to learn the massive cover-up surrounding the death of these brave men, including his only son.
I’m sure you remember President Obama’s May 2011 speech after the killing of bin Laden, but there was no speech after Extortion 17. Billy and Karen Vaughn lost their 30-year-old SEAL Team VI son, Aaron Vaughn in that helicopter shoot down. Along with Aaron there were 16 US Navy SEAL Team VI members, five US Navy SEAL Team support members and one working dog, five US Army and Army National Guard flight crewmembers, three US Air Force members of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, seven unidentified Afghan Commandos, and one Afghan interpreter.
What is so appalling is the lack of concern from the Obama administration, Congress, and the military to lift the curtain of deceit. As well, you come to realize media hypocrisy is hiding this incident from the American people.
If this were the Bush administration, the story would have been all over the New York Times, Washington Post, and every single liberal media outlet — not that’s not the case. Remember Cindy Sheehan and attention she got? Then why are Billy and Karen Vaughn shunned?
Betrayed is a must read, you will not put the book down. It is a book that MUST be made into a film, albeit controversial. It should be mailed to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi with one simple question, “Where is the truth for the Vaughns and all the families who lost their loved ones?” It is a book that should shame the media for not covering this dark moment in US Military history.
Never should our warriors and their families be treated in this manner. Never again should they be Betrayed
#39 was a fire walker.
Editor’s Note: With special thanks to MG Paul Vallely, United States Army (ret.) and our friends at Family Security Matters, Rowan Scarborough and our friends at The Washington Times, Tim Brown and our friends at Freedom Post, Tom Trento and our friends at United West, Monica Morrill, Carl Blake, and Lt. General Jerry Boykin, United States Army (ret.) and to the families and friends of Extortion 17 and SEAL TEAM VI.