Document Shows Iraqi Policeman Killed by Army Officer Was Known A
1st Lt. Michael Behenna
Should an American soldier be imprisoned for killing a known Al-Qaeda operative in self-defense? Most Americans, I suspect, would answer that question with a vehement, “No!” — or, in some cases, “Hell, no!” Unfortunately for Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna and those who love him, seven Americans thought otherwise.
Yesterday, I shared a post about Lieutenant Behenna’s story (See 101st Airborne Officer Serving 20-Year Sentence After Testimony of Expert Witness Ignored). Among the many details in that post, I described Ali Mansur as “a known Al-Qaeda operative” killed in self-defense by the lieutenant, then 25. Today, I offer more disturbing substantiation of that description of Mansur.
Recently, I obtained a copy of a two-page memo* — dated Oct. 28, 2008, and marked “For Official Use Only” — from Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, then-commanding general of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. Notably, it outlines specific intelligence information about Al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq, portions of which were declassified for use in U.S. v. Behenna.
Among the relevant and now-declassified bits of intel contained in the memo is Mansur’s appearance on a list of several men listed as members of an “AL-QA’IDA IN IRAQ IED CELL OPERATING IN SALAM VILLAGE, AND ALBU TOMA SALAH AD DIN PROVINCE –”. More specifically, Mansur is described in the memo as follows:
“ALI MANSUR TRANSPORTS EXPLOSIVES AND INFORM ADIL ABOUT THE CF PRESENCE IN THE AREA. ALI IS AN IRAQI POLICEMAN WORKING AT THE IRAQI POLICE STATION IN ALBU TOMA.”
In summary, it appears members of the court-martial panel felt justified in sending an Army officer to prison for two decades for taking out a known Al-Qaeda terrorist.
A clemency hearing for Lieutenant Behenna is set to take place Jan. 7 in Arlington, Va.
*Note: Because the document I obtained is marked “For Official Use Only,” I’m opting not to make it available here in its entirety because some of the information it contains might be valuable to enemies of this country if disclosed.
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To read other BMW posts about Lieutenant Behenna’s case, click here.
To learn more about Lieutenant Behenna’s life before and after he joined the Army, click here to download “The Michael Behenna Story” (26 pgs., PDF) by new BMW contributor Carrie Fatigante.
To learn more about the case and the legal defense fund set up to help defray costs associated with Lt. Behenna’s defense, visit DefendMichael.wordpress.com.