OpinionPolitics

Gaetz Report: US Troops Held Hostage in Niger?

Running low on medical supplies - a coverup?

A report by FL Rep Matt Gaetz’ office revealed that around 1,000 US troops are trapped in the country of Niger. The Junta who took over the country in 2023 has blocked any military overflights and cancelled all military accords with the United States. And Gaetz believes that the US is covering up the intelligence to protect themselves from another foreign “embarrassment.”

Before the Coup, Niger was a hub for intelligence with US forces and cooperation with Nigerien forces. The report by Gaetz has rankled the State Department and DoD and they vigorously deny any “coverup.”

“Some diplomatic clearances for military flights have recently been denied or not responded to, which has forced extended deployments in some cases,” Langley added. “While the DoD paused training, engagement activities, and counterterrorism operations with Nigerien armed forces following the coup in July, we greatly value and appreciate the U.S. forces deployed to the region, who continue to enable the DoD to monitor for potential threats throughout the Sahel in order to protect U.S. personnel, assets, and interests, including the welfare of our partners.”

The State Department spokesperson added, “Senior leaders at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy in Niamey continue to work together closely to ensure U.S. forces deployed to Niger have the support and services they need.  We remain in discussions with the Nigerien authorities regarding our military presence in Niger.” Washington Examiner

As Rep Gaetz grilled US military leaders at a House hearing, he was met with little real information about the troops themselves. Though the DOD claims the troops have what they need, Gaetz says those his group has spoken to say the opposite.

Coverup?

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“The U.S. State Department is engaging in a deliberate COVERUP on the conditions of U.S. Forces in Niger, leaving our troops in harm’s way.  My office has conducted an investigation into this coverup, and we have learned that our troops in Niger have been pleading for help. They’ve sent intelligence reports stating that they rarely get safe water. They can’t get diplomatic overflights to receive medicine, fresh troop rotations, or even basic supplies. They have no mission. And the local authorities are becoming increasingly hostile. The current government of Niger has called the U.S. presence in the country “illegal.” Why have you not heard these pleas? Because the U.S. Embassy in Niger has been BLOCKING the intelligence. This coverup exists to conceal the humiliating failures of the Biden Administration in Niger, throughout Africa, and around the world. I fear, as we speak, the conditions may be forming to create another Benghazi-style attack…”

“Right now in Niger, the government has stopped the U.S. from doing diplomatic overflight missions. We have Army soldiers in Niger who aren’t getting their troop rotations, their medicine, or even their basic supplies. I currently have constituents there who can’t even get clean water! And the U.S. embassy in Niger is COVERING IT UP because of the State Department and Secretary Blinken’s embarrassing mission FAILURE! We should never sacrifice the well-being of our service members to avoid political humiliation. I am demanding the Army get these soldiers the help that they need immediately!” Rep Matt Gaetz

His investigation gave rise to the speculation that the situation in Niger could escalate to something similar to Benghazi. In an increasingly hostile environment without diplomatic overflights, anything can happen. Will the Biden administration do anything, or will they leave the US troops without the right resources? Rep. Matt Gaetz would like to know.

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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