The four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger last October were trying to capture or kill a senior ISIS terrorist, but the two officers in charge of their 12-man unit misled their higher-ups by reporting they were going on a far less risky mission, according to two U.S. officials and a congressional official familiar with the classified investigation of the deadly ambush.
The three officials say that the investigation, which will be briefed to Congress this week, found that both men believed they had the authority to carry out a capture or kill mission against a high-value target even if they had filed paperwork for a less risky operation — because other officers in the area had previously bypassed the same basic military procedures.
The 12-man Special Operations Task Force left Niamey, the capital of Niger, on Oct. 3, 2017, intending to track down Doundou Chefou, code name Naylor Road, leader of an ISIS affiliate called the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. Accompanied by 30 Nigerien troops, the U.S. team headed for an area near the Mali border.
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