Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham both said Sunday in appearances on “Meet The Press” that they didn’t know there are 1,000 troops in Niger.
News broke recently of four American special operators dying in an ambush in the African nation. Details of their mission are scant, and the Pentagon, while investigating, has been slow to release information.
Graham, a war hawk, was defending the usage of a 2001 Authorization of Military Force to justify the American presence in Niger. American troops are there to support the local fight against Islamist militants.
“I’m arguing that the current authorization as long as it’s related to radical Islam is enough. But here’s — the military determines who the threats are, they come up with the engagement policy and if we don’t like what the military does, we can defund the operation. But I didn’t know there was a thousand troops in Niger,” Graham said.
Later on Meet the Press, Schumer was asked whether he also didn’t know about the extent of the American presence in Niger, and he replied, “No, I did not.”
Unlike Graham, Schumer expressed doubt about the continued usage of the AUMF passed after the 9/11 attacks.
“We’re on an AUMF that extends uh 16 years, from right after we were attacked at the World Trade Center. So I would be for reexamining it,” the top Democratic senator said. “Absolutely. There’s no easy answer, but we should look at it.”
HLN: WHAT WERE WE DOING IN NIGER, WHAT IS OUR GOAL? WHY IS NO ONE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS?