Geraldo Of Arabia: Tora Bora To Trump
by Geraldo Rivera | May 24, 2016
This is an open letter to former Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan USMC (ret.); former Editor, Baltimore Sun William Marimow, and to former Sun television writer David Folkenflik.
Subject: Urgent: Lost Tapes Found
You three played a crucial role in a controversy that has haunted me for the last 14 years. Essentially, by your words and actions, you accused me of fraudulent misrepresentation concerning a report I filed from the Battle of Tora Bora Afghanistan on 5-6 December 2001.
In brief, I reported witnessing the terrible aftermath of a deadly incident of friendly fire in Tora Bora. In fact, the incident of friendly fire that was being widely reported at the time happened in Kandahar, 300 miles away from my location. When I protested that it was an innocent mistake attributed to the “fog of war,” you countered that I could not have been confused because there was no incident of friendly fire at my location, Tora Bora, until four days later, on 9 December 2001.
Aside from providing documentary evidence to the contrary over the last 14 years, in vetting the final draft of the manuscript for my war memoir referenced above, we uncovered the raw tapes in storage from Tora Bora from 5-6 December 2001.
Those tapes belie reporter Folkenflik’s destructive characterization of my work. More substantively, they also disprove then Pentagon spokesman Lt. Colonel Lapan’s statement that there were no incidents of friendly fire until 9 December 2001 in Tora Bora.
Obviously in the heat of combat Pentagon statements on friendly fire have been wrong before, at least until corrected by the facts. The tragic bombing of the Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan in October 2015 is the latest example.
I herein offer you the facts of what I saw and reported. In your defense, we did not present these tapes to you when we visited the Sun offices on 15 May 2002 in the vain attempt to prove to you that I made an honest error. What we presented to you that day 14 years ago was what we aired on Fox News. The following on camera statements were never aired.
Obviously, since I present them to prove my statement that I witnessed the immediate aftermath of an incident of friendly fire in Tora Bora on 5-6 December, the fact they never aired is irrelevant.
Since we had two cameras rolling, the incident is captured on both the camera operated by Greg Hart, and a second camera operated by Craig Rivera.
Late on 5 December local time, as the tapes which we have now recovered and which are available for viewing show, I reported on both cameras as we walked across a battlefield in No Man’s Land:
(51:25 in on HART #16 tape)
(12:18 in on CRAIG #22 tape)
“That smoke over the rise is from our airstrikes, you can tell that these guys are a little edgy about getting on the other side of this thing (indicating the nearby ridge. A bomb hits nearby as I speak, the explosion is caught on tape) they don’t want another repetition of friendly fire, the forces are so fluid, they are moving so quickly it is almost impossible I would imagine for U.S. Central Command to know exactly where the good guys are. They are moving. They are sweeping".
Early on 6 December local time (and before the appearances that doomed me to a decade and a half of ridicule), I report the following graphic scene on both cameras:
(22:14 in on HART #17 tape)
(47:58 in on CRAIG #22 tape)
GR: "This devastated moonscape here is where at least one incident involving friendly fire happened. There are the bits and pieces of mujahedeen uniforms, even body parts. It’s obvious that some American bombs were dropped here, inadvertently. I told you how fast the mujahedeen were advancing. The intelligence back at the Central Command simply could not keep up with it. This is the result, a tragic accident of war; a warrior’s worst nightmare, death by friendly fire.”
The shards of body parts and the shreds of clothing are clearly visible in the huge bomb craters. Then, on tape, I said the prayer the reporting of which I was widely mocked as being fraudulent.
(48:49 in on CRAIG #22 tape)
GR: "Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us thy trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the power and glory forever, Amen".
It is on tape. Then I do another on camera, which says,
(57:55 in on CRAIG #22 tape)
GR: "So the butchers bill is in for today’s fighting, 3 mujahedeen fighters killed, 2 wounded, but they ended up killing 9, they killed 9 of their enemies, al Qaeda. Now they have come down off of the mountain. They have called in airstrikes to get rid of some of the Rats Nest up there, so they have come down off of the mountain to avoid any of those terrible friendly fire incidents. So from Tora Bora, the Rats Nest itself, and the battle raging around it, I’m Geraldo Rivera, Fox News".
It is on tape. We are ready, willing and able to show the original field tapes to anyone you suggest. If you would like to designate someone, including a forensic expert, to come to Fox News to screen these tapes please so indicate as soon as possible. I want you to admit what these tapes prove, that you made an honest mistake in portraying me as dishonest.
Here are the links to view the tapes.