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Gaetz Report Highlights Risk to US Troops in Niger

Representative Matt Gaetz (Credits: Vanity Fair)

According to the Daily Caller, Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida revealed a report on Thursday alleging that the State Department has been concealing critical intelligence that poses risks to American troops stationed in Niger.

The report, titled “Unwelcome in Niger: An Interim Report by Congressman Matt Gaetz on the American Troop Crisis in Niger,” includes testimonies from multiple service members, including senior enlisted personnel, who claim they have been abandoned without adequate support.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Credits: Axios)

Gaetz asserted in the report that since Niger’s government underwent a change in mid-2023, the Department of Defense has faced challenges in executing troop rotations and delivering essential supplies. He accused the Biden administration of suppressing intelligence reports to avoid embarrassment.

Despite escalating tensions, Niger’s junta spokesman announced a cessation of military cooperation with the U.S. in March, labeling recent U.S. flights over the region as illegal. However, subsequent reports suggested ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Nigerien authorities to maintain troop presence.

Gaetz’s report accuses U.S. Embassy officials of covering up failures within the country, alleging instances of altering report content to downplay critical events and dismissing intelligence assessments from agencies like the Office of Special Investigations and Special Operation Command Africa.

Matt Gaetz (Credits: NPR)

Service members mentioned in the report expressed concerns over dwindling medical and hygiene supplies, including shortages of malaria medication and other drugs. Gaetz disclosed that he has sent inquiries to various governmental bodies and foreign embassies seeking clarity on the situation.

Gaetz warned of a potentially catastrophic diplomatic collapse, drawing parallels to the 2012 Benghazi attack, given the current political indecision at the top levels of the State Department and Department of Defense.

Niger typically hosts around 1,000 U.S. troops and operates a $110 million air base used for controlling drone operations against Islamist militant groups in the region, as reported by The Washington Post.

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