EXCLUSIVE: Army to Punish Officers in Tillman Case

ABC News has learned seven Army officers face career-ending punishment.

ByABC News
July 26, 2007, 11:05 AM

July 26, 2007 — -- ABC News has learned that seven Army officers will receive career-ending administrative punishments for mishandling the Pat Tillman case. The Army has decided not to punish three other officers who had been accused of wrongdoing by the Pentagon inspector general.

None of the officers will face criminal charges.

The most severe punishment is planned for Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger. Kensinger is accused of misleading investigators about when he knew the truth about circumstances surrounding Tillman's death.

Senior defense officials tell ABC that Army Secretary Pete Geren is likely to recommend that Defense Secretary Robert Gates strip Kensinger, a three-star general, of his stars, a move that would reduce Kensinger's pension by approximately $1,000 a month.

Army officials would not confirm the punishments and cautioned that nothing had been finalized.

"No final decisions has been made, but those things are being considered," Army spokesman Col. Dan Baggio told ABC News. Baggio added, "It would be inappropriate for the Army to make any announcements prior to family and congressional notification, which is going to happen next week."

Tillman, a former NFL star, turned down a lucrative football contract to join the military following the September 11th attacks.

He told NFL films after the attacks: "I play football. It just seems so unimportant compared to everything that has taken place."

The Bush administration touted him as an American hero. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

For five weeks after Tillman's death, military officials claimed he had been killed in a firefight with the Taliban, posthumously awarding him the Silver Star.

Defense officials tell ABC News the Army has decided not to punish Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a highly regarded Green Beret who heads up the special operations unit leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden.