Marine officials in Iraq helped cover up evidence of a crime.
The findings have not officially been made public yet, but U.S. military officials speaking on condition of anonymity told NBC News that the investigation found a number of Marines allegedly filed false reports claiming the civilians were victims of a roadside bomb by militants.
The probe also found higher officers allegedly ignored evidence that there may have been criminal activity in the case, the officials said.
CBS said the report cites several “red flags” that officers should have noticed showing the civilians did not die from a roadside bomb, among them:
- A Marine intelligence team took photos of the bodies that show the civilians were killed by gunshots, not by shrapnel from a bomb.
- Marines delivered the bodies to a local morgue, where death certificates listed the cause of death as gunshot wounds.
- A Marine officer distributed $38,000 in compensation payments to the victim's families.
The question is, was it done knowingly or incompetently?
“What some of these people did wrong is certainly not illegal or criminal, but administratively their actions are something that Gen. Chiarelli wants to look at,” the official said.
If it was done knowingly to cover up evidence of a crime, how could it not be illegal or criminal? Time will tell.