Wicker Says Niger Mission Critical to American Interests

Miss. Senator Tells CNN That U.S. Is Working to ‘Prevent This Area of Africa From Being Terrorist Staging Ground’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today appeared on CNN to discuss the ongoing Niger investigation. Wicker attended a classified briefing conducted by Pentagon officials this morning to learn more about the fight that resulted in the death of four American soldiers.

Key excerpts of Wicker’s interview include:

“Let me just say in a general sense, I think we were right to be there. What we are doing is trying to prevent this area of Africa from becoming another staging ground, another training ground for terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Al Qaeda. If. we want to prevent another 9/11 being staged from a place like Afghanistan, we need to be where we are now in Africa. I think it is an important mission, and we got specific details about this tragedy, but also some overall guidance about where we are in the region.”

“We continue to listen to the top experts in the Pentagon. When they say we need something to get the mission done and prevent terrorism from coming to our shores, we will listen to these generals and give them what they need, and give our troops what they need.”

“Let me also add that I heard on one of the news stations that these particular Americans were not highly trained. I do want to make it clear that is not accurate. These were special operations personnel. They volunteered for the most dangerous type of military action, and they were highly trained. They are all the more honored because they stepped forward into something very, very dangerous.”