Sniper Shoots Back At General Who Said There Was No Intel On Abbey Gate Suicide Bomber

The Marine Corps sniper who claimed to have spotted the likely Abbey Gate suicide bomber shot back at former U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth Frank McKenzie on Thursday for alleging no intelligence was present at the time identifying the attacker.

In March, former Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews testified he spotted an individual who was behaving suspiciously and matched previous intelligence detailing the bomber’s physical appearance, but when he asked permission to shoot, it was denied, according to a transcript. McKenzie, the former commander of U.S. Central Command, told Fox News on Thursday no such intelligence existed.

“How about you be a Marine first. Not a fucking politician,” Vargas-Andrews retorted in a social media statement. (RELATED: Two Years Later, Afghanistan Gold Star Families Feel Abandoned By Biden)

Vargas-Andrews said he, Sgt. Charles Schilling and an unnamed individual spotted the suicide bomber from their perch in the sniper tower, located near the sewage canal and the gate itself, sometime just before 1 p.m. on the day of the blast, the transcript shows. The unnamed individual had previously provided descriptions of the man who Vargas-Andrews believed to be the eventual ISIS-K suicide bomber — clean-shaven, wearing a black vest and traveling with an older companion.

Vargas-Andrews requested permission to engage with the suspect and presented evidence to the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Brad Whited, Vargas-Andrews testified.

“We asked if we could shoot. Our battalion commander said, ‘I don’t know,’” Vargas-Andrews told Congress.

“Eventually this individual disappeared; today we believe he was the suicide bomber. … We were ignored,” he said.

Griffith asked McKenzie whether the statements were true, to which he said “there was no intelligence to support the assertion that we knew what the bomber looked like.”

“First of all I honor his sacrifice and everybody else who got injured or killed as a result of the Abbey Gate attack. But I can tell you there was no ‘be on the lookout’ for a person meeting that description on that day or prior to that day in Afghanistan,” McKenzie told Fox News.

McKenzie said he could not explain why Vargas-Andrews believed he remembered spotting the potential attacker.

“As to McKenzie’s claim that there was no specific intel on the forthcoming attack, I think the statements submitted to the Pentagon by many soldiers and Marines on the ground speak for themselves. Moreover, I don’t think the command at HKIA would have the night shift of the medical units woken up and on standby at 1:30 PM on the 26th if they were dealing with a nonspecific threat,” James Hasson, a former Army captain who co-authored the recently-published book “Kabul,” said in a social media statement.

The unclassified version of the Article 15-6 investigation Central Command performed, involving interviews with 139 people including members of the Marine regiments, does not mention that a person matching the suicide bomber description had been identified. Nor does it include details on any requests for engagement of the potential suspect.

Multiple accounts of the event in the interview logs describe only vague, general threats that could not be tied to specific individuals, the documents show.

“Nearly every Marine interviewed in 2/1 [2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment] was aware of the reported threat, but did not find the information to be out of the ordinary compared to other earlier threats,” the final report stated.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact [email protected].