WASHINGTON – Rep. Dennis Kucinich called on the Defense Department on Tuesday to release the unedited footage of the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch (search) from an Iraqi hospital and to answer questions about her injuries.
"Nothing the administration has said about Private Lynch has been verified by private news reports," Kucinich, D-Ohio (search), said Tuesday. "It's time to find out the truth."
Attention has been drawn to the April 1 rescue since a British Broadcasting Corp. report indicated the dramatics surrounding Lynch's rescue were unnecessary.
Reports of the rescue say the U.S. commandos broke down doors and went in with guns drawn, carrying Lynch out with helicopter and armored vehicle backup, even though there was no Iraqi military presence and the hospital staff didn't resist.
The hospital's staff has said they tried earlier to return Lynch to American troops but the ambulance carrying Lynch was fired on, so the driver sped back to the hospital.
Kucinich, ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations (search), asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter to release unedited footage of the rescue and answer the following questions:
— Did U.S. troops encounter any Iraqi forces in the hospital?
— Were U.S. troops fired upon during the rescue operation?
— Did U.S. troops have information suggesting that Iraqi forces had abandoned the hospital?
— Did Lynch sustain any gunshot or knife wounds?
— Did U.S. officials have information suggesting that hospital staff were trying to deliver Lynch to American forces?
— Did U.S. forces fire at ambulances?
A Defense Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Tuesday that it's unlikely that the full tape of the rescue would be released.
It was unclear whether the additional questions about the rescue would be answered. Pentagon officials have played down suggestions that Lynch's rescue was staged or that details were exaggerated. They have never claimed there was fighting inside the hospital, but have said U.S. troops were fired on outside the hospital.
Kucinich, one of nine Democrats vying for his party's presidential nomination, has been an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war.