A senior military official tells me that a very preliminary investigation into the killing of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in Northern Afghanistan found that a U.S. Navy SEAL tossed a fragmentation grenade into the compound where Norgrove was being held, thinking it was a smoke grenade.
His team had entered the outer ring of the compound moments earlier.
The results of this first wash-down, conducted by the chief of staff of the U.S. Special Operations Command and its equivalent in Britain, have just begun to make its way up the chain of command. The SEAL, who sources would not identify, belonged to a detachment of that was the closest trained hostage rescue force to the compound. The U.S. and Britain had received intelligence indicating that Norgrove's captors intended to transfer the hostages across the border into Pakistan, or even kill them. The decision to mount a raid was jointly approved by the U.S. and Britain, according to the Guardian, which first reported the investigation's findings. A formal investigation has yet to begin.
The SEAL team, part of the Joint Special Operations Command, reports directly to CENTCOM commanding general James Mattis. JSOC's commander, Vice Admiral William McRaven, declined to comment today, citing the continuing investigation.