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Former Rep. Duncan L. Hunter denies role in covering up 2004 friendly fire incident

Former San Diego Congressman Duncan L. Hunter is pushing back on a report that says Marine leaders buried an investigation into an incident his son, Duncan D. Hunter, was involved in during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004.

In April, the NPR Podcast "Taking Cover" revealed for the first time that while serving as an artillery officer in Iraq, former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, Duncan L. Hunter's son, participated in a mortar strike that killed two U.S. Marines and an Iraqi interpreter.

The elder Hunter, who was the chair of the House Armed Services Committee at the time, visited the top Marine in Iraq, Gen. James Conway, just days before Marine leaders signed off on their probe into the incident.


Gen. James Mattis, then the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, recommended no Marines be punished in the incident. Conway agreed.

That investigation was not made public until this year.

Duncan L. Hunter denied discussing the investigation while visiting Iraq in 2004.

"That was 20 years ago," Hunter said, "I don’t remember being briefed on that. Never said a word about the investigation. I did not know it was going on.”

To bolster his assertion he did not participate in a cover-up, Hunter sat for a polygraph test Wednesday and handed paper copies of the results to reporters.


"The question that was asked of me on the lie detector test, 'Have you ever interfered, in any way, with any Marine investigation or the disposition of any friendly fire incident?' No," Hunter said. "Results — answered truthfully."

His son, 1st Lt. Duncan D. Hunter, went on to win his father’s seat in Congress before resigning in disgrace after being convicted of stealing campaign contributions — a crime for which he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.

The younger Hunter was not at his father’s news conference and has not commented publicly on the friendly fire incident.