White House response to questions about Dakota Meyer's Medal of Honor narrative

December 14, 2011 

"The President was very proud to present the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Meyer for his extraordinary service in Afghanistan. As the President said that day, "in Sergeant Dakota Meyer we see the best of a generation that has served through a decade of war." — Tommy Vietor, NSC Spokesman

1) What did the White House do to verify the account that the President read?

A: The President's remarks were based on the extensive documentation provided by the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps, including sworn testimony from Sergeant Meyer himself and sworn eye-witness testimonies of others present at the scene. White House staff also personally spoke with Sergeant Meyer.

2) Did the background material rely in any way on the account of the battle in the book "The Wrong War" by Bing West?

A: Our primary resource for the President's remarks was the official documentation provided by the Marine Corps, including sworn testimony from Sergeant Meyer himself and sworn eye-witness testimonies of others present. In addition, we reviewed as many public materials as possible, including West's book, articles by Jonathan Landay at McClatchy, and other news reports. But the primary resource was the package of documentation provided by the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps.

3) What actions is the White House prepared to take in light of these revelations?

None.

4) Did the White House in any way encourage the Marine Corps to expedite the approval of Meyer's medal?

No.

5) Do you have any comment on these findings?

See above.

6) Did the WHMO write the speech for the President?

The citation that is read at the ceremony is prepared by the military service, in this case, the Marine Corps, and the Department of Defense. The citation is reviewed by the White House Military Office and White House Staff and sometimes edited for grammar and style, in close coordination with the service and DOD to ensure that the citation is accurate and consistent with the documentation. The President's remarks are prepared by the President's speechwriting team, based on extensive documentation provided by the service, in this case, the Marine Corps.

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