Thursday February 17, 2011 | 04:54 PM

There was little in the background of an Afghan police officer to suggest he would kill six U.S. soldiers, including Private First Class Buddy McLain of Mexico, Sen. Susan Collins was told today by the nation’s top military officer.

Collins, R-Maine, questioned Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the deadly incident last November near the Pakistani border during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today.
 
Collins wanted to know, according to a statement released by her office, what the U.S. military is doing to “better vet” Afghan military and police personnel to make sure these types of attacks don’t happen.
 
Mullen’s response: the U.S. is working on that but can’t guarantee it won’t happen again.
 
Meanwhile, investigations by the military and the U.S. Government Accountability Office continue into the incident that resulted in the death of McLain and five other U.S. soldiers at an observation point near the Afghan border with Pakistan.
 
“Tragically, these things do occur on occasion,” Mullen said. “While we will do everything we can to eliminate them, I would not sit here and tell you that we will be 100 percent successful.”
 
Still, Mullen also told Collins that, “There wasn't a lot there with respect to his (the Afghan police 
officer) background that would have led him to specifically take that action to kill our six troops.”
 
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, also has called for an investigation.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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