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Tribe Seeks Apology for Code Name (May 04, 2011)

The leader of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe is looking for a formal apology from President Barack Obama for the government's use of the code name "Geronimo" for Osama bin Laden.

Tribal Chairman Jeff Houser asked for the apology in a letter sent Tuesday to the president.

The letter was posted Wednesday morning on the tribe's website, and the tribe's administration confirmed it was from Houser.

Houser writes that his tribe was ecstatic to learn about bin Laden's death but those feelings were tempered when members learned that the code word used in the operation to kill the terrorist was the name of one of the Oklahoma tribe's legendary warriors.

Houser says equating Geronimo or any other Native American figure with a "mass murderer and cowardly terrorist" is painful and offensive.

The White House referred questions on the matter to the U.S. Defense Department, which said no disrespect was meant to Native Americans.

The department said code names typically are chosen randomly and allow those working on the mission to communicate without divulging any information to adversaries.

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