After reading my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, an English friend of mine thought I would be interested in a news item that appeared in the Daily Mail earlier this week — and he was right! Below are the three primary elements of the article:
The families of British soldiers killed in battle have won a landmark legal victory that gives them the right to sue the Ministry of Defence;
The Supreme Court ruled that relatives of four servicemen who died in Iraq could seek compensation for negligence and breach of human rights; and
The UK’s highest court said the Government owed a duty of care to properly equip and train troops sent to war.
As British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond state later in the piece, the repercussions of this ruling could make it “more difficult for troops to carry out operations.” At the same time, however, they should force top British government officials to “go the extra mile” to ensure their nation’s warfighters have the best equipment and training before they’re deployed to combat zones.
I believe the same would hold true in the United States.
Thanks to misguided decisions made by top U.S. Department of Defense officials, American military and intelligence professionals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere have been prevented from using the best equipment available when it comes to credibility assessment technology. Instead, they’ve been limited to using only DoD-approved credibility assessment technologies (i.e., the polygraph and its portable polygraph cousin, the Portable Credibility Assessment Screening System). Yes, this is the same polygraph technology touted by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. that’s been so effective (NOT!) at detecting people like Edward Snowden before they share classified information with the world.
Since the 2008 deployment of the portable polygraph — often referred to by the acronym, PCASS — to Afghanistan and Iraq, DoD officials have been very reluctant to talk about its successes and/or to share unclassified contract-related information like that I requested via the Freedom of Information Act more than a year ago.
In fact, DoD officials have only mentioned PCASS in public one time since the 2008 announcement about its deployment. That event took place more than five years later and, coincidentally or not, only two weeks after the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO.
Published on the Facebook page of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan May 14, a status update touted PCASS as a “key component” against “insider threats.” Without explanation, the posting was removed, and the world hasn’t heard a peep about PCASS since then. Why?
Perhaps because news surfaced about a spike in “Insider Attacks” (i.e., attacks against Americans by Afghans wearing the uniforms of their country’s military, police and security agencies) that followed the deployment of PCASS to Afghanistan.
Interviewed during the four-year investigation upon which THE CLAPPER MEMO is based, members of the U.S. Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets and others seemed to have the real answer to that question: They told me the polygraph devices don’t work well as well as one non-polygraph one when it comes to interrogating enemy combatants, other detainees and third-country nationals seeking employment at U.S. bases overseas.
To learn more about the non-polygraph tool and why it’s being kept out of the hands of U.S. warfighters, read THE CLAPPER MEMO. Already endorsed by several prominent Americans, it’s available in paperback and ebook versions.
UPDATE 8/25/2013 at 11:35 a.m. Central: “What a difference a year makes!” — Aunt of Fallen Marine Ready to Sue Department of Defense.