Why Can’t Elected Officials Force DIA to Comply With the Law?

I stand amazed at how much the responses I’ve received from Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Claire McCaskill and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner have varied since Jan. 13 when I contacted the offices of these people who purport to represent me and my fellow citizens in the Show-Me State in the U.S. Congress and asked for help in dealing with officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Ann Wagner FB Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 8.22.07 AM

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Congresswoman Wagner’s staff has been most responsive.  In fact, I received a phone call the same day I sent her both an email message and a message via Facebook.  Since then, I’ve exchanged multiple email messages with members of her staff.

Sadly, the congresswoman’s staffers have, so far, been able to generate only a cursory reply letter (dated Feb. 28 and received March 3) from James L. Kaplan, DIA’s Chief of Congressional Relations.

Senator Blunt’s staffers, on the other hand, have been a bit less responsive than Congresswoman Wagner’s, but not the worst among the Missouri delegation.  My correspondence with them began when I used the senator’s online communication tool to submit the following message:

Eighteen months ago, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Defense Intelligence Agency.  In it, I requested copies of unclassified documents related to polygraph contracts.  To date, I have been thoroughly stonewalled.  Now, I need Senator Blunt’s help to find out why.

Beyond that, I included a link to an article in which I had outlined my experience to date with the DIA.  Senator Blunt’s staffers responded — via snail mail letter dated Feb. 12, not the much-quicker email — by sending me a Privacy Act Release Statement which I had to complete and return by snail mail.

Blunt-Blunt-McCaskill-LtrsIn an auto-signed letter dated March 11 and received a few days later, Senator Blunt informed me that he made contact with DIA officials and that they had responded to his inquiry.  Attached to it was a letter from Kaplan that was virtually identical to the one Congresswoman Wagner had received from Kaplan 11 days earlier.

639 Days (so far)

Click on image above to read about my DIA FOIA saga.

Dragging up the rear in this race to serve their constituent are members of Senator McCaskill’s staff.  Despite the fact I had reached out to “Claire Bear” on the same day and in the exact same manner as I had Senator Blunt, it took her staff 92 days — or 34 days longer — to reply with a letter (dated April 9) almost identical to the initial reply received from her Republican counterpart.

So, what is all of the fuss about?  As of today, I’ve waited exactly 21 months for DIA officials to comply with requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and fulfill my request for copies of unclassified documents related to Department of Defense purchases of polygraph equipment since Jan. 1, 2000.

And why have DIA officials worked so hard to keep this information out of my hands? Read my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, and you’ll begin to understand their reluctance.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

DIA Continues to Stonewall Freedom of Information Act Request — 639 Days (So Far)

Unless something unexpected happens during the next two days, a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency will turn 639 days old Wednesday, and a citizen’s access to unclassified details about government purchases of polygraph machines will continue to be squelched.

James R. Clapper Jr.

James R. Clapper Jr.

I don’t expect a response sooner than Friday since DIA officials will be in Tampa until Thursday, attending GEOINT, the nation’s largest intelligence gathering that was originally set to take place six months ago but was postponed due to the government shutdown. Truth be told, I don’t anticipate a response at all after almost two years of waiting. DIA officials don’t want to make their top boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., look any worse than he already does after lying to Congress and allowing things like the Edward Snowden scandal to occur on his watch. But I can dream, can’t I?

What unclassified information do I want so badly that DIA officials do not want me to have? It’s described below as it appeared in my FOIA request July 16, 2012:

“…copies of any and all initial and follow-up contracts (i.e., solicitations, contracts, statements of work and task orders) related to the Portable Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) or Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) that have been awarded by any Department of Defense agency to Lafayette Instrument Company of Lafayette, Indiana, and any other contractors, academic institutions, laboratories and subcontractors from January 1, 2000, to present.”

Don’t get me wrong. DIA officials did respond to my initial request. In a piece May 24, 2013, I described how their response fell far short of expectations by providing only 12 pages of documentation dating back only as far as June 25, 2010 — not Jan. 1, 2000, as requested — and how, coincidentally or not, the agency’s response arrived one week after the release of my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, for which I was seeking the information. In addition, I highlighted a portion (below) of the appeal letter I mailed the same day:

PolygraphIn responding to my request, you included only 12 pages of documentation dating back as far as June 25, 2010. That, by any stretch of the imagination, is UNSATISFACTORY; therefore, I must contest the $155.80 assessment for “professional search and review time of 3.5 hours at $44.00 per hour, reproduction and release costs of 12 pages at 15¢ per page.” Until such time as a genuine effort is made on behalf of your agency to provide the requested documentation, I shall not remit payment as requested.

In a letter dated Feb. 28 and received March 3, DIA Chief of Congressional Relations James L. Kaplan even had the nerve to stonewall my Congressional representative, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner.

While I could wax poetic about my frustration related to this stonewalling, I won’t. Instead, I’ll point you to my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, and recommend you read it if you truly want to understand why I’m so interested in the documents being withheld from me and why so many high-profile people have endorsed my book.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Author Needs Honest Answers From Speakers at Nation’s Largest Intelligence Gathering

Originally scheduled to take place six months ago but postponed due to the government shutdown, GEOINT 2013* Symposium is now set for April 14-17 in Tampa, Fla.  Touted as the largest intelligence event in the U.S., according to a news release issued by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, this event stands as a target-rich environment for someone like me who needs some honest answers from a handful of the event’s keynote speakers.

GeoInt_2013Atop the list of speakers from whom I’d like answers is Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., the man whose name appears in the title of my second and most-recent nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  I’d like to ask DNI Clapper why, as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence seven years ago, he issued a memo declaring the polygraph the only authorized credibility assessment tool for use by Department of Defense personnel when a newer, more reliable and more effective credibility assessment technology was — and still is — available to U.S. military and intelligence personnel.

Second on my list is Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn. I’d like to ask the Army three-star general why I’ve had to wait 632 days (so far) for DIA officials to fulfill my Freedom of Information Act request for unclassified information related to DoD purchases of portable polygraph equipment during the past 12 years.  Specifically, I asked for the following information in my request July 16, 2012:

“…copies of any and all initial and follow-up contracts (i.e., solicitations, contracts, statements of work and task orders) related to the Portable Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) or Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) that have been awarded by any Department of Defense Agency to Lafayette Instrument Company of Lafayette, Indiana, and any other contractors, academic institutions, laboratories and subcontractors from January 1, 2000, to present.”

Unfortunately, DIA’s only fulfillment to date, a mail parcel that I received May 9, 2013, fell far short of expectations.  It contained only 12 pages of documentation dating back only as far as June 25, 2010 — not to Jan. 1, 2000, as requested.  Coincidentally, the date that appeared atop the letter, May 2, 2013, was the exact day THE CLAPPER MEMO, the book for which I was seeking the information, was released.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Of course, there are others on the list of keynoters with whom I’d like to speak.

I’d like to ask three flag officers — Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command, Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and Lt. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo, Director for Defense Intelligence for Warfighter Support in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence how they can look in the mirror each day while knowing a tool proven more effective and reliable than the century-old polygraph is being kept out of the hands of their front-line warriors.

U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-Md)

U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md)

Finally, I’d like to ask Maryland Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger why he, as Ranking Member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, hasn’t shown more interest in this topic.  He was, after all, among the several dozen members of Congress who received copies of my book in which I point fingers and name names.

Based on the findings of my exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received rave reviews from people who know what it’s like to have a “dog in the fight.”

To learn more about the book, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com.  To order a copy, click here or on the graphic below.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Newspaper Reporter Reveals How He ‘Beat’ Polygraph Exam

Over the weekend, I came across an article that speaks volumes about the implications of the federal government’s continued reliance on century-old polygraph technology instead of a challenger proven more effective during more than four decades of use. In two short paragraphs, it reveals how news reporter John Funk “beat” a polygraph machine without training in the use of countermeasures:

PolygraphFrom the moment the test began, I started visualizing the number four — not six — written on the the paper under my leg.

When he got to four, I flexed my biceps and intentionally made my breathing shallow. At six, I made a conscious effort to relax as much as possible.

It’s a good thing he didn’t go into more detail about how he defeated the machine; that could have gotten him arrested. But I digress.

If reporter John Funk was able to beat the polygraph with ZERO training, is it so surprising that Edward Snowden was able to pass two polygraphs and gain access to America’s most precious secrets? Hardly!

And how many more Snowdens are lurking among the millions of people who hold U.S. Government security clearances? Plenty!

Click image above to read article.

Click image above to read article.

Less than a week ago, Department of Defense leaders vowed to overhaul the personnel screening process. Sadly, they made no mention of moving away from the polygraph to the non-polygraph technology that’s been proven more effective.

If you want to read up-close accounts of how the non-polygraph technology has been used in places like Guantanamo Bay and Baghdad and by law enforcement professionals at more than 1,800 state and local agencies across the United States, read my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Based on the findings of my exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received rave reviews from people who know what it’s like to have a “dog in the fight.” a

To learn more about it, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com. To order a copy of the book, click here or on the graphic below.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Top Intelligence Community Lawyer Made Me Laugh

I laughed today after reading a Secrecy News post in which appeared the following words, said to have been spoken five days ago by Robert Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

Robert Litt, ODNI General Counsel

Robert Litt, ODNI General Counsel

“There is no question that overclassification of information is a genuine problem.”

I found Litt’s words especially humorous in light of the fact that (1) he uttered them at a Freedom of Information Day program at American University Washington College of Law and (2) I’ve waited 616 days, so far, for officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency to fulfill my Freedom of Information Act request for copies of unclassified contract documents related to Pentagon polygraph equipment purchases dating back to Jan. 1, 2000, and continuing through July 16, 2012, the day I filed the FOIA request.

I understand Litt doesn’t work for DIA, but the three-letter intelligence agency is one of 17 such agencies that full under the purview of Litt’s boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.; therefore, I have to believe Litt and Clapper might wield some influence over DIA officials who have turned FOIA stonewalling into something of an art form.

DNI James R. Clapper Jr.

DNI James R. Clapper Jr.

In related news, officials at George Washington University’s National Security Archive named DNI Clapper the 2013 recipient of the Rosemary Award. Named for President Richard M. Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, whose spectacular stretch allegedly erased 18 1/2 minutes of a Watergate tape, the (dis)honor recognizes the worst open-government performance by a government officials.

If you’re curious as to why DIA officials might not want to fulfill my FOIA request, you’ll be able to hazard a pretty good guess after reading my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

To learn more about it, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com. To order a copy of the book, click here or on the graphic below.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Federal Agencies Seem to Lack Transparency When It Comes to Freedom of Information Act

If you think my Freedom of Information Act experience — you know, the one during which I’ve waited 612 days (so far) for Defense Intelligence Agency officials to fulfill my request for unclassified information — is unique, think again. In reality, federal government agencies seem to lack transparency when it comes to fulfilling FOIA requests.

FOIA 600 Days

Click image above to read more about Bob’s DIA FOIA request.

While visiting the website of former CBS News reporter Sharyl Atkisson Wednesday evening, I came across a link to a Jan. 9 article on the NBCWashington.com. There, I read about how a Navy FOIA officer had mistakenly sent to a reporter a memo in which he detailed a strategy via which the reporter’s FOIA requests for documents related to the DC Navy Yard Shootings could be rejected or, at a minimum, stymied.

After reading the article and the memo, I can’t help but wonder if similar communications were exchanged between DIA officials seeking to reject or stymie my FOIA request for copies of contract documents related to the federal government’s purchases of polygraph equipment since Jan. 1, 2000.

To learn more about the subject matter for which I was seeking information via FOIA, order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. It comes highly recommended.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

REPORT: DoD to Overhaul Personnel Screening Process

One need only read a single paragraph from a Washington Post article published Tuesday evening to understand what I reveal in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO:

Click image above to order.

Click image above to order.

The Department of Defense is likely to reduce the number of employees who hold security clearances by at least 10 percent and has vowed to overhaul the way it screens personnel, officials said Tuesday, as they released the results of several probes into the Sept. 16 mass shooting at the Navy Yard.

In other words, the vetting process used by federal government agencies to screen individuals under consideration for employment and/or security clearances is flawed, and the business-as-usual approach to national security no longer works.  Now, the powers that be in Washington, D.C., claim they’re going to do something to fix it.  Not holding my breath.

I’ve been shouting this from the mountain top for almost four years, and finally put the facts into a simple format anyone — even folks in the nation’s capitol — can read and understand: THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Learn more about what one former Navy SEALs training program commander calls “an unconscionable cover-up.” Order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.