Guantanamo Bay No Stranger to Conflict and Controversy

The Washington Post published a piece today about the alleged existence of a secret CIA facility where, according to unnamed current and former U.S. officials, the three-letter spy agency turned some Guantanamo Bay detainees into double agents before sending them home to help the U.S. kill terrorists.  Though I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of the Post report, I can say with certainty that unusual things have taken place on the grounds of the U.S. Navy’s facility on Cuba.

U.S. Navy guards escort a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  (U.S. Army 1st Lt. Sarah Cleveland)

U.S. Navy guards escort a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (U.S. Army 1st Lt. Sarah Cleveland)

Some of those unusual things are described in detail in the excerpt from Chapter Nine of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, that excerpt appears below:

Based largely on the promising results it had delivered to date, the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer® began attracting attention from people on both sides of the turf war. One of those people was Stephen A. Cambone.

Not only did Cambone fit Green Beret Joe’s description of a bureaucrat more willing to rely upon lab studies than operational research, but he was, according to a report by Jeffrey St. Clair, a man “so hated and feared inside the Pentagon that one general told the Army Times: ‘If I had one round left in my revolver, I’d take out Stephen Cambone.’”

Cambone had been appointed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in March 2003 to serve as the nation’s first Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

Though I had no way of knowing whether Cambone was, indeed, “so hated and feared,” my research yielded evidence that he seemed to keep himself apprised of CVSA® successes at GITMO and the threat the voice-stress technology poses to polygraph loyalists.

Barely halfway through the first year of the National Institute for Truth Verification’s two-year CVSA® contract at GITMO, Cambone issued an “Interim Department of Defense Policy for ‘Truth’ Credibility Assessment,” a document I hereafter refer to as “The Cambone Memo.”

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13Dated June 8, 2004, and addressed to the Secretaries and Inspectors General of the military departments as well as the Directors of defense agencies and DoD field activities, The Cambone Memo contained clear guidance.

“Several of your organizations have asked about the technologies that are authorized in the Department of Defense (DoD) for detecting truthfulness or deception,” Cambone wrote. “The polygraph is the only DoD credibility assessment instrument approved for use to determine ‘statement veracity.’ This policy is contained in DoD Directive 5210.48. That document is being revised and will include additional guidance on this subject.

“My staff will expand and accelerate research for improved means of credibility assessment, including technologies beyond that of polygraph,” he continued. “However, until the accuracy of such technologies is supported by validated independent research, field vetting and lessons learned, the polygraph will remain the sole instrument for eliciting statement veracity.

“Users of ‘truth’ Credibility Assessment instrumentation (other than polygraph) already fielded or employed shall by July 30, 2004, provide the Counterintelligence Field Activity with a written assessment reflecting instrument type and numbers, how such instruments were used, overall utility, validating factors, lessons learned, limitations, and depictions of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ irrespective of circumstance or context. This data will assist in the validation and approval of future technology.”

Perhaps due to the fact Cambone was a new person in a new position, his memo didn’t deliver the desired effect. Interrogators were still using CVSA® at GITMO. As a result, he was forced to send a team to the detention facility — ostensibly to “assess” the situation on island — less than five months after issuing the memo.

Dr.    John    Capps, a senior official at CIFA, then the parent organization of Polygraph Headquarters, headed the team sent to the island. Coincidentally (or not), Dr. Capps is also the brother of Michael H. Capps, former director at Polygraph Headquarters and former American Polygraph Association president.

Also on the team were three other gentlemen:  Andrew H. Ryan Jr., Ph.D., a polygraph loyalist described earlier in this book; John C. Brown, Ph.D.; and Donnie Dutton. Each brought unique contributions to the effort.

Dr. Brown brought polygraph-related crisis management experience to the team. It was during his watch as director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1998 that Wen Ho Lee, one of Brown’s computer scientists at the New Mexico facility, found himself facing 59 charges — 58 of which were later dropped — after the FBI alleged he had failed a polygraph.

Rounding out the team was Dutton, a Polygraph Headquarters staffer who would go on to serve as APA president during the 2007-2008 term.

Following the team’s visit to GITMO October 18-21, 2004, several events took place: “Ronald,” the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief interrogator at GITMO, was reassigned to DIA Headquarters in Virginia; DIA’s contract with NITV was canceled; NITV’s expert was ordered to leave the island; and the use of CVSA® at GITMO ended.

While the excerpt above highlights one of the battles polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology have fought during a turf war that has been raging silently for more than 40 years, there have been many other battles — and memos.  To read about them, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, a book that comes with several high-profile endorsements.

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.

Did Edward Snowden’s 2011 Background Check Include Polygraph Exam?

Today, seven weeks after I claimed polygraph exams should have caught Edward Snowden, I came to realize I might have been wrong.  Why?  Because it appears he might not have taken one as part of his 2011 background check.

Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Ames

“As far as I’m concerned,” I explained June 18, “the 29-year-old deserves a special place in history, positioned alongside notorious spies — including John Anthony Walker Jr., Jonathan Jay Pollard and Ana Belen Montes — who were able to defeat both the polygraph and the best efforts of their government.”  Note: I could have added convicted CIA spy Aldrich Ames (right) to the list as well, but you get the point.

This post-publication realization of mine came to fruition after I had read two separate articles — one in Government Executive and the other at — which had cited a third article in The Wall Street Journal as their primary source of details about an investigation into the background check conducted on former National Security Agency contractor Snowden.

Because I won’t pay to read articles behind the Journal’s pay wall, I am forced to rely upon the two secondhand articles for key details; hence, my use of the word, might, in the first paragraph above and the slightly-convoluted language in the paragraphs below for which I beg your apologies in advance.

Both non-Journal articles reported that National Counterintelligence Executive Frank Montoya led the investigation into the 2011 background check of Snowden.  Likewise, both reported that US Investigative Services, a government contractor, conducted the background check of Snowden.  In addition, both listed several failures on the part of USIS related to the background check.  Note:  I’ll let you look at the articles if you’re interested in those other failures, because I want to move on to the important stuff.

Nowhere, however, was it reported in either of the non-Journal articles that the Journal article had mentioned any details about the Montoya report mentioning Snowden had been subjected to a polygraph examination(s) as part of the USIS-conducted background investigation.  Why?

It was the polygraph, after all, that was at the center of a June 2012 announcement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., the nation’s top intelligence official.  Clapper said he would implement tough new measures aimed at stemming the spate of unauthorized disclosures of national security information that had dogged the 17-agency Intelligence Community during his watch. In short, those measured consisted of adding more questions during polygraph exams of existing and and prospective employees.

Again, why wasn’t Snowden’s polygraph exam(s) mentioned?

While that question hangs in the air for a moment, consider the words of a retired counterintelligence expert/friend of mine who is familiar with the background investigation process.  When I shared news about the Journal‘s reporting on the Montoya report with this man, whose name I cannot share his name for reasons of his personal security, he offered some feedback which included the comments below:

I think the real problem is that the system is broken, and they are using USIS as a scapegoat — although I am sure they are partially to blame.  The real question still remains how did Snowden pass a polygraph for both the CIA and NSA… and why isn’t anyone asking this question.  The people who would normally ask this question are scared out of their wits due to the ongoing polygraph countermeasures investigations by federal agencies.  So I guess mum is the word.

Am I surprised to learn an expert thinks “the system is broken” when it comes to conducting background checks?  Hardly.

During the exhaustive four-year investigation that preceded the release of my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I discovered several areas inside the federal government that are broken and need to be fixed.

To learn more about what I uncovered, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.  It’s available in paperback and ebook versions.

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’ Reliance on Polygraph Deserves Fresh Look

In several articles during the past 14 months, I’ve shared details about high-profile Americans critical of the federal government’s long reliance upon the polygraph. On the heels of recent news about federal agents targeting individuals who teach others about inherent flaws in the polygraph, I felt obligated to share another from 15 years ago.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas

“To this day, the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques,” wrote U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion of the 1998 case, U.S. v. Scheffer, adding later, “[T]here is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner’s conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams.”

Today, the U.S. Government — and, in particular, officials inside the nation’s 17-agency Intelligence Community led by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. — continues to rely upon the polygraph as a key component in its efforts to safeguard national security.

Almost 13 months ago, I used a headline to describe the situation more succinctly:  Clapper Puts National Security “Eggs” in Basket Full of Holes.  Several important criticisms of the polygraph — including the two below — appeared in the “Eggs” article:

On March 8, 1994, The New York Times published Ronald Kessler’s article, Spies, Lies, Averted Eyes, in which he reported on a then-current CIA director’s stance toward the polygraph:

Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Ames

The day after the arrest of the accused spy Aldrich H. Ames was announced, the Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey, met with several hundred C.I.A. employees in the agency’s auditorium at Langley, Va. After recounting what employees already knew from the news media, Mr. Woolsey — whose address was seen on closed-circuit television by every C.I.A. employee — spent five minutes explaining why he himself had refused to take a polygraph test, as other recent directors had done. Besides the fact that political appointees are not required to take such tests, Mr. Woolsey said he remained “skeptical” about the polygraph’s effectiveness.

On Dec. 10, 1995, the Times published another article — this one written by Tim Weiner — in which former CIA Director John Deutch was quoted as saying his agency’s “reliance on the polygraph is truly insane.”

Considering the statements above as well as the polygraph’s many failures, especially during the past decade, I think it’s time for high-ranking government officials to take a fresh look at why the U.S. Government continue to rely upon the polygraph.

Never-before-published information those officials should consider as they take that fresh look can be found inside the pages of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Available in paperback and ebook, THE CLAPPER MEMO has been endorsed by several high-profile individuals.


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.

LOOSE LIPS? CIA Employees, Polygraph Exams and Benghazi

CNN’s Jake Tapper reports CIA officials are using polygraph exams — in some cases as often as monthly — in an attempt to find out if any agency operatives have shared knowledge about what took place Sept. 11, 2012, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and ended with the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  If true, is it a good idea?

Having spent much of the past four years conducting an exhaustive investigation of the federal government’s use of polygraph and non-polygraph tools (a.k.a., “credibility assessment technologies”), I’d say it’s not.

I offer that assessment not simply because CIA officials are apparently using the polygraph as a means to intimidate their employees; rather, because they believe the polygraph can actually produce credible results.  And it’s not just my opinion!

I asked a long-time counterintelligence professional whose name I am not at liberty to reveal for security reasons, to read the CNN article and watch the accompanying video.  Afterward, he offered some interesting feedback:

“It makes no sense.  People who are subjected to monthly polygraphs would quickly become desensitized to the polygraph process, and this could result in even worse accuracy rates than the typical 60-65% accuracy rate for polygraph (inconclusive & error rates range average 35-40%).  This is definitely a control and intimidation measure.  I guess it’s James Clapper’s new polygraph policy put into effect in the most absurd manner possible.”

Interestingly, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. inspired the title of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

A 268-page nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO is the product of an exhaustive four-year investigation during which I was able to connect the dots between Clapper and hundreds of “Green-on-Blue” attack casualties suffered by U.S. and Coalition Forces personnel in Afghanistan.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13Throughout THE CLAPPER MEMO, I expose evidence of a turf war between competing credibility assessment technologies that has been raging silently for more than 40 years.  Much of the evidence was obtained via public records requests, while other pieces came in the form of documents provided by military and intelligence sources, including the men who were in charge of interrogations at Guantanamo Bay during the early years of the Global War on Terror.

In addition to following paper trails, I conducted exclusive interviews with insiders, including a Defense Intelligence Agency contractor who interrogated members of Saddam Hussein‘s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) and an Army Green Beret who set a record by conducting more interrogations of enemy combatants (500+) than any other member of the U.S. military during a five-year period.  And that’s only the beginning!

Already endorsed by several prominent Americans, THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions.

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.

Edward Snowden Should Have Been Caught by Polygraph

Many labels will be attached to Edward Snowden’s public identity as the the source behind what one newspaper reporter described as the biggest intelligence leak in the National Security Agency’s history. As far as I’m concerned, the 29-year-old deserves a special place in history, positioned alongside notorious spies — including John Anthony Walker Jr., Jonathan Jay Pollard and Ana Belen Montes — who were able to defeat both the polygraph and the best efforts of their government.

James R. Clapper Jr.

James R. Clapper Jr.

Don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m as patriotic as the next guy and am not willing to paint Snowden as a hero just yet. That said, I still have a sour taste in my mouth about the domestic surveillance and data collection activities that have taken place under the supervision of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.

You might recall, it was almost one year ago that Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence official, announced he would implement tough new measures aimed at stemming the spate of unauthorized disclosures of national security information that had dogged the Intelligence Community during his watch. Those measures, which focused largely on the types of questions asked federal employees during polygraph exams, generated many headlines:

Intelligence Chief Announces New Rules to Curb Leaks — New York Times;

Spy chief toughens employee polygraph to stem leaks — Reuters; and

Spy chief Clapper wields lie detector in war on leaks — ABC News.

In a timely article I wrote on the subject, I faulted Clapper for putting all of our national security “eggs” inside a “basket” full of holes. One year later, Snowden is one of those eggs, and he appears to be all over Clapper’s face.

Because his level of access would have required it, according to a source of mine (name withheld) who boasts almost three decades of counterintelligence work, Snowden must have taken — and passed – several polygraph exams as a condition of his multiple stints of employment with three-letter intelligence agencies and at least one government contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton. That in mind, I point out a key sentence that appeared in one of The Guardian newspaper’s early articles about Snowden:

He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

If, indeed, Snowden had had thoughts about exposing government secrets while employed by the CIA, the results of the polygraph exam(s) he took prior to and during his employment by that agency should have yielded clues to that could have led examiners to the truth about Snowden’s mindset.  File this under, “Should have. Could have. Would have.”

The Counterintelligence Scope polygraph exam employed by the CIA, according to my source, isn’t nearly as thorough as the Full Scope polygraph exam used by the NSA. Further, the Full Scope exam is more intrusive and notoriously more difficult to defeat.

Some individuals, my source concluded, have been “put on ice,” forced to wait as many as 12 months before being cleared by NSA polygraph examiners. Apparently, Snowden wasn’t one of them.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13

Click on image to order.

Regardless of whether Snowden used any of the widely-available countermeasures to fool the examiner or fool the machine, his ability to beat the polygraph resulted in a dearth of national security secrets being exposed.  That’s never good for the country.

* * *

In my recently-released book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I reveal never-before-published information about the polygraph and, most importantly, about details of a “turf war” between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology that has been raging silently for more than 40 years.

In addition, I examine how both technologies have performed in combat zones and other hotspots around the world, and I interview people who’ve used both technologies to interrogate detainees at Guantanamo Bay, members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) and enemy combatants on battlefields around the world.

Most importantly, I connect the dots between three memos — including one issued by Clapper in 2007 while he was serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence — and hundreds of American casualties resulting from “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks waged by so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their country.

Of course, there’s much more to THE CLAPPER MEMO — so much so, in fact, that the book has already garnered some big-name endorsements.  To learn more, though, you’ll have to order a copy, available in paperback and ebook versions, at Amazon.

Order Books Graphic LR 6-15-13

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

Army Generals, Panetta Play Roles in Upcoming Book

Then-Lt. Gen. John R. Allen and Gen. David H. Petraeus are shown greeting Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta as he arrived at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2011. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

Though their inclusion in my upcoming book — the working title of which is THE CLAPPER MEMO — has nothing to do with the recent sex and email scandals that have generated so many headlines during the past two weeks, all three men in the photo above play important roles in my upcoming book. They are: Gen. John Allen, International Security Assistance Force commander; Gen. David Petraeus, recently-resigned CIA director; and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Stay tuned as I’m working as quickly as I can to finish THE CLAPPER MEMO. I’ll keep you updated.

CIA Director’s Resignation Raises Several Troubling Questions

The timing of CIA Director (Gen.) David Petraeus’ resignation Friday raises several troubling questions the American people deserve to have answered.

Gen. David Petraeus

Did the timing of General Petraeus’ resignation have something to do with the Nov. 6 election?

Knowing President Barack Obama‘s propensity to do anything to save his own hide, one has to believe it played a part in the saga.  According to a report by Ronald Kessler, it came months after the FBI began investigating his relationship with Paula Broadwell, the author of his biography, “All In,” and it left some FBI agents fuming.

Did it have something to do with the House Intelligence Committee’s upcoming hearing about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya?

General Petraeus’ resignation came only days before he was — and, some say, still is — expected to testify Nov. 15 at a closed-door hearing during which members of the committee are expected to ask tough questions and demand truthful answers about the CIA‘s role in events before, during and after the attack which left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others dead.  One has to believe it played a part as well.

Did it have anything to do with the fact that, by virtue of his position atop the CIA, he knew he would be subjected to periodic, in-depth polygraph examinations and face questions regarding, among other things, his personal conduct?

As a high-ranking government employee privy to classified information of the highest order, General Petraeus falls into the category of people who expected to be subjected to polygraph examinations on an annual basis.  As a retired Army four-star general with more than three decades in uniform, he also knows that a host of countermeasures are available to anyone wanting to defeat the polygraph; therefore, I doubt he had any concerns about undergoing such an examination.

Did it have anything to do with General Petraeus believing foreign intelligence agents might try to compromise him if they became aware of his clandestine activities with Mrs. Broadwell, the married mother of two is not his wife?

Well-schooled in all manner of intelligence-gathering operations, General Petraeus knows that foreign intelligence agents keep watchful eyes on people like him with the hope of finding information they might use in attempts to compromise him at some future date; therefore, I’m sure he limited his reckless behavior with his mistress to environments where none of the “bad guys” could catch him in the act.  Likewise, he probably trusted his extramarital lover.

Unfortunately, General Petraeus must have known he could not hide his affair from FBI agents able to install wiretaps and conduct surveillance activities not available to foreign agents.  In knowing those agents’ chain of command leads to Attorney General Eric Holder, the general also knew that the information would likely be seen by President Obama and held over his head as a bargaining chip of sorts for use at some point in the future when the president was in trouble and needed his CIA director to be his “fall guy.”

Understandably, General Petraeus decided he would rather face the wrath of his wife now than end up “under the bus” at some time in the future on trumped-up circumstances.

Though I don’t condone the general’s pre-resignation actions in any way and despise him for the role he’s played in shaping DoD’s severely-flawed “catch-and-release” policies which have turned many battlefields into untenable environments for warfighters, I can’t say I blame him from protecting himself from his boss.

Hopefully, the whole truth will come out during this week’s hearings and beyond.

Bob McCarty is the author of “Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including His second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, is set for release this fall was released in May..