Green Beret Veteran ‘Speechless’ After Watching Video Featuring New Surveillance Technology

I received a message this morning from a former Army Special Forces friend who said he was stunned to learn that information about a new, state-of-the-art surveillance technology shown in this video (below) is unclassified.

The highly-decorated combat veteran who served as an elite member of the Army Green Berets added that the information about how the technology is used in conjunction with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “would have never gone public during past presidencies.

And there’s more.

“Now you see why so many (Special Operations Forces) personnel want to see the Benghazi film,” he continued.  “Amazing how, more and more, our government leaks how we conduct operations.  I am simply speechless.”

I share his concerns.

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 Afghan Officials Play Deadly Role in Navy SEALs Helo Crash?

Could untrustworthy officials at the highest levels of the Afghan government be responsible for the single-largest loss of life in the history of U.S. Naval Special Warfare?   I’m convinced they are.

Extortion 17 Lives lostOn Aug. 6, 2011, a CH-47 “Chinook” — call sign “Extortion 17” — was shot down during the pre-dawn hours while on a mission to capture a bad guy in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. Among the dead, 30 Americans, most of whom were members of the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL TEAM SIX.

Because the deaths of these “quiet professionals” came only weeks after Vice President Joe Biden compromised operational security by disclosing details about their unit’s involvement in a raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Pakistan, some people — including family members and friends of SEALs killed in the crash — believe the SEALs may have been sacrificed by the Obama Administration to appease followers of bin Laden. More likely, however, is that they were set up by unvetted or poorly-vetted Afghan officials allowed to work closely with U.S. and Coalition Forces decision-makers.

Is it beyond the realm of possibilities to think Afghan officials are corrupt enough to engage in such activities? Hardly According to a report issued last week by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, the following is true:

Widespread corruption in Afghanistan is a significant problem and remains a threat to the success of reconstruction and assistance programs. In 2012, Transparency International ranked Afghanistan in a tie with Somalia and North Korea as the most corrupt country in the world. NOTE: Here’s the link to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index if you want to see it for yourself.

Fig 5 Insider Attacks on ISAF PersonnelThese are likely the same kind of people who, after surviving a supposedly-thorough vetting process, have excelled at waging hundreds of often-deadly “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks against American and Coalition Forces mentors and advisors while wearing the uniforms of their country’s military, police and security agencies instead of the attire of government officials.

Exactly who are the Afghans officials who likely set up the warriors aboard Extortion 17? Based on what I read among the more than 1,300 pages that make up the Extortion 17 crash investigation report produced by U.S. Central Command, I’d say its the high-level Afghans who serve on the Operational Coordination Group (OCG).

Early in the report, I found the transcript of a briefing conducted nine days after the crash by an American intelligence officer who, at one point, describes himself as “an SF guy by trade.” His audience is a group of about 18 people assembled at Bagram Air Base as part of the investigation process that followed the crash. The topic is the OCG’s participation in the war effort. NOTE: Because the copy of the report I received was redacted, the briefing officer’s branch of service and rank remain a mystery. His words from the transcript, however, appear below:

“We made some real money with the OCG; they are the Operational Coordination Group and they assist us with the planning, and the vetting, and de-confliction of our operation,” said the intelligence officer on page 6 of one 134-page document. “Likewise, once we are done executing the operation, they are able to send the results report, the result of the operations, up through their various administrates. They are made up of the Afghan National Army, the National Director of Security, as well as the Afghan National Police Force. They are here on site, but we also have them down at the regional level in RC-South and, in September, we are going to stand up region site up in RC-North.”

“So they have visibility on every operation?” asked the deputy investigating officer.

“Every operation,” the intel officer replied.

“So they knew about the operations?” the deputy asked, apparently wanting to confirm what he had just heard.

“Oh yea,” the intel officer confirmed.

“And they were briefed on it?” the deputy followed, again seeking confirmation.

“Absolutely,” came the reply.

OCG Slide pg 59 Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 11.53Further down the same page, the deputy investigating officer asked another OCG-focused question “So they have the ability, do they have approval authority on that, to cancel an operation?” and the conversation continued:

“Technically, they do,” the intel officer replied. “They don’t exercise it, but technically they do have (the) authority.”

“So they either task or approve the operation?” the deputy investigating officer said, seeking confirmation.

The answer: “Yep.”

More than 50 pages deeper into the document, the investigating officer — then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt before being promoted in 2012 — asked for and received confirmation from the officer representing the Joint Special Operations Task Force Intelligence Directorate (J3) that every mission is vetted through the OCG. He also received some background knowledge about the group.

“(The Operational Coordination Group),” the J3 representative told him and others in the room, “was formed over two years ago when we said we needed to have really better legitimacy in the eyes of (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) in order to maintain our freedom of maneuver. So, these guys are high level officials from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the National Directorate of Security.”

“Really the only thing we keep from them, obviously, is the (Top Secret) level how we got to the target piece of it,” he added a short time later. “They are briefed on all the targets prior to execution and, you know, technically speaking if they would come to us and say, ‘I don’t want you to execute this mission,’ we wouldn’t do it.”

So, according to transcript, members of the OCG knew about the Extortion 17 mission in advance, were involved in assigning and/or approving the mission and could have vetoed the mission, but did not.

After realizing how deeply involved OCG members are in each mission, I asked myself a question — “Did a failure to properly screen top Afghan government officials before they were allowed to serve on the OCG help bring down Extortion 17?” — and set out to answer it.

SEARCH FOR AN ANSWER

I began by searching online for accurate information about the OCG. Unfortunately, I found very little information about the group’s existence prior to the crash of Extortion 17. Even the International Security Assistance Force/NATO website contained no mentions of the OCG prior to the crash.

The only online mention of the OCG prior to the crash appeared in a Spring 2007 NATO Review article. In it, the author, British Army Gen. David Richards, described the introduction of the OCG as a “significant development.” NOTE: “Spring 2007″ is a lot earlier than the “two years ago” description (i.e., August 2009) given by the J3 officer as the approximate date of the OCG’s launch.

Eight months after the crash, a DoD news release did mention the OCG, stating that the group had been given the authority to review and approve all special operations missions and to participate in intelligence fusion, monitor mission execution and make notifications to provincial governors. Two months after that, an ISAF news release confirmed the same.

QUESTIONS ASKED

In addition to searching online, I submitted a list of questions to ISAF public affairs officers via email the morning of Sept. 11. I wanted to know when and why the OCG was established and who participates in the OCG or comprises its membership. Most importantly, I wanted to know if non-American and non-NATO individuals are vetted prior to their involvement in OCG and asked for a description of the vetting process if they are.

Two days later, the response I received from Lt. Col. Will Griffin, an Army public affairs officer assigned to ISAF Headquarters, was vague at best:

The OCG was established in 2010 to communicate ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters’ intentions to our Afghan partners in an expedient and concise manner and likewise provide a means for Afghan National Security Force to convey their concerns and intentions to ISAF SOF HQ.

The OCG is comprised of representatives from coalition forces and Afghan liaison officers. All Afghan partners are screened and certified by their ministries, as well as completing the same verification process as all liaison officers that work in secure ISAF installations.

Ten minutes after reading Colonel Griffin’s response, I replied by pointing out to the colonel that he had not included a requested description of the vetting process used to screen non-American and non-NATO members of the OCG. Then I waited for another 15 hours. Rather than receive a description of the vetting process, however, I received the following message:

The vetting process is a comprehensive look at the individual’s background, associates, personal history, etc. Operational security considerations prevent me to go into further depth.

After Colonel Griffin offered little in terms of knowledge about the process used — if, in fact, there is one — to vet OCG members, I conducted a less-than-scientific survey of other sources, including friends and acquaintances who’ve spent varying lengths of time in Afghanistan and family members of American “Green-on-Blue” casualties. The general consensus: Afghans cannot be trusted.

QUESTIONS REMAIN

Does this information prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some Afghan members of the OCG are corrupt? No.

Does it prove that Afghan members of the OCG engaged in an effort to down Extortion 17? No.

Does it prove the OCG has been comprised by Afghans who may be subject to a vetting process that’s even less stringent than that the one used to screen entry-level policemen, security guards and soldiers? No.

CALL TO ACTION

What I can do, however, is encourage Americans to demand answers from their elected officials about Extortion 17 in much the same way they’re demanding answers to questions surrounding the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

BETRAYED New Book CoverIn addition, I can encourage Americans to purchase copies of the upcoming book, BETRAYED: Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror, by Billy Vaughn. Along with his wife, Karen, the author of this book has spent a great deal of time and energy looking into the cause of the crash for one very personal reason: Extortion 17 was the final mission of their son, Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn.

While you wait for Billy Vaughn’s book, be sure to order copies of my two nonfiction books, Three Days In August (October 2011) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May 2013). Both are available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com. Thanks in advance!

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.

General Offers Informed Opinion On US Military Options in Syria

Like most common-sense Americans, I realize that situations abroad sometimes pose national security threats to the United States that warrant military action.  Likewise, when it comes to the civil war in Syria, I’ve been reluctant to push for such action.  Why?  Because I haven’t had enough solid information upon which to form an opinion.  Now, I know more.

Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.)

During a phone conversation early Friday afternoon, Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (U.S. Army Ret.) told me he does not believe the United States needs to send thousands of troops into Syria.  Unlike most pundits and “talking heads,” however, his views are based on putting his own “boots on the ground” and meeting face to face with key players during three trips to the war-torn country in 14 months.

My conversation with General Vallely, former deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific and chair of two organizations, Stand Up America and Nemo Arms, Inc., was very similar to one he had with Allen West, the retired Army lieutenant colonel and former member of Congress, on The Steve Malzberg Show last week.  To save myself time, I share video of that appearance below.

Highlights of the conversation:

“This is the message from the Free Syrian Army: neutralize the Syrian air force; supply us logistically (and) Assad will fall within 30 days, because he doesn’t control the majority of the geography or the provinces or the districts in Syria.  That’s all they want.  We do not have to have boots on the ground.  We should have some intel-covert operators in there working with the Free Syrian Army, but they need to neutralize that air force.”

Asked to describe his “number one unintended consequence concern” if the above-described recommendations are not implemented, the general was blunt in his answer:  “Assad is gonna continue to wage battle against his own population, you’ll have Hezbollah working their operations against Israel (and) you basically handed over success to Iran and Russia who are supporting Assad, and it’s gonna get worse if somebody doesn’t do something to bring down (Syrian President) Assad.”

While I am 100 percent against going to war without good reason, I see the opportunities described by General Vallely as worthwhile ones if, indeed, they remain very limited in time (30 days), scope (topple Assad’s regime and secure chemical weapons) and resources (supplies to Free Syrian Army and Special Operations units).  If it goes beyond these parameters, then it’s not something I favor.

Full disclosure:  General Vallely endorsed by second nonfiction book, 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.

Have You Ever Wondered Why DoD Relies on the Polygraph?

You’ve probably never wondered why the Department of Defense relies so heavily on the polygraph.  Likewise, you’ve probably never thought about how polygraph technology has maintained its place as the only DoD-approved credibility assessment technology.  After reading the details in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, you’ll know why and how.

TCM Graphic 2-17-13On no fewer than three occasions since 2004, top DoD officials — including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper while he was serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in 2007 — have declared the polygraph to be the only such technology approved for use by DoD personnel.  Though many on the front lines, including elite U.S. Special Operations personnel I interviewed for the book, ignored the DoD declarations for as long as they possibly could (see Sample Chapter for details), the Pentagon’s polygraph-only stance remains in place today and is having an often-deadly impact in the form of “Green-on-Blue” attacks against American and Coalition Forces personnel in Afghanistan.

BMW Withheld Info PicAs I explained yesterday, part of the blame for DoD’s polygraph-only stance lies in the fact that DoD officials withheld critical information from members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee when they were conducting an inquiry into the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and at other detention facilities in Iraq (i.e., Abu Ghraib, Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca) in 2008.

That wasn’t all they kept to themselves.  DoD officials also withheld critical information about an Air Force talking paper on Relevant/Irrelevant Screening Tests (R/IST) conducted on detainees in the Iraqi theater of operations from Aug. 1, 2004, to Oct. 15, 2006.

Notable among the 50-page document’s results, found after conducting polygraph tests on 768 detainees, was the finding that “detainee personnel are just as likely to have committed the suspected act as not.” That finding stemmed from the fact that 47 percent of the tests yielded “No Deception Indicated” results while 46 percent yielded “Deception Indicated” and seven percent “No Opinion.”

Silver_CoinIn addition to the fact the tests yielded results showing polygraph no more effective than flipping a coin, a quarter of the polygraph examiners surveyed pointed out problems posed by language barriers.

“The Arabic language itself presents an obstacle due to the different translations and dialect and at times the wrong translation of the question was noted by other interpreters,” one examiner said.

“Many interpreters were not fluent in the written Arabic language, precluding them being used by polygraph,” another reported. “They could not translate questions from English to Arabic and back again.”

“I was fortunate to have had motivated interpreters,” a third responded.  “Without them we can’t do the job (without language/culture knowledge).”

A fourth examiner reported, “there was definitely a difference in the level of interpreter experience. Some knew the language and some had a hard time.”

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13In THE CLAPPER MEMO, a 268-page product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, I highlight the fact that a non-polygraph technology was used at GITMO more than 90 times and achieved a success rate — defined as developing new, previously-unknown intelligence which was independently confirmed or confirmed existing information that otherwise could not be verified — of 92 percent despite the fact most exams were conducted using interpreters.

Now, I ask again:  Have you ever wondered how polygraph technology has maintained its position as the only Department of Defense-approved credibility assessment technology?

In their endorsement of THE CLAPPER MEMO, Gold Star parents Billy and Karen Vaughn used words such as “dirty little secrets of politics and greed” and “filthy backroom deals” to describe events and actions that have enabled the polygraph to remain DoD’s credibility assessment technology of choice.  The Vaughns lost their son, U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn, two years and one day ago in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that is the subject of a soon-to-be-published book, BETRAYED: The High Cost of the War on Terror.

Retired U.S. Navy SEAL Capt. Larry W. Bailey, co-founder of Special Operations Speaks and former commander of the U.S. Navy SEALs Basic Underwater Demoliton/SEALs (“BUD/S”) Training Program, describes what I uncovered in THE CLAPPER MEMO as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

Others have endorsed it, too, but you should judge for yourself!  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.

BETRAYED: New Book to Expose Truth About SEAL TEAM SIX Deaths in Afghanistan

Thirty brave Americans were betrayed Aug. 6, 2011, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter — call sign “Extortion 17″ — was shot down in Afghanistan. Not just any Americans, most were members of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL TEAM SIX, “silent professionals” who had gained unwanted attention for their work on the raid only a few weeks earlier that took out Osama bin Laden.  Now, the truth about their mission is about to be told.

Extortion 17 Lives lostIn his soon-to-be-released book, BETRAYED:  The High Cost of the War on Terror, author Billy Vaughn will reveal never-before-published findings about the ill-fated mission and the criminal cover-up by our nation’s civilian and military leaders that followed.

Not only did I have the privilege of reading 1,200-plus heavily-redacted pages from the investigation report family members of the fallen warriors received from Special Operations Command officials, but I had the privilege of advising the book’s author on matters related to the flawed vetting process used to screen Afghans before they’re allowed to work alongside Americans in Afghanistan.

Along the way, I came to understand the intensity with which hearts and souls have been poured into this project.  As a result, I highly recommend you read BETRAYED:  The High Cost of the War on Terror, at your first opportunity.

To pre-order a copy of the book, visit http://SpecialOpsBetrayed.com/.

To order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  My endorsement of BETRAYED has nothing to do with the fact that both of its authors have endorsed my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  Likewise, I have not been and will not be compensated in any way for the assistance noted above that I provided to the project.

UPDATE 9/10/2013 at 5:12 p.m. Central:  Recently, I learned that Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (U.S. Army, Ret.) has pulled out of the project.  In speaking with Vaughn today, he told me he is committed to seeing the book released as soon as possible.

Elected Officials Show Little Interest in New Book That Points Fingers and Names Names

Nine days ago, I caught myself wondering if members of Congress truly care about the health and well-being of the men and women serving in the U.S. military. Today, after receiving yet another lukewarm letter — this one from a member of the United States Senate — I’m more doubtful than ever.

Sen Mark Pryor Ltr LR 7-1-13

Shown in the photo above, a letter from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) arrived in my mailbox in much the same manner as letters (below, L-R) from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) had weeks earlier. Though a far cry more personal than the Do-Not-Reply email message I received from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senator Pryor’s letter left me feeling as disenfranchised as a college Republican at a Barack Obama speech.

LtrFromCongLamarSmith_6-3-13LtrFromSenCarlLevin6-4-13Email Reply from SenMarcoRubio 6-4-13

As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Pryor received a copy of my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, soon after it was released in May. The book was accompanied by a note from me which read as follows:

Dear Senator Pryor:

Accompanying this note is a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. On its cover are three heavyweight endorsements from men who understand the often-deadly impact a high-tech turf war is having on Americans in Afghanistan. I hope you‘ll read the book and take steps to end this turf war and ensure our warfighters have the best tools to do their jobs. Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

P.S. I can put you in contact with frontline experts (i.e., U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Green Berets et al) willing to testify under the right conditions.

Unfortunately, it seems elected officials serving as members of the Armed Services, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees in both houses of Congress are not interested in the product of an exhaustive four-year investigation that points fingers and names names in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, they’re not interested in what Special Operations professionals have to say about American lives being placed at higher-than-necessary risk. And that, my friends, is a shame!

If you’re more curious than our elected officials in the nation’s capitol, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO. Already endorsed by several noteworthy Americans, it’s available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon. Thanks in advance!

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.

News Release About Book Set to Launch Early Tuesday Morning

Early Tuesday morning, members of the nation’s news media will receive copies of a news release about my recently-released second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. Below are details excerpted from an expanded version of that release:

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13THE CLAPPER MEMO Connects Top Intelligence Official to Flawed Vetting Process in Afghanistan, Receives High-Profile Endorsements

Bob McCarty’s recently-released book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, connects James R. Clapper Jr. to hundreds of casualties spawned by a flawed vetting process in Afghanistan, receives high-profile endorsements.

* * *

Bob McCarty’s latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, received several high-profile endorsements after connecting the dots between actions taken by James R. Clapper Jr. and the flawed vetting process that has resulted in hundreds of “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider Attack” casualties in Afghanistan:

“THE CLAPPER MEMO by Bob McCarty gives the reader an in-depth look into the dirty little secrets of politics and greed triumphing over safety and security for our fighting men and women as well as the average American citizen.”BILLY and KAREN VAUGHN, parents of U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn, a member of SEAL Team Six who lost his life along with 29 other Americans when their helicopter, call sign “Extortion 17,” was shot down in Afghanistan Aug. 6, 2011. Learn more about their endorsement here.

•• “Bob McCarty has uncovered a high-tech ‘turf war’ pitting those who want the best for our troops against others who seem to be focused on their own self-interests. Sadly, it seems the wrong people are winning this war. I highly recommend THE CLAPPER MEMO.”MAJ. GEN. PAUL VALLELY (U.S. Army, Ret.), former deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific. Learn more about his endorsement here.

••• “Bob McCarty’s book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, represents perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years. I direct the attention of the so-called major media to it. This is how it’s done!”DAVID P. SCHIPPERS, Chief Investigative Counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and co-author of the book, SELLOUT: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment. Learn more about his endorsement here.

•••• “An unconscionable cover-up.”CAPT. LARRY W. BAILEY (U.S. Navy SEALs, Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Navy SEALs Training Program and co-founder of Special Operations Speaks, a veterans group dedicated, among other things, to restoring trust and confidence in government. Learn more about his endorsement here.

BobHeadshotSmallIf you think the American public needs to know details about THE CLAPPER MEMO and the findings of my four-year investigation that spawned the endorsements above, please point members of the news media as well as bloggers and citizen journalists to TheClapperMemo.com and ask them to contact me via email: bobmccartywrites (at) gmail (dot) com.

And one more thing: Please buy a copy of the book, ebook or paperback, for yourself and/or for a friend. Thanks in advance!

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.