Michael Behenna Gives First Television Interview Since Release From Military Prison

Michael Behenna, the former Army Ranger officer whose wrongful conviction has been the subject of dozens of pieces during the past four years, gave is first television interview yesterday, 12 days after being released on parole from military prison.

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

To see photos of the location in Iraq where the shooting of the known Al-Qaeda operative Ali Mansur took place, read Photos Show Scene Where Trail of Injustice Began.

Culvert 3 Low-RezTo read Carrie Fatigante’s nine-part series about Behenna’s case, go to The Michael Behenna Story: Getting Personal.

To read about the Army’s refusal to release a copy of the investigation report about the incident involving Behenna, read go to Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive.

To learn about Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, one of the wrongfully-convicted men Behenna talked about during the television interview, order a copy of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

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.

Michael Behenna Earns Parole

First Lieutenant Michael Behenna, the young Army Ranger officer sent to prison for killing a known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq, has been granted parole by the U.S. Army Clemency and Parole Board in Washington, D.C., according to a news report today.  He will be released from prison March 14.

Clockwise from upper left:  Michael's family; Michael; Michael as a youngster; and Michael and his girlfriend, Shannon.

Clockwise from upper left: Michael’s family; Michael; Michael as a youngster; and Michael and his girlfriend, Shannon.

Behenna, 30, has been behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for five years after being sentenced to 25 years and, later, having that term reduced to 15 years.

NewsOk Behenna ParoleBelow are a handful of links to the most important articles among the more than 60 articles I’ve published about his case since June 4, 2009:

Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive (Jan. 15, 2013);

• Is Army Protecting Someone in Officer’s Chain of Command? (Aug. 20, 2012);

• American Warfighters Deserve Same Consideration as Taliban (July 17, 2012); and

Photos Show Scene Where Trail of Injustice Began (Feb. 10, 2010).

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.

Technology That Deserved to Die 10 Years Ago Still Being Relied Upon by Department of Defense

In an MIT Technology Review article published ten years ago this week, writer Bruce Sterling offered his list of ten technologies that deserve to die. Though I find it difficult — without caveats, that is — to agree with Sterling on nine of his choices, I share a similar opinion when it comes to one item on his list:  Lie Detectors.

MIT Technology Review 10-01-03Having spent much of the past four years conducting an exhaustive investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, I became intimately aware of the technologies competing in this arena — one of which, the polygraph, is often mistakenly referred to as the “lie detector.”  When I read the explanation Sterling gave for including this century-old technology as the ninth item on his list, I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly:

They just plain don’t work. They might have some vague use in increasing the psychological stress of a subject under interrogation, but galvanic skin response and heart rate have little to do with the process of lying. The use of lie detectors is basically a voodoo ritual that allows large institutions to lie to themselves about the trustworthiness of their employees.

Even if lie detectors did work-say, with newfangled nuclear magnetic-resonance brain scans-they would become an Orwellian intrusion. Furthermore, there would likely be a social revolution as major actors in society, from top to bottom, had to admit to fabricating their lives out of spin and wishful thinking. The official public version of our means, motives, and opportunities is severely divorced from the private world of our interior thoughts. If we were forced to confront and reveal our brain functions through technological means, most of us would soon discover that we led half-baked lives of quiet intellectual desperation, in which very little thought of any kind ever took place.

I do not claim or pretend to be an expert on the polygraph; instead, my agreement with Sterling is based upon what I discovered during my aforementioned investigation.

Perhaps most important among my findings is evidence of an unconventional war — a “turf war” — that’s been raging silently for 40 years, shows no signs of easing, and impacts Americans around the world.

James R. Clapper Jr.

James R. Clapper Jr.

On one side of the turf war are polygraph loyalists who seem willing to do almost anything to maintain their technology’s foothold as the federal government’s credibility assessment tool of choice.  On the other side are backers of a newer credibility assessment tool proven more reliable and more effective than polygraph in places like Guantanamo Bay and Iraq before being banned by the Department of Defense no fewer than three times since Sterling’s article was published.  One of those bans was issued in 2007 by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as Director of National Intelligence (i.e., our nation’s top intelligence official).

Of course, there is much more to this turf war than I’ll share in this space.  For all of the graphic details, you’ll need to order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  Released in May, it’s available in ebook and paperback versions at Amazon.com and comes highly endorsed.

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.

Army Leadership Failures Continue to Destroy Lives

The folks at The New York Times appear to have pulled punches in today’s edition by refusing to identify the Army leadership failure that allowed Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to remain in uniform for so long.

Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan

Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan

Instead of using the headline, Fort Hood Gunman E-Mailed Supervisors Over Concerns, to draw attention to an article by reporter Manny Fernandez, a different set of words (i.e., Blood of Fort Hood Victims on Army Leaders’ Hands) would have been more accurate.

Though Times readers will likely never learn why editors of the Old Gray Bitch didn’t use the blood-on-hands headline, two facts remain clear: Had Army leaders responded appropriately in response to the words and actions of Major Hasan prior to his deadly attack on fellow Soldiers at Fort Hood, the Army psychiatrist and radical Muslim would, at a minimum, have been discharged from the Army before waging the attack, and many people would still be alive today.

Michael Behenna and girlfriend Shannon Wahl.

Michael Behenna and girlfriend Shannon Wahl.

This easy-to-identify failure of Army leadership stands as one in a long line of failures I’ve witnessed in recent years. Another case, however, became the subject of more than 70 articles I wrote during the past five years. It’s a case in which Army leadership failures cloud the court-martial conviction of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna.

For purposes of highlighting the case, I point to the excerpt below from an article published Jan. 15, 2013:

Since July 19, 2012, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to obtain a copy of the 15-6 report from Freedom of Information Act officials at the Army Criminal Investigation Command Crime Records Center at Quantico, Va., at the Army’s primary FOIA office at Fort Belvoir, Va., and at Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry Division, parent command of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment to which Lieutenant Behenna’s 18-member Delta Company, 5th Platoon belonged.

After realizing no success with any of the agencies listed above, I contacted an official at the Crime Records Center and asked her to review the estimated 874 pages of the Report of Investigation that her agency was willing to provide me and see if the 15-6 report was among the documents included. She told me it was not and suggested I contact FOIA officials at Army Central Command (USARCENT), located at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

Snapshot of letter received from Col. Rodney Lightfoot.

Snapshot of letter received from Col. Rodney Lightfoot.

On Dec. 10, 2012, I forwarded a FOIA request to USARCENT, seeking the 15-6. Yesterday, 35 days later, I received a reply from Col. Rodney L. Lightfoot, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff at Third Army/United States Army Central Command. He wrote:

This letter is the final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated December 10, 2012. Your request was for a copy of the Army Regulation 15-6 investigation report that was prepared following a shooting incident that took place May 16, 2008 in Iraq. The shooting incident involved Army 1LT Michael C. Behenna and the person who was killed, an Iraqi citizen by the name of Ali Mansur.

In response to your FOIA request, our agency conducted an extensive search for records. No records were found in search of the information being requested. No fees have been assessed for this action.

Apparently, I am supposed to believe the Army did not keep a copy of an investigation report prepared as the basis for a murder trial, conviction and lengthy prison sentence.  Yeah, right.

What is the real reason behind the fact that I didn’t receive a copy of the 15-6 report? There are several likely answers to this question.

For starters, I would have been able to uncover more details about the investigation that catapulted the Edmond, Okla., native into facing a court-martial, being found guilty of unpremeditated murder and being sentenced to 25 years — later reduced to 15 — behind bars at Fort Leavenworth. Most importantly, however, I suspect those details would have made Army leaders look bad. Very bad.

Worse still, those details might have exposed the fact that Army leaders — perhaps on orders from a higher authority (i.e., President Barack Obama)? — promised Iraqi government officials they would ensure Lieutenant Behenna was held responsible for the death of Mansur, a known al-Qaeda operative and member of a prominent Iraqi family. In other words, they would put on a “show trial.”

While I could share more examples of failed Army leadership, the two above should suffice for now. If, however, you’re a glutton for punishment, I offer two suggestions:

My series, War on Men in the Military, tackles the subject of sexual assault prosecutions inside the U.S. military and highlights a number of cases similar to the one I wrote about in my first nonfiction book, Three Days in August; and

My second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, connects the dots between three memos — including one issued by James R. Clapper Jr., now the nation’s top intelligence official — and hundreds of American casualties resulting from “Green-on-Blue” (a.k.a., “Insider”) attacks waged by so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their nation’s military, police and security forces.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Lieutenant Behenna’s appeal made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before being rejected June 3.

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.

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.

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.

DIA Effort to Hide Details of ‘Portable Polygraph’ Contracts Approaches One-Year Mark

The one-year anniversary of a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to Defense Intelligence Agency officials is approaching quickly, and I have yet to receive a meaningful response.  Why?  It appears DIA officials don’t want the information they should have provided me a long time ago to become public, especially as a chapter in any future edition of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

DIA Return Address on EnvelopeAnyone who accuses me of trying to “stir the pot” by generating controversy in conjunction with the release of my above-mentioned second nonfiction book is only partially correct.  As I explain below, my claim has merit.

This saga began July 16, 2012, when I requested the following via FOIA:

“…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 and 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.”

If you’re new to this subject matter, some background information might help.

PCASS is a credibility assessment technology commonly referred to as the “portable polygraph” in which I became interested in April 2008 after the Department of Defense announced it was being deployed to combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now, back to the story.

Ten days after submitting my FOIA request, I received an interim response from Alesia Y. Williams, chief of DIA’s FOIA Office.  In part, she wrote:

Snapshot of DIA Ltr Text“We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period due to unusual circumstances… your request has been placed in our queue and will be worked in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is in excess of 1,352 requests.”

That seemed like an awfully long wait.  During a follow-up phone call three days later, I learned from Williams exactly how long it would be.  She told me I should not expect a reply earlier than nine months from today — or April 30, 2013.

All I could think was, “Wow!”

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13After watching the estimated date of DIA’s reply come and go, I decided to authorize the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO on Amazon May 2.  I would find out one week later that the folks at DIA seemed to have been paying attention.

On May 9, I received a letter from DIA’s Williams.  Dated seven days earlier (i.e., the day THE CLAPPER MEMO went on sale), it contained 12 pages of heavily-redacted documents.  Unfortunately, the documents contained very little useful information pertinent to the contracts and dated back only as far as April 2010 instead of Jan. 1, 2000, as I had requested.

On top of the lack of information, the letter contained this insult:

“Please remit to this office a check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of the United States in the amount of $155.80,” Williams wrote.  “This fee is for professional search and review time of 3.5 hours at $44.00 per hour, reproduction and release costs of 12 pages at 15 cents per page.  Please write on your payment the case number assigned to your request.”

Of course, Williams added a paragraph at the end of her letter, letting me know I had 60 days to appeal the charges.  And I did appeal them.

Three weeks later, I sent an appeal letter in which I highlighted DIA’s failure to respond in any meaningful way to my FOIA request and let DIA officials know that “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.”  I have yet to hear a reply.

By stonewalling me for nine and a half months, they managed to keep the information out of the first edition of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

By continuing their stonewalling effort, they are only digging their hole deeper as I intend to continue pursuing the information first requested almost one year ago.

If you’re interested in knowing why DIA officials would go to such lengths to keep secret the unclassified information I requested about PCASS-related contracts, you can find out by ordering a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Endorsed by some real heavyweights in the military and political arenas, the book is available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.com.

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.

Justice Department Actions Against AP Not Surprising

In a speech at the National Press Club Wednesday, Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the U.S. Department of Justice’s illegal seizure of AP phone records has had a chilling effect on newsgathering operations. I, for one, however, am not surprised DoJ officials went to such lengths.

Nat Press Club AP Pruitt 6-19-13I dedicate two entire chapters of my recently-released book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, to the role officials inside one DoJ agency have played in a technological “turf war” that has been raging silently in this country and around the world for more than 40 years.

During four years of exhaustive research, I used the Freedom of Information Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act to obtain copies of hundreds of email messages exchanged between officials at the National Institute of Justice — DoJ’s research, development and evaluation arm — and recipients of DoJ research dollars.

Not only did these messages open my eyes to questionable inner workings of the agency and its grant system, but they showed me how that system has been corrupted to promote the polygraph, a century-old credibility assessment technology with a less-than-stellar track record over a non-polygraph technology that has proven its value time and again.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13In THE CLAPPER MEMO, I highlight many of the ways the non-polygraph technology has been used by investigators at more than 1,800 local and state law enforcement agencies across the United States and by others who used it with great success 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.

Despite the track record of the non-polygraph technology, it was banned for use by Department of Defense officials no fewer than three times during the past decade. Today, it remains banned, thanks in large part to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and a memo he issued six years ago while serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. As a result of the continued ban, American and Coalition Forces personnel in Afghanistan face higher-than-necessary risk of becoming casualties.

You can find out how I reached that conclusion by reading THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Having already garnered some big-name endorsements and much-appreciated reviews, it’s available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.com.

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.