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
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.
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.
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.