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

Click image above to read article.

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.

SHOCK: ‘If You Like Your Military, You Can Keep Your Military’

“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”

Click image above to read other articles in my series, "War on Men in the Military."

Click image above to read other articles in my series, “War on Men in the Military.”

To my knowledge, President Barack Obama hasn’t said that yet — at least, not in public. But the military justice system seems to be headed down the same path as the nation’s healthcare system.

Unlike the debate regarding healthcare, the debate about the need for military justice reforms involves people in positions of power (i.e., President Obama and members of Congress) who have absolutely no concept of what is necessary in a military justice system, because they have never served.  Led by people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), they advocate steps that will only worsen an already-flawed system.

One person who seems to understand what’s at stake is Patti Fruit, a resident of the Fayetteville, N.C., area near Fort Bragg.  While I don’t agree with everything she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer about the headline-making outcome of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair’s court-martial, I do agree with the following point she made:

“Yes, he admits to adultery with underlings, but why military women who have achieved rank did not have the honor and courage to report the general’s advances from the beginning is a question that needs addressing.”

What was the outcome of General Sinclair’s case?  Sexual assault charges against him were dropped after political influence, in lieu of facts, was cited as the driving force behind a higher-ranking general’s decision to prosecute Sinclair.

One-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite Ms. Fruit, members of The New York Times Editorial Board revealed in a letter published today that they don’t have a clue about the military justice system.  Their lack of a “clue” is illustrated in the two paragraphs highlighted below:

The deal followed a stunning ruling by a military judge last week suggesting that by holding out for more severe punishment, and by rejecting an earlier plea deal, the senior Army officer overseeing the prosecution might have been improperly influenced by political considerations in bringing the most severe charges against the general because of a desire to show new resolve in the military against sexual misconduct. The prosecution had also been badly shaken by revelations that the general’s accuser may have lied under oath.

The episode offers a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system, which gives commanding officers with built-in conflicts of interest — rather than trained and independent military prosecutors outside the chain of command — the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.

The Times Editorial Board’s description of this week’s happenings in the case as “a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system” is about as truthful as any of President Obama’s promises concerning the so-called Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”).

"Three Days In August" Promotional Photo

Click on image above to order book.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” the president said. We all know how long that promise lasted.

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the president said. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost coverage since ObamaCare went “live.”

“We’re going to work with employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” the president said.

Rather than telling us “If you like your military, you can keep your military,” it appears President Obama and his sycophants on The Left are determined to dismantle it without asking for input from anyone else and without regard for or our nation’s security. In short, the military justice system seems destined toward the same fate as healthcare and, sadly, Republicans in Congress seem to lack the wherewithal (a.k.a., “spines”) to do anything about it.

If Americans don’t stand up and demand their politicians stop meddling with the military, then they’ll deserve the military that’s left standing. And it won’t be pretty. Or, for that matter, an effective fighting force.

To learn more about sexual assault prosecutions in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about the case involving Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August, the nonfiction book in which I chronicle his life story and wrongful conviction in a U.S. military courtroom in Germany.

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.

DIA Officials Stonewall FOIA Request For More Than 600 Days

Over the weekend, a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency turned 600 days old, and it seems even a sitting member of Congress has little influence over how officials inside the spy agency regard a citizen’s right to know unclassified details about government contracts related to the purchase of polygraph machines.

PolygraphTHE INITIAL FOIA REQUEST:  The unclassified information DIA officials are so reluctant to provide is 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.”

THE DIA RESPONSE & MY APPEAL:  In a piece May 24, 2013, I described how DIA’s response to my FOIA request 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:

In 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.

Click image above to download letter (PDF).

Click image above to download letter (PDF).

THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE APPEAL PROCESS:  Twenty-four days after my last update about this never-ending saga, I received a message from Erin Olson, a staffer in the office of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.). She informed me that my representative in the House of Representatives had received a response to her Jan. 15 inquiry written on my behalf about my FOIA request. That response, from DIA Chief of Congressional Relations James L. Kaplan, was dated Feb. 28 and received in Representative Wagner’s office March 3. It began as follows:

Thank you for sharing your January 15, 2014, correspondence with Mr. Bob McCarty of St. Charles, MO and for your interest in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies. DIA takes its open government obligations very seriously and attempts to provide a level of service that will satisfy the requester community. There are certainly instances where DIA is not able to provide service at a speed that satisfies the individual requester. It is common that DIA must assert exemptions under the FOIA that the requester does not agree with. In either situation, this Agency wants to provide the requester the fullest access possible at the greatest speed possible.

In two paragraphs that followed, the DIA official claimed I had not filed an appeal May 24, 2013, before stating that DIA FOIA officials “decided to treat the electronic mail correspondence from Mr. McCarty to the DIA Office of the General Counsel as authority to initiate this administrative appeal.” Soon after, he patronized the congresswoman some more:

That appeal is being reviewed by DIA, a process that involves the re-examination of the search for responsive records and the review of any records previously processed for release. This appellate procedure takes time to conclude, but I can certainly understand Mr. McCarty’s frustration with the length of time it has taken to resolve his request and his appeal.

I assure you that Mr. McCarty’s administrative appeal is being handled by DIA according to its established procedures, which must factor in the re-review of the matter and the processing of other appeals received prior to his. DIA will provide a response as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have further questions.

After 602 days of waiting, I think it’s time to change the procedures.

Want to know why I’m so interested in reading government contract documents related to the purchases of polygraph equipment? You an begin to understand by reading endorsements of my book. For an in-depth understanding, however, you’ll have to ORDER A COPY and read THE CLAPPER MEMO.

UPDATE 3/21/2014 at 11:43 a.m. Central: Today, I received a letter regarding my DIA FOIA request from the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Dated March 11, it contained nothing of substance from the senator but pointed me, instead, to a copy of a letter from DIA’s Kaplan that appears identical to the one Representative Wagner received. Gotta love this transparency!

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.

Congress Deserves Much Blame for Edward Snowden Scandal

I read with interest this weekend an NBC article in which House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) is quoted as saying that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden “was a thief who we believe had some help.” Though I don’t have enough information upon which to agree or disagree with that assessment, I do know members of Congress deserve a great deal of blame for Snowden’s actions.

Click image above to read article.

Click image above to read article.

If members of Congress had exercised more oversight of decision-making processes used by federal government agency officials to select credibility assessment technologies, then its unlikely Edward Snowden would have found himself in a position whereby he might be able to compromise national security. Instead, he was able to pass the very polygraph exams that were supposed to have caught him.

“More oversight” would involve holding Defense Intelligence Agency officials accountable to members of the public who attempt to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain copies of unclassified documents from the agency. I, for one, have waited more than 18 months for DIA officials to comply with one of my requests.

It would also involve tightening controls on programs via which Justice and Defense Department agencies dispense millions of grant dollars to individuals, usually academics, whose research methods often produce results that are suspect at best.

Americans to Congress: "I Can Do Better!"Finally, it would involve listening to people such as the retired U.S. Army Green Beret I interviewed as part of my aforementioned investigation. He used a non-polygraph technology to conduct nearly 500 interrogations — more than any other individual in the U.S. military and nearly half of the total number of exams conducted by Army Special Forces Groups between 2004 and 2009 — and told me he would be willing to testify in front of Congress about the non-polygraph technology he described as “essential” for saving lives in combat zones.

Of course, members of Congress are not alone in being responsible for national security shortfalls. Others are spotlighted inside the pages of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, THE CLAPPER MEMO reveals what one retired Navy SEALs training program commander described as “an unconscionable cover-up” and what several other high-profile individuals have endorsed as well.  It’s available in paperback and ebook versions. Order THE CLAPPER MEMO today.

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.

Attorney General Asked by Seven GOP Congressmen to Investigate Nation’s Top Intelligence Official

In a letter today, seven Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. for lying to Congress.

Calls for Clapper to Resign 12-19-13The letter began with a recap of the sequence of events that occurred March 12 when Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) if the National Security Agency collects any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans and Clapper responded with, “No,sir.”

Further into the letter, the representatives — Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wisc.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Blake Farenthold (Texas), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Raúl Labrador (Idaho) and Ted Poe (Texas) — said Clapper “was asked a question and he was obligated to answer truthfully. He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting. He could have corrected himself immediately following the hearing. He did none of these things despite advance warning that the question was coming.

“The country’s interests are best served when its leaders deal truthfully with its citizens,” the letter continued. “The mutual sense of good faith it fosters permits compromise and concessions in those cases that warrant it. Director Clapper’s willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress’s ability to perform its Constitutional function.”

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13At the end of the letter, the representatives set Jan. 10, 2014, as the date by which they requested a response from Holder to the matter they described as being of “the highest priority.”

I find it humorous that members of Congress are demanding an investigation of Clapper only months after the release of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, which is based on my own exhaustive four-year investigation of a scandal in which Clapper, as the nation’s top intelligence official, was discovered to play a major role.

So troubling is what I discovered that one retired Navy SEAL training program commander described it as “an unconscionable cover-up.” Others endorsed it as well.

Find out what all of the fuss is about Order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.

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.