Tag Archives: intelligence

Educate Yourself About Memorial Day

As an Air Force veteran, I’m convinced that what I did while wearing the uniform of my country pales in comparison to the sacrifices made by those who truly deserve recognition on Memorial Day. If you don’t get my point, please educate yourself about Memorial Day.

21-Gun-Salute

Memorial Day is NOT just another holiday to provide business owners a collective excuse for holding a three-day extravaganza sale and offer 10 percent discounts to military veterans and their families.

Memorial Day is NOT a holiday during which we should thank all veterans.

Military Funeral

Memorial Day IS a day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price — including people from the military, intelligence, foreign service and other areas of government service — while in service to our nation.

Please learn and share the history of this holiday this week.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

‘Winning Life’s Lottery’ Requires Hard Work

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline in September 2008.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline in September 2008, 75 years after Paul Hollrah’s birth.

I realize that it may be a bit uncool to dwell too much on one’s own life experiences, but I have a point to make and I hope that I will be forgiven for doing so.

I was born in 1933, in St. Louis County, Mo., in the midst of the Great Depression. My parents, both of whom came from generations of farm families, had sixth-grade educations. Farming was a matter of hard dawn-to-dusk labor, so when children had learned to read, write, and “do their sums,” they were expected to leave school to carry their share of the workload.

When my parents married in 1929, they decided to purchase a small farm, but they had no money and the banks had no money to lend, so their only alternative was to become sharecroppers, giving a one-third share of their crops to our landlord in lieu of rent.

Sharecropping provided our family with a subsistence, but little else. Nearly all of the food on our table was either from our vegetable garden, from farm animals… chicken, turkey, beef and pork… or the rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, and catfish that my father brought home from his frequent forays into our local forests and rivers. Whatever butter and eggs we didn’t need for our own table was taken to South St. Louis every Saturday and sold to regular customers, door-to-door. But then, when war clouds gathered over Europe and the Pacific in the late 1930s, my father took a job as a pick-and-shovel ditchdigger at 67½ cents an hour, helping to build a new munitions plant under construction at Weldon Spring, Mo.

My older sister and I attended a small one-room brick schoolhouse at Harvester, Missouri, three miles from our home, but when my father decided to give up farming for good in 1941 to work in the defense plants, we left our little red brick schoolhouse and moved to St. Charles, a suburb of St. Louis, where we were enrolled at a Lutheran parochial school. And when we completed our primary school education we attended St. Charles High School, a public high school.

I was not a good student and had little interest in high school. However, my parents insisted that if I wanted to get a good job, I had to have a high school diploma. It was the only thing they ever said on the subject. Attending a college or university was never a consideration, so during my four-year high school career I successfully avoided all subject matter related to mathematics and the sciences. I graduated in June 1951, with a GPA of just under 2.0, a C-minus average.

After graduation, I took a job as a “grease monkey,” tow truck driver and mechanics helper at a local automobile dealership, and, months later, I went to work as an assembly line riveter at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, a major manufacturer of jet fighter planes for the U.S. military.

Then, in July 1953, I received a letter from the president of the United States; it began with the word, “Greetings.” I was drafted into the U.S. Army Aug. 12, 1953, and was trained as a Field Artillery Operations and Intelligence (O&I) specialist. After completing my basic training and my O&I training I was sent to West Germany for 17 months as a member of the post-World War II occupation forces. Upon being honorably discharged in June 1955, I returned to McDonnell Aircraft where I worked as a production control expediter for 18 months.

During that time, as therapy for an injury to my left knee, the result of a “friendly fire” incident during basic training, I took a second job as a ballroom dancing instructor in St. Louis. Those two jobs kept me fully occupied for at least 15 hours each day, five days a week. However, my injury prevented me from adequately performing my day job, so I took a job selling sewing machines and cordless vacuum cleaners in the housing projects of St. Louis. My sales territory included the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing project where it was absolutely foolhardy for a white man to enter without an armed escort… let alone attempt to repossess a sewing machine or a vacuum cleaner from a black family who’d failed to make their monthly payments.

Finally, in December 1956, I took a job as a draftsman for Laclede-Christy Corporation, a major refractory manufacturer in South St. Louis. My job was to design open-pit strip mines on leases in Missouri and Illinois and to assist the company surveyor in laying out prospecting plans for our drilling crews. It was during the nearly two years that I worked for Laclede-Christy that I developed an interest in surveying, mining engineering, and geology.

In February 1957, I married my ballroom dancing partner, with whom I’d earned an all-St. Louis ballroom championship. However, being unable to afford the rent for a house or an apartment of our own, we were forced to move in with my parents. But then, as the economic recession of 1957-58 worsened, I learned that my job at Laclede-Christy was to be phased out. It was then that I made the decision to “escape” into college, to enroll as a full-time student at the University of Missouri College of Engineering. It was something that my supervisors at Laclede Christy had urged me to do, but I had little or no high school background in science and mathematics. So, during the 1957-58 school year I took two evening courses in Intermediate algebra at Washington University in St. Louis… just to see if I could handle college-level mathematics.

In two semesters of algebra, I earned two Cs. So, in August 1958, armed with nothing but my two Cs and an abundance of hope and determination, I enrolled at the University of Missouri. Since I had no money and no background for the study of engineering, I look back on that decision as the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. After selling everything we owned, except for our clothing and our 1953 Ford, I went to the local Goodwill store and purchased three rooms of kitchen, bedroom, and living room furniture off the junk pile in the alley behind the store for a total of fifty dollars. It was not good furniture; it was on the junk pile for good reason.

In early November 1957, we were blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby boy who was ten months old in August 1958 when we loaded all of our belongings, including our $50 worth of junk furniture, into a U-Haul trailer and moved into a dilapidated three-room tar-paper shack in Columbia, Mo., just across the road from the Missouri Tigers football stadium.

I remember we spent so much time listening to Songs for kids when he was first born. Looking them all up on YouTube now all these years later just makes me so nostalgic, even though times were tough for us back then.

Our only regular income was the $125 I received each month under the Korean G.I. Bill… $27 of which paid our monthly rent. The remainder of our income, earmarked for the next semester’s tuition and books, gasoline, utilities, and insurance, left us with a food budget of only 60 cents a day. After we’d purchased milk and other supplies for the baby we were able to afford only beans, spaghetti, and an occasional bottle of catsup to mitigate the blandness of our starchy diet.

But the biggest shock of all was the difficulty of the course work. I was a 25-year-old veteran with a wife and child to support, and I found myself competing for grades against seventeen and 18-year-olds with four years of engineering prep in their high school careers. I attended class every day, I studied very hard, and I completed every homework assignment. Yet, when mid-term grades were posted during my first semester, I found that I was failing every course.

With no alternative, I developed a radical new study regimen. I was in class at 7:40 every morning and completed my lectures by noon. By 1 p.m., I was home, hitting the books, and I refused to turn the page in a textbook until I thoroughly comprehended everything on that page. I was up every morning at 6 a.m., and I studied for 14 hours a day, every day of the week. It worked. At the end of my freshman year, I found that not only had I turned those Fs around, I was named to the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Our second child was born in January 1960, after which my wife took a night-shift job at the University Medical Center. Each night at 10 p.m., I’d load our sleeping children into the back seat of our Ford and drive my wife to the medical center in time for her 10:30 p.m. shift. After driving home, I’d return our children to their beds and resume studying until 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. After a few hours of sleep, I was up again at 6 a.m., changing diapers and feeding the children. One of my friends told me recently that I should be getting more than 3 hours of sleep really. He told me that after researching what is a hybrid mattress made of, he decided to buy one because of how comfortable it sounded. He recommended that I considered looking into them, he thinks a comfortable mattress might help me to sleep for a little bit longer. For now though, my routine does seem to work. However, it would be nice to get some more sleep every now and then! Anyway, ater dropping the boys off at our babysitter’s home, I’d pick up my wife at 7 a.m. and drive her home so that she could get eight hours of sleep. I was in class at 7:40 a.m., and when I’d completed my morning lecturers, I’d return home to repeat my 14-hour study regimen.

It was our daily routine, and it was brutal. When I entered the university in August 1958, I was 6 feet tall and weighed 153 lb., but when I graduated four years later, in June 1962, I was still 6 ft. tall but weighed only 116 lb. But I have no regrets. During my junior year, I was elected to Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society; in 2001, I was elected to the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni; and in 2012, I was named an Honorary Knight of St. Patrick, receiving the Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering.

During my junior and senior years, we had a neighbor with three small children whose husband was serving a long prison sentence. And although she was on the public dole, her in-laws often delivered supplies of freshly-butchered beef and pork from their farm… which she promptly tossed into our neighborhood garbage pails because, as she explained, she didn’t like “that old country meat.” When I returned to the university for my 20th class reunion in 1982, our former landlord reminded me that he and his wife had often seen me rooting through those garbage pails with a flashlight, late at night, digging out food with which to feed my family. It was such a painful experience that I had apparently washed it from my memory.

As we drove away that day, my eldest son said, “Dad! You fed us out of garbage cans?” To which I replied, “Yes, Mark, I did. I did whatever I had to do.”

Those were difficult, character-building years. But now, after more than 50 years of unlimited opportunity and exciting challenge, Barack Obama informs me that I’ve played no role in any of that… that I’ve arrived at this stage of my life because I’ve “won life’s lottery.” I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I hadn’t purchased that lottery ticket.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter. Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

More Than 90 Controversial Files Disappear Overnight

As an investigative reporter and author of two nonfiction books critical of people at the highest levels of our government’s military and intelligence communities, I’ve been told to be careful on more occasions than I can remember. Yesterday, for the umpteenth time, I began to wonder if I should be concerned. Why? Let me explain.

Disappearing Files

Sunday afternoon, I uploaded more than 140 files — mostly PDF documents — to a large internet company’s free drive service so I could share them with a nationally-known investigative reporter and best-selling author who’s interested in their contents. When I awoke Monday morning, I was contacted by this person’s assistant about a discrepancy in the number of files. She said there were only 50 documents in the folder. I went to check and, indeed, discovered more than 90 documents had disappeared overnight.

What kind of documents were in the files? Without divulging too much, I can say that they deal with extremely controversial subject matter and many were, at one time, classified as TOP SECRET before they were later declassified and made releasable via redaction. I obtained them through a source with “skin in the game” who, in turn, had received them from top government officials. That’s as far as I can go.

I guess I could blame the disappearance of the files on Hillary Clinton, but that would be too easy. Or I could lump the disappearance in with the online nightmares I experienced during 2014 I highlighted in this Dec. 23 post.

Any guesses as to what could have happened to them? Leave a comment below or follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Bob McCarty’s Weekly Recap: Feb. 1-7

In addition to spending a lot of time working on my first screenplay, I adopted a one-post-per-day approach to things during the first week of February 2015 at BobMcCarty.com.

INELIGIBLE: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

INELIGIBLE? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Click image above to read about this topic.

On the same day I published my last weekly recap, I shared a guest piece written by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico who served two terms as a member of the Electoral College, the piece makes some people angry. See if it makes you angry. Read Is Writer ‘Beating Dead Horse’ or Adhering to Constitution?

Markers are mandatory after passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Click image above to read my piece about underground pipeline dangers.

After reading news about a ruptured natural gas pipeline forcing the evacuation of area residents near Bowling Green, Mo., I decided to share anew a story I had written and published Sept. 13, 2010, about one Missouri family’s experience with underground pipelines running through their backyard. Read the piece I published Feb. 1 under the headline, Bowling Green Pipeline Rupture Stirs Backyard Fears.

Barely one year ago, six members of Congress called for Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. to resign after he lied to Congress about the National Security Agency’s data collection programs. On Feb. 1, I shared an update. Read it under the headline, Intel Chief Remains in Post One Year After Call for His Ouster.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

After reading multiple articles about the 80th anniversary of the first occasion on which the polygraph was used to help bring about a conviction in a U.S. court, I felt compelled to share some unique observations from my perspective as author of The Clapper Memo, a book in which I share findings from my exhaustive four-year investigation of credibility assessment technologies. Read my take on the polygraph in a Feb. 3 piece published under the headline, Polygraph Makes Headlines for Age, Not Reliability.

After anchor Brian Williams used his NBC Nightly News platform to offer what his network would later describe as “clarification” about an incident that had allegedly taken place more than a decade earlier, I shared details of a personal experience I had with Williams at the Air Force base where I was stationed in the spring of 1991. Read the humorous details in my Feb. 5 piece, NBC Anchor ‘Clarifies’ Fact He’s Been Lying for 12 Years.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz

Click on image above to read about my personal experience with Brian Williams.

When I asked a former Army Green Beret how many kills he had recorded as an American sniper during three tours of duty in Iraq, he used a lot of words to explain how such numbers can be hard to tally but never gave me an actual number. Find out what he did tell me in my Feb. 5 piece, Sniper: ‘I believed I had the ability to change the playing field’.

Former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart in Iraq.

Click on image above to read about an American sniper whose story turned out different than Chris Kyle.

Though a Department of Defense puff piece focused on the Capitol Hill testimony Thursday of a high-ranking DoD official and the question of whether or not the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay should be closed, I focused on GITMO-focused statements made about the facility and detainees held there by first-term Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a piece published Feb. 7. Read it: Arkansas’ Freshman Senator Shreds Obama Administration False Narrative on Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

The list of other items I shared on my Facebook page this week includes a photo taken by Brian Williams when he became the first man to walk on the moon July 21, 1969, and a piece in which retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely is quoted as calling for NBC’s Williams to be canned. Yes, he’s the same Army general who endorsed my book, The Clapper Memo.

As I say every week, thanks for stopping by!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Polygraph Makes Headlines for Age, Not Reliability

As the author of The Clapper Memo, a book in which I share findings from my exhaustive four-year investigation of credibility assessment technologies, I subscribe to online alerts for articles in which century-old polygraph technology is mentioned. And, let me tell you, Monday was a banner day! Below, I share what I call “golden nuggets” from three articles that came to my attention.

Click on image above to read Mashable article.

Click on image above to read Mashable article.

According to a Mashable article, Monday marked the 80th anniversary of the first occasion on which the polygraph was used to help bring about a conviction in a U.S. court. Polygraph technology has continued to improve considerably over the years, but still, is thought to be unreliable by some. You can personally buy your own from websites like https://liedetectors-uk.com – What do you think of the technology? Lie detector kits used to be used in court but their use has been discontinued. The question is….

Click on image above to read Bloomberg article.

Click on image above to read Bloomberg article.

Beginning on the same trail, a Bloomberg article by Matt Stroud appears under the headline, Will Lie Detectors Ever Get Their Day In Court Again? The golden nugget appears seven paragraphs into the piece:

“The political and legal argument some make in favor of the polygraph is that it’s very accurate depending on who the examiner is,” says Dr. Judith G. Edersheim, co-director of Harvard’s Center for Law, Brain & Behavior. “But for a scientist, saying it’s examiner-dependent means it’s not reliable.”

Also notable about the Bloomberg piece is Stroud’s inclusion of news about other credibility assessment technologies, including the AVATAR screening system — short for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time — at the University of Arizona. It’s notable to me, because I devote an entire chapter of The Clapper Memo to the work of Dr. Jay Nunamaker, the man leading the project at the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (a.k.a., “BORDERS”) at the university in Tucson.

Finally, in an editorial published Monday in the Butler Eagle, the newspaper of record in Butler County, Pa., Nic Landon offered applause for Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger and his decision “not to honor the polygraph deal” for a man accused of committing some sort of sexual offense. Though the editorial contains several golden nuggets, one stands as my favorite. It appears in the next-to-last paragraph:

The only current literature I have found supporting the use of the polygraph for purposes of “lie detection” comes from the community of polygraph examiners who, like psychic-detectives, appear to spend their time defending the false claims of magical thinking.

To learn the truth about credibility assessment technologies, including one that’s enjoying widespread use in law enforcement while being kept out of the hands of our nation’s military and intelligence warfighters by top Department of Defense officials, order a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

WORTH NOTING: Today, I also came across a piece by Josh Gerstein. Published under the headline, Intelligence agencies tout transparency, it prompted me to add a comment about government transparency. In case Politico opts to moderate my comment out of existence, I share it below for posterity:

TRANSPARENCY? HARDLY! After waiting almost two years for Defense Intelligence Agency officials to respond transparently to my Freedom of Information Act request for copies of unclassified contract documents related to the Department of Defense’s purchase of polygraph equipment since 2000, I finally ran out of resources to continue my pursuit. Why wouldn’t they be transparent with me? Because they know that sharing the information with me would make them look bad. Either way, they still look bad as a result of my four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph. The findings of my investigation appear in The Clapper Memo, my second nonfiction book and a book David P. Schippers said “represents perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years.” FYI: Schippers served as the U.S. House of Representatives chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. I hope you, Mr. Gerstein, will read it before you write your next piece on this topic.

UPDATE 2/4/2015 at 6:37 a.m. Central: A Daily Beast article today includes the following golden nugget quote about the polygraph from Northwestern University Professor Dr. Ken Adler: “The lie detector is essentially used in practice as a way to get people to confess to crimes.”

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:21 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter. Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.