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.

Sometimes, I Feel Like A Government Watchdog

Take a look at the weekly recap below, and you’ll understand why I sometimes feel like a government watchdog:

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

On Sunday, I watched the 14-minute segment, Manhunt: Inside the Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation, on CBS News’ 60 Minutes.  One day later, I felt compelled to ask the question, Does FBI Have More Boston Marathon Bombing Video Than They’re Willing to Share?  Read my article and see if you think my question is valid.

Later on Monday, I reported a Top Intelligence Community Lawyer Made Me Laugh.  To find out what Robert Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said at a recent Freedom of Information Day event in the D.C. area, read the article.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

In my third and final piece Monday, I shared news that proves why National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was able to pass two polygraphs and gain access to America’s most precious secrets.  Read about it under the headline, Newspaper Reporter Reveals How He ‘Beat’ Polygraph Exam.

On Wednesday, I shared video of former Army Ranger officer Michael Behenna‘s first television interview after being paroled and released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.  The video appears in my piece, Michael Behenna Gives First Television Interview Since Release From Military Prison.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

On Thursday, I revisited a subject more than two and a half years old under the headline, Woman Continues Fight After Losing Mother, Granddaughter.  Read it and let me know what you think my next step(s) in reporting about this case should be.

On Friday and Saturday, I’ll be spending most of my time editing the 400-plus pages of the final draft of my still-untitled first fiction novel.  I hope to have this, a “reality-based action thriller,” available for purchase early this summer and hope you’ll order a copy!

This photo shows the slightly more than 400 pages of the final draft of my first fiction thriller. Notice the red pen? I'm getting ready to put it to work.

This photo shows the slightly more than 400 pages of the final draft of my first fiction thriller. Notice the red pen? I’m getting ready to put it to work.

FYI:  If you need something to read while waiting for Book #3 to be released, order my two previous books by clicking here or on the graphic below.  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.

Woman Continues Fight After Losing Mother, Granddaughter

A St. Louis-area woman who once told me she sometimes feels like the grief-stricken women in the 2008 film, “Changeling,” continues to fight for justice despite losing two very special people in her life due to actions taken by out-of-control government bureaucrats.

ChangelingUnder the headline, Government Burning Family Tree at Both Ends, I shared the horrifying true story of Janet (not her real name) Sept. 15, 2011.  It revolves around Janet’s two-pronged battle with county and state agencies in Missouri.

One of Janet’s battles involves fighting to obtain custody of her granddaughter after her daughter was no longer fit to care for the child.  Yesterday, she informed me that her granddaughter had been adopted out to a family in a far-away state about 18 months ago in a process that showed no regard for a state statute which requires Children’s Division officials to give preference and first consideration for foster care placement to grandparents of a child.

Janet’s other battle involved fighting to free her mother from a restricted-access long-term care facility.  It’s the same facility about which her mother’s physician once wrote “placement at this time would not be in the best interest of (Janet’s mother) with respect to her mental and physical health.”  According to Janet, her mother was drugged out of her mind for most of the time she spent in the facility and, during her last days of life — which happened to coincide with the date on which her long-term care insurance coverage ended — had food and water withheld from her.

While Janet said she cries about it every day, she seems at a loss as to what to do as she tries to get her granddaughter back.  Regarding her mother’s case, however, she is continuing to fight and claims to have many documents as well as months of videotape evidence regarding her mother’s maltreatment.  In addition, she is trying to obtain a copy of a toxicology report at this time and has enlisted the help of a local television reporter who has shown an interest in her case.

I plan to take a look at the documentation Janet has amassed very soon.  Stay tuned!

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.

Massive Underground Landfill Fire Nears Radioactive Waste

A massive, smoldering, underground fire at a St. Louis-area landfill is on the verge of coming in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades ago, and no one seems to know how to deal with it.  That’s what I learned during a public forum about the issue Thursday night in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights.

Rather than rehash who said what at the forum, I direct your attention to reports by KSDK reporter Grant Bissell (above) and Leisa Zigman (below) which combine to offer a snapshot of the most-pressing concerns of residents in North St. Louis County.

In short, a massive underground fire — which covers a subterranean area the size of three football fields — at the Bridgeton Landfill is about to come in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades earlier at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

Why was radioactive waste dumped at the landfill?  Unbeknownst to many area residents, St. Louis was home to Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, a company that was the first to process uranium for use in our nation’s first atomic bombs as part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project.  After running out of space for the radioactive waste from their processing efforts, they began shipping it to other area locations, including the West Lake Landfill.  It remains there today.  On the surface of the Missouri River flood plain.  Exposed to the elements.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Aside from the long-term public health crisis involving what many residents describe as “cancer clusters” and other deadly affects of long-term radiation exposure, the most-pressing immediate concern is the fact no one on the planet seems to have experience dealing with this dangerous intersection where fire and radioactive waste collide.

As I stated in my most recent post, RADIOACTIVE WASTE CRISIS Like Plot From A Horror Film, I’ll be following the issues in North County closely.  Meanwhile, though I cannot attest to the accuracy of all of the information the websites below contain, I recommend you visit them to learn more about the potential scope of this crisis:

Coldwater Creek, Just the Facts Facebook Page;

Coldwater Creek Facts;

St. Louis Radiation Waste Legacy;

Weldon Spring Facebook Page; and

West Lake Landfill Facebook Page.

UPDATE 1/31/2014 at 7:09 p.m. Central:  Many of the members of the groups above are particularly in seeing the Army Corps of Engineers replace the EPA as the lead agency on cleaning up the radioactive waste sites in St. Louis.  If this news is any indication, I’d say they’re on the right track.

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.

Conservative Political Action Conference Draws Political Heavyweights to Saint Louis

Conservatives from across the Midwest descended upon the St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center in suburban St. Louis to hear political heavyweights from across the country speak at CPAC St. Louis 2013.

Dana Loesch Emcee CPAC STL 2013

St. Louis’ own Dana Loesch served as mistress of ceremonies during the morning hours at CPAC St. Louis 2013 at the St. Charles Convention Center Saturday.

St. Louis’ own Dana Loesch served as mistress of ceremonies during the morning hours and helped welcome a number of high-profile folks to St. Louis.  Among those who made it to St. Louis were Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC (Ret.).

Below are some of the pictures I captured at the event.

Perry Presser 3 CPAC STL 2013

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) addresses members of the news media after speaking at CPAC St. Louis 2013 Saturday.

With Sen. Mike Lee R-TX CPAC STL 2013

I had the opportunity to discuss my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) Saturday outside the main event hall at the St. Charles Convention Center. The senator serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Todd Akin CPAC STL 2013

Former 2nd District Congressman Todd Akin (right) chats with Carol Wessel Boyer of Troy, Mo., outside the main event hall at the St. Charles Convention Center Saturday.

SEE ALSO:

Governor Rick Perry Talks Voter ID, Jobs, Government Shutdown; and

• Gov. Rick Perry Says ‘American people will defund Obamacare’.

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.

St Louis News Media Promote Medical Marijuana While Ignoring Alderman’s Felony Conviction

Laws that deprive people of medication — conventional or unconventional — that might help them as they battle potentially-deadline diseases are wrong.  Likewise, news reports that deprive listeners, readers and viewers of critical facts about are just as wrong.  Recently, the two wrongs converged in a suburb west of St. Louis.

Alderman Tommy Roberts

Tommy Roberts

News reports about St. Peters (Mo.) Alderman Tommy Roberts facing charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia began surfacing in St. Louis one week ago.

Just before noon Aug. 15, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mark Schlinkmann reported in his Political Fix column that the 3rd Ward alderman and former head of the St. Charles County Democratic Committee was facing the charges after St. Peters police were called to his home in the 1100 block of Spencer Road and reportedly found “marijuana and paraphernalia in plain view on a table.”

On Aug. 16, CBS News radio affiliate KMOV.com offered a shorter version of what the city’s only newspaper had already reported.

On Aug. 20, NBC News television affiliate KSDK-TV entered the mix, airing an interview (below) that concluded with reporter Talia Kaplan saying, “Now, according to a state statute, misdemeanor convictions won’t disqualify an alderman from continuing in office.”

Finally, KTRS 550 AM‘s McGraw Milhaven discussed the case of Alderman Roberts on his morning radio show twice this week.

On the first occasion (see video below dated Aug. 20), Milhaven offered a lot of sympathy for Alderman Roberts while blatantly promoting passage of a medical marijuana law in Missouri.

On the second occasion (see video below dated Aug. 21), Milhaven highlighted an off-air interview recorded with Alderman Roberts sometime after his show the previous day ended.

Unlike the reporters, editors and producers behind the reports above, the folks at two other St. Louis-area news outlets, KTVI-TV (a.k.a., “Fox 2 News”) and KMOX-AM 1120, seem to have missed the boat altogether* – and that’s not all bad!  At least they didn’t go out of their way to tell Alderman Roberts’ story while ignoring — or, perhaps, omitting — a crucial element of his story.

The crucial element?  Alderman Thomas M. Roberts Jr. (a.k.a., “Tommy Roberts”) appears to have been convicted of a felony years before he was elected to serve as an alderman.

Sadly, the only mention of such a conviction on any St. Louis-area news outlets appeared two days after St. Peters Patch published an article by Joe Scott.  A reader, who goes by the screen name “will,” posted his thoughts in the comments section below the article Aug. 18 at 9:27 a.m.  Among his thoughts, he asked a question:  Isn’t this guy already a convicted felon for being a drunk driving persistent offender?

According to records published on the Missouri Courts website, CaseNet, the answer to Will’s question appears to be “Yes.”  The screenshot (below) shows an address matching the one shown as that of Alderman Roberts in the above-mentioned Post-Dispatch report (i.e., the 1100 block of Spencer Road in St. Peters).

CaseNet Roberts InfoA second screenshot from the same site (below) shows Thomas M. Roberts Jr. pleaded guilty Oct. 25, 1996, to a charge described as “Dwi – Alcohol – Persistent Offender {Felony D RSMo: 577.010}.”  Also on Oct. 25, 1996, Roberts pleaded guilty to the charge, “Operated Motor Vehicle on Highway While Drivers License/Privilege Revoked (Suspended For Points) {Misdemeanor A RSMo: 302.321}.”

CaseNet Thomas M Roberts Jr

On Dec. 11, 1996, Roberts received a four-year prison sentence (suspended) and five years of probation in exchange for the DWI guilty plea. On the same day, he was sentenced to 14 days in the St. Charles (Mo.) County Jail on the other charge, and it appears he served that jail time.  On Sept. 29, 1999, he was discharged from probation, though no explanation or reason was cited for the early discharge.

So, what’s next?  Two factors might lead one to assume Alderman Roberts might plead guilty and be sentenced fairly:

• First, Missouri does not have a so-called “medical marijuana” law that allows citizens with prescriptions from their doctors to use the “wacky weed”; and

• Second, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar told the KSDK reporter “unless or until the state legislature tells me and all other prosecutors that we have to treat these sorts of cases differently, this case will get no different treatment than any other misdemeanor marijuana case.”

Beyond that, one question is sure to arise:  Should Alderman Roberts should resign?

*EDITOR’S NOTE:  If I’ve missed any local news media coverage of this matter, please leave a comment that includes a link/details, and I’ll update this piece.

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.

‘Show-Me Jihad’ Murder Suspect Committed to Mental Institution

Apparently, 23 months wasn’t long enough for court-appointed mental health professionals to determine whether or not Mohamed H. Dawod (a.k.a., the “Show-Me Jihad” murder suspect) was in his “right mind” when he allegedly shot and killed a fellow traveler at a Springfield, Mo., bus station less than 48 hours before the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mohamed H. Dawod

Mohamed H. Dawod

Yesterday morning, a hearing — something you knew was happening only if you read about it at BobMcCarty.com — was held in Judge Dan Conklin‘s 31st Judicial District courtroom in the southwest Missouri city.

Notably, the hearing took place four months after Dawod, a 25-year-old resident of Glendale, Ariz., at the time of the shooting, pleaded “not guilty” due to insanity to charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Justin Hall, 32, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  Total strangers before the shooting, according to all reports, both men had been passengers on a Greyhound bus that was en route from Amarillo, Texas, to St. Louis and had stopped in Springfield.

According to a report n the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader this morning, Dawod has been committed in an attempt to deal with his mental health issues, and his case will likely be reconsidered by Judge Conklin in six months.  One possible outcome of future court hearings is that Dawod could be committed to a mental institution permanently.

As I noted in an update to my Aug. 13 piece, online information about the case has been removed from CaseNet, apparently because of the mental health-centered decision at yesterday’s hearing.

CaseNet Dawod Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 5.18SILVER LINING:  As long as Dawod is in a mental institution, Missourians can rest assured he won’t soon walk free like another Missouri Muslim murder suspect did recently following a visit to Warrensburg, Mo., by President Barack Obama.

To read more details about the Springfield bus station murder, click here.

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.