Tag Archives: national security

CODE RED: No Easy Day for Green Beret on Witness Stand

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below first appeared on this site Aug. 24, 2012. Almost two years later, it vanished — along with nearly 5,000 others written and published since October 2006 — as detailed in a post eight months ago. Today, I rescued it from where it appears on an alternate site in order to share it below with only minor modifications. Please read and share.

Two Good Books

No Easy Day is the title of a book by Matt Bissonnette (alias “Mark Owen”), a former Navy SEAL-turned author of an unauthorized account of the 2011 Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The three-word title could also describe the time former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart spent testifying during his court-martial in August 2009.

According to The Daily Beast, Admiral William McRaven used a letter to members of his U.S. Special Operations Command to issue a veiled warning to Bissonnette. Then USSOC commander, he wrote the following:

“Every member of the special-operations community with a security clearance signed a non-disclosure agreement that was binding during and after service in the military. If the U.S. Special Operations Command finds that an active-duty, retired or former service member violated that agreement and that exposure of information was detrimental to the safety of U.S. forces, then we will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate.”

While Bissonnette became the subject of an NCIS investigation, he has not, to my knowledge, faced any formal charges. Instead, he was ordered to pay $4.5 million to the government for publishing the book without first obtaining clearance.

Conversely, Stewart was sentenced to eight years in prison following a kangaroo-court military trial that followed false allegations he had raped and kidnapped a then-28-year-old German woman. During that trial, he refused to violate the terms of his nondisclosure agreement — even while facing a possible life sentence in a military courtroom in Germany.

The government’s cross-examination of Stewart on Day Two of his court-martial began with the trial counsel asking him questions about friendships he had established in Germany since his August 2008 arrival in the Stuttgart area. Before long, however, it turned into a somewhat-heated exchange—something Stewart later described as being similar to a courtroom scene from the movie, A Few Good Men.

In that scene, a Marine colonel (Jack Nicholson) on the witness stand was accused by a young Navy defense attorney (Tom Cruise) of ordering a “Code Red”—an illegal beating of a Marine by members of his platoon that resulted in his death and a subsequent cover-up. Several minutes of heated exchange between the officers resulted in the colonel finally losing his cool and admitting he ordered the attack.

“Every schooling and every assessment that the military has done on me to assess that I’m stable,” Stewart said, “and that I’m trusted with national security issues and that I can be trusted to make the right, conscious decisions, now is being turned around (so that) every one of those (are) predatory skills that I used to go after Miss Heinrich.”

Still, the trial counsel tried to paint Stewart, a man who had risen into the top one percent of the Army, as a master manipulator whose SF training helped him know how to control a person like his accuser, Greta J. Heinrich*.

After seeing his sentence reduced from eight to three years, Stewart was released from prison March 31, 2011. Four years later — after he had spent his life savings on legal fees and lost all pay and allowances as a result of the trial outcome — he received a letter from the Department of the Treasury and was told he owes the Department of Defense more than $35,000 as repayment for, among other things, a reenlistment bonus he received prior to being court-martialed. See details here.

You can learn more about Stewart’s case here, then read all of the blow-by-blow details on the pages of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice. It’s available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com.

*This is not the real name of the accuser, and it does not appear in the book.

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Bob McCarty Weekly Recap: Aug. 16-22, 2015

Though it’s been quite a while since I offered a weekly recap, I think one is in order this week as I tackled subjects ranging from 2016 presidential candidates to the revisiting a case of military injustice.

Weekly Recap Aug. 16-22, 2015

On Tuesday, I shared news about a milestone six years in the making. In Sixth Anniversary of Military Injustice Observed, I reminded readers of the basics of the wrongful prosecution and conviction of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart inside a U.S. Army courtroom in Germany during three days in August 2009.

Later that day, I used a headline to ask a question — Did Man’s Confession Save Parents Who Failed Polygraph? — before sharing news about a case I first reported four years ago which should make people think twice about relying upon century-old polygraph technology.

On Wednesday, I warned about the potential impact the release of thousands of AshleyMadison.com (sorry, but no link today) customer records might have on national security. For details, see Military, Government Security Clearance Holders Vulnerable to Blackmail After Hackers Share Ashley Madison Data.

Within hours, I pointed readers to my piece, Though Facing Possibility of Life Sentence on Bogus Charges, Green Beret Refused to Violate Code of Conduct During Trial, about how the Green Beret mentioned in my post one day earlier had displayed extraordinary courage while on trial and facing a possible life sentence.

On Thursday, I shared a message from a former Army colleague of Kelly A. Stewart, the Green Beret about whom I had written two pieces earlier in the week. That colleague said Stewart ‘Always Had Our Backs’.

Also that day, I shared a Facebook note about another case of military injustice involving former Army 1LT Michael C. Behenna, about whom I wrote dozens of pieces over the years. It appears under the headline, Throwback Thursday: Is Army Protecting Someone in Officer’s Chain of Command?

On Friday, I responded to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter‘s invitation to ask him a question in advance of his Worldwide Troop Talk, set to take place Sept. 1. You can read my response to his invitation in my piece, Secretary of Defense Invites Me to Ask Questions.

Before ending the day, I shared guest writer Paul R. Hollrah’s piece, Donald Trump: A Watershed Moment in History, as a way to show what the former member of the Electoral College thinks about what’s at stake in the 2016 presidential election.

Now, as Bugs Bunny used to say, “That’s all folks!”

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.

Federal Government Continues to Rely Upon Technology That Likely Enabled Mexican Drug Kingpin’s Escape

The United States government relies upon polygraph technology to prevent national security breaches. At the same time, the government of Mexico relies upon polygraph to screen out “bad apples” and thwart corruption among the ranks of its law enforcement and prison officials. One needs only look at news headlines to see how well the century-old technology has worked on both sides of the border.

To read story, click on image above.

To read story, click on image above.

Two years ago, the world learned how Edward Snowden took advantage of “truly insane” policies and defeated all of the safeguards — including multiple periodic polygraph exams — intended to prevent individuals from people like him from executing nefarious plans and damaging national security.  Over the weekend, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a billionaire drug kingpin, escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico for the second time, reportedly assisted by guards, all of whom have been subjected to polygraph exams as a condition of their employment. Combined, these two incidents prove little has changed since 2009, when the Los Angeles Times reported polygraph testing in Mexico inspires little confidence. Likewise, they prove little has changed since the release of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, in May 2013.

Based on four years of in-depth investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment technology,” The Clapper Memo, contains irrefutable proof that a better, non-polygraph technology exists to screen government agency personnel and determine whether or not they should be allowed to remain in positions of trust.

To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, non-polygraph technology, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

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.

Edward Snowden Scandal Ended Year of Living Dangerously

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two years ago this week, I shared the piece below under a similar headline as above. In light of things such as the hacking of millions of personnel records held by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, I believe it’s worth sharing again with only minor revisions. Please read and share.

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

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

It’s been a year of living dangerously since Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. announced his plan to bring an end to the glut of national security leaks that had many questioning his performance as the nation’s top intelligence official. I use the word, dangerously, because his plan simply hasn’t worked.

Doubts about DNI Clapper’s performance have increased, some in Congress — including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — have called for his resignation or firing, and a scandal of epic proportions (a.k.a., “The Edward Snowden-National Security Agency-PRISM Scandal”) threatens to bring down the man atop the nation’s 17-agency Intelligence Community.

At the heart of the scandal, but not reported outside of these pages, is a question I raise after having conducted an exhaustive, four-year investigation into the use — and, in some cases, non-use — of polygraph and non-polygraph technologies by federal government agencies:

“How did Edward Snowden pass the polygraph exams required by his stints of employment as an intelligence professional?”

I made it clear in a headline published soon after the Snowden surfaced: Polygraph Exams Should Have Caught Edward Snowden. Of course, I should have added “If polygraph technology worked in the first place.” But I digress.

Screenshot of piece published June 18, 2013.

Screenshot of piece published June 18, 2013.

I questioned how Snowden, who had been employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency before landing at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, could have passed the necessary polygraph exams.

I shared the opinion of an expert:

Because his level of access would have required it, according to a source of mine (name withheld) who boasts almost three decades of counterintelligence work, Snowden must have taken — and passed – several polygraph exams as a condition of his multiple stints of employment with three-letter intelligence agencies and at least one government contractor,…

Plus, I shared a logical observation about Snowden, a man on the run from his government:

If, indeed, Snowden had had thoughts about exposing government secrets while employed by the CIA, the results of the polygraph exam(s) he took prior to and during his employment by that agency should have yielded clues to that could have led examiners to the truth about Snowden’s mindset. File this under, “Should have. Could have. Would have.”

Six days after publishing the polygraph-should-have-caught-Snowden piece, new observations about national security-related procedures surfaced in a Federal Times article.

Gregg Prillaman, a former Department of Homeland Security official, reportedly said that obtaining a security clearance in a post-Snowden world will likely be much tougher and take longer as a result of, among other things, the need to require more polygraph exams.

One needs only look at how well the polygraph has performed as an investigative tool to combat corruption in Mexico and to screen Afghan recruits to understand that DNI Clapper’s approach is flawed from the outset.

In my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, I share never-before-published details about the polygraph and about a “turf war” between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology that has been raging silently for more than 40 years. In addition, I share details — straight from the sources on the ground — about how both technologies have performed at Guantanamo Bay, in Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, Qatar and elsewhere around the world. Most importantly, I connect the dots between three memos — including one issued by Clapper in 2007 while he was serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence — and hundreds of American casualties resulting from “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks waged by so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their country.

There is, of course, much more to The Clapper Memo. To learn more about it, however, you’ll have to order a copy, available in paperback and ebook versions, at Amazon. Still unsure? Read the big-name endorsements.

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.

Does ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Label Apply to OKC Bombing?

The narrative President Bill Clinton and his underlings want to stand for time immemorial whenever the Oklahoma City Bombing is discussed goes something like this: “It was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.  Timothy McVeigh is dead, Terry Nichols is locked up, and there’s nothing more to know. Case closed.” But is that narrative accurate?

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as "the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history."

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.”

While Wikipedia, the FBI website and countless other online and offline sources adhere to that narrative, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue wants to find answers he knows are 100 percent factual. Why? Because he thinks the answers will help him discover the truth about what happened to his brother, Kenneth, who died in federal custody Aug. 21, 1995, barely four months after the blast that left 168 people dead in downtown Oklahoma City.

In one of the earliest episodes in his epic Freedom of Information Act battle, Trentadue sent a FOIA request to the Central Intelligence Agency Dec. 19, 2006. In it, he requested “documents, information and/or records prepared and/or received by the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) Office of the Inspector General relating or referring to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Bulding on April 19, 1995.” He specified that his request included, but was not limited to, “any and all report(s) by the CIA Office of the Inspector General, directly or indirectly, concerning the CIA’s prior knowledge of the planned attack [sic] upon the Murrah Building and/or the report(s) of any and all investigations into the CIA’s role, involvement with or connection to the Murrah Building Bombing whether through employees, informants, operatives or other means.”

Why did Trentadue think the CIA might know something about the Oklahoma City Bombing? Because he had heard from sources he considered reliable that at least one German individual had been connected to the conspiracy to bomb the federal building in downtown Oklahoma City.

In response to the FOIA request he had sent to the CIA, Trentadue received a letter dated May 28, 2009, from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. For some reason, officials at the CIA FOIA Office had referred his request to the Air Force investigative agency.

Attached to the AFOSI letter was a copy of a once-secret, heavily-redacted message sent April 20, 1995, by officials at an AFOSI office in the United Kingdom and addressed to officials at a laundry list of government agencies, including the CIA.

The subject line of the message began with a redaction code, “B1” inside brackets, followed by the words, “INFORMATION IDENTIFYING POSSIBLE ACTIVE IRANIAN MILITANTS IN<OKLAHOMA>(U).” FYI: B1″ was explained in the cover letter as a code used to indicate “the withholding of national security information concerning the national defense or foreign policy that has been properly classified in accordance with substantive and procedural requirements of a presidential executive order (currently Executive Order 13292 dates March 25, 2003).” Other codes appeared as well and might warrant discussion in some future article(s).

Below the subject line were the words, “WARNING: THIS IS AN INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE (See Screenshot 1 of 2).”

The body of the message included large white spaces, also marked with redaction codes. The body of the message also included details about two Iranians (names redacted) described as approximately 45 and 39 years old, respectively (See Screenshot 2 of 2). Though it does not list whether the individuals were men or women, the descriptions of their height, weight and manner of dress lead me to believe they were men.

Wondering why the Air Force was involved in responding to the FOIA request Trentadue made to the CIA? According to Trentadue, the Air Force ran the spy satellite program for the CIA before the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) took over the program. Now, hold that thought for a few moments while I continue down the FOIA path.

Trentadue learned his FOIA request to the CIA had been denied when he received an undated letter received from the NGA. As was the case with AFOSI, the CIA FOIA Office had referred 26 documents to the little-known NGA for review.

Though Trentadue would lose his FOIA lawsuit against the CIA, he did learn more about the CIA’s denial of his FOIA request by reading three paragraphs of a document — a declaration signed Aug. 18, 2009, by Earl J. Chidester, NGA’s Analysis and Production Executive Committee Direct Support Officer — that became part of the court record in the case. Those paragraphs appear below:

4.    (U) The purpose of this declaration is to explain the basis for NGA’s response to the CIA’s referral of documents determined to be possibly responsive to the Plaintiff’s FOIA request of December 19, 2006. In that request Plaintiff requested records and information the CIA had related or referring to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. During its records search in response to Plaintiff’s request, the CIA located in CIA’s files twenty-five classified documents that were originated by a predecessor organization of NGA that are responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request. These documents are now the responsibility of NGA. On February 23, 2009, the CIA referred these documents to NGA to determine if any of these twenty-five documents could be released to the Plaintiff.

5.    (U) As an NGA technical expert, I reviewed the referred documents to determine whether any of them are releasable. Based upon my review NGA has determined that all the referred documents have been properly classified pursuant to Exec. Orders 12951 and 12958 and, accordingly, should be withheld. None of the documents can be released, even in part, as no reasonably segregable, non-exempt portion of these documents exists.

6.    (U) The 25 referred documents are imagery intelligence products derived from imagery collected by various national technical means satellites. The materials include briefing boards, anaglyphs, and IDEX II electronic light-table prints. Release of these materials would reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security as such release might reveal sources and methods used to acquire intelligence. This is because the nature of the technical output may reveal the technologies used, and the capacities of those technologies. Because these images are properly classified in their totality, it is not possible to segregate any portion of the images for release. Any portions that might possibly be segregated would convey no information as they would essentially be blank.

“My thoughts are that the CIA could only have been involved if there was some foreign connection,” Trentadue said after I asked him to explain the involvement of the intelligence agency tasked with the collection of national intelligence outside the United States.

At about the same time Trentadue filed his lawsuit against the CIA, he also filed one against the FBI. Unlike the CIA lawsuit, the FBI lawsuit continues to this day in a federal court in Salt Lake City with Trentadue appearing to have the upperhand. To learn more about it, click 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.