Tag Archives: security clearance

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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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!

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Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Military, Government Security Clearance Holders Vulnerable to Blackmail After Hackers Share Ashley Madison Data

How many more Aldrich Ames and Edward Snowden types are lurking among the millions of people who hold U.S. Government security clearances, vulnerable to blackmail as a result of their involvement in the AshleyMadison.com data breach?

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

If you haven’t heard of AshleyMadison (dot) com, let me offer some background information borrowed from Wired.com’s article published Tuesday:

“Ashley Madison is the most famous name in infidelity and married dating,” the site asserts on its homepage. “Have an Affair today on Ashley Madison. Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup everyday looking for an affair…. With Our affair guarantee package we guarantee you will find the perfect affair partner.”

Also in the article is news that the data breach included some 15,000 .mil or .gov addresses.

Now that you understand what’s at stake, I’ll continue.

While serving as an Air Force public affairs officer and possessing such a clearance during the last few years of the Cold War, I was regularly reminded of the types of behavior and activities that could prevent a person from obtaining or maintaining his security clearance. Atop the list of things were activities that might make you vulnerable to blackmail by a foreign agent — things such as sexually-promiscuous behavior, financial mismanagement and drug and alcohol abuse, just to name a few. And while those things may sound like everyday activities for members of Congress, those of us in uniform had higher standards. Back then.

Now, fast forward to more-recent days and the four years I spent investigating the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment” technologies, including the polygraph. During those years, I learned a lot about the system via which U.S. government personnel — especially in Defense and Intelligence positions — are vetted in advance of being granted security clearances. Truth be told, I learned more about the subjects of security clearances and background checks during my investigation than I did while in uniform. I also learned CIA employee-turned spy Ames, NSA contractor-turned Russian house guest Snowden and countless others who engaged in unauthorized dissemination of classified information — and, in many cases, blatant espionage — had had to pass periodic polygraph exams as a condition of their employment with U.S. military and intelligence agencies. And pass the polygraph exams, they did!

Even after I exposed a plethora of serious concerns associated with such practices via the May 2013 release of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, leaders of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, led by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. — continue to rely upon the century-old polygraph in the security clearance vetting process and cause me to ask, “WHY?”

The Clapper Memo offers the closest thing to an answer to that question.

Click here to learn more about the book and read some of the high-profile endorsements it has received.  Click here to 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.

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Thirty-Six Reasons Why You Should Read The Clapper Memo

Sometimes, people ask me why they should read my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. For them, I offer the 36 reasons below:

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

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

1. If you have ever had to submit to a polygraph examination in order to land or keep a job, you should read The Clapper Memo.

2. If you hold a security clearance and are subject to periodic polygraph examinations, you should read The Clapper Memo.

3. If you are now serving in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, you should read The Clapper Memo.

4. If you are a veteran who served in any branch of in the Armed Forces of the United States, you should read The Clapper Memo.

5. If you know someone who has served in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, you should read The Clapper Memo.

6. If you are considering joining the Armed Forces of the United States, you should read The Clapper Memo.

7. If you have ever been subjected to a polygraph examination as part of a criminal investigation, you should read The Clapper Memo.

8. If you expect to undergo a polygraph examination as part of a criminal investigation, you should read The Clapper Memo.

9. If you know someone who was convicted of a crime based upon the results of a polygraph examination, you should read The Clapper Memo.

10. If you have ever wondered about the validity of the polygraph, you should read The Clapper Memo.

11. If you are interested in learning about countermeasures that enable anyone to beat the polygraph, you should read The Clapper Memo.

12. If you are interested in reading details of what I learned about a non-polygraph credibility assessment technology for which no countermeasures exist, you should read The Clapper Memo.

13. If you are interested in what I learned during my exclusive interview with the man who interrogated Tariq Aziz and other members of Saddam Hussein’s infamous “Deck of Cards,” you should read The Clapper Memo.

14. If you are interested in what I learned during my exclusive interview with the former Army Green Beret who set the record for the most interrogations (500+) of enemy combatants in Iraq, you should read The Clapper Memo.

15. If you are interested in what I learned during my exclusive interview with a man who has used covert interrogation methods to help resolve more than 300 kidnapping cases in Mexico and send 450 criminals to prison, you should read The Clapper Memo.

16. If you are interested in what I learned by reading hundreds of email messages exchanged between top Justice Department officials and the academics they paid to conduct taxpayer-funded studies, you should read The Clapper Memo.

17. If you are interested in understanding one of the root causes of the deadly “Green-on-Blue” attacks against American warfighters in Afghanistan, you should read The Clapper Memo.

18. If you are interested in reading about apparent conflicts of interest and ethical lapses by some of our nation’s top intelligence officials, you should read The Clapper Memo.

The Clapper Memo Info & Endorsements

Click on image above to learn more and read endorsements of the book.

19. If you are interested in reading an example of why ABC News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross has been labeled “America’s Wrongest Reporter,” you should read The Clapper Memo.

20. If you are interested in reading what I learned about how U.S. Government agencies made a mockery out of the Freedom of Information Act during the four years I spent conducting research for my book, you should read The Clapper Memo.

21. If you are interested in reading what I learned about how U.S. Government agencies dole out research dollars in the form of non-competitive grants to academics, you should read The Clapper Memo.

22. If you are interested in learning about a non-polygraph technology that, despite being embraced by more than 1,800 local and state law enforcement agencies is banned for use by Department of Defense personnel, you should read The Clapper Memo.

23. If you are interested in reading about how a top Department of Defense counterintelligence official used his position to promote his private investigation business, you should read The Clapper Memo.

24. If you are interested in reading about a non-polygraph technology proven to accurately detect stress in the human voice, you should read The Clapper Memo.

25. If you are interested in what senior interrogation officials at Guantanamo Bay had to say about the non-polygraph technology that was taken away from them after proving very successful, you should read The Clapper Memo.

26. If you are interested in what several members of our nation’s Special Forces community (i.e., Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets) had to say about the non-polygraph technology that was taken away from them after proving very successful, you should read The Clapper Memo.

27. If you think the United States should use the best technology available to interrogate detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, you should read The Clapper Memo.

28. If you think the United States should use the best technology available to interrogate enemy combatants, you should read The Clapper Memo.

29. If you think the United States should use the best technology available to interrogate suspected terrorists, you should read The Clapper Memo.

30. If you think the United States should use the best technology available to interrogate criminal suspects, you should read The Clapper Memo.

31. If you think the United States should stop relying upon century-old polygraph technology, you should read The Clapper Memo.

32. If you find it difficult to believe members of the American Polygraph Association are objective in their criticism of non-polygraph technology, you should read The Clapper Memo.

33. If you want to read the bloody details of a technological “turf war” that’s been raging quietly for more than 40 years between backers of the polygraph and those behind competing technologies, you should read The Clapper Memo.

34. If you trust people who put their lives on the line for their fellow citizens more than you trust academics, bureaucrats and politicians, you should read The Clapper Memo.

35. If you appreciate thorough investigative reporting that relies upon one-on-one interviews, thorough research and thousands of documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and various state “sunshine” laws, you should read The Clapper Memo.

36. If you want to find out why the face of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., our nation’s top intelligence official, appears on the cover of this book and why his name appears in the title of this book, you should read The Clapper Memo.

To find out what all of the fuss is about, order a copy of The Clapper Memo today!

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:24 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.

Nation’s Top Intelligence Official Blowing Smoke When It Comes to Plan for Tightening Security Clearance Process

I got more than I bargained for when I read the Federal News Radio article, Social media could become part of security clearance process. I learned that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. is moving forward with a system of continuous evaluation of security clearance holders and has no plans to forgo current tools, including interviews, polygraphs and reference checks.

Click on graphic above to order book.

Click on graphic above to order book.

That news was delivered by National Counterintelligence Executive Bill Evanina, the policies expert inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, during a recent interview with FNR’s Emily Kopp. But that wasn’t all he shared.

According to the article, he said he expects DNI Clapper to launch the continuous evaluation system early next year, starting with top-secret clearance holders and eventually involving all five million clearance holders.

I can’t wait to see if DNI Clapper can pull it off, because the numbers, as I reported in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, are against him.

According to a DoD report I cite in the book, polygraph examiners throughout the entire federal government conducted approximately 8,000 polygraph exams between Oct. 1, 1999, and Sept. 30, 2000. Then, almost one year later, the history-changing attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took place. During the 10 years that followed those attacks, the number of polygraph exams conducted within the federal government skyrocketed. According to an Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) report I cite in the book, DoD polygraph examiners alone conducted more than 43,000 polygraph exams during the 12-month period ending April 30, 2011.

It took DNI Clapper’s folks ten years to ramp up their polygraph program from 8,000 to 43,000 annual exams. How he expects to ramp up to five million exams is beyond anyone’s comprehension. And how he expects to achieve worthwhile results with the polygraph, the same century-old technology that convicted spies such as John Anthony Walker Jr., Jonathan Jay Pollard, Ana Belen Montes, and other U.S. government employees subject to periodic polygraph exams as conditions of their employment to get away with their crimes. Some spied for years and years before being caught! And don’t forget Edward Snowden, the most recent example of an intelligence professional with a high-level security clearance to make reliance on the polygraph appear foolish.

See also: Intel Boss ‘Truly Insane,’ According to Former CIA Director

To see who has endorsed the book, click here.

To read other posts about the book, click here.

To understand everything I’ve uncovered in the book, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.