New Book Reveals How Top US Government Officials Withheld Key Information From Senators

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, reveals how officials inside the Departments of Defense and Justice withheld key information about interrogation technologies from members of Congress.

100707-F-3431H-016Since 2008, a number of reports have been produced by a variety of governmental and nongovernmental entities.  While some focused on the situation involving detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (a.k.a., “GITMO”) in Cuba, others looked at the progress — or lack thereof — being made in the war in Afghanistan. From among the reports available, three warrant special attention.

Amidst media-flamed fires of concern regarding allegations GITMO detainees were being mistreated, members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee took steps in 2008 to make themselves appear proactive as the war approached its seven-year mark.

TCM Graphic 2-17-13In addition to holding hearings, they deployed a team of investigators to look into allegations of torture being inflicted upon detainees at GITMO and at other detention facilities in Iraq (i.e., Abu Ghraib, Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca).  The investigation resulted in the publication of an unclassified 263-page report, “INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY,” dated November 20, 2008.

Over the course of their investigation, according to the report, the committee reviewed more than 200,000 pages of classified and unclassified documents, including detention and interrogation policies, memoranda, electronic communications, training manuals and the results of previous investigations into detainee abuse.  While the majority of those documents were provided to the committee by the Department of Defense, the committee also reviewed documents provided by the Department of Justice, documents in the public domain, a small number of documents provided by individuals and a number of published secondary sources including books and articles in popular magazines and scholarly journals.

PapersIn addition, according to the report, the committee interviewed more than 70 individuals in connection with its inquiry.  Most were current or former DoD employees, and some came from the current and former ranks of DoJ, including the FBI.

The committee issued subpoenas, heard testimony from subpoenaed witnesses, sent written questions to more than 200 individuals, and held public hearings June 17 and September 25, 2008.

Though one might have expected to see several mentions of it, since it is the only approved credibility-assessment tool for use within DoD, the SASC report included only one mention of the word, polygraph.  It appeared in a heavily-redacted paragraph in which interrogators and analysts were said to have attributed the cooperation of one detainee, Mohammed al-Khatani, to several factors, one of which was “his failing a polygraph test.”

Only one detainee cooperated.

The report also included mentions of interrogation techniques that were part of the curriculum at U.S. Military Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape schools and other non-polygraph interrogation techniques that had been authorized by U.S. Joint Forces Command for use during the interrogation of detainees in U.S. military custody by members of a Joint Personnel Recovery Agency team deployed to Iraq in September 2003.

Saddam_Hussein_LRMost remarkable about the committee’s findings, however, were the things not mentioned.

The committee’s report failed to mention a non-polygraph technology that had been used successfully to interrogate detainees at GITMO, to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) in Iraq, and to interrogate a diverse range of subjects at locations around the world.

Likewise, it failed to include a single mention of that non-polygraph technology or anyone remotely related to it.

As a result of the omissions, the polygraph’s leading challenger would remain unknown to anyone relying solely upon the SASC investigators’ report for information upon which to make critical decisions.

To learn about the two other reports and about the non-polygraph technology senior DoD officials continue to keep out of the hands of those who interrogate terror and criminal suspects and out of the hands of our fighting men and women on the front lines of war, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The 268-page product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions.  Order your copy today!

FYI:  THE CLAPPER MEMO has received several notable endorsements.

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.

Hillary Clinton Testifies on Benghazi Debacle

Will Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations cast a cloud over President Barack Obama’s second term?  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, the text of her testimony appears below:

Hillary Casts Cloud Over Obama by Political Graffiti

Hillary Casts Cloud Over Obama by Political Graffiti

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity.

The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of four brave Americans — Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty — are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge and share what we’ve learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to honor our fallen colleagues and continue to champion America’s interests and values.

Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies, for our Department and for other agencies: hostages taken in Tehran in 1979, our embassy and Marine barracks bombed in Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in East Africa in 1998, consulate staff murdered in Jeddah in 2004, the Khost attack in 2009, and too many others.

Click to read Hillary Clinton statement Sept. 11, 2012.

Click to read Hillary Clinton statement Sept. 11, 2012.

Of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right 99 percent of the time, against difficult odds all over the world. That’s why, like my predecessors, I trust them with my life.

Let’s also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the Review Boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats. That’s what the men and women who serve our country deserve. And it’s what we are doing again now, with your help. As Secretary, I have had no higher priority, and no greater responsibility.

As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.

Taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis and further protect our people and posts in high- threat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and support emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.

Let me share some of the lessons we have learned, the steps we have taken, and the work we continue to do.

First, let’s start on the night of September 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department and stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. So I saw first- hand what Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen called “timely” and “exceptional” coordination. No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from the military. And I want to echo the Review Board’s praise for the valor and courage of our people on the ground – especially the security professionals in Benghazi and Tripoli. The Board said our response saved American lives in real time – and it did.

DOS Travel Warning 8-27-12

Click to view Department of State travel warning pre-Benghazi.

You may recall that in that same period, we also saw violent attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Sanaa, Tunis, and Khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts where thousands of our diplomats serve.

So I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world, with particular scrutiny for high-threat posts. We asked the Department of Defense to join Interagency Security Assessment Teams and to dispatch hundreds of additional Marine Security Guards. I named the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for High Threat Posts, so Missions in dangerous places get the attention they need. And we reached out to Congress to help address physical vulnerabilities, including risks from fire, and to hire additional Diplomatic Security personnel.

Second, even as we took these steps, I also appointed the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen so that we could more fully understand what went wrong and how to fix it.

I have accepted every one of their recommendations — and I asked the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources to lead a task force to ensure that all 29 of them are implemented quickly and completely… as well as to pursue additional steps above and beyond those in the Board’s report.

Because of the effort we began in the days after the attacks, work is already well underway. And, as I pledged in my letter to you last month, implementation has now begun on all 29 recommendations. Our task force started by translating the recommendations into 64 specific action items. All of these action items were assigned to specific bureaus and offices, with clear timelines for completion. Fully 85 percent are on track to be completed by the end of March, with a number completed already.

We are taking a top-to-bottom look, and rethinking how we make decisions on where, when, and how our people operate in high threat areas, and how we respond to threats and crises.

As part of our effort to go above and beyond the Review Board’s recommendations, we are initiating an annual High Threat Post Review chaired by the Secretary of State, and ongoing reviews by the Deputy Secretaries, to ensure pivotal questions about security reach the highest levels. And we will regularize protocols for sharing information with Congress.

All of these actions are designed to increase the safety of our diplomats and development experts and reduce the chances of another Benghazi happening again.

Now, in addition to the immediate action we took and the Review Board process, we have been moving forward on a third front: addressing the broader strategic challenge in North Africa and the wider region.

Because Benghazi didn’t happen in a vacuum. The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. And instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria.

And let me offer my deepest condolences to the families of the Americans and all the people from many nations who were killed and injured in the recent hostage crisis. We remain in close touch with the Government of Algeria and stand ready to provide assistance if needed. We are seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent terrorist attacks like this in the future.
Concerns about terrorism and instability in North Africa are not new. Indeed they have been a top priority for our entire national security team. But after Benghazi, we accelerated a diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups across the region.

In the first hours and days, I conferred with the President of Libya and the Foreign Ministers of Tunisia and Morocco. Two weeks later, I met with regional leaders at the United Nations General Assembly and held a special meeting focused on Mali and the Sahel. In October, I flew to Algeria to discuss the fight against AQIM. In November, I sent Deputy Secretary Bill Burns to follow up in Algiers. And then in December, he co-chaired the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Abu Dhabi and a meeting in Tunis of leaders working to build new democracies and reform security services.

In all these diplomatic engagements, and in near-constant contacts at every level, we have focused on targeting al Qaeda’s syndicate of terror – closing safe havens, cutting off finances, countering extremist ideology, and slowing the flow of new recruits. We continue to hunt the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Benghazi and are determined to bring them to justice. And we’re also using all our diplomatic and economic tools to support the emerging democracies of the region, including Libya, to strengthen security forces and provide a path away from extremism.

The United States must continue to lead… in the Middle East and all around the globe. We have come a long way in the past four years. We cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened.

That’s why Chris Stevens went to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution and then during the transition. A weak Libyan government, marauding militias, even terrorist groups… a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he didn’t waver. Because he understood that it was critical for America to be represented in that pivotal place at that pivotal time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect this country we love. They represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. And they cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs.

It is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs and to do everything we can to reduce the risks they face.

For me, this is not just a matter of policy… it’s personal.

I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.

It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID. Nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington and at more than 275 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day – often in difficult and dangerous circumstances thousands of miles from home – because they believe the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the earth has ever known.

And when we suffer tragedies overseas, the number of Americans applying to the Foreign Service actually increases. That tells us everything we need to know about what kind of patriots I’m talking about.    They ask what they can do for their country. And America is stronger for it.

Today, after four years in this job, after traveling nearly 1 million miles and visiting 112 countries around the world, my faith in our country and our future is stronger than ever. Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words “United States of America” touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world’s indispensible nation. And I am confident that, with your help, we will continue to keep the United States safe, strong, and exceptional.

So I want to thank this committee for your partnership and your support of our diplomats and development experts around the world. You know the importance of the work they do day-in and day-out, and that America’s values and vital national security interests are at stake. It is absolutely critical that we work together to ensure they have the resources and support they need to face increasingly complex threats.

I know that you share our sense of responsibility and urgency. And while we all may not agree on everything, let’s stay focused on what really matters: protecting our people and the country we all love.

Now I am now happy to answer your questions.

###

I watched the testimony live on C-SPAN.  Updates to follow.

"Three Days In August" Promotional PhotoBob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, The CLAPPER MEMO, is coming soon was released May 2013.

Senator Claire McCaskill Trying to Fool Missouri Voters

Incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill would love for Missouri voters to think she is fiercely independent and not the dyed-in-the-wool Barack Obama supporter that she truly is.  Perhaps that’s why, according to this June 29 report by KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., she won’t be attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Clearly, “Claire Bear” is trying to fool Missouri voters into thinking she’s opposes President Obama’s healthcare plan (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”); in reality, she supports it, voted for it and wants it to remain the law of the land.

If you do your homework, Missourians, you can reach only one logical conclusion:  The Show-Me State needs a new U.S. senator, and the person for the job is Todd Akin.

Missouri 2012 GOP Primary Endorsements Offered

For the first time in almost seven years online, I’ve decided to offer my endorsements of Republican primary candidates in Missouri who are running for seats in the governor’s mansion, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.  Those endorsements appear below with the two most important 2012 primary races, governor and U.S. Senate, listed first:

GOVERNOR:  ELECT BILL RANDLES

Bill Randles & wife, Beverly

Randles’ GOP primary opponent is Dave Spence.

U.S. SENATE:  ELECT TODD AKIN

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin

Congressman Akin’s GOP primary opponents are John Brunner and Sarah Steelman.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Martin Baker

1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  ELECT MARTIN BAKER

Baker’s GOP primary opponent is Robyn Hamlin.

Dr. Randy Jotte

2nd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  ELECT RANDY JOTTE

Dr. Jotte’s GOP primary opponents are James O. Baker, John Morris and Ann Wagner.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer

3rd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  RE-ELECT BLAINE LUETKEMEYER

Congressman Luetkemeyer has no GOP primary opponent.

U.S. Rep. Vicki Hartzler

4th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  RE-ELECT VICKI HARTZLER

Congressman Hartzler’s GOP primary opponent is Bernie Mowinski.

Jacob Turk

5th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  ELECT JACOB TURK

Turk’s GOP primary opponents are Jason Greene, Jerry Nolte and Ron Paul Shawd.

6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  No preference.

GOP candidates are incumbent Sam Graves, Bob Gough and Christopher Ryan.

Mike Moon

7th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  ELECT MIKE MOON

Moon’s GOP primary opponents are incumbent Billy Long and Tom Stilson.

Bob Parker

8th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:  ELECT BOB PARKER

Parker’s GOP primary opponent is incumbent Jo Ann Emerson.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Don’t complain to me if you make choices Tuesday that are different than the ones I recommend above and your state and federals governments continue to run amok.

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.

Missouri U.S. Senate Race Produces Great Headline

Like Herbert Hoover, who became forever linked with a five-word slogan (i.e., “a chicken in every pot) that he never even used during his 1928 presidential campaign, the name of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri has forever been etched into a memorable headline thanks to something he hasn’t talked about on the campaign trail:  John Brunner:  A free-range chicken in every pot?

Well documented in a Reboot Congress post published today is news that John Brunner appears to be a loyal supporter of “a radical animal rights group,” the California-based Humane Farming Association.

The post not only mentions that “John Brunner and his wife serve as the two trustees” of the group — which, among other things, opposes raising chickens in cages — but it offers the Brunner Foundation’s 2008 IRS Form 990-PF, a document that serves as a sort of IRS report card for private foundations, and shows Brunner’s private foundation donated $10,000 to HFA.

I would ask Brunner to comment on this matter and whether or not he and his wife have served — or, in fact, still serve — as HFA trustees, but I’ve found in the past that his handler’s won’t let him speak to members of the press without, as the video below shows, scheduling an appointment.

FYI:  I was alerted to the Reboot Congress post by way of an email from Patrick Tuohey of the Steelman for U.S. Senate Campaign.  Apparently, Tuohey hasn’t read my year-ago post, Sarah Steelman Her Own Worst Enemy.  One thing, however, is certain:  Todd Akin and Hector Maldonado will like this post.

UPDATE 6/25/12 at 1:55 p.m. Central:  I don’t mean to be picking on John Brunner, but there’s so much low-hanging fruit.  The latest example:  In recent years, he’s made donations to Charlie Dooley, the liberal, ObamaCare-loving St. Louis County executive, to the tune of at least $3,475, according to this Missouri Ethics Commission records.

* * *

Be sure to order a copy of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, and get ready for my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall. Both will make your blood boil!

UPDATE:  THE CLAPPER MEMO is available. Click here to order!

GOP Senate Hopeful Catches Claire McCaskill in Lie

I love it when someone catches an elected official — especially when that official is a lefty-liberal Democrat — telling bald-faced lies.  Today, Army Maj. Hector Maldonado shared a video in which he did just that.  In this case, he caught U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) telling one of those lies to a campaign-trail crowd in Missouri.

In the video above, Major Maldonado — a combat veteran who is also a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri — tells Senator McCaskill about his concerns about President Barack Obama‘s stated desire to “fundamentally transform” the United States into a socialist state and asks her what she’s doing to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Probably without thinking, the senator begins a reply, spewing something about the president wanting everyone to have a shot at the American Dream.

“I can assure you that the president never said that,” Senator McCaskill replied, “and anyone who says he said that is not telling the truth.”

The video then cuts to a clip of Obama saying, — you guessed it!“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Welcome to the race, major, and good luck against your Republican opponents, Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman.