DIA Employs Army Tactics in Response to FOIA Request — UPDATED

A letter received yesterday seems to indicate that officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency are stealing a page from the U.S. Army’s playbook when it comes to dealing with pesky Freedom of Information Act requests — mine!

Described as an “interim response” to my request for copies of certain technology-related contracts, the letter included the following wording:

We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period due to unusual circumstances… your request has been placed in our queue and will be worked in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is in excess of 1,352 requests.

I followed up receipt of the letter by asking DIA FOIA officials to comply with the law by providing a specific date by which my request will be fulfilled.  Still waiting for a response.

Exactly what is it that I’ve requested via FOIA? Can’t say yet, but it has to do with certain defense interrogation technology contracts about which I’ve been suspicious since 2009. Those details and more will appear in my next book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.

UPDATE 7/30/12 at 12:15 p.m. Central:  I spoke with Alesia Y. Williams, chief of the DIA’s Freedom of Information Office staff, about the interim response I had received as described above.  I told her that, by law, she must provide a specific date by which I should expect a reply.  She told me I should not expect a reply earlier than nine months from today — or April 30, 2013.  I asked her to put it in writing.  She said she would.  So much for adhering with the law.

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Army Estimate: Two More Weeks on FOIA Request

As things stand right now, Army officials are on what might be a record-setting pace when it comes to responding slowly to my Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of an unclassified Army handbook, “Inside The Wire Threats — Afghanistan,” published by the Centers for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

As I reported in a post July 18, a source within the Army FOIA community told me that my wait for a determination ranks among the longest imposed on anyone by Army officials during the past three years.  More details of my FOIA quest are outlined in my post, Army Freedom of Information Act Request Reaches 105 Days.

Yesterday morning, however, I received an update in the form of an email from Anastasia Kakel, a FOIA official at Fort Eustis, Va., home of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

“I estimate a response to you in two weeks,” she said.

If her estimate proves accurate, I should know something by Aug. 78 — Day 120.

I’m waiting with bated breath.

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Army Freedom of Information Act Request Reaches 105 Days

Federal government agencies are required, by law, to make determinations on Freedom of Information Act requests within 20 days of their receipt unless extenuating circumstances prevent such determinations from being made; then the law allows an additional 10 days to be added to the time limit.  As of today, I’ve waited 105 days for the U.S. Army to comply with my FOIA request for a copy of an unclassified Army handbook related to the war in Afghanistan.  Why?

For several reasons, I became interested in the handbook after learning that it was mentioned by Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, during his Senate Armed Services Committee testimony March 22.

One thing that caught my attention was the subject matter of General Allen’s testimony — the so-called “green-on-blue” attacks that have seen dozens of Americans killed or wounded by their so-called “allies” in the Afghan National Security Force during the past five years.

Another was the title of the handbook, “Inside The Wire Threats — Afghanistan.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that the unclassified handbook might contain details, positive and negative, about how General Allen’s troops are dealing with the subject of the green-on-blue attacks.  It does, however, take patience and flexibility to deal with the Army.

As I pointed out in my July 2 post on this subject, I amended my original FOIA request, dated April 10, to allow the Army to provide only “releasable information” the document contains, meaning they can redact anything that might compromise operational and/or communications security.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be helping.

Senior Army officials seem content to keep stonewalling me as they continue hiding behind low-level operatives at the Centers for Army Lessons Learned, the Fort Leavenworth, Kan.-based agency that published the handbook for the Army.

There’s no need to fret, though.  Even without the handbook, I’ll be able to shed a great deal of light on this subject matter in my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.

In this book, I’ll connect the dots between a 2007 memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr.— the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the green-on-blue attacks that have taken place in Afghanistan since he signed the memo.

UPDATE 7/25/12 at 11:46 p.m. Central: I received an update via email this morning from a FOIA Office official at Fort Eustis, Va., home of the Army’s Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC).  She said, “I estimate a response to you in two weeks.”  If it proves to be accurate, that will mark Day 120.  Waiting with bated breath.

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Freedom of Information Act Request Passes 100-Days Mark

On April 10, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Army.  Today, I feel like the anti-oppressive government protester who, in 1989, stood in front of the tank in Tianenmen Square, refusing to let it pass.

Unlike what transpired more than 23 years ago in China, the Army is the tank today, and I’m the lone protester.  Instead of demanding freedom, I’m simply demanding transparency and openness from government officials who appear to be waging a coverup.

Exactly what is it I want from the Army?

In my FOIA request, I asked for a copy of an unclassified handbook, “Inside The Wire Threats — Afghanistan,” published by the Centers for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  It’s the same document Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, mentioned during his March 22 testimony on the topic before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

As of today, more than 100 days have passed without a determination as to whether Army officials will provide me with the document.  Apparently, Army officials are content to ignore federal statutes that require determinations be made within 20 days — or 30 days if extenuating circumstances exists — of receipt of a FOIA request.  They’ve now gone more than 70 days beyond the letter and spirit of the law.

I’m always intrigued when the contents of an unclassified Army document result in government officials displaying a callous disregard for the law.  Makes me wonder if the unclassified contents of the handbook are truly worthy of such safeguarding or if they’re being kept out of the public eye because of the negative publicity and/or embarrassment their release might cause.

As I reported in a post July 18, a source within the Army FOIA community has told me that my wait for a determination ranks among the longest imposed on anyone by Army officials during the past three years.

General Allen knows about the threats facing American troops serving under him as members of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.  Furthermore, he knows what’s in the handbook.  Most importantly, however, he knows whether or not the contents of the handbook will add significantly to any meaningful discussion of the so-called “green-on-blue” attacks — the subject of his aforementioned Senate testimony — which have left dozens of Americans wounded or dead in Afghanistan.  At the hands of their “allies” in the Afghan National Security Force.

Wisely, as I reported in a post July 10, General Allen — a Marine — is leaving it up to the Army to make the FOIA determination.

One way or the other, I’ll share the outcome of this FOIA request in my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set to be released this fall.  Stay tuned!

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FOIA Request: 99 Days Pass Without Determination by Army

Though 99 days have passed since I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Army, today was a productive day in terms of learning about the Army’s decision-making process relative to my request for a copy of the unclassified handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats — Afghanistan.”


A source within the Army FOIA community told me today that my 99-day wait for a determination about my request ranks, albeit unofficially, among the longest FOIA waiting periods imposed on anyone by Army officials during the past three years.

In addition, my source informed me that there has been much disagreement within Army circles as to whether the contents of the handbook, a product of the Centers for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., deserve to be kept under such a tight grip.

Though I’ve thought about filing a FOIA request to obtain copies of any and all unclassified communications that have taken place inside the Army related to my FOIA request, I decided that might make some Army people cranky and prevent them from wanting to help in the future — think ever — when I need to obtain information.  So I guess I’ll just keep waiting.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more developments as they surface.

* * *

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13In case you’re wondering why I want to obtain a copy of the handbook, the answer is simple and has to do with the subject matter of my soon-to-be-published second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

In THE CLAPPER MEMO, I’ll expose never-before-published details of my investigation into the “green-on-blue” attacks and other matters related to the interrogation technologies now being used — and, in some cases, not used — by U.S. military and intelligence officials around the world for things such as vetting detainees, enemy combatants and third-country nationals.

The product of more than three years of painstaking investigation, dozens of interviews and a whole lot of FOIA requests, THE CLAPPER MEMO goes so far as to connect the dots between a single memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr. — the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the green-on-blue deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan since that memo was issued.

While you await the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. Thanks in advance!

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DIA Officials Make Freedom of Information Hard Act to Follow

Defense Intelligence Agency officials seem intent on making things difficult for anyone trying to follow through on a Freedom of Information Act request.

On July 6, I submitted a list of 18 questions to DIA PAOs.  In reply, Army LTC Thomas F. Veale did not immediately provide answers to my questions; instead, he replied three days later with several questions for me.  I answered his questions, all of which centered on my upcoming second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMODetails about his questions can be found in this post.

On July 13, Colonel Veale delivered a response:   “Given the depth of detail of your project and my understanding of DoD’s standard procedure for detailed book queries, I believe you should complete the book project support process.”

After suspecting that the “book project support” option would turn into another round of stonewalling similar to the 100-days-long experience I’ve had with the Army, I decided to take an alternative route suggested by Colonel Veale:  FOIA. With the FOIA route, I felt as if I had a sliver of hope that DIA officials might comply with federal laws.

This afternoon, I visited the DIA website’s FOIA instructions page, read through the instructions and opted to use the PDF form option — which, by the way, requires you to fill in the blanks and print out your document rather than allow you to save it as a file that can be emailed easily.

After typing in my pertinent information in the PDF blanks, I printed out the newly-created two-page document and tried to fax it to the DIA fax number provided on the DIA instructions page.  Unfortunately, two attempts yielded nothing but ring tones.  It was as if the DIA fax number refused to recognize my fax machine’s cry, “ANSWER ME!”

My final option was to scan the two-page document I had already printed out and forward the new document to the DIA email address, FOIA@dodiis.mil, provided on the DIA instructions page.  I did that, but with much trepidation — and with good cause:  One minute after sending the document to DIA as an attachment to an email message, I received three “failure” notices.  It appears as if only one of the four recipients to whom my FOIA request was addressed received my message.  We’ll see how this turns out.   Perhaps a change of command at DIA will help.  More on this later.

UPDATE ON MY ARMY FOIA EXPERIENCE

Just before 4 p.m. Central today, I received an email update from Nancy Davis regarding the Army FOIA experience mentioned above and in previous posts like this one.

The woman whose business card must be the size of a billboard because of the length of her title (i.e., “Installation Records Management/FOIA-PA, Directorate of Human Resources, Office of the Adjutant General, U.S. Army Garrison, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, KS”) emailed the following update:  “We are continuing to wait on the (Staff Judge Advocate’s) review and opinion.  As soon as we have it, it is ready to go to the (Army Training & Doctrine Command) Initial Denial Authority.  I have CC’ed Ms. Kakel on this email and she is standing by to receive it. Thanks.”

Upon reading her message, I fired back a question:  “I might be mistaken, but doesn’t the phrase, Initial Denial Authority, tell me all I need to know?”

A few minutes later, Davis offered this polite response:  “No.  The role of the IDA is to review any recommended redactions, to reason how best to make a release of information and to work with the HQDA Office of the Judge Advocate in the explanation of why agencies are concerned when their information may be released.  It is the HQDA Office of the Judge Advocate that has the final decision. I hope this helps.”

NINETY-SEVEN DAYS after submitting my FOIA request to the Army, my confidence is bubbling over (NOT)!  More on this subject later, too!

UPDATE 7/17/12 at 9:53 a.m. Central:  A third attempt at sending the FOIA request to DIA via fax succeeded.  Now, we wait for answers.

UPDATE 7/20/12 at 11:14 a.m. Central:  A few minutes ago, I tried contacting two DIA PAOs with whom I’ve been communicating via email.  My emails bounced back.  Twice.  Additionally, my emails to the email address listed on the DIA FOIA website bounced back.  For some reason, I don’t think I’m going to be getting anything from DIA without filing a federal lawsuit.

* * *

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13

In my soon-to-be-published second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I’ll expose never-before-published details of my investigation into the “green-on-blue” attacks and other matters related to the interrogation technologies now being used — and, in some cases, not used — by U.S. military and intelligence officials around the world for things such as vetting detainees, enemy combatants and third-country nationals.

The product of more than three years of painstaking investigation, dozens of interviews and a whole lot of FOIA requests, The CLAPPER MEMO goes so far as to connect the dots between a single memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official, and the green-on-blue deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan since that memo was issued.

While you await the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. Thanks in advance!

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Who Am I To Complain About Waiting 90 Days on Freedom of Information Act Request?

In recent weeks, I’ve shared many details about being stonewalled by officials within the U.S. Army as I continue to investigate the deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan at the hands of their so-called “allies” in the Afghan National Security Force. Today, however, I share evidence that I’m not the only person who’s been stonewalled after asking questions about the “green-on-blue” attacks. Some people waited much, much longer for answers.

I came across news of a nine-month wait for an Army document this morning when a Google Alert for “green-on-blue attack” delivered a link to a Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., news site’s article, Army: Broken Vetting Process to Blame for SCV Soldier’s Death.

The article contains news about the death of Army SPC Rudy Acosta, a 19-year-old killed March 19, 2011, by an Afghan man who had been hired by the Canadian private security firm, Tundra, to work as a security guard at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Afghanistan.

First to catch my eye in the article was the subhead that appeared immediately below the headline: McKeon to launch investigation as Pentagon withholds report for nine months despite inquiries.

Though I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Specialist Acosta’s parents, Dante and Carolyn Acosta, to wait nine months for a copy of the investigation report about their son’s death, I do know what it’s like to wait more than 90 days for a copy of an Army document — in my case, the unclassified Army handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan.”

I requested the document via the Freedom of Information Act after suspecting it might shed some light on the root causes of the green-on-blue attacks. After all, it had been mentioned by Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, during his March 22 testimony on the topic before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Also catching my eye in the article was a question, “Who was responsible for vetting this guy?” It was followed by a quick answer: “Everyone and no one, according to the AR 15-6 investigation report completed by an Army major nine months ago on April 14.”

When asked via email April 4 about the process via which ANSF members were being vetted prior to working alongside U.S. and NATO forces, Army LTC Jimmie E. Cummings replied, “ISAF or U.S. are not responsible for vetting Afghans for either the Afghan National Army or Police. The Afghans use a 8-step process in vetting their candidates.”

An ISAF public affairs officer, Colonel Cummings went on to refer me and my questions about the ANSF vetting process to Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior. Unfortunately, Sediqqi acknowledged receipt of my questions via email April 13 but has yet to reply with answers despite repeated followup attempts.

As a result of Colonel Cummings passing the buck to Sediqqi and Sediqqi remaining silent, I was forced to turn to an excerpt (below) from a NATO Media Backgrounder, dated March 2011, for details of the ANSF’s eight-step vetting process:

Recruitment is now following an 8-step vetting process. Upon signing the enlistment contract agreement, the recruit must get two individuals (village elder, Mullah, or other local government representative) to sign and vouch for the recruit. These individuals are held responsible if any discrepancy in the contract is found. The recruit’s paperwork and government ID is reviewed and basic biometric information (retinal scan, fingerprints, height, age, and weight) is collected, added to the recruit’s personnel file and accompanies the recruit to training. The biometric data is then checked to see if the individual has any known criminal or insurgent links. Approximately 6% of applicants are screened out for either drug use or medical conditions.

In a country where record keeping can be described as “suspect” at best and where corruption runs rampant, it’s no surprise that ANSF’s approach — not to mention the approaches used by private security contractors — has, to date, done little to prevent the green-on-blue attacks.

Feel better yet about the process via which Afghans are being vetted before they can do more harm to Americans? Probably not. And you won’t feel much better after witnessing what members of Congress are doing in an effort to stem the green-on-blue attacks against brave Americans like Specialist Acosta.

The video of the hearing opens with House Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon (CA-25) characterizing the attack during which Specialist Acosta died as a “case study to better understand the range of issues” involved. Then it drones on for 95 minutes. [DIRECTIONS: Consume at least two cups of coffee before viewing.]

FYI: I spoke with with Dante Acosta by phone this morning and expect to report more on his family’s recently-announced lawsuit against Tundra during the months and years ahead.

* * *

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13In my soon-to-be-published second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I’ll expose never-before-published details of my investigation into the “green-on-blue” attacks and other matters related to the interrogation technologies now being used — and, in some cases, not used — by U.S. military and intelligence officials around the world for things such as vetting detainees, enemy combatants and third-country nationals.

The product of more than three years of painstaking investigation, dozens of interviews and a whole lot of Freedom of Information Act requests, THE CLAPPER MEMO, goes so far as to connect the dots between a single memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official, and the green-on-blue deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan since that memo was issued.

While you await the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. Thanks in advance!

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Questions Attract Top-Level Attention at Pentagon

Five days ago, as part of my continuing investigation into the types of interrogation technology authorized for use by agencies within the Department of Defense, I submitted a list of 18 questions to public affairs officers at the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Though it has yet to produce answers, my inquiry has provided some interesting responses.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13Three days after submitting my technology- and contracts-oriented questions, the DIA’s first response came from Army LTC Thomas F. Veale and had nothing to do with providing answers.  Instead, the colonel wanted to know who would be publishing my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.  I told him I would likely self-publish it in much the same way as I did my first, Three Days In August, in 2011.

After hearing nothing but crickets from the DIA PAO during the next 48 hours, I decided to drop him a note via email this morning.  In it, I asked him for an estimate as to when I might expect to obtaining answers to my questions.

“I’m not ignoring you,” he replied a few minutes later.  “Have been talking to OSD public affairs and our General Counsel office regarding your request.  More later…”

Not familiar with the acronym, OSD?  It stands for Office of the Secretary of Defense.  In short, it’s the folks in Leon Panetta’s office.  I doubt, however, that he’s involved in the discussions.  Yet.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the questions I asked, but I can tell you two things about which I’m certain when it comes to the answers those questions should yield:

• First, I’m certain the vast majority of my questions do not delve into classified subject matter and can be answered without compromising national security; and

• Second, I’m convinced that honest answers to my questions will, when published, shed much light on what I’ve already compiled during more than three years of painstaking investigation that will result in publication of THE CLAPPER MEMO, this fall.

While I wait for answers, I’m going back to work on the book.

While you wait for me to write about the answers I hope to receive soon, I recommend you use your time wisely by ordering and reading a copy of Three Days In August.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.comThanks in advance!

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Army FOIA Request Now 91 Days Old

Today, I share a few updates about the Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the U.S. Army April 10 in an attempt to obtain a copy of an unclassified Army handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan.”

On Friday morning, I received a reply to a request made June 27 to LTC Jimmie E. Cummings, an Army public affairs officer assigned to the office of Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. I had asked Colonel Cummings to forward this link and the message below to General Allen:

I know you know what’s inside the Centers for Army Lessons Learned handbook, ‘Inside the Wire Threats — Afghanistan.’ You referenced it during your March 22 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Please tell me why the Army is refusing to release a copy of this unclassified document to me.

Marine Corps Major David E. Nevers, one of Colonel Cummings’ ISAF PAO colleagues, replied with the email message below:

We have made General Allen aware of your desire to obtain the handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan.”  The release of this document falls within the purview of the U.S. Army, and we recommend that you contact the individual below to obtain the status of your request…

The individual he listed was Brett Rosene, the deputy adjutant general at Fort Leavenworth who was one of the first individuals with whom I had contact regarding this FOIA request.

On Monday morning, I received an update via email from Nancy Davis, one of Rosene’s FOIA colleagues at Fort Leavenworth who has played a role in handling — or mishandling, depending upon how one views it — my request.  She wrote the following:

Your request is at legal now. We will be processing this to TRADOC where
they will review for release/denial. I understand your urgency. I am trying
to get it out in a couple of days.  I will let you know when it goes to TRADOC.

This will mark the second time my request has reportedly been reviewed by legal and forwarded to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command Headquarters at Fort Eustis, Va.  Last time, TRADOC Records Administrator Anastasia Kakel told me they had had to kick it back to Fort Leavenworth for “further processing.”

Despite the fact that a determination is required by law to be provided within 20 days unless extenuating circumstances prohibit it, my FOIA request for a copy of the unclassified Army handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan,” reached the 91-days mark today.  Even after one takes into account the 10-day extension available under the Open Government Act of 2007, Army officials are more than 60 days overdue.

Why do I want a copy of the handbook?

I want a copy of the handbook, because it was mentioned prominently by General Allen during his Senate Armed Services Committee testimony (see video above) March 22 which focused on the “green-on-blue attacks” that have left dozens of Americans dead during the past five years, killed by their so-called “allies” in the Afghan National Security Force.

In addition, I want a copy, because I believe it will shed a great deal of light on the subject matter of my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.

In the book, I connect the dots between a 2007 memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr.— the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the green-on-blue attacks that have taken place in Afghanistan since he signed the memo.

While you await the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.  It, too, will make your blood boil! Thanks in advance!

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ISAF Officials Change Approach In Effort to Stop ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attacks in Afghanistan

Following another “green-on-blue” attack Tuesday that left five U.S. troops in Afghanistan wounded, an International Security Assistance Force spokesman was quick to put an official “spin” on the incident.  At the same time, however, he revealed that ISAF officials recently changed their approach and are now getting more involved in efforts to stop these attacks.

Click on image to read about my three-months-long effort to obtain a copy of an unclassified handbook, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan,” from the U.S. Army.

Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura, according to a Stars and Stripes newspaper article today, said that the number of attacks against U.S. and NATO troops by members of the Afghan National Security Force is low relative to the number of Afghan troops and police working with ISAF forces.  That’s the spin.  Evidence of a change of approach in combating the attacks appeared in the article’s fifth paragraph:

“First and foremost, ISAF is getting together with our Afghan National Security Partners on the vetting and process they use,” he said, adding, “What we’re trying to do is make sure that any of the mitigation does not damage the trust we’ve built between the (Afghan National Security Forces) and coalition units.”

When asked via email April 4 about the process via which ANSF members were being vetted prior to working alongside U.S. and NATO forces, LTC Jimmie E. Cummings told me the following:

“ISAF or U.S. are not responsible for vetting Afghans for either the Afghan National Army or Police.  The Afghans use a 8-step process in vetting their candidates.”

An ISAF public affairs officer, Colonel Cummings went on to refer me and my questions about the ANSF vetting process to Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior.  Unfortunately, Sediqqi acknowledged receipt of my questions via email but has yet to reply with answers despite repeated followup attempts.  As a result, I’m forced to rely upon a NATO Media Backgrounder, dated March 2011, for details of the ANSF vetting process.  Highlighting ANSF’s eight-step vetting process, an excerpt from that paper appears below:

Recruitment is now following an 8-step vetting process. Upon signing the enlistment contract agreement, the recruit must get two individuals (village elder, Mullah, or other local government representative) to sign and vouch for the recruit. These individuals are held responsible if any discrepancy in the contract is found. The recruit’s paperwork and government ID is reviewed and basic biometric information (retinal scan, fingerprints, height, age, and weight) is collected, added to the recruit’s personnel file and accompanies the recruit to training. The biometric data is then checked to see if the individual has any known criminal or insurgent links. Approximately 6% of applicants are screened out for either drug use or medical conditions.

In a country where record keeping can be described as “suspect” at best and where corruption runs rampant, it’s no surprise that ANSF’s approach to date has done little to prevent the green-on-blue attacks.

In my soon-to-be-published second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I’ll expose never-before-published details of my investigation into the “green-on-blue” attacks and other matters related to the interrogation technologies now being used — and, in some cases, not used — by U.S. military and intelligence officials in world hotspots for things such as vetting detainees, enemy combatants and third-country nationals.

The product of more than three years of painstaking investigation, dozens of interviews and a whole lot of Freedom of Information Act requests, THE CLAPPER MEMO goes so far as to connect the dots between a single memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official, and the green-on-blue deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan since that memo was issued.

UPDATE 7/5/12 at 9:46 a.m. Central:  Via email yesterday, Colonel Cummings denied that anything has changed in the way ISAF is handling it’s advisory role in Afghanistan.

* * *

While you await the release of THE CLAPPER MEMO, 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.  It, too, will make your blood boil! Thanks in advance!

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