Conflict, Controvery Frequent ‘Guests’ at Guantanamo Bay

The Washington Post published a piece today about the alleged existence of a secret CIA facility where, according to unnamed current and former U.S. officials, the three-letter spy agency turned some Guantanamo Bay detainees into double agents before sending them home to help the U.S. kill terrorists. Though I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of the Post report, I can say with certainty that unusual things have taken place on the grounds of the U.S. Navy’s facility on Cuba.

A U.S. Sailor, foreground, patrols at Guantanamo Bay (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

A U.S. Sailor, foreground, patrols at Guantanamo Bay (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

Some of those unusual things are described in detail in the excerpt from Chapter Nine of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, that excerpt appears below:

Based largely on the promising results it had delivered to date, the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer® began attracting attention from people on both sides of the turf war. One of those people was Stephen A. Cambone.

Not only did Cambone fit Green Beret Joe’s description of a bureaucrat more willing to rely upon lab studies than operational research, but he was, according to a report by Jeffrey St. Clair, a man “so hated and feared inside the Pentagon that one general told the Army Times: ‘If I had one round left in my revolver, I’d take out Stephen Cambone.’”

Cambone had been appointed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in March 2003 to serve as the nation’s first Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

Though I had no way of knowing whether Cambone was, indeed, “so hated and feared,” my research yielded evidence that he seemed to keep himself apprised of CVSA® successes at GITMO and the threat the voice-stress technology poses to polygraph loyalists.

Barely halfway through the first year of the National Institute for Truth Verification’s two-year CVSA® contract at GITMO, Cambone issued an “Interim Department of Defense Policy for ‘Truth’ Credibility Assessment,” a document I hereafter refer to as “The Cambone Memo.”

The Clapper Memo Front CoverDated June 8, 2004, and addressed to the Secretaries and Inspectors General of the military departments as well as the Directors of defense agencies and DoD field activities, The Cambone Memo contained clear guidance.

“Several of your organizations have asked about the technologies that are authorized in the Department of Defense (DoD) for detecting truthfulness or deception,” Cambone wrote. “The polygraph is the only DoD credibility assessment instrument approved for use to determine ‘statement veracity.’ This policy is contained in DoD Directive 5210.48. That document is being revised and will include additional guidance on this subject.

“My staff will expand and accelerate research for improved means of credibility assessment, including technologies beyond that of polygraph,” he continued. “However, until the accuracy of such technologies is supported by validated independent research, field vetting and lessons learned, the polygraph will remain the sole instrument for eliciting statement veracity.

“Users of ‘truth’ Credibility Assessment instrumentation (other than polygraph) already fielded or employed shall by July 30, 2004, provide the Counterintelligence Field Activity with a written assessment reflecting instrument type and numbers, how such instruments were used, overall utility, validating factors, lessons learned, limitations, and depictions of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ irrespective of circumstance or context. This data will assist in the validation and approval of future technology.”

Perhaps due to the fact Cambone was a new person in a new position, his memo didn’t deliver the desired effect. Interrogators were still using CVSA® at GITMO. As a result, he was forced to send a team to the detention facility — ostensibly to “assess” the situation on island — less than five months after issuing the memo.

Dr. John Capps, a senior official at CIFA, then the parent organization of Polygraph Headquarters, headed the team sent to the island. Coincidentally (or not), Dr. Capps is also the brother of Michael H. Capps, former director at Polygraph Headquarters and former American Polygraph Association president.

Also on the team were three other gentlemen: Andrew H. Ryan Jr., Ph.D., a polygraph loyalist described earlier in this book; John C. Brown, Ph.D.; and Donnie Dutton. Each brought unique contributions to the effort.

Dr. Brown brought polygraph-related crisis management experience to the team. It was during his watch as director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1998 that Wen Ho Lee, one of Brown’s computer scientists at the New Mexico facility, found himself facing 59 charges — 58 of which were later dropped — after the FBI alleged he had failed a polygraph.

Rounding out the team was Dutton, a Polygraph Headquarters staffer who would go on to serve as APA president during the 2007-2008 term.

Following the team’s visit to GITMO October 18-21, 2004, several events took place: “Ronald,” the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief interrogator at GITMO, was reassigned to DIA Headquarters in Virginia; DIA’s contract with NITV was canceled; NITV’s expert was ordered to leave the island; and the use of CVSA® at GITMO ended.

While the excerpt above highlights one of the battles polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology have fought during a turf war that has been raging silently for more than 40 years, there have been many other battles — and memos. To read about them, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, a book that comes with several high-profile endorsements.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. 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 and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

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