Skip to comments.New DoD Inspector General Cleans House
Posted on 09/19/2002 6:17:30 PM PDT by blam
The Last Word
Posted Sept. 9, 2002
By Scott Wheeler
New DoD Inspector General Cleans House
An independent review of the Department of Defense Inspector General's Office (DoDIG) has determined that the new inspector general, Joseph E. Schmitz, inherited "serious problems" dating back four or five years, according to sources familiar with the executive summary of a report due to be released the week of Sept. 9 in response to an investigation by Insight. The DoDIG would not provide a copy of the confidential summary, but Insight has confirmed that the report contains evidence of "major problems" during the Clinton era, including "falsifying of investigative reports and falsifying audits."
The report is extremely critical of previous leadership and senior management at the DoDIG. Sources familiar with the eight-page summary, the independent review and the problems at the DoDIG tell Insight that already "several people have been fired or forced to retire as a result of the house cleaning by the new IG."
Actions taken by the new inspector general were said to have affected Robert Lieberman, the assistant inspector general in charge of the audit section who retired in August, and three others in the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), including two Senior Executive Service (SES) members and one GS-15, who were fired and escorted from the IG office at 400 Army Navy Dr. in Arlington, Va., near the Pentagon.
For the moment, DoDIG denies that any "adverse personnel action" has been taken, but an insider who asks not to be identified tells Insight that the "two SESes and the GS-15 were indeed escorted from the building last week and barred from returning."
The timing of the firings corresponded with the arrival at the office of the eight-page summary, but there are conflicting accounts of whether it was directly related to the summary or a collateral matter. A source close to the investigation describes the dismissals of the three DCIS officials as disciplinary action for their attempted retaliation against a whistle-blower at DCIS.
The new inspector general, Schmitz, ordered the "bottom-up review," which began in April and concluded in July. The independent review was conducted by Alexandria-based Military Professionals Resources Inc.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, tells Insight: "The new inspector general, Mr. Joe Schmitz, has already started to clean house. Heads have started to roll with more to come." For Grassley, the independent review is vindication. "Based on what I've heard and seen, the Independent Review Team appears to be on the right track. The team appears to see the very same problems that I see and seems to be headed toward a hard-hitting final report," Grassley tells Insight.
The previous inspector general, Eleanor J. Hill, was selected by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Hill served until 1999 and left a controversial legacy [see "Controversial Staffer Clouds 9/11 Probe," Aug. 5] that included charges by the Air Force and senior civilian-defense officials that she covered up the Clinton administration's involvement in decontrolling weapons-technology transfers to the People's Republic of China.
Grassley, a staunch critic of the IG's office under Hill's leadership, tells Insight: "My three-year oversight investigations of the Inspector General's Office has uncovered a number of serious problems, including high-level misconduct and the falsification of investigative and audit reports."
Grassley uncovered one such falsified report in the spring of 2001. It began with a failed audit dated Nov. 12, 1998 [see "Government Fails Fiscal-Fitness Test," May 20; "Wasted Riches," Oct. 22, 2001; and "Rumsfeld Inherits Financial Mess," Sept. 3, 2001]. According to a May 22, 2001, letter from Grassley to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, that audit contained "at least 47 known deficiencies."
During a "routine peer-review" inspection of the IG's audits, the reviewers asked to see the November 1998 audit of "DoD Use of Pseudo Social Security Numbers." According to the Grassley letter, "instead of submitting it and suffering the consequences, a decision was made to destroy all the original work papers and to re-create an entirely new set." While Hill had presided over the original failed audit, the falsified audit occurred after her departure in 1999.
The Grassley letter went on to say, "Senior IG officials apparently ordered the staff to sign and backdate the new working papers as if they had been prepared at the time of the original audit." Sources familiar with the investigation of the falsified audit papers tell Insight that Assistant IG Lieberman was involved and "that is what led to his retirement." The so-called "audit work-paper falsification" led to an internal investigation by the IG's office that is pending.
The DoDIG is an independent entity with audit authority responsible for searching out waste, fraud and abuse. Schmitz is a conservative who is known to have the enthusiastic support of Rumsfeld and the entire Bush team at the Pentagon.
Scott Wheeler is a reporter for Insight magazine
she covered up the Clinton administration's involvement in decontrolling weapons-technology transfers to the People's Republic of China.
...and very successful was the coverup, with the help of the leftist media.
Yup. I traded in Time, Newsweek and USNWR for it.
, was selected by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Hill served until 1999 and left a controversial legacy [see "Controversial Staffer Clouds 9/11 Probe," Aug. 5] that included charges by the Air Force and senior civilian-defense officials that she covered up the Clinton administration's involvement in decontrolling weapons-technology transfers to the People's Republic of China.
ISN'T THIS THE GAL WHO IS HEADING UP THE CONGRESS'S TERRORISM INVESTIGATION?
This is one case where I won't mind seeing a long unemployment line.
WASHINGTON -- Before the Sept. 11 attacks, intelligence agencies were aware that terrorists could use airplanes as weapons but had no specific warnings that terrorists were going to strike New York and Washington that day, a congressional official said Tuesday.
"We haven't found anything where some part of the government had the information about the where, when and how this attack was going to take place," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The House and Senate intelligence committees will provide details of the warnings when they hold their first public hearings Wednesday as part of their inquiry of intelligence failures before the attacks.
The official said agencies had a surge of intelligence about possible attacks, peaking in June 2001. Most of the information suggested the attacks would occur overseas, but the inquiry questions whether Americans were given enough information about the possibility of terror attacks in the United States.
The inquiry's preliminary findings, which will be presented at the hearing by staff director Eleanor Hill, doesn't offer conclusions about whether intelligence agencies should have been able to prevent the attacks based on the information in hand.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., a member of the House panel, said she doubts there is enough information to conclude that intelligence agencies could have prevented the attacks. Instead, she said, there were problems in intelligence gathering and sharing that agencies are now trying to resolve.
"We had inadequate tools to pull together all the clues," she said.
The top Republican on the Senate panel, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said some of the most troubling information seen by the committees have already been made public: the Phoenix memo, in which an FBI agent warned that U.S. flight schools may be training terrorist pilots, and the handling of the Zacarias Moussaoui case. Moussaoui was arrested on an immigration charge in August 2001. He has since been charged with conspiring in the attacks.
"Those two events alone could have changed Sept. 11. Would it have, we don't know," Shelby said.
The Bush administration has looked to the intelligence inquiry to provide the definitive report on problems leading up to the attack. But committee members have become frustrated by delays, blamed on the difficulties of declassifying information for public hearings and what they see as a lack of cooperation by the administration.
Public hearings were to begin in June but were repeatedly delayed; none has been scheduled beyond Wednesday. Congressional staff have said the administration has been reluctant to provide high-level officials as witnesses, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
With just weeks left in the congressional year and both intelligence committees likely to lose their senior members, momentum has grown in Congress for a separate, independent commission to look into the attacks.
"I'm afraid if we try to publish at the end of this session a definitive paper on what we found that there will be some things that we don't know because we hadn't had time to probe them and we have not had enough cooperation," Shelby said.
The White House has opposed an independent commission, saying it could lead to more leaks and tie up personnel needed to fight terrorism.
Relatives of Sept. 11 victims have been among the main advocates of the independent commission. Leaders of two groups of relatives, Stephen Push and Kristin Breitweiser, are to be the first witnesses at Wednesday's hearing.
In her report, Hill will look at what intelligence agencies knew about the likelihood of an attack against U.S. targets in 2001 and about the use of airplanes as weapons. At least two other plots involving airplanes are already known: a plan uncovered in the Philippines in 1995 to dive-bomb a jetliner into CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and a 1994 plan by Algerian militants to blow up an Air France jetliner over the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
A future report will examine what the agencies knew about the 19 hijackers before the attacks.
"This is the beginning. This is not the whole picture," the official said.
Congressional staff members began looking at the attacks early this year. Staff have reviewed some 400,000 documents, about 60,000 to 70,000 of which were considered relevant to the investigation. They have also talked to almost 500 people. The two committees have held closed-door hearings since early June. UPDATED WIRE STORIES
Yes she is. She's been hired as a "committee staff head" by the DemocRATs on the Joint Intelligence committee. Scum slides easily from job to job in the bureaucracy.
SHE'S NOT IN JAIL WHERE SHE BELONGS.
SHE'S GOT ACCESS TO INTELLIGENCE ON TERRORISM RIGHT NOW!
Some stupid Republican cretin (probably with the assistance of the head cretin Denny Hastert) allowed her to take over as Staff Director of the investigation undertaken by the House Permanent Select Subcommittee on Intelligence. You will note that all the failures of 9/11 are Republican failures!
KING & SPALDING PARTNER, ELEANOR HILL, NAMED STAFF DIRECTOR FOR JOINT INQUIRY INVESTIGATING THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS
Eleanor J. Hill Continues King & Spaldings Active Tradition of Public Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 30, 2002King & Spalding today applauds Washington, D.C. partner Eleanor Hills selection yesterday by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to serve as the Staff Director for the bicameral, bi-partisan Joint Inquiry into the events related to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Joint Inquiry is focusing on the role of U.S. intelligence in connection with the tragic events of September 11. Open and closed hearings are expected to begin in June.
I tell you, we have sappers inside the perimeter and they need to be rooted and routed out!
AG, see Travis's post that this responds to. More info for your China files, another important name that I was unaware of, but in a critical position and placed there by the traitormeister.
Thursday, Sep 19, 2002
Posted on Mon, Jun. 24, 2002
Miamian is overseeing terror probe
By FRANK DAVIES
WASHINGTON - With a reputation for quiet efficiency, Miami native Eleanor Hill has just tackled one of the toughest jobs in town, overseeing the highly sensitive, complex investigation into the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
If the intelligence community underestimates her ability to probe federal agencies for lapses and mistakes, the bureaucracy will be in trouble, say those who have worked with Hill.
''She's one of the most charming, friendly people you could hope to meet,'' said Chris Hoyer, a Tampa lawyer. ``Then, in the courtroom, she could eviscerate you in the most effective way. She's very disarming.''
Hill and Hoyer were federal prosecutors pursuing fraud and organized crime cases in Central Florida in the 1970s. Hill went on to Washington, where she became Sen. Sam Nunn's top aide for the Iran-contra hearings and staff director of a legendary Senate investigations panel.
The targets ranged from Medicare fraud to money laundering and the emerging threats of a post-Cold War world. It was the same subcommittee that took on defense fraud under Harry Truman and racketeering under Estes Kefauver and Robert Kennedy.
''There's a great tradition of nonpartisan investigations on that subcommittee,'' said Dan Gelber, who succeeded Hill as staff director. ``She was a supreme professional -- smart, steady and never got flustered. Above all, she is an investigator.''
Gelber, now a state representative from Miami Beach, said Hill's 15 years on that subcommittee taught her skills she will need handling a high-profile inquiry that has raised public expectations for improving how intelligence agencies deal with terrorism.
''She's good at navigating the personalities of members and staff, and she'll follow leads where they take her,'' Gelber predicted.
Hill, 51, began the job three weeks ago and has declined to give interviews. She faces the task of catching up with a 23-member staff that has already spent three months digging into the CIA, FBI and other agencies. And she must deal with 37 House and Senate members with their own requests and agendas.
She had to jump into an investigation well under way.
Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the two Floridians who chair the joint inquiry, hired her to replace L. Britt Snider, who resigned after a personnel dispute involving the security clearance of a staffer.
Snider, a former inspector general at the CIA with long Capitol Hill experience, had a stronger intelligence background than Hill. But some senators, especially Richard Shelby, R-Ala., questioned whether Snider was too close to CIA Director George Tenet.
RIGHT FOR JOB
Graham said Hill's résumé is just right for the job. He points to her four years as inspector general in the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, where she investigated waste and fraud in defense spending.
(I KNOW she has to be worthless if that's the case- the inspector general's people NEVER made an unanounced visit and so, people likely to reveal waste or fraud were routinely sent home or sent elsewhere on days when the inspectors were due. The inspectors never seemed to catch on!)
''She had involvement with intelligence at Defense,'' Graham said. ``She has a knowledge of the field, but a certain distance from the agencies to be objective.''
Hill also came to the job with the high recommendation of her former boss and mentor, Nunn, who lured her to the law firm of King & Spalding in 1999.
''Eleanor Hill has done an excellent job in all that she has undertaken,'' Nunn said. ``She is smart, thorough and diligent, and her integrity is beyond reproach.''
Shelby said he was sold on Hill's ''impressive credentials in the investigative field'' and cited her ''professional detachment'' from intelligence agencies.
Hill has also worked with and observed some of the agencies, and their chronic bureaucratic problems, that she is investigating.
She watched several FBI investigations and visited new FBI offices overseas. As inspector general, Hill resolved conflicts in fraud investigations among military branches that did not work together or even talk to each other -- a problem before Sept. 11 when different agencies did not share information.
While at the Pentagon, she supervised a staff of 1,612 that shrank by almost one-third due to budget cutbacks.
Hill's Pentagon work should be an asset in an investigation looking at a dozen intelligence agencies, while her relative lack of experience in the intelligence field might hinder her some in learning the language and culture of the CIA, one analyst said.
''But you don't need to be a 20-year veteran in intelligence to see what some of the problems are,'' said Charles Peña of the libertarian Cato Institute. ``And if you're too close to the intelligence community, you may not be able to see the forest for the trees.''
Hill has come a long way from Miami Shores, where she grew up in the 1960s and attended Notre Dame Academy. She graduated with honors twice at Florida State -- from the university and the law school.
Now she must complete a demanding job under public and political pressures in a tight time frame.
Goss and Graham have promised a full report by February.
The two committees and the staff are trying to stop leaks, win cooperation from the Bush administration and the agencies they are investigating and satisfy critics who say only an independent commission can do the job.
Hoyer, her former colleague, said Hill will be up to the task: ``I think she'll get the job done, smiling the whole time.''
While Hill has not talked publicly about the job, she gave a clue about her approach to the work when she was interviewed as inspector general at the Pentagon. She was asked about the legacy she would like to leave:
``That on my watch, the investigations and the work that came out of this organization consistently met the highest standards of accuracy, professionalism and fairness. You need to be thorough, you need to be accurate, but you need to be balanced and fair.''
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious.
But it cannot survive treason from within.
An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly against the city.
But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the heart's of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.
A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague"
Marcus Tullius Cicero 42 BC
Eleanor Hill has ''inside knowledge but a certain distance . . . to be objective,'' Sen. Bob Graham says.
By MARY JACOBY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 19, 2002
WASHINGTON -- Eleanor Hill was not lawmakers' first choice to run the joint House-Senate investigation into Sept. 11 intelligence failures. Yet by all accounts, the soft-spoken but relentless former Tampa federal prosecutor should have been.
A former inspector general of the Defense Department with 15 years of experience working for Congress, the Florida State University graduate is one of the few people with the breadth of experience to handle this important but difficult job, observers say.
Her assignment: get to the bottom of the intelligence fiasco while juggling the political interests of the 37 members of the joint panel and directing a staff of 24 in a high-profile, high-pressure investigation.
"She has all the skills necessary to do the job," said Washington lawyer Joe DiGenova, who helped investigate the nation's intelligence agencies in the 1970s as counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, then led by Idaho Democrat Frank Church.
"She's also going to face all the classic obstacles anyone faces in investigating the intelligence agencies: Are they going to tell you the truth? Are they going to accidentally lose documents? Are they going to hide people from you?" DiGenova said.
Hired by the inquiry's co-chairmen, Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Rep. Porter Goss, R-Sanibel, Hill in June replaced L. Britt Snider, a former inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Lawmakers forced Snider out in April after discovering he had hired a staff member who was under investigation at the CIA for failing a polygraph exam.
After more than two weeks of closed-door hearings, the panel could hold its first public session as early as next week.
Until then Hill will work behind the scenes. She declined a request for an interview.
But an aide to Sen. Richard Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate intelligence panel, said Shelby was impressed that Hill began taking witness depositions immediately after starting, a basic task her predecessor had neglected.
"She's tough as nails and came in and changed courses overnight," said Andrea Gray, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Republican.
Added Graham, "I think she has the benefit of inside knowledge but a certain distance from the agencies to be objective."
Hill, 51, is married with a nearly 10-year-old son. She was born in Miami Beach and grew up in Miami Shores. Her father's job as a lead forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami brought the family to the state.
She graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University in 1972 and earned a law degree from FSU's College of Law two years later, making Law Review.
From 1975 to 1980 she worked as a federal prosecutor in Tampa, one of the few women in the profession at the time.
"The judges were from the old school, and at first they would be rather deferential to her, sort of Southern gentlemanly-like," said Terry Smiljanich, who served with Hill as an assistant U.S. attorney in Tampa. "But once they saw her in action cross-examining witnesses, they saw she was as tough as anyone else."
Another former colleague from the Tampa U.S. Attorney's Office, Bill James, remembers the time a prominent defense lawyer called her "honey" or "sweetie" during a conversation with the judge.
Hill objected, and the judge admonished the lawyer to use professional language, James said.
With a soft-spoken but methodical style, Hill never lost any of the approximately two dozen cases she tried in Tampa.
"She has a great command of facts in complex litigation and a great rapport with the judge and the jury," said Manuel Menendez, another former Tampa colleague who is now a circuit judge in Hillsborough County.
"She's got a memory like a steel trap, and she's very articulate, very well read, very well spoken," Menendez said.
Her most famous case involved a ring of arsonists. The lead defendant, Willie "The Torch" Noriega, was sentenced to five years in prison in 1978 for defrauding insurance companies.
The arson case set Hill on her Washington path. In 1978, the Senate Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations asked her to come to Capitol Hill and testify about it.
The subcommittee wanted to hear from Hill because the investigation was "virtually the only major successful arson case ever prosecuted by the federal government," Sen. Charles Percy, R-Ill., said at the time.
Hill's appearance led to a job offer from Sen. Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat who chaired the subcommittee, a panel with rich historical significance.
In 1953 and 1954, Sen. Joseph McCarthy used his chairmanship of the investigations subcommittee to hold hearings into alleged Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. His chief counsel was Roy M. Cohn, who helped the Wisconsin Republican conduct what became known as one of the great witch hunts in U.S. history.
After the Senate formally censured McCarthy in 1954 and Democrats won control of the chamber in 1955, the chairmanship of the panel passed to Sen. John D. McClellan of Arkansas, who hired a young Robert F. Kennedy to replace Cohn as chief counsel.
Hill got the chief counsel job in 1987, when Nunn took back the chairmanship after a six-year hiatus while Republicans controlled the Senate.
In that job, Hill oversaw high-profile investigations into health insurance fraud, narcotics trafficking and organized crime and racketeering.
The post not only taught her how to run a congressional committee and draft legislation but also how to navigate politics.
In 1987, Hill served as Nunn's liaison to the Iran-Contra committee. She wrote questions for the senator to ask of people such as former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North, his young secretary Fawn Hall, and White House adviser Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter.
In the 1990s, she ran several investigations for Nunn into fraud in the student loan and Pell Grant programs. Her challenge was to convince Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., and other lawmakers who created, funded and oversaw the programs that Nunn wasn't targeting them personally.
Her natural tact helped her succeed at that and other delicate tasks, observers say.
In 1995, President Clinton appointed Hill the inspector general of the Defense Department, in essence the military's top auditor.
After taking the job, Hill was surprised to learn she held rank equivalent to a four-star general, said her old friend, Smiljanich. And she was pleased but somewhat embarrassed when the Marine Corps told her that they wanted to honor her high rank with a parade.
"She wasn't sure what that meant, but she said okay. Next thing she knows, she was in front of the Iwo Jima memorial (in Arlington, Va.), and the whole Marine Corps was passing and saluting and everything. She was quite impressed," Smiljanich said.
At Defense, Hill oversaw the investigation of Army Maj. Gen. David Hale, who pleaded guilty in 1999 to military charges of adultery with the wives of four subordinates.
In the Sept. 11 investigation, success may depend on how willing lawmakers are to let Hill "do it right and ask the tough questions," as former Senate counsel DiGenova put it.
"When you have a joint investigation like this, compromises are made because you have to keep people happy," he said. "A lot of people don't want to look at this question because we're at war."
-- Times staff writer Bill Adair contributed to this report
Anyway, I have yet to find much mentiion of her tenure at DoD. Other than nailing an 'adulturer,' I know she didn't do much to cut waste or fraud. I wonder why Graham didn't hire her to investigate Clinton? Seems to be more up her alley.
I'm curious about the connection to technology transfers- anyone have any other links relating to that?
Weekly Standard 6/5/00 Jay Nordlinger It's just a small matter, in all the Clinton grossness, but it counts. Linda Tripp was the victim of a dirty, and illegal, trick. It was played on her by her own bosses at the Pentagon. And now those men -- Kenneth Bacon and Clifford Bernath -- have escaped with the wispiest slaps on the wrist. This is ho-hum for the Clinton administration; but it is a reminder of how unlawful and indecent this administration has been . The Pentagon's inspector general, Eleanor Hill, duly launched an investigation. The case being clear-cut, it didn't take her long to find that Bacon and Bernath had indeed violated the Privacy Act. In July 1998, she referred the matter to the Justice Department -- which then sat on it for almost two full years. This would have been incomprehensible in any other administration. Only in April 2000 did Justice announce that it would not prosecute. Incredibly, the department claimed that there was "no direct evidence upon which to pursue any violation of the Privacy Act." ...
To her credit she reported this, although it is a drop in the bucket compared to what was deliberately ignored :
In 1998, we conducted an audit of the procurement of military clothing and related items in response to a requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act forFY 1998. The Buy American Act (41 U.S.C. 10a) and the Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2441 Note) require contracting officers to determine whether items manufactured in the United States or a qualifying country were available. The audit found that contracting officers at 12 military organizations improperly awarded 16 contracts for military and civilian clothing items valued at $1.4 million thatwere manufactured in China, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
Additionally, the Air Force, in a separate review,identified 27 other improper procurements of Chinese-made boots valued at $182,511. The noncompliance with the Buy American Act and the Berry Amendment resulted in 43 potential violations of the Antideficiency Act.
Eachpotential violation of the Antideficiency Act requires a separate investigation to determine if there was a violation and assess accountability. Thus, each investigation can result in more work than the original contract requirement. We recommended that the Director, Defense Procurement, issue guidance to emphasize the requirement to incorporate and enforce the Buy American Act and Berry Amendment provisions and clauses in solicitations and contracts for clothing and related items. The Director issued the policy guidance on March 2, 1999.
The Office of Inspector General remains supportive of reasonable efforts to streamline and improve the Department's acquisition programs. In that regard, we are committed to sharing with the Department and the Congress the benefit of our experience in this very complex area as new reform proposals are considered. We remain concerned about suggestions to limit or repeal controls that have been proven effective over time, such as the False Claims Act, the Truth in Negotiations Act, the Cost Accounting Standards, the statute that prohibits contractors from charging unallowable costs, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. We believe that these controls have been critical to maintaining the Government's ability to adequately protect its interests in the acquisition area.
Many beneficial statutory reforms have occurred already in the acquisition arena. The challenge now is to encourage the Department to identify the underlying cause of remaining problems and initiate appropriate corrective actions. We stand ready to assist the Department and the Congress to move forward and address the challenges in acquisition in ways that will protect the interests of the Department and, ultimately, the taxpayers.
By David M. Bresnahan
WND) Despite alleged misuse of Army computers and other long-term security breaches at the Army Research Labs at Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Grounds, official Defense Department spokesmen continue to deny and cover up allegations of malfeasance on the part of high-level officials there.
WorldNetDaily has obtained documentary evidence from whistleblowers within ARL - almost all of them current employees - that point to a long history of corruption, including use of Army computers by unauthorized foreign nationals, plagiarism, falsification of research, illegal appropriation of private property, even smuggling of precious gems.
The same evidence provided to WorldNetDaily was given by whistleblowers to Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich, R-Md., and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. Although none of the three senators responded to requests for comments, Ehrlich's office verified that the congressman has been following the investigation for four years and is very concerned that nothing has been done.
WorldNetDaily has obtained official documents confirming that investigations have taken place in the past and are underway now. Those investigated - both internally (by Dr. Allen Grum, a retired Army general) and by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel - for various allegations of malfeasance are ARL civilian employees. They include Dr. Ingo May, Gloria Wren, Albert Horst, William Oberle and others.
Perhaps the most serious allegation is that high-level officials permitted unauthorized foreign nationals unsupervised access to sensitive computers for thousands of hours. (Editor's note: In Part 2, WND focuses on that controversy, and particularly on the alleged role of Gloria Wren, the chief of the Propulsion Branch at the Ballistics and Weapons Concepts Division of ARL.)
There have also been extensive claims by ARL employees that their technical reports are being routinely plagiarized to benefit their supervisors. Technical reports from researchers at universities have also been plagiarized, according to the written complaints.
While the charges of plagiarism have been substantiated by a previous Army inspector general investigation, no action was taken.
At least 10 whistleblowers known to WorldNetDaily claim they have been subjected to harassment, intimidation and reprisals from their superiors because they have provided information to investigators. They have provided documentary evidence and details of their claims to WorldNetDaily on condition of anonymity.
ARL scientists Franz Lynn and Robert Deas tried to report their suspicions that technology from ARL was being provided to China. Shortly after they made their concerns known, Deas died in a single-car accident in Canada, and Lynn's death was reported as a suicide.
Another ARL employee, Kurt Fickie, was forced out of his job when he tried to further the complaints of Lynn and Deas. Later, an Army report verified the claim that sensitive research had been compromised to other countries, as well as allegations of smuggling. A customs report also verified the smuggling charge.
Fickie was unable to speak to WorldNetDaily because of an Army-imposed gag order while a Merit Systems Protection Board investigation is completed.
Whistleblowers say they were misled into believing that something finally was going to happen to correct problems in the Army labs when they were asked to participate in recorded interviews in recent months. The recorded interviews by Dr. Allen Grum, a retired Army general, were said to be a part of an Army 15-6 investigation - the equivalent of a civilian grand jury.
However, WorldNetDaily discovered that Grum's investigation is unofficial and essentially without consequence - much to the dismay of the whistleblowers.
WorldNetDaily contacted Grum at his home and he insisted that his investigation is not an Army 15-6 investigation.
"It's just an informal investigation," he said, declining to discuss any of the findings or the specific charges.
"Based on what he told me when I was interviewed, I'm shocked," said one of the employee whistleblowers upon learning that the Grum investigation was not what he thought.
In fact, all current ARL employees who have been interviewed by Grum have been told they are under a gag order and cannot speak to the press. They have been told they are part of an official Army 15-6 investigation, they say - which Grum denies. Several of the whistleblowers say they were led to believe the Grum investigation would get to the bottom of things and bring about some results after years of inaction.
Although Grum recorded his interviews with ARL employees and referred to their comments as "testimony," he did not put them under oath as required in an official Army 15-6 investigation. According to Army regulations, only an active-duty officer can conduct such an investigation. Grum is retired.
"This is just another way to keep the truth from coming out," said one whistleblower upon learning that Grum's investigation is informal. "Conduct an unofficial investigation with no power to do anything, and tell everyone they're under a gag order. I don't know what to say. I'm shocked. Shocked. I really thought they were going to go after them."
In addition to Grum's investigation, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel also has been investigating the charges for several years. When contacted, Jane McFarland of that office said she could neither confirm nor deny any investigation, and would not comment further.
"It's the policy of our office not to confirm or deny any investigations," said McFarland, public affairs spokesperson.
WorldNetDaily presented McFarland with the allegations reported by whistleblowers and again asked for comment.
"I'm sorry. I don't have anything to tell you," she said.
However, WorldNetDaily has obtained copies of correspondence from and to Ellen M. Oskoui, Iran M. Perkins and Elaine Kaplan of the Office of Special Counsel that confirm the existence of that investigation.
"As a result of our review, we have determined that further investigation of your allegations is warranted," stated Oskoui in a letter sent to several of the whistleblowing employees.
WorldNetDaily also has obtained correspondence and documents verifying that many government officials are aware of the allegations and evidence against May, Wren, Oberle, Horst and others. The officials who know about the evidence include Maj. Victoria Calhoun, Army inspector general; Louis Caldera, secretary of the Army; William Cohen, secretary of Defense; Gen. Dennis J. Reimer, Army chief of staff; Steven N. Burger, Army assistant inspector general; Col. Osborne K. Walls, Jr., chief of investigations division - Army inspector general; Arlene F. Greenfield, Army inspector general; Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, Army chief of staff; Eleanor Hill, Department of Defense inspector general; and Dr. Robert W. Whalin, director of ARL.
Whalin is personally supervising the Grum investigation. A transcript of a phone message from Whalin to May, the director of ARL's Weapons Materials Division, made available to WorldNetDaily, warned May that his scheduled retirement in July might be in jeopardy because of his lack of cooperation with the investigation.
According to the document, Whalin told May that if he wants to retire as planned, "you had better get on the stick and not play any more games." May had a retirement party at the beginning of June and is no longer working, pending his official retirement in July.
FBI Special Agent Michael W. Storck was previously assigned to the Army Research Labs investigation until last year, but has moved on to other assignments. He told WorldNetDaily that he is aware of the charges and that an investigation by the FBI is still underway. Agents currently assigned to the case have not returned calls to WorldNetDaily.
ARL public affairs officer Dave Davison denied that any investigation of any kind has ever taken place or is taking place at ARL, specifically denying that the FBI has ever been involved.
Despite the fact that the Army inspector general has conducted an investigation already, and that both the Office of Special Counsel and the Army have current investigations underway, Davison denied the existence of any investigations and laughed at questions posed by WorldNetDaily.
After continued questioning, however, Davison admitted that the FBI had conducted an investigation "one or two years ago," but said it had been dropped with no findings.
"I really don't think there are any investigations going on right now. At least I would be aware of them if there were," he said.
"He's lying through his teeth," said one of the whistleblowers, in reaction to Davison's comments. "He knows all about it. The cover-up continues."
The Army issued general orders for disciplinary measures back in March 1985 - which the whistleblowers claim are being ignored - calling for the removal of civilian employees who engage in fraud, waste, abuse or dishonest acts.
"It is essential that strong and effective measures be applied, consistent with applicable law and regulation, to those individuals who are found to have engaged in theft, fraud, or other intentionally dishonest conduct against the Army," stated then-Chief of Staff John A. Wickham, Jr., and Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh, Jr., in the jointly issued order.
"They've known for years that Wren has been a security risk and nothing has been done about it. In fact, she got promoted," said one of the whistleblowers.
Repeated messages have been left for May, Wren, Oberle and Horst at their offices and homes, in addition to e-mail. So far, none have responded.
Next in WorldNetDaily: A high-ranking official at Army Research Labs is under suspicion for allegedly giving foreign nationals unsupervised use of Department of Defense supercomputers.
By Frank Davies,
WASHINGTON - Almost halfway through its historic investigation, the joint House-Senate inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks is hampered by infighting, politics, leaks, and dueling agendas.
Several staff members at a recent meeting talked openly of ''getting'' CIA Director George Tenet fired, according to two knowledgeable sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. They described a staff that has been divided and lacked direction.
One source said members of the independent staff made ''disparaging, unprofessional'' comments about Tenet one day after the CIA director's closed-door testimony last month before the House and Senate committees.
That's exactly the sort of ''blame game'' that Senator Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss, the two chairmen from Florida overseeing the investigation, promised would not happen.
Goss has described the inquiry as ''fact- and witness-driven,'' with the goal of finding out what a dozen intelligence agencies did - or did not do - before the terrorist attacks.
Goss, House Intelligence chairman, expressed deep concerns about staff problems and lack of control in conversations last week, according to two sources. Goss, a Republican, declined to be interviewed about these issues on Friday.
Democrat Graham, who has chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee for the last year, said any staff problems are being addressed and should be kept in perspective. He also praised the staff for ''some excellent groundwork'' for public hearings later this year.
''This is a difficult process we're going through, and we're dealing with issues that are without precedent,'' Graham said. He noted it's the first time two standing committees of Congress - with a total of 37 members - have come together to oversee such a complex inquiry.
''We're not out to get anybody or build statues to anybody,'' he said.
The $2.9 million yearlong inquiry is the only investigation so far into the Sept. 11 attacks, and Graham and Goss have emphasized that it's the duty of their oversight committees to conduct the probe. The Bush administration grudgingly agreed to cooperate with the inquiry while opposing an independent investigation. Many congressional leaders, especially Democrats, continue to call for an independent commission to investigate Sept. 11 as the only way to escape the politics of Capitol Hill and avoid the cozy relationship some committees have with the agencies they monitor.
But Graham said he's confident the inquiry can reach its ambitious goal in a tight time frame to thoroughly review federal agencies' performance and recommend important changes, all by February.
Two dozen temporary staff members, many of them veterans of the CIA, FBI, and the military, were hired to investigate agencies that in some cases were once their employer. Many are experts in particular fields. Five or six are retired.
At least one has generated controversy. Heading up the team investigating the FBI is Thomas Kelley, a former deputy general counsel of the FBI who allegedly obstructed an independent investigation two years ago of the 1993 Waco siege.
Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican and a critic of the FBI, said last month in a letter to the intelligence committees that he was ''concerned'' about Kelley's role. Eleanor Hill, the staff director of the current inquiry, is reviewing that complaint.
(*My note: Wonder what her conclusion was?*)
L. Britt Snider, the original staff director, was forced to leave in April, after a dispute about a staffer's security clearance. Since then, a lack of control and direction - and interference from permanent intelligence committee staffers - set back the investigation, according to two sources.
''Permanent staffers for Senate Intelligence started tasking the joint inquiry staff, telling them what to do,'' said one source.
Graham said that has ended, and that Hill, an experienced congressional investigator and former Pentagon inspector general who came on in June, has set rules restricting that sort of contact.
''Would the investigation have been better off with the continuity of the same director from February to today? Definitely. But we're very fortunate to have Eleanor Hill right now,'' he said.
On Mar. 31, Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch--Clinton's nominee to head the CIA--announced a sweeping investigation into the US military's activities in Guatemala from the early 1980s to the present and promised "to hold people accountable for their conduct" if wrongdoing is uncovered. The Defense Department's Guatemala Review Panel will be co-chaired by Pentagon General Counsel Judith Miller and newly appointed Inspector General Eleanor Hill; it will look into "every bit of information that we have on all Department of Defense activities," according to Deutch, including counter-narcotics operations. Cocaine transshipment through Guatemala is a serious problem, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and joint US/Guatemalan interdiction and eradication programs involve at least 200 Guatemalan Treasury Police, including air assault units. [WP 4/1/95]
She's changed her hair color...lol!