Infamous US Deserter Keeps “Good Conduct Medal” for Same Period He Deserted & “Misbehaved Before the Enemy.” Newly Released Files Raise Question: Why Has Army Not Revoked Bowe Bergdahl’s Medals
Dec. 15, 2020 (Washington) Beaudry Robert “Bowe” Bergdahl was awarded and still holds an Army medal for “exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity” -- given for the same time period he deserted and endangered his fellow soldiers “through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct.”
Bergdahl’s military “personnel file,” obtained by Need to Share News under the Freedom of Information Act (see bottom), lists three Army Good Conduct Medals (AGCMs), raising questions about why he was awarded the medals in the first place and still apparently holds them, despite the service’s ability to revoke medals when subsequent information suggests they were wrongly awarded.
The personnel file also reveals Army officials declined a controversial request from Bergdahl’s lawyer to grant him the Prisoner of War Medal, for troops taken prisoner, and Purple Heart Medal, for being wounded in combat. That lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, said he and his client have no comment on this report.
Privacy regulations limit Army comments on specific personnel records of soldiers, including Bergdahl. We asked the service if a soldier who received an AGCM for a period of time during which he violated military law could have the medal withdrawn. “The AGCM can be revoked by the soldier's current commander. If the soldier has separated from service, the AGCM can be revoked by the commander of Human Resources Command or by the Army Board for Corrections of Military Records,” said a representative of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. “(It) is at the commander's discretion.”
Statistics do not exist on how often such medals are revoked and why, according to the Army. “It would be impossible to provide an accurate answer to this question, since this decision is made at individual units across the Army,” said the representative. One well-publicized recent case involves the Army stripping an officer charged with murder of his Special Forces “tab,” awarded to graduates of the Special Forces course, and Distinguished Service Cross, one of the highest awards for heroism in combat.
The revocation of Bergdahl’s medals might hold limited significance for him in comparison to nearly five years of brutal captivity in Taliban hands and eventual court-martial conviction. But the Army’s apparent inaction on the decorations may anger some soldiers from his unit who’ve been highly critical of Bergdahl’s behavior and the failure of the military to sentence him to prison. Those wounded searching for Bergdahl and the families of men killed in action soon after his desertion have also contended the military was too lenient. Just last year, Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen, shot in the head during the search Bergdahl intentionally triggered, died after long-term medical problems (read more here.)
AGCM’s are generally awarded after three-year periods of service by a “(s)oldier who distinguishes himself or herself from among his or her fellow Soldiers by their exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity throughout a specified period of continuous enlisted active Federal military service,” according to Army regulations. In practice, the medal is widely awarded to soldiers in good standing. The personnel file shows Bergdahl received his first Good Conduct Medal for the stretch during which he received an Article 15 non-judicial punishment, shortly before his disappearance, and then deserted and “misbehaved before the enemy.” “Misbehavior Before the Enemy” under military law covers actions by a soldier “who before or in the presence of the enemy…through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property.”
The second medal covers years he was imprisoned, during which he did not collaborate with the enemy, according to military investigators. The Army also concluded Bergdahl had psychological issues and did not intend to defect to the Taliban, but instead left his outpost to create a “crisis” and prompt a major search and rescue operation. The third AGCM encompasses the phase of his enlistment when he returned to the US and was investigated, charged and faced court martial.
The most obvious issue is why Bergdahl was awarded an AGCM for the time he deserted and was then allowed to keep it, even after confessing to and being convicted of serious military crimes. Immediately after Bergdahl’s disappearance, members of his unit suspected the Idaho-native, who had complained about the Army and his leaders, had voluntarily left their isolated post. missing guard duty. Not long after, government officials told the media Bergdahl “just walked off” and by 2010 a secret Army investigation had uncovered “incontrovertible” evidence he had willingly abandoned his unit, according to the Associated Press. A year later Bergdahl was awarded a good conduct medal for this same period of service, the records indicate.
“The factors that would disqualify an individual from receiving the award are outlined in different regulations,” the Army explained. Under Army Regulation 600-8-22, cited by the Army representative, the AGCM may be withheld for factors including if a soldier: “Cannot follow orders; shirks responsibilities; takes too much time; is recalcitrant” and “(c)annot adapt to military life; (is) uncooperative; (or is) involved in frequent difficulties with fellow Soldiers.” Related regulations noted by the Army suggest soldiers Absent Without Leave (AWOL) for 96 or more hours might not be eligible for the AGCM and that “(i)ndividuals whose retention is not warranted under standards prescribed in AR 380 - 67 are not eligible for award of the AGCM.” This raises questions about whether the Army actually believed Bergdahl’s future retention as a soldier was still warranted, and therefore he was eligible for a third AGCM, even after his sworn admissions of improper conduct upon his return to the US.
In past cases involving possible deserters in enemy hands, the military has erred on the side of the soldiers during their captivity by, for example, promoting them, as the Army did Bergdahl, and foregoing negative personnel actions until their return to U.S. control allowed full investigations of their conduct. So we asked the service: If an individual who received an AGMC was later proven by an investigation to have committed serious violations of military law during his period of purported “Good Conduct,” could his medal be revoked? The answer: Army commanders could have revoked the medal(s) and still could.
Bergdahl returned home as part of a controversial prisoner swap by the Obama Administration, who traded him for top Taliban leaders in U.S. captivity, dubbed the “Taliban Five.” The enemy leaders were allowed to resettle in Qatar and ultimately rejoin the Taliban's political arm. Media reports indicated the release of the Taliban officials had been opposed by some U.S. military and intelligence officials. The deal also violated federal law, according to a report by the federal Government Accountability Office.
When the swap was announced, Obama Administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice (now headed to a senior role in the Biden Administration) claimed on national television that Bergdahl had "served the United States with honor and distinction.”
The current occupation and home of Bergdahl, now 34, are unclear, along with his progress in recovering from injuries sustained in captivity. His lawyer declined to comment.
The U.S. government has now declassified files on years of ingenious secret experiments to use "coded pilot whale sounds" for covert communications between American Navy ships and submarines during the Cold War.
Excited Navy researchers concluded: "Covert communication by natural disguise is a psychologically confounding alternative approach that can convey considerable advantage to the adversary employing the technique."
"Project Combo" -- according to declassified files from the Naval Sea Systems and Electronic Systems Commands -- developed, tested and evaluated the systems on land and at sea from 1965 through at least 1980. We received the declassified files from our friend independent researcher Mike Ravnitzky and the governmentattic.org. We at Need to Share News have a long interest in Navy detection of undersea noises while searching for enemy submarines, plus the government's use of dolphins and other animals in military operations.
The declassified report includes fascinating discussion of the noises made by different kinds of whales, porpoises, seals and sea lions, along with their potential suitability for use as coded messages. The Navy chose pilot whales for many of the tests.
The system, composed of recording/transmission and reception/processing equipment, proved successful in sending usable signals up to 50 nautical miles. Maintaining secret communication at sea has been a critical goal of major naval powers for decades, especially when involved with the high-stakes underwater "cat and mouse" ("killer whale and seal?") game between nuclear submarines.
The declassified documents do not mention deployment of the technology for actual operations. However, one page seems to imply concerns the Soviets could be paying attention to the technique.
Also not discussed: The potential impact on whales if warring forces started interpreting their songs as transmissions from enemy vessels.
And what if some of the those relaxing new-age whale songs sold online actually include secret messages from U.S. sailors?
While in Mexico recently, we got the impression Spanish speakers around us were conversing much more rapidly than we, or the other Americans in our group, speak English.
Just our imaginations? Or do Spanish speakers really talk faster?
The answer: "Spanish is faster than English...," according to a scientific study described in this Scientific American story.
Here's the twist: While certain languages such as Spanish are spoken with more syllables per minute, there is less information in each syllable than in some languages spoken more slowly.
In other words, "fast" languages tend to have lower "information density"per syllable than "slow" languages. They provide less information per syllable per minute than other tongues.
But because people speaking Spanish and other "fast languages" get more syllables out per minute, the information they provide per minute is about the same as someone speaking a "slow language," who gets in fewer (but more information-packed) syllables than his Spanish counterpart.
Spanish speakers need to speak more rapidly to convey the same information during the same time as speakers of more "information dense" "slow languages."
It adds new context to sites promising to help you "Learn to Speak Spanish Faster."
With the selection, and now election, of the Biden/Harris ticket, EVERY Democratic nominee for President/Vice President since 1984 has been a lawyer (attended law school), according to our review of public bios (See chart below.).
During that same time period, most Republican nominees have NOT been lawyers (some exceptions: Pence this year; Romney, if you count his joint MBA/Juris degrees received before he went into finance; Quayle and Dole).
By the numbers, 100% of Democratic Party people and also 100% of Democratic election slots (one President and one Vice President slot each election) went to candidates who attended law school (of 20 nominee slots, eg President/Vice President in an election cycle & 14 people, because some "filled a slot" more than once -- Al Gore filled slots three times, for example, during two VP runs and one Presidential run.). For the Republicans, most of the people and slots involved non-lawyers. About 70% (% rounded) of the Republican people running for President/Vice President were not lawyers, or put another way, 100% of the Democratic people running for these positions were lawyers, compared to about 30% of Republican people. Of the 20 slots for candidates since 1984, about 30% on the Republican slide were filled by lawyers and 100% of the Democrats.
We thought to check this after considering the different "word clouds" from the 2016 #RNCinCleveland (heavy on "ISIS," "military," etc) and #DNC2016, where "public service/servant" has been used extensively, often referring to lawyers.
Obviously, given the different views of the two political groups on government regulation, it's not surprising that being a lawyer now appears a requirement for making the Dem national ticket (btw, the last Dem non-lawyer we could find was Jimmy Carter, a Navy officer and farmer before entering politics and being elected president in 1976 and then running unsuccessfully for reelection in 1980.)
FYI, there are roughly 3X as many "top executives" as lawyers in the American workplace, according to government labor statistics, and lawyers are outnumbered by other professions such as farmers/ranchers and high school teachers.
What are the implications, if any, of lawyers -- especially those with limited experience in business or even private practice -- running the executive branch of a country that depends on a vibrant business environment. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.
Attended Law School Non-Law School Grad/Profession Before Politics
Walter Mondale (Minn.) – Geraldine Ferraro (N.Y.)
Ronald Reagan (Calif.) actor/union official/corporate spokesman –George H. W. Bush (Tex.) businessman, gov official
Michael Dukakis (Mass.) – Lloyd Bentsen (Tex.)
George H. W. Bush (Tex.) businessman – Dan Quayle (Ind.)
Bill Clinton (Ark.) – Al Gore (Tenn.)
George H. W. Bush (Tex.) – Dan Quayle (Ind.)
Bill Clinton (Ark.) – Al Gore (Tenn.)
Bob Dole (Kans.) – Jack Kemp pro athlete (N.Y.)
Al Gore (Tenn.) – Joe Lieberman (Conn.)
George W. Bush (Tex.) – Dick Cheney (Wyo.) gov official
John Kerry (Mass.) – John Edwards (N.C.)
George W. Bush (Tex.) – Dick Cheney (Wyo.)
Barack Obama (Ill.) – Joseph Biden (Del.)
John McCain Navy officer (Ariz.) – Sarah Palin (Alaska)broadcaster
Barack Obama (Ill.) – Joseph Biden (Del.)
Mitt Romney (Mass.) JD/MBA, became investors/business/politician– Paul Ryan (Wis.) Cong. staffer
Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) - Tim Kaine (V.A.)
Donald Trump businessman (N.Y.) – Mike Pence (Ind.)
Joe Biden (Del.) - Kamala Harris (CA)
Donald Trump businessman (N.Y.) – Mike Pence (Ind.)
"There is no shortage of lawyers in Washington, DC. In fact, there may be more lawyers than people:" attributed to Sandra Day O'Connor
What We Saw at Arlington National Cemetery: All These Different Faiths (See Guide Below on "Emblems of Belief" -- Some May Surprise You), But One Thing in Common
Not long ago we ran across a prostrate 'possum, just a baby, in the back yard (see a bigger version below). We did some online research and learned that if it failed to wake up and run off overnight, we should drop it off at the wildlife rehab center, which we did. Happy ending there.
But during that Internet research, we noted that opossums were reportedly introduced to the American West as a food source during the depression of the 1930s, which brought back childhood memories of the term "possum pie" and some mixed emotions about our upcoming barbecue.
In a flash we were consulting our dog-eared copy of the "Joy of Cooking," one of the most popular cookbooks in history, with an estimated 18 million sold since 1936.
There, in our 1964 edition of the book, we found cooking instructions for opossums, which included this surprising step: "If possible, trap 'possum and feed it on milk and cereals for 10 days before killing."
This edition also included recipes for other types of small game, noting they "may be substituted in most recipes calling for chicken." (It really does taste like chicken! Which is actually what we said the first time we ate rattle snake -- chicken with a hint of fish.) Instructions covered small game such as raccoon, woodchuck and beaver (blister the tail over open flame and then roast until tender.)
Big game is included. What caught our eye here was the section on cooking bear cubs: "Bear cub will need almost 2 1/2 hours cooking; for an older animal, allow 3 1/2 to 4 hours."
We wondered if these recipes made it past the 1964 version of the book. They apparently did, because the searchable copy of the "Joy of Cooking" on Amazon includes all this, plus delicious-sounding receipts for other critters such as armadillo and porcupine. [For some reasons, Amazon will not let us link directly to the searchable version; you can get there through the one below, choose the "Joy of Cooking" hardcover.]
We weren't able to determine immediately if these recipes remain in the most current version. Please feel free to let us know if they do.
Now, we at Need to Know News are meat-eaters and outdoors lovers who appreciate hunting and fishing. And we don't want to be critical of anyone forced to eat more 'possum than usual because of the economy.
But even we were a little surprised at some of this, especially the idea of gorging your 'possum for 10 days before eating (we're afraid we'd grow too attached by the second day to ever eat it) and the part about consuming bear cubs (which we assume is illegal except perhaps in rare circumstances, say road kill. Please add to comments if you know the regulations and customs around eating bear cubs.)
Are we just being squeamish and/or hypocritical? What do you think?
Joaquin Phoenix stars in the hit movie "Joker," an origin story of the eponymous deranged killer from the Batman universe. But the group whose logo he wore at showings of the movie is no joke. It belongs to an organization known for its real-life arson and bombing attacks, a faction the FBI considers a domestic terrorism group. "Support the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)," says Phoenix's hoodie. ALF and related groups in its loosely-organized movement are blamed for almost 200 attacks causing hundreds-of-millions of dollars in damages.
[See the full photo and story of one of Phoenix's October appearances here.] The FBI lists animal rights/environmental extremism as one of its top four categories of domestic terrorism, according to a 2019 statement. The groups were most active during the 1990s and early 2000s before a new law was passed focused on their activities and the FBI cracked down in "Operational Backfire". An alleged leader of the group, Joseph Dibee, was captured in 2018 after years on the run. “'Every act of violence comes with a choice—a choice to do harm,' said FBI Special Agent in Charge (Renn) Cannon. 'A choice to do what may be irreparable damage to a family, a business, or a researcher’s life work. A choice to risk the lives of the firefighters who will respond to an incident. Most of the defendants in the FBI's long-running Operation BACKFIRE investigation have answered for those decisions they made with significant prison sentences and millions of dollars in fines. Mr. Dibee, who traveled the world to avoid capture, will now, finally, have to answer to the allegations of violence he faces,'” the US Department of Justice said in a statement. Dibee awaits trial. His alleged accomplice Josephine Sunshine Overaker remains free with a $50,000 FBI reward for information leading to her arrest.
The arson victims, not the ALF extremists, are the real terrorists, supporters of the group assert. "Those who terrorize animals by imprisoning them, torturing them in laboratories, displaying them as objects in zoos and circuses, force them to fight each other, and murder them for their flesh and skins are the ones inducing terror, not compassionate activists who seek only to stop the suffering of animals," states a Web site heralding ALF and claiming to provide users with a way to reach the group. Friendly media reports note ALF attacks have never killed anyone. They criticize the government's focus on animal/eco attacks as a "Green Scare" that diverts resources from more serious domestic terrorism and limits the free speech rights of activists. ALF's victims, their property and businesses burned down, no doubt feel little sympathy for the group or a Hollywood star who uses his celebrity to publicize it.
How Many Applicants for US Citizenship Admit Being Terrorists or Communists? Or Refuse to Support the Constitution? The US Government Said It Didn't Know
Bill Clinton Aide/Hillary Emailer Charged $50,000 for Letter from Candidate Bill Clinton to Foreign Politician: FBI Files
A longtime aide to Bill Clinton obtained a $50,000 political donation in return for a 1992 letter from then-Presidential candidate Clinton to an Asian politician, according to FBI files obtained by Need to Share News. Ironically, Clinton's signature was actually simulated by the aide, Maria Haley, who would later be given positions at the Clinton White House and US Export-Important Bank -- and appear in the "Chinagate" campaign finance scandal.
Haley (Maria Luisa Mabilangan Haley) died in 2011. The information below comes from her FBI file.
Haley also apparently had a relationship with Hillary Clinton. In recent days an email was released showing Hillary Clinton and top aid Cheryl Mills were contacted by Haley before her death. The contents of that email were "censored" by the State Department, according to Judicial Watch. Haley also received a positive FBI reference from Bruce Lindsey, now chairman of the Clinton Foundation and former Clinton Administration official.
According to an unnamed source in the files, a businessman requested that then-Governor and presidential candidate Bill Clinton write a "good guy letter" to South Korean presidential candidate (and later president) Kim Young-sam, wishing the Korean well. The requestor believed the letter would help him or her get a credit line at the Korean export bank. Haley "drafted, typed and signed" the letter, from "Bill Clinton," on Clinton/Gore 1992 campaign letterhead, the source said.
South Korean President Kim Young-sam and President Clinton (link to Washington Post)
According to the FBI's source, Haley was allowed to sign Clinton's name and may not have received specific permission from Clinton or his top campaign officials to sign and send this particular letter. The effort was part of fundraising operations by an organization called APAC-Vote, linked to the Asian Pacific Advisory Council (APAC), which raised money for Clinton and Democratic organizations. APAC-Vote was later associated with other scandals.
The FBI file also links the person who requested the letter to a multi-million-dollar effort to launder money from a Japanese corporation. We redacted the names of three companies and one bank mentioned in the files (our redactions are in black; the white redactions are from the FBI). We were not able to verify the allegations against these companies or reach them for comment, so for the time being we have chosen not to name them.
Haley's name surfaced in the "Chinagate" scandal of the 1990s, which involved allegations the People's Republic of China had tried to buy influence through donations to the 1992 Clinton presidential run and subsequent Democratic campaigns. The scandal grew to include other claims of campaign finance improprieties involving the Clinton political machine and Democratic Party. See more here. Haley was also accused of trying to push through a questionable loan after being appointed by Clinton to the Board of the US Export-Import Bank -- see
"Appointee of Clinton Pushed Deal Sought by a Big Donor" (New York Times, 1997).
According to her New York Times obituary: "Ms. Haley worked for Mr. Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas and when he was president — originally in the presidential personnel office and then, from 1994 to 1999, on the board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States...
Ms. Haley came under scrutiny during her years at the Export-Import Bank because of her friendship with James T. Riady and John Huang, key figures in an investigation of foreign campaign contributions in 1996. More than $1 million in Democratic National Committee contributions raised by Mr. Huang was returned because of questions about their origin.
Ms. Haley met Mr. Huang met in the 1980s, when she was at the Arkansas development agency and he worked for the Worthen Banking Corporation, which at the time was partly controlled by the Riady family of Indonesia.
Ms. Haley said she was not influenced by her friendships with Mr. Huang and Mr. Riady. She was not charged." Read the 2011 obit of Ms. Haley.
Haley received mostly glowing references during her FBI background checks from those asked about her suitability for a US government position of "trust and responsibility."
The positive references included one from her White House boss Bruce Lindsey, who is now chairman of the Clinton Foundation, and White House official Nancy Hernreich Bowen, who according to the FBI file roomed briefly with Haley in the 1990s. Bowen now uses her "relationships to assist Asian and American businesses with their cross border business interests" at the same consulting firm that once employed Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton's top aid Huma Abedin, Ms. Abedin was paid by this firm while also working for Hillary at the State Department, according to media reports.
Reference from Bruce Lindsey, Former White House Official and Current Chairman of the Clinton Foundation
However, not all Haley's references were positive. One source, who requested the FBI protect his/her identity, hints at the Chinagate issue, calling Haley a "fearless politician who would do anything for the Clinton/Gore administration, even if it was illegal," the file states. The source added that Haley "controlled" Asian campaign contributions to the Clinton/Gore administration. However, this source reportedly did not have first-hand information to back up the claims.
Remarkably, the FBI file -- or at least its released portions -- are silent regarding Haley's connections with other Chinagate figures, such as those revealed in the media reports above. If Haley's involvement with shady fundraising went deeper than publicly alleged and discussed in the FBI file, she apparently took those secrets to the grave.
Ronald Reagan nearly punched out an anti-Semite during World War II, before becoming a "One-Man Battalion" against the attempted communist take-over of Hollywood, declassified FBI files show.
The voluminous files (most about threats against Reagan) were posted a couple months back and can be found here (and appear to include some files provided in the past as well).
Reagan played a key role in preventing the Communist Party from subverting the influential Screen Actors Guild in his first stint as the union's president from 1947-52 (he returned to the position years later to help negotiate a ground-breaking agreement that provided health and pension rights for actors, along with residual payments for their performances. In contrast with presidents since, prior to his election Reagan had actual hands-on accomplishments improving the position of union members.)
Reagan's fight for the soul of his union was not some witch-hunt against left-wing dissent or attempt to "blacklist" innocent liberals. He publicly defended the right of people to hold communist beliefs, but drew the line against secret efforts to undermine democracy itself, the goal of many members of the American Communist Party and its task-masters in Moscow. Downplayed, whitewashed and mischaracterized for decades by the media and mendacious, often compromised entertainment figures, the communist effort to gain control of Hollywood, and the plan's overseas links, were indeed wide and insidious. This has been increasingly documented by historical work in recent years that parallels revelations from declassified US and Soviet files about the range of American government officials working for the Soviets during the Cold War. For a new look at this effort in Hollywood, see: Hollywood Traitors: Blacklisted Screenwriters Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler [Find related work on communist agents in the government here and real life "Manchurian Candidates" here.]
Reagan's effectiveness in thwarting these plans was highlighted by none-other than well-known actor and one-time communist Sterling Hayden, known to modern filmgoers for his role as the corrupt police captain in "The Godfather." (To be fair, despite his involvement with communism and numerous personal problems, Hayden was a WWII combat hero, in contrast to Reagan, who had weak eyesight and spent the war as an officer in public relations and movie production. For more on Hayden's remarkable life, see here.)
Hayden, as seen in the document above, revealed Reagan was responsible for blocking the efforts of his communist cell and was a "one-man battalion" against the communist movement in Hollywood.
Of course, the Soviets were also known for their anti-semitism (and their agents in Hollywood -- as documented in the book above -- literally followed the "party line" to discourage opposition to the Hitler regime during its alliance with Moscow.)
Ronald Reagan apparently was having none of that either. The declassified document below quotes a report from the FBI's LA office that "Ronald Reagan almost came to blows with a man who made anti-Semitic remarks" during a 1943 cocktail party in Beverly Hills.
[The document below also mentions a radio broadcast by Reagan against the Ku Klux Klan.]
There's no doubt that history -- including declassified history -- continues to treat Ronald Reagan well
North Korea Infiltrated Agents to Strike U.S. Cities & Nuke Plants Starting in 1990s: Pentagon Report + Alleged American Instructing North Korean Special Forces
Note: This report was originally published on our sister site, www.DMZwar.com, in Dec. 2014 during the period North Korea hacked Sony Pictures and threatened U.S. move theaters showing the Sony movie "The Interview," a parody of North Korea which depicts the death of the North Korean dictator. We continue to investigate the threat of North Korean terrorism and espionage within America and directed at U.S. citizens abroad. See the declassified documents at bottom.
(Dec. 2014) Until this month, many in the U.S. government dismissed the idea that North Korea could engineer a devastating cyber attack on a major American corporation. Now the US government, while conceding Pyongyang is behind the Sony hack, is downplaying the possibility that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korean (DPRK) could attack American movie theaters, as the Sony attackers have threatened.
It would be a mistake for the U.S. government to assume North Korea is incapable of launching a terrorist attack in the America. Pyongyang may or may not have the desire to attack the US homeland now or in the future (we think they don’t), but there’s a good chance they have at least some capability. There’s also reason to wonder if the U.S. government is well prepared to detect and prevent such a DPRK strike.
[Free Beacon reports on DHS/FBI reaction to this report, with additional details. freebeacon.com/national-security/dia-north-korea-planned-attacks-on-us-nuclear-plants/.]
North Korean agents have committed a number of terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings outside Pyongyang’s main focus area of South Korea, ranging from the downing of a civilian airliner to the bombing of South Korean government officials. They’ve also kidnapped victims from several countries (perhaps including a U.S. solider in Germany, see more here.) They trumpet the role of their “human bombs” during the Korean War — long before Islamist suicide bombers became well known — and their potential use in future conflicts. The nation also maintains one of the largest and most fanatical special operations forces in the world. To be sure, most of North Korea’s attention has focused on its South Korean enemy and U.S. forces stationed there. But why wouldn’t Pyongyang send agents to the homeland of its biggest enemy, the United States? After-all, the DPRK in recent years has threatened America with nuclear missile attack.
Some potential North Korean threats are obvious. DPRK diplomats assigned to the United Nations are known to move around the New York City-area carrying weapons. Investigations have also uncovered North Korea agents and sympathizers hiding among the large (and overwhelmingly patriotic and law-abiding) U.S. population of Korean-Americans and Korean immigrants. North Korea has cooperated with international terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the IRA.
More specifically, North Korea has also trained and infiltrated agents into the United States for the purpose of attacking U.S. cities and nuclear power plants during a conflict with America, according to a declassified information report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA (below). An American, likely a U.S. military defector or former POW, has also trained North Korean special operations troops in special forces tactics and “American English,” according to a separate declassified report.
“Reconnaissance Bureau (Note: the primary North Korean intelligence and special operations organization), North Korea had agents in place with missions to attack American nuclear power plants…power plants in the United States in the event of hostilities between the United States and the DPRK,” says the heavily redacted September 2004 report. Most of the document is still classified and a related report was sent to another agency for review and not provided to DMZ War.
“The MPAF (DMZ War note: North Korean Ministry of People’s Armed Forces) established five liaison offices in early 1990s to train and infiltrate operatives into the United States to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in case of hostilities. One of the driving forces behind the establishment of the units and infiltration of operatives was the slow progress in developing a multi-stage ballistic missile,” notes the unevaluated “information report.” U.S. government evaluations of this “raw” information report — for example, analysis of whether other intelligence supports or refutes this report — were not released.
North Korea’s interest in training its agents about Americans is supported by many other reports, including the one below about an alleged U.S. citizen known as “Jackson” who instructed North Korean special forces operatives in “U.S. Special Forces tactics, American English, and interrogation techniques” from before 1983 to at least 1993. The American, called “Comrade Ch’ang-sik” in Korean and said to be a U.S. Air Force POW, trained members of the 52nd Seaborne Sniper Battalion. He was reported to be the chief of psychological operations study at the Reconnaissance Bureau’s Madonghui College. (See analysis below on the possible identity of “Jackson.”)*
How well prepared are U.S. intelligence and law enforcement departments to detect and disrupt North Korean attacks. Despite the reports mentioned above, and other Pentagon analysis on the Reconnaissance Bureau, the FBI has repeatedly rejected DMZ War Freedom of Information Act requests for its information on the Reconnaissance Bureau and related organizations. Not because all such reports remain classified, but – remarkably — because the Bureau claims it can’t find any reports on North Korea’s main intelligence and terrorism group. Even after an appeal, the FBI claims it is “unable to identify main file records” on the Reconnaissance Bureau and other well-known North Korean intelligence and special operations organizations. This response comes years after the DIA received its information on the Reconnaissance Bureau’s alleged agents in America.
Well, at least the stars of Sony’s “The Interview” seem to be taking the North Korean threat seriously. They’re reported to be under round-the-clock guard.
*Note: The source of the DIA report speculated that “Jackson” may have been a crewman on the EC-121 surveillance plane shot down by North Korea in 1969. The source described a photo of an American surrendering near a burning EC-121 on the ground. However, the EC-121 was actually shot down over water and none of the 29 men missing in the incident has Jackson as a first or last name; see more here. The man is described in the DIA as a U.S. Air Force POW. There are several missing Americans from the Korean War with the first or last name of Jackson, although had they survived they would have been older than the man described. See more about how the communists kept U.S. prisoners after the Korean War here. There are also unconfirmed reports that North Korea received US prisoners from its ally North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Men named Jackson remain missing from the Vietnam War, and a declassified U.S. intelligence report contains information that a US POW named Jackson was alive in Vietnam in 1978, leaving time for him to be transferred to North Korea. However, if the “Jackson report” above is accurate, it may be even more likely that “Jackson” was one of the five U.S. Army defectors to North Korea during the Cold War. These men were sometimes described as “POWs” by escapees from North Korea and some of “Jackson’s” characteristics match defector Jerry Wayne Parrish, now dead. See more about the defectors here.
Separate Document Below: Alleged American Instructs North Korean Special Forces
North Korean "Human Bomb"
Along with a host of bureaucratic shortcomings, cybersecurity flaws and leadership screw-ups, the US Army investigation of 2010's massive WikiLeaks compromise of classified information identifies a major threat: "Millennial Generation "soldiers, those born between 1980 and 2000. [Note: Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who released massive amounts of classified information after the Manning case, is also a Millennial according to the definition in this report.]
Also known as the "Net Generation," they are the most technologically savvy yet, but bring a "new culture" in conflict with key military standards, says the 2011 report, recently released by the Army in redacted form (see excerpts below from "AR15-6 Report -- Compromise of Classified Information to Wikileaks (sic)").
WikiLeaks' source, PFC Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, is a "bellwether" of this "new cohort of Soldiers (sic) who enter military service with attributes and beliefs that differ markedly from those espoused by their predecessors," reports the investigation's author, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr., currently superintendent of West Point. [Manning pled guilty to leaking the documents -- which the US government says disrupted diplomatic relations, endangered US troops and exposed Afghan informants -- and is now serving a long sentence.]
Their "new culture" is based on social medial, isolated from "the real world," dismisses the need for confidentiality and ignores potential "tangible results" from online activities.
"Millennials develop values and loyalties in the virtual world that often clash with more traditional values and loyalties in the physical world," the general writes, "Millennials believe it acceptable to act in any way one wishes -- their actions generate no perceived consequences for which they may be held to account," asserts the report.
This creates a substantial threat, given the military (and broader government and intelligence world) shift after 9/11 in the philosophy or providing access to classified information -- from the old "need to know" to the new "need to share."
The Army must train its leaders (often from "Generation X," with some "Baby Boomers") about the "new culture" and have them drum into their Millennial subordinates an awareness that releasing sensitive information can risk the lives of their Army buddies -- or as the report puts it, "secrets and security are both necessary and appropriate in an Army at war; failure to safeguard sensitive information has the undesired consequence of putting them and their buddies in the unit at risk."
Along with the Millennial management issue, Gen. Caslen (a Baby Boomer) notes an almost unbelievable litany of failures in security doctrine, technology and management. Manning -- who suffers from gender dysphoria and is now suing the military for sex-change therapy in prison -- lied, publicly proclaimed his lack of patriotism, exhibited glaring emotional and psychological problems, had work problems and got into fights. At one point, he went berserk while being counseled for repeated tardiness -- his superior responded by removing the bolt of his weapon, presumably to keep Manning from gunning down other soldiers and/or himself. Despite all this, he kept his job processing highly-sensitive information.
The general concludes that Army leaders, after years of war, are now strong in combat leadership, but weaker in leading and managing soldiers in the garrison.
Though not someone with whom the grizzled Gen. Caslen likely texts or Snapchats, novelist Bret Easton Ellis, bard of his "Generation X," is coincidentally now in the news for his own critique of the Millennials, whom he dubs "Generation Wuss." Ellis cites their "over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, (and) the overreacting..."
To be sure, most Millennials in the military have performed well, often heroically, and appear to need no training that sharing military secrets on the Internet, where ISIS and other enemies can read them, is not the same as blogging about your lunch.
Previous generations have had their share of leakers and traitors -- could the real issue be that modern technology just makes it easier for people to act on impulses they've always had?
Or do Millennials really represent a new sort of security threat? Let us know your thoughts.
The German submarine glided through the icy water past New York City, its captain noting the glowing skyscrapers of Manhattan and then Coney Island’s brilliantly-lit Ferris wheel. Soon his lookouts spotted a large oil tanker, steaming ahead without escort. Maneuvering into position, the captain easily acquired his target, framed by the city’s lights, and fired a torpedo into the vessel, sending a fireball into the sky worthy of America’s most dazzling city.
It was January 1942, the beginning of one of America’s most important, and underappreciated, campaigns to defend the homeland. Peak operations would continue – below, on and above the seas from Florida to New England – through the summer, influencing the fate of World War II and interring ships and sailors from several countries in watery graves off what are now some of America’s most popular beaches and harbors.
This is the gripping story told in Ed Offley’s newest book, The Burning Shore: How Hitler’s U-Boats Brought World War II to America (Basic Books, 2014).
While the circumstances of this battle are unique, the oft competing roles played by bureaucratic infighting, intelligence collection, combat leadership and blind luck will be familiar to students of America’s most recent conflicts.
The German submarine, or “U-boat,” threat of early 1942 certainly came as no surprise to America’s political and military leadership. Indeed, the U.S. Navy and German subs had joined battle months earlier, even before war was declared, when President Roosevelt ordered the Navy to protect allied shipping.
When official hostilities began, top brass recognized the “imminent probability of submarine attack” along the East Coast, thanks in large part to British intelligence. Yet the admirals failed to respond effectively. See our review at Real Clear History...