Tag Archives: Benghazi

Did Pentagon Do Enough to Prevent ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attacks? Questions Remain on Third Anniversary of Deadly Attack

Three years ago today, LCpl. Greg Buckley Jr., a 21-year-old Marine from Oceanside, N.Y., died along with two fellow Marines following a “Green-on-Blue” (a.k.a., “Insider”) attack waged by an Afghan “ally” wearing the uniform of his country.  Almost one year after his death, his aunt, Mary Liz Grossetto, commented on an item I had posted on the Facebook page dedicated to her nephew. It had to do with an article about family members of British service members winning the right to sue their government over their loved ones’ combat deaths which they believed were linked to bad equipment. Excerpts from her comments appear below with only minor edits:

LCpl. Greg Buckley Jr., USMC

LCpl. Greg Buckley Jr., USMC

Bob, if you had asked anyone in my family that question a year ago I’m pretty sure the answer would have been “NO.”

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago, I would have thought, “God forbid something happens, that’s the risk you were willing to take.”

Of course, a year ago I was under the mistaken impression that this country was doing all it could to protect & provide for our military. Sadly, today I know that is not the case. This administration is more concerned with how the Afghans will perceive things than making sure our own men are as safe as possible.

Grossetto came to understand a lot during that first year after her nephew died.  Later in her response, she asked and answered some pointed questions:

Did we take measures to ensure our military would be safe?  Did we order our men to carry loaded weapons at all times?  Did we provide “Guardian Angels” to watch over our soldiers when they were most vulnerable? NO! WHY? Because we were too busy handing out pamphlets & ordering our soldiers to attend “culture & sensitivity training” so our heroes would not “offend” Afghans.

Did we use the best, most advanced equipment when it came to vetting these Afghan soldiers / police? NO!

Have we thoroughly investigated what happened to Extortion 17? NO!

Have we investigated & spoken the truth about Benghazi? NO!

She concluded her response this way:

So, in answer to your question (about whether families of fallen service members should be able to sue the government), I guess we should start suing.  Maybe that will help this administration get it’s priorities in order! Until Then, God Help Us All!

After our online exchange, I shared several thoughts in a post published Aug. 25, 2013. Chief among them was my fear that most Americans are more like Grossetto was before she lost her nephew in Afghanistan.  They remain largely unaware of the hardships facing American men and women in uniform, and unaware of how many of those hardships stem from misguided decisions made by top government leaders. Misguided decisions like the ones I highlight inside my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

I remain grateful to Grossetto for the endorsement below which she offered after reading The Clapper Memo and recognizing how I had connected some critical dots regarding hundreds of American “Green-on-Blue” attack casualties:

“Read this book & you will see how our government has for many, many years deprived our military of the best possible tool for vetting & weeding out the enemy.”

Four other influential people read the book and offered similarly-powerful endorsements. Among them, a former U.S. Navy SEALs commander, a former U.S. Army general, the parents of a member of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six and the man who served as chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After you read The Clapper Memo, I think you’ll find yourself in agreement with them. Thanks in advance!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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New Crime-Fiction Thriller Draws From Real-World Issues

Anyone who’s read Three Days In August and/or The Clapper Memo knows these nonfiction books of mine tackle real-world issues with fact after fact after fact. In a similar way, my first crime-fiction novel, The National Bet, draws from the same realities.

The New York Times newsroom in 1942. By Marjory Collins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times newsroom in 1942. By Marjory Collins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As an example, I point you to the following paragraph that appears on page 52 of the paperback version of the book:

Members of the nation’s largest national news media outlets (a.k.a., “the mainstream media”) had apparently opted to stick to their decades-old practice of serving as propaganda organs for elected officials and special interest groups devoted to the government-knows-best ideology. As a result, only those who witnessed such events firsthand or paid attention to alternative news sources (a.k.a., “the new media”) were likely to know the true extent to which their elected officials and the MSM had failed them.

Fifteen pages later, the paragraph below appears:

Finally, members of the mainstream media began doing their jobs as journalists.
Newspapers began offering objective front-page reports, and news magazines began offering the kind of long-form stories that had almost disappeared from the journalism landscape. Most importantly, details about several scandals that had been overlooked during the previous six years— including, but not limited to, Benghazi, “Extortion 17,” and “Fast and Furious”—began to emerge.

If you want to find out what happens between these two excerpts, order a copy of The National Bet.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:30 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

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Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Did Afghan Officials Play Role in ‘Extortion 17′ Deaths?

Could untrustworthy officials at the highest levels of the Afghan government be responsible for the single-largest loss of life in the history of U.S. Naval Special Warfare?  Almost a year after asking that question for the first time, I’m convinced they are. Below, I share information from an article I published Sept. 16, 2013.

Extortion 17 KIAs

Extortion 17 KIAs

On Aug. 6, 2011, a CH-47 “Chinook” — call sign “Extortion 17” — was shot down during the pre-dawn hours while on a mission to capture a bad guy in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province.  Among the dead, 30 Americans, most of whom were members of the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL TEAM SIX.

Because the deaths of these “quiet professionals” came only weeks after Vice President Joe Biden compromised operational security by disclosing details about their unit’s involvement in a raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Pakistan, some people — including some family members and friends of SEALs killed in the crash — believe the SEALs may have been sacrificed by the Obama Administration to appease followers of bin Laden.  More likely, however, is that they were set up by unvetted or poorly-vetted Afghan officials allowed to work closely with U.S. and Coalition Forces decision-makers.

Is it beyond the realm of possibilities to think Afghan officials are corrupt enough to engage in such activities?  Hardly  According to a report issued last week by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, the following is true:

Widespread corruption in Afghanistan is a significant problem and remains a threat to the success of reconstruction and assistance programs. In 2012, Transparency International ranked Afghanistan in a tie with Somalia and North Korea as the most corrupt country in the world.  NOTE:  Here’s the link to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index if you want to see it for yourself.

These are likely the same kind of people who, after surviving a supposedly-thorough vetting process, have excelled at waging hundreds of often-deadly “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks against American and Coalition Forces mentors and advisors while wearing the uniforms of their country’s military, police and security agencies instead of the attire of government officials.

Exactly who are the Afghans officials who likely set up the warriors aboard Extortion 17?  Based on what I read among the more than 1,300 pages that make up the Extortion 17 crash investigation report produced by U.S. Central Command, I’d say its the high-level Afghans who serve on the Operational Coordination Group (OCG).

Early in the report, I found the transcript of a briefing conducted nine days after the crash by an American intelligence officer who, at one point, describes himself as “an SF guy by trade.”  His audience is a group of about 18 people assembled at Bagram Air Base as part of the investigation process that followed the crash.  The topic is the OCG’s participation in the war effort.  NOTE:  Because the copy of the report I received was redacted, the briefing officer’s branch of service and rank remain a mystery.  His words from the transcript, however, appear below:

“We made some real money with the OCG; they are the Operational Coordination Group and they assist us with the planning, and the vetting, and de-confliction of our operation,” said the intelligence officer on page 6 of one 134-page document.  “Likewise, once we are done executing the operation, they are able to send the results report, the result of the operations, up through their various administrates.  They are made up of the Afghan National Army, the National Director of Security, as well as the Afghan National Police Force.  They are here on site, but we also have them down at the regional level in RC-South and, in September, we are going to stand up region site up in RC-North.”

“So they have visibility on every operation?” asked the deputy investigating officer.

“Every operation,” the intel officer replied.

“So they knew about the operations?” the deputy asked, apparently wanting to confirm what he had just heard.

“Oh yea,” the intel officer confirmed.

“And they were briefed on it?” the deputy followed, again seeking confirmation.

“Absolutely,” came the reply.

Further down the same page, the deputy investigating officer asked another OCG-focused question – “So they have the ability, do they have approval authority on that, to cancel an operation?” – and the conversation continued:

“Technically, they do,” the intel officer replied.  “They don’t exercise it, but technically they do have (the) authority.”

“So they either task or approve the operation?” the deputy investigating officer said, seeking confirmation.

The answer:  “Yep.”

More than 50 pages deeper into the document, the investigating officer — then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt before being promoted in 2012 — asked for and received confirmation from the officer representing the Joint Special Operations Task Force Intelligence Directorate (J3) that every mission is vetted through the OCG.  He also received some background knowledge about the group.

“(The Operational Coordination Group),” the J3 representative told him and others in the room, “was formed over two years ago when we said we needed to have really better legitimacy in the eyes of (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) in order to maintain our freedom of maneuver. So, these guys are high level officials from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the National Directorate of Security.”

“Really the only thing we keep from them, obviously, is the (Top Secret) level how we got to the target piece of it,” he added a short time later.  “They are briefed on all the targets prior to execution and, you know, technically speaking if they would come to us and say, ‘I don’t want you to execute this mission,’ we wouldn’t do it.”

So, according to transcript, members of the OCG knew about the Extortion 17 mission in advance, were involved in assigning and/or approving the mission and could have vetoed the mission, but did not.

After realizing how deeply involved OCG members are in each mission, I asked myself a question — “Did a failure to properly screen top Afghan government officials before they were allowed to serve on the OCG help bring down Extortion 17?” — and set out to answer it.


I began by searching online for accurate information about the OCG.  Unfortunately, I found very little information about the group’s existence prior to the crash of Extortion 17. Even the International Security Assistance Force/NATO website contained no mentions of the OCG prior to the crash.

The only online mention of the OCG prior to the crash appeared in a Spring 2007 NATO Review article.  In it, the author, British Army Gen. David Richards, described the introduction of the OCG as a “significant development.”  NOTE:  “Spring 2007″ is a lot earlier than the “two years ago” description (i.e., August 2009) given by the J3 officer as the approximate date of the OCG’s launch.

Eight months after the crash, a DoD news release did mention the OCG, stating that the group had been given the authority to review and approve all special operations missions and to participate in intelligence fusion, monitor mission execution and make notifications to provincial governors.  Two months after that, an ISAF news release confirmed the same.


In addition to searching online, I submitted a list of questions to ISAF public affairs officers via email the morning of Sept. 11.  I wanted to know when and why the OCG was established and who participates in the OCG or comprises its membership.  Most importantly, I wanted to know if non-American and non-NATO individuals are vetted prior to their involvement in OCG and asked for a description of the vetting process if they are.

Two days later, the response I received from Lt. Col. Will Griffin, an Army public affairs officer assigned to ISAF Headquarters, was vague at best:

The OCG was established in 2010 to communicate ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters’ intentions to our Afghan partners in an expedient and concise manner and likewise provide a means for Afghan National Security Force to convey their concerns and intentions to ISAF SOF HQ.

The OCG is comprised of representatives from coalition forces and Afghan liaison officers.  All Afghan partners are screened and certified by their ministries, as well as completing the same verification process as all liaison officers that work in secure ISAF installations.

Ten minutes after reading Colonel Griffin’s response, I replied by pointing out to the colonel that he had not included a requested description of the vetting process used to screen non-American and non-NATO members of the OCG.   Then I waited for another 15 hours.  Rather than receive a description of the vetting process, however, I received the following message:

The vetting process is a comprehensive look at the individual’s background, associates, personal history, etc.  Operational security considerations prevent me to go into further depth.

After Colonel Griffin offered little in terms of knowledge about the process used — if, in fact, there is one — to vet OCG members, I conducted a less-than-scientific survey of other sources, including friends and acquaintances who’ve spent varying lengths of time in Afghanistan and family members of American “Green-on-Blue” casualties.  The general consensus:  Afghans cannot be trusted.


Does this information prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some Afghan members of the OCG are corrupt?  No.

Does it prove that Afghan members of the OCG engaged in an effort to down Extortion 17?  No.

Does it prove the OCG has been comprised by Afghans who may be subject to a vetting process that’s even less stringent than that the one used to screen entry-level policemen, security guards and soldiers?  No.

Do negative answers to the three questions above mean the case is closed?  No!  Instead, they should prompt Americans to demand answers from their elected officials about Extortion 17 in much the same way they’ve demanded answers to questions surrounding the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

In addition, I recommend reading, BETRAYED: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father, by Billy Vaughn.  Along with his wife, Karen, the author of this book has spent a great deal of time and energy looking into the cause of the crash for one very personal reason:  Extortion 17 was the final mission of their son, Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn.

As you near the end of Vaughn’s book, you’ll find references to The Clapper Memo, my latest nonfiction book in which I share in-depth details about “Green-on-Blue”/”Insider” Attacks discovered during my four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph. I hope you’ll order a copy of my book, too.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.