Michael's Dispatches

Messages from Joint Chiefs of Staff

23 January 2012

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) provided a document to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) about MEDEVAC issues in Afghanistan.  The document was provided with no cover or signature page.  Congressman Todd Akin (MO-2), a senior HASC member, received that document.  A staffer for Mr. Akin passed the letter to me asking questions.

I publicly acknowledged receipt of the JCS letter before publishing it.  My acknowledgement prompted an email to me from the Public Affairs Officer for the Vice Chairman of the JCS.

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Seiber (Public Affairs Officer to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) wrote to me, “Your citing of a JCS letter is inaccurate.  Please correct/update your website accordingly.  Background information is below:"  I immediately contacted Congressman Akin’s office.  A staffer again confirmed that this document came from JCS to HASC.  The denial by JCS itched for explanation.  JCS then backtracked, saying it had provided the letter to HASC, and “We don't necessarily refute what is in the document itself, it's just a matter that it isn't a Joint Staff document.”

JCS has had plenty of time to review the document they provided to HASC, and my analysis of the document is forthcoming.  That JCS holds “We don't necessarily refute what is in the document itself…” is tantamount endorsement.  Under these circumstances, the letter can appropriately be called “The Orphaned letter from JCS to HASC,” even though I now believe that JCS did not author the communiqué.  It may have come from CENTCOM.

The document is demonstrably filled with deceptions and errors of fact.  If the JCS refuses to refute the document, the act can be considered a willful deception of the HASC.

This has become curious, and so in the interest of disclosure and allowing JCS to have its say, here is the pertinent email trail.

Five emails:

======

From: Seiber, Patrick LTC JCS OCJCS PA [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] 

Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:01 AM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cc: Lapan, David Col JCS OCJCS PA; McNally, Patrick CDR JCS DOM OCJCS PA

Subject: Correct the Record--JCS Letter

Michael-

Your citing of a JCS letter is inaccurate.  Please correct/update your website accordingly.  Background information is below:

From OCJCS Legislative Affairs:

Spoke to Army LL on this issue and can provide the following synopsis:
- In early November, an info paper was provided to SEN Inhofe drafted by Army G-3
- In late November, SECARMY drafted a response letter to SEN Grassley (found on Michael Yon's website)
- In December, a similar/same info paper was provided to SEN Lugar
- In late December ARCENT Chief of Staff BG Bishop sent a response letter to SEN Kyl re: the "medical evacuation of SPC Chazray Clark" (found on Michael Yon's website)

On his website, Mr. Yon states the "the Joint Chiefs of Staff [recently] sent a deceptive communiqué" to the HASC, and that the "HASC forwarded the JCS missive to Representatives" including Rep. Akin.  He also states that he has not yet published the letter, and describes it as "complex".  It is reasonable to conclude the "JCS missive" is actually one of the info papers drafted by Army G-3.  This is confirmed by separate correspondence from HASC PSM John Chapla, as well.

Mr. Yon is mistaken in his belief that the document originated from the Joint Staff.  The error likely comes from the fact that the attachment is unsigned, with no identifier as to origin.

Thanks.

V/R,
Patrick R. Seiber
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Public Affairs Officer to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Pentagon 2D932
(703) 571-9471 (Commercial)
(703) 332-9790 (Blackberry)
(312) 227-4272 (DSN)

==========

Michael Yon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>;
Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:10 PM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original

LTC Seiber,

Just got your email a few minutes ago.

The information to me that the letter is from JCS came from the office of HASC Member Todd Akin.  It is important that this be corrected ASAP.  I literally just published something else on this.

I am surprised that JCS does not have my direct email address.  It seems like everyone else in the USG has it.

I will correct the record.  And for the record, what is the JCS stance on this issue?

V/r,

Michael

======

I then emailed to Congressman Akin’s office asking for confirmation that the letter came from the JCS to HASC:

Response according to STAFFER of Congressman Todd Akin:

“The memo in question was originally provided to the HASC by the Joint Staff, with no signatures and no indication that it had come from anywhere but the Joint Staff.

“This week, after questioning, the Joint Staff indicated that they were not the original source of the document. Initially they indicated it was a CENTCOM document (which is how Congressman Akin referred to it in his letter).

On Tuesday, we were told that the memo actually originated with the Army."

If you have any other questions on this, contact Steve Taylor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

======

I again contacted LTC Seiber at JCS:

Michael Yon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>;
Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original

LTC Seiber,

This is becoming more curious by the minute.  Mr. Akin's office says that HASC got it from JCS but that nobody wants to claim authorship. (I certainly would not want to claim it.  Someone must have been getting electroshock to be forced into writing that.)

Before I make any announcement, we need to know what the truth is. The truth is that Congressman Akin's office is holding that it came from JCS to HASC, but the author is unknown.

V/r,

Michael

======

Seiber, Patrick LTC JCS OCJCS PA <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>;
Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 11:42 PM
To: Michael Yon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>;
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original

Michael-

Sorry for the delay getting back to you, we're short staffed this week and with the Chairman on the road we've had our hands full.

Regarding the document, here's what I have from our Legislative Affairs (LA) team:

1) One of our LA team members was talking with HASC staffer about a separate topic and the medevac topic came up in the conversation.  Our LA team member showed him a document about medevacs and he said he had already received it.  Our team member told the HASC staffer at that time it was not/not a joint staff document.

2) Our understanding is HASC Staffer then provided the document to Cong. Akin's office and stated he had received it from the Joint Staff, but did NOT clarify with him that it was not a Joint Staff document.

3) We don't necessarily refute what is in the document itself, it's just a matter that it isn't a Joint Staff document.

4) As the investigation into this incident is ongoing, we would not provide a detailed JCS response on the incident to Congress.

Hope this helps...

Pat

V/R,

Patrick R. Seiber
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Public Affairs Officer to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Pentagon 2D932
(703) 571-9471 (Commercial)
(703) 332-9790 (Blackberry)
(312) 227-4272 (DSN)

======


The letter

Add comment

Due to the large amount of spam, all comments will be moderated before publication. Please be patient if you do not see your comment right away. Registered users who login first will have their comments posted immediately.


Reader support is crucial to this mission. Weekly or monthly recurring ‘subscription’ based support is the best, though all are greatly appreciated.  Recurring and one-time donations are available through PayPal or Authorize.net.

supp

supp

subscribe

You can now help support the next dispatch with bitcoins:

Donate Bitcoins

My BitCoin QR Code

This is for use with BitCoin apps:

189