Theodore's World: Update: McCain and Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA

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April 29, 2009

Update: McCain and Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA

******* Just moving this up to a more recent posting.Because of what John Kerry is doing this month . Will reference later.~ Thank you , Wild Thing ********

The documentary "Missing, Presumed Dead the Search for America's POWs" however focuses more on Senator John McCain successfully blocking the release of classified POW/MIA documents. Here is a DVD extra from that documentary.This video was done by The group Vietnam Veterans Against McCain.

Memorandum for: Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Prisoners of War and Missing in Action

Subject: Possible Violations of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2071, by the Select Committee and Possible Ethical Misconduct by Staff Attorneys.

From: John F. McCreary

Continuing analysis of relevant laws and further review of the events between 8 April and 16 April 1992 connected with the destruction of the Investigators' Intelligence Briefing Text strongly indicate that the order to destroy all copies of that briefing text on 9 April and the actual destruction of copies of the briefing texts plus the purging of computer files might constitute violations of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2071, which imposes criminal penalties for unlawful document destruction. Even absent a finding of criminal misconduct, statements, actions, and failures to act by the senior Staff attorneys following the 9 April briefing might constitute serious breaches of ethical standards of conduct for attorneys, in addition to violations of Senate and Select Committee rules. The potential consequences of these possible misdeeds are such that they should be brought to the attention of all members of the Select Committee, plus all Designees and Staff members who were present at the 9 April briefing.

The relevant section of Title 18, U.S.C., states in pertinent part: Section 2071. Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally (a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 795)

a. On 8 April 1992, the Investigators' Intelligence Briefing Text was presented to Senior Staff members and Designees for whom copies were available prior to beginning the briefing. Objections to the text by the Designees prompted the Staff Director to order all persons present to leave their copies of the briefing text in Room SRB078. Subsequent events indicated that two copies had been removed without authorization.

b. On 9 April 1992, at the beginning of the meeting of the Select Committee and prior to the scheduled investigators' briefing, Senator McCain produced a copy of the intelligence briefing text, with whose contents he strongly disagreed. He charged that the briefing text had already been leaked to a POW/MIA activist, but was reassured by the Chairman that such was not the case. He replied that he was certain it would be leaked. Whereupon, the Chairman assured Senator McCain that there would be no leaks because all copies would be gathered and destroyed, and he gave orders to that effect. No senior staff member or attorney present cautioned against a possible violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2071, or of Senate or Select Committee Rules.

c. Following the briefing on 9 April, the Staff Director, Ms. Frances Zwenig, restated to the intelligence investigators the order to destroy the intelligence briefing text and took measures to ensure execution of the destruction order. (See paragraph 3 of the attachment.) During one telephone conversation with the undersigned, she stated that she was "acting under orders."

d. The undersigned also was instructed to delete all computer files, which Mr. Barry Valentine witnessed on 9 April.

e. In a meeting on 15 April 1992, the Staff's Chief Counsel, J. William Codinha, was advised by intelligence investigators of their concerns about the possibility that they had committed a crime by participating in the destruction of the briefing text. Mr. Codinha minimized the significance of the documents and of their destruction. He admonished the investigators for "making a mountain out of a molehill."

f. When investigators repeated their concern that the order to destroy the documents might lead to criminal charges, Mr. Codinha replied "Who's the injured party." He was told, "The 2,494 families of the unaccounted for US Servicemen, among others." Mr. Codinha then said, "Who's gonna tell them. It's classified." At that point the meeting erupted. The undersigned stated that the measure of merit was the law and what's right, not avoidance of getting caught. To which Mr. Codinha made no reply. At no time during the meeting did Mr. Codinha give any indication that any copies of the intelligence briefing text existed.

g. Investigators, thereupon, repeatedly requested actions by the Committee to clear them of any wrongdoing, such as provision of legal counsel. Mr. Codinha admitted that he was not familiar with the law and promised to look into it. He invited a memorandum from the investigators stating what they wanted. Given Mr. Codinha's statements and reactions to the possibility of criminal liability, the investigators concluded they must request appointment of an independent counsel. A memorandum making such a request and signed by all six intelligence investigators was delivered to Mr. Codinha on 16 April.

h. At 2130 on 16 April, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, convened a meeting with the intelligence investigators, who told him personally of their concern that they might have committed a crime by participating in the destruction of the briefing texts at the order of the Staff Director. Senator Kerry stated that he gave the order to destroy the documents, not the Staff Director, and that none of the Senators present at the meeting had objected. He also stated that the issue of document destruction was "moot" because the original briefing text had been deposited with the Office of Senate Security "all along." Both the Staff Director and the Chief Counsel supported this assertion by the Chairman.

i. Senator Kerry's remarks prompted follow-up investigations (See paragraphs 4 through 9 of the attachment) and inquiries that established that a copy of the text was not deposited in the Office of Senate Security until the afternoon of 16 April. The Staff Director has admitted that on the afternoon of 16 April, after receiving a copy of a memorandum from Senator Bob Smith to Senator Kerry in which Senator Smith outlined his concerns about the destruction of documents, she obtained a copy of the intelligence briefing text from the office of Senator McCain and took it to the Office of Senate Security. Office of Senate Security personnel confirmed that the Staff Director gave them an envelope, marked "Eyes Only," to be placed in her personal file. The Staff Director has admitted that the envelope contained the copy of the intelligence briefing text that she obtained from the office of Senator McCain.

The facts of the destruction of the intelligence briefing text would seem to fall inside the prescriptions of the Statute, Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2071, so as to justify their referral for investigation to a competent law enforcement authority. The applicability of that Statute was debated in United States v. Poindexter, D.D.C. 1989, 725 F. Supp. 13, in connection with the Iran Contra investigation. The District Court ruled, inter alia, that the National Security Council is a public office within the meaning of the Statute and, thus, that its records and documents fell within the protection of the Statute. In light of that ruling, the Statute would seem to apply to this Senate Select Committee and its Staff. The continued existence of a "bootleg" copy of the intelligence briefing text - i.e., a copy that is not one of those made by the investigators for the purpose of briefing the Select Committee - would seem to be irrelevant to the issues of intent to destroy and willfulness; as well as to the issue of responsibility for the order to destroy all copies of the briefing text, for the attempt to carry out that order, and for the destruction that actually was accomplished in execution of that order.

As for the issue of misconduct by Staff attorneys, all member of the Bar swear to uphold the law. That oath may be violated by acts of omission and commission. Even without a violation of the Federal criminal statute, the actions and failures to act by senior Staff attorneys in the sequence of events connected with the destruction of the briefing text might constitute violations of ethical standards for members of the Bar and of both Senate and Select Committee rules. The statements, actions and failures to act during and after the meeting on 15 April, when the investigators gave notice of their concern about possible criminal liability for document destruction, would seem to reflect disregard for the law and for the rules of the United States Senate.

John F. McCreary
May 3, 1992

Dolores Apodaca Alfond
chairwoman of the National Alliance of Families
an all-volunteer MIA organization

Confrontation with witness

One such witness was Dolores Apodaca Alfond, chairwoman of the National Alliance of Families, an all-volunteer MIA organization. Her pilot brother, Capt. Victor J. Apodaca, out of the Air Force Academy, was shot down over Dong Hoi, North Vietnam, in the early evening of June 8, 1967. At least one person in the two-man plane survived. Beeper signals from a pilot's distress radio were picked up by overhead helicopters, but the cloud cover was too heavy to go in. Hanoi has recently turned over some bone fragments that are supposed to be Apodaca's. The Pentagon first declared the fragments to be animal bones. But now it is telling the family -- verbally -- that they came from the pilot. But the Pentagon, for unexplained reasons, will not put this in writing, which means Apodaca is still unaccounted for. Also the Pentagon refuses to give Alfond a sample of the fragments so she can have testing done by an independent laboratory.

Alfond's testimony, at a hearing of the POW/MIA committee Nov. 11, 1992, was revealing. She pleaded with the committee not to shut down in two months, as scheduled, because so much of its work was unfinished. Also, she was critical of the committee, and in particular Kerry and McCain, for having "discredited the overhead satellite symbol pictures, arguing there is no way to be sure that the [distress] symbols were made by U.S. POWs." She also criticized them for similarly discounting data from special sensors, shaped like a large spike with an electronic pod and an antenna, that were airdropped to stick in the ground along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

These devices served as motion detectors, picking up passing convoys and other military movements, but they also had rescue capabilities. Specifically, someone on the ground -- a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor detail -- could manually enter data into the sensor pods. Alfond said the data from the sensor spikes, which was regularly gathered by Air Force jets flying overhead, had showed that a person or persons on the ground had manually entered into the sensors -- as U.S. pilots had been trained to do -- "no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos."

Other than the panel's second co-chairman, Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., not a single committee member attended this public hearing. But McCain, having been advised of Alfond's testimony, suddenly rushed into the room to confront her. His face angry and his voice very loud, he accused her of making "allegations ... that are patently and totally false and deceptive." Making a fist, he shook his index finger at her and said she had insulted an emissary to Vietnam sent by President Bush. He said she had insulted other MIA families with her remarks. And then he said, through clenched teeth: "And I am sick and tired of you insulting mine and other people's [patriotism] who happen to have different views than yours."

Brought to tears

By this time, tears were running down Alfond's cheeks. She reached into her handbag for a handkerchief. She tried to speak: "The family members have been waiting for years -- years! And now you're shutting down." He kept interrupting her. She tried to say, through tears, that she had issued no insults. He kept talking over her words. He said she was accusing him and others of "some conspiracy without proof, and some cover-up." She said she was merely seeking "some answers. That is what I am asking." He ripped into her for using the word "fiasco." She replied: "The fiasco was the people that stepped out and said we have written the end, the final chapter to Vietnam." "No one said that," he shouted. "No one said what you are saying they said, Ms. Alfond." And then, his face flaming pink, he stalked out of the room, to shouts of disfavor from members of the audience.



Wild Thing's comment........

This is such a huge issue for me and why I have such tremendous animosity towards McCain and always will.

John Kerry and Senator John McCain chaired the country's most thorough investigation into the fate of POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately they did more to obstruct that investigation than to pursue evidence indicating that Vietnam deliberately withheld captured American servicemen.

This is a long post and I apologize for that.

U.S. POW/MIAs Who May Have Survived In Captivity
Prepared by the Office of Senator Bob Smith
Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
December 1, 1992

Posted by Wild Thing at April 29, 2009 04:47 AM


WW II Gestapo 'interrogations'... Al-Qaeda beheadings ... and now 30 second waterboarding is OUT? Back to my prozac and V-8 cocktail, shaken not stirred!!!

Posted by: drstrangeloveb52isok at January 25, 2008 05:58 AM

What a sleezebag McCain is!!!!!!! And people are actually considering voting for him?!?!?!?! What a farse!!!!! In my book, he is no better than Kerry. Both of them are lower than whale shit and that's at the bottom of the ocean!!!!!! McCain sounds like the real "Manchurian Candidate"!!!! If the Repulican Party can't field anyone better than this blooming idiot, the Dems are definitely going to win this November!!!!!! Save some of the prozac and V-8 cocktail for me Dr Strange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: John at January 25, 2008 07:09 AM

Don't worry about the length of the post.
I too, have strong feelings about those who were left behind. The military just doesn't want to admit they did leave men behind, so now they're all gung ho about leaving no one behind. (But wasn't there a guy from the first Desert Storm who got left behind and hasn't been heard from since?)
The Russians have stories of American men being smuggled across the border into Siberia as prisoners. One was a quadruple amputee. They took his limbs because he wouldn't talk, so they took him to Siberia to die. You don't think the Communists wouldn't do this? Of course they would. I will NOT vote for McCain. I respect that he is a military man and spent 5 years in prison, but I have those in my family too.
We did leave men behind because we just didn't care thanks to a liberal media who made the war an "unpopular" and "unwinnable" war. Politics and the media shouldn't mix. It makes bad poison.
Shame on our government for keeping it under lock and key. They knew if they let the cat out of the bag, all hell would break loose. And rightfully so.

Posted by: Lynn at January 25, 2008 08:30 AM

The political side of the Vietnam POW/MIA situation was a disgrace to the morals of America. McCain and Kerry have now both been Presidential candidates and yet they are both traitors to their comrades. There is a noticable undercurrent of despisement to McCain from many of the other former POWs. McCain's abandonment of his first wife speaks volumes of his ethical and moral character. His blatant self serving lies over his political career also serve to define his lack of integrity. There are some traits of John McCain that are terribly wrong and troubling. I hope he is not the GOP candidate in November.

I watched a C-SPAN documentary about a trip to Vietnam in the mid 90's by Sens John Kerry and Bob Smith. The trip was to study possible relations with Vietnam and to get info on the MIA issue. The entire documentary ended up being about John Kerry. He hogged the cameras, he hogged the discussions.

McCain and Kerry are two of the most self-centered, lying, cheating, amoral, socialist, anti-Constitutional personalities in Wash DC. That town is full of bad people, but these two lead that parade of crooks. What bothers me is that so many basically good American voters believe in these two men who, for self-serving political purposes, abandoned and destroyed hopes of finding out anything about their comrades in arms.

Posted by: TomR at January 25, 2008 10:15 AM

I find the blocking and/or destruction of documents and information regarding POW/MIAs to be the lowest of the low. Just one more reason, not that I needed one, to oppose John McCain as the Republican candidate for President. He does not have my vote in the primary and will not have my vote in November.

Posted by: Les at January 25, 2008 07:45 PM

Yep, I don't know how many people I have told about this when they speak of voting for McCain that don't know a thing about it. They look at me like I'm nuts.
Maybe McCain needs to go to a Missing Man Table & Honors ceremony or two.

Glad you put it out there, WT! (And as a member of Rolling Thunder, I sincerely thank you.)

Posted by: yankeemom at January 25, 2008 08:36 PM

drstrangeloveb52isok, yes, if up to McCain. Very disappointing to say the least.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 25, 2008 11:55 PM

John your right, not much difference between them when they came back from Nam.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 25, 2008 11:59 PM

McCain ISN'T the ONLY US military veteran nor former POW in this blessed nation! His arrogance got his 'Rear Admiral Ass' smoked in 1999 and 2000 by then Texas Governor GW Bush! Now he has SC Senator Lindsay 'Amnesty' Graham by his side... and by Mrs. McCain's side? Hopefully tomorrow at this time Hitlery Clinton will have lost in the Palmetto State and would love to see John Opee Edwards come in second!

Posted by: drstrangeloveb52isok at January 26, 2008 12:02 AM

Lynn, thanks for the additional information. Yes the media is also to blame as well, they helped McCain and Kerry and others in their wanting to leave our POW MIA behind.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 26, 2008 12:06 AM

Tom.....I agree soooo much.

"political side of the Vietnam POW/MIA situation was a disgrace to the morals of America"

I can nevr forgive those involved and it was before all of us back home had computers too where we could get more information ahead of time of what the left was doing so we could try to counter it. It was horrible.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 26, 2008 12:10 AM

Les I feel the same way. I agree, there is no way I can vote for McCain and look a Veteran or one of our troops today in the face.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 26, 2008 12:12 AM

Yankeemom, thank you so much for posting that link. And about Rolling Thunder it is such an awesome group. Thank you so much!

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 26, 2008 12:15 AM

drstrangeloveb52isok , that would be great. Funny how now, now , now after all these years some of the dems and even the media are saying Bill Clinton is telling lies. Good grief we have said that all along how they lie.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 26, 2008 12:17 AM