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Feds cover up security breach

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of reports resulting
from a year-long investigation by WorldNetDaily investigative reporter
David Bresnahan into allegations of security breaches in the Army
Research Labs at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. While this
first report provides an overview, subsequent stories will focus on
individual aspects of this WND investigation.

By David M. Bresnahan

© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.

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 under way 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.

Army Research Lab complex at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds

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, tomorrow, 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 under way. 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 under way, 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.

Tomorrow 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.