Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of reports on
allegations of security breaches and corruption in the Army Research Labs at
Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds, by WorldNetDaily reporter David
Part 1 provided an overview of charges leveled by at least a dozen whistleblowers,
Part 2 focused on allegations that unauthorized foreign nationals were granted access to government supercomputers, and
Part 3 focused on long-standing charges of widespread plagiarism.
By David M. Bresnahan
© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
The former director of the
Army Research Labs Weapons and Materials Division in Aberdeen, Md., has responded to employees about concerns over possible security problems and illegal activities reported in WorldNetDaily.
“We have a very few disgruntled individuals, who are discrediting the organization as well as the reputation of hardworking and dedicated employees,” Dr. Ingo May said in his farewell message to Army lab employees on the eve of his retirement.
May was responding to a series of investigative reports by WorldNetDaily, probing claims by numerous Army lab whistleblowers — almost all of them current employees — alleging extensive corruption, fraud and malfeasance at the facility. Those employees have chosen a spokesman to convey their latest information to WorldNetDaily.
“There’s quite a few more than just ‘a few,'” the spokesman told WND on condition of anonymity. “There’s more like a couple dozen, and the number’s growing every day. Your articles have given courage to some who have been too hesitant to speak out. We are doing nothing to harm anyone’s reputation. We have simply presented the facts, and if that hurts their reputation, then they have no one to blame but themselves.”
WND has reported previously that Gloria Wren, chief of the propulsion branch at the Ballistics and Weapons Concepts Division of the Army Research Lab, is under investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Army inspector general, the FBI and some members of Congress for allegedly providing her private password to unauthorized foreign nationals to access the Army lab’s supercomputers. Charges of plagiarism and other corruption on the part of Wren and others have also been the focus of previous reports.
May, who has consistently ignored requests from WorldNetDaily for an interview, said in an e-mail message to employees that the various charges have already been investigated, and that no evidence has emerged to justify the claims.
“Because serious allegations have been made, ARL management is conducting an investigation. A report by an outside person, Dr. Grum, appointed by Dr. Whalin, will be forthcoming soon. It is not appropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation,” explained May.
A retired Army general, Dr. Allen Grum was appointed as investigator by his long-time friend and associate, Dr. Robert W. Whalin, director of the Army Research Lab. As
WorldNetDaily reported, the whistleblowing employees believe Grum’s investigation will be used against them, rather than to determine the validity of their complaints.
“They aborted the investigative process so they could say that,” commented the employees’ spokesman. “It was not originally going to be this soon. Because of the articles, Whalin asked Grum to get him a report sooner rather than later.”
The charges of plagiarism, fraud, waste and abuse of government resources, giving unauthorized foreign nationals access to supercomputers and other security breaches have been investigated internally for at least four years. To date, those investigations have not resulted in any action against those allegedly involved.
“About a year and a half ago, similar charges of plagiarism were made and ARL appointed a Special Ethics Panel,” said May in his message to employees. “The panel did not find any truth to the allegations of plagiarism. The author of these plagiarism charges went so far as to bring them to the attention of the AIAA, who also conducted his own review, and who also found no basis for the plagiarism charge.”
WorldNetDaily reported on the AIAA’s
(American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) findings and the concerns raised by the whistleblowers that plagiarism is being tolerated.
According to the aggrieved employees, the “internal ethics investigation” referred to by May never actually took place, nor was a report issued.
“Ingo May constituted a pseudo ethics panel which never functionally met,” said the employee spokesman. “Without ever reviewing the documents provided to it, the panel was disbanded in less than a month and no official finding was ever given.”
A former member of the ethics panel confirmed this claim for WorldNetDaily, but would not provide a statement on the record for fear of reprisals.
“To my knowledge the current allegations are without foundation,” said May. “I am unaware of any illegal activities. I am also unaware of any criminal investigations.”
“He’s picking his words very carefully,” said the employees’ representative. “There are many that really believe that copying someone’s technical documents word for word and then taking full credit for that work is not plagiarism. That’s why he says the current investigations are not criminal investigations — he doesn’t consider plagiarism to be criminal.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has been investigating the Army lab charges for several years. In addition, said the spokesman, “the Army IG (Inspector General), ARL IG (Army Research Lab Inspector General), FBI, and I hear maybe even the CIA are all investigating very serious criminal charges.” May knows about the investigations, the spokesman insisted, and is “trying to show that he’s policing from within to keep them at bay.”
Another whistleblower, whose technical documents have been copied more than once, told WorldNetDaily that those who are engaged in alleged plagiarism see nothing wrong in what they are doing.
“They see themselves in a supervisory capacity, and so they believe they can claim responsibility for what those under them write — and take full credit for it. It didn’t take long for them to go beyond that and start plagiarizing the work of others, who don’t even work for them, even from outside the labs. I know of a contractor who provides a ghostwriter to do Gloria Wren’s work for her,” he said.
WND has reported on serious allegations against Wren, chief of the Propulsion Branch at the Ballistics and Weapons Concepts Division, she has not responded to requests for an interview.
To attain to positions of authority with salaries in excess of $100,000 per year, Army lab employees must publish a number of technical documents, according to an informed source within the lab facility. Certain management employees at ARL reportedly have little or no technical background, yet continually publish highly technical documents.
“They need to be the principal author of as many of those as possible for their factor-four evaluation. If they can create the appearance of a high level of publications, that will inflate their factor-four values and give them a definite advantage over anyone else as far as promotions, bonuses and pay raises are concerned,” explained one of the whistleblowers.
Salaries and benefits of management people like Wren cost taxpayers as much as $200,000 per year, according to internal ARL sources. To justify those salaries, managers must bring in outside contracts to generate revenue and justify their existence. (Outside contracts that generate revenue come from other government entities, so that even though the money comes from outside the Army lab, it is still taxpayer-funded.)
One frustrated investigator who spoke with WorldNetDaily on condition of anonymity offered his explanation of what’s really behind the management problems at the Army lab.
“Ingo May and Al Horst (Chief, Ballistics and Weapons Concepts Division) were trying to gain command and control over every facet of the laboratory operation,” he said. “The way they did this was to find people they could manipulate and/or control and put those into subordinate positions — directors and team chiefs like Gloria Wren and Bill Oberle — so they could control the entire workings of the laboratory.
“I think initially they wanted to do it for their personal goals of aggrandizement and ego,” he added. “As a result, the people they selected — the reason they were able to control them was because they were not scientifically competent. They allowed, if not encouraged, them to advance through massive efforts of plagiarism to high-ranking positions that they can then use to control the entire operations of the lab.”
Why no charges after years of investigation?
“I think it’s a command, control, power issue. That’s why it’s not viewed as a security risk. It’s not the investigators who don’t see this as a problem, it’s their superiors who have a problem with what’s acceptable and what’s not,” he explained.
WorldNetDaily sent many e-mail messages to Army lab management and employees requesting information and comments about the allegations that have been made. Although May did not respond to WorldNetDaily, he did offer some comments in his farewell e-mail message to employees.
“I must come on line one more time to respond to emails (sic) that I understand have gone to all of you from a reporter, who represents a right wing internet (sic) news paper,” May wrote in his farewell message. “We, unfortunately, cannot respond directly to these allegations by this reporter. We are at a severe disadvantage in a war of words.”
“It’s not a war of words,” one of the whistleblowers told WND. “It’s a war of facts. And the allegations come from us, not you. You’ve just been reporting what we have been saying. In fact, I don’t see where he can justify calling you ‘right wing.'”
May went on to say that the staff members at ARL “have far too many more important science and engineering challenges to overcome to be burdened or distracted by the press.”
“The distractions are not from the press,” said the whistleblower spokesman. “The distractions have been going on for years. The public is hurt because they pay for all this with tax dollars, and the Army — actually all the military — will pay for this for years to come with weapons that are not as good as they should be.”
May said he is going into his retirement with a “bad taste” in his mouth, adding that he has enjoyed working with everyone at the Army lab “with the exception of the few individuals who are doing ARL a great disservice.”
May and Horst have not responded to phone and e-mail messages requesting interviews.