By Ray Starmann
The Ranger School records story refuses to die, as the Army continues to obstruct Congressman Steve Russell’s investigation into whether three female graduates have been given special treatment at Ranger School.
Key points in the story:
Congressman Russell contacted the Secretary of the Army on September 15, 2015, and requested the Ranger School records for Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver.
The Secretary of the Army stalled Russell for nine days and then asked for an extension to obtain documents readily available.
The Army waited another two weeks to tell Russell the documents had been shredded.
The Army refuses to tell anyone what the school’s policy is for the storage and destruction of Ranger School records.
The Army refuses to tell the media why they shredded Griest’s and Haver’s records.
The Army refuses to tell the media what they are doing with the third female graduate, Major Lisa Jaster’s records.
The Army wants us to doubt that journalist Susan Keating’s Ranger School sources are real because they are anonymous.
The Army wants us to believe that if Susan Keating’s sources were real they would come forward, when in fact, they are frightened of retribution. Considering the Obama administration’s treatment of whistleblowers, these fears are more than justified.
Congressman Russell was interviewed by The Oklahoman last week concerning the Ranger School story.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Russell: “If you have whistleblowers that come to you begging to look into a matter and as you’ve looked into it, you realize there is probably something to it, based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, you have a moral obligation to investigate it. It wouldn’t matter if it were the Ranger topic or new equipment fielding or maintenance or whatever. We have some serious allegations that have been made that would be serious under any topic.”
“And people say, What have you got? Why aren’t you coming out with this?”
“Because we have people that are terrified that they will lose their careers and we have to protect them.”
Russell continues with an update us on his quest for the Ranger School records.
The Oklahoman: “Have you gotten the records that you sought?”
Russell: “Not from the Army. I’ve gotten nothing from them. In the second letter I got (last week) the Army said they can’t provide the records just yet and they reasserted the fact that the bulk of what I requested had been shredded and they were disappointed that I would suggest that they were up to nefarious activities.”
“Then they provided me an information paper that would try to get at some of what I requested. And this information paper provided a sampling of records. And then they provided an analysis of this sampling.”
“But they didn’t provide me the records to verify that sampling or verify their conclusions or even examine it.”
“So it’s like: Look, if there’s nothing to hide, show me what you have. And if these allegations are not substantiated, then we can drop this and move on. There are allegations from members of the military; I need certain sets of records to substantiate whether those allegations are factual or whether they’re not. It’s nothing more, nothing less.”
The Oklahoman: “Is this (women in combat) issue something the House Armed Services Committee needs to hold hearings about?”
Russell: “Well of course it is. I think the question that we all would ask is: If warriors can be trained to the highest capacity, then why wouldn’t we take efforts to do that? But, we have to do it with integrity, and we have to do it where we maintain the capacity.”
“Now you’ve got the special operations community and the United States Marine Corps coming up with their own sets of conclusions, and some of this is running counter to what people desire. Well, here we’re about to make major policy shifts, and have not had a serious hearing one on this issue. In two years? Three? Why? This is a major, major policy shift.”
“So, I’m asking questions. We were approached by these whistleblowers. And, so as a member of Congress and on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, we have a constitutional requirement to oversee government and its functions. These courses don’t belong to any general. They don’t belong to any service secretary. They don’t belong to anyone. They belong to We the People.”
US Defense Watch is also asking questions and recently requested the Ranger School rosters for Captain Griest and First Lieutenant Haver’s class and for Major Lisa Jaster’s class. Fort Benning refused to turn over the records claiming, “The story was dead,” “It was time to move on,” and “Twenty more females are set to begin Ranger School in November.”
US Defense Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Defense for the class rosters. There has been no response yet from the DoD.
The Army’s continuing obfuscation is beginning to resemble the St. Louis military and federal records fire on July 12, 1973. The St. Louis fire took place during the Watergate scandal. The blaze destroyed 16-18 million military and federal records and was rumored to have been set to cover up information related to the Watergate conspirators and burglars. The exact cause of the fire was never fully determined.
There is no longer any doubt that a massive cover up is underway in the Department of Defense and the Army. As I have mentioned before, there is a political agenda driving the cover up. The White House wants women in the combat arms and special operations. Therefore, the Army, from Secretary of the Army John McHugh down to Major-General Scott Miller down to the Airborne Ranger Training Brigade command group, are involved in this conspiracy to deceive the American people, regardless of the consequences to our national security.
As Congressman Russell has clearly stated, if the Army has nothing to hide, then show him the records. But, the Army has much to hide. They can’t come clean because they are the main conspirator in this scandal.
For the sake of the nation’s national security, US Defense Watch again recommends that the following personnel be subpoenaed by Congress and ordered to testify under oath in front of the House Armed Services Committee, concerning the special treatment given to female soldiers at Ranger School:
The Honorable John McHugh, Secretary of the Army
General (Ret.) Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the JCS
Major–General Scott Miller, Commander, US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, GA
Colonel David G. Fivecoat, Commander of the Airborne Ranger Training Brigade, Fort Benning, GA
Major Lisa Jaster – recent Ranger School graduate
Captain Kristen Griest – one of the two first female graduates from Ranger School
First Lieutenant Shaye Haver – one of the two first female graduates from Ranger School
Command Sergeant–Major Curtis Arnold, Command Sergeant-Major, Airborne Ranger Training Brigade, Fort Benning, GA
Sergeant First Class Robert Hoffnagle – reported to have specially trained Captain Griest and First Lieutenant Haver for Ranger School
The group of Ranger School instructors who are reported to be journalist, Susan Keating’s sources.
The Army’s senior leaders have broken their oaths by abandoning the Constitution and the nation they have sworn to defend. Congress must take action. If they refuse, the American people must contact their representatives and request that they do something. Things have reached a critical point now. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will soon be deciding whether or not to allow women into the combat arms and special operations units. He may in fact, be making decisions based on the bodyguard of lies from Fort Benning.
If nothing is done, if the lies and deception continue to go unheeded, then the national security will be in jeopardy.