A compendium of The Investigator columns are available on this News-Press site:
What: The Bellosgaurdo Foundation Inc., a tax-exempt foundation incorporated in New York to administrate a local cliff-top property called Bellosguardo (Italian for “beautiful lookout”) otherwise known as the Clark Estate.
Where: The Clark Estate is a storied 23-acre landmark that features a 21,666-square-foot French-style chateau on a mesa overlooking the ocean at 1407 Cabrillo Avenue near East Beach, replete with garage containing two pristine automobiles (including a Cadillac) from 1933—and a doll collection worth $1.7 million.
When: Bellosguardo was bequeathed to Santa Barbara and its community by the late Huguette Clark, the “Copper King” heiress who passed away two weeks before her 105th birthday in 2011. Her will specifically stipulated that a Bellosguardo foundation be created as a charity “for the primary purpose of fostering and promoting the Arts.” And thus, after a lengthy dispute, first with assorted relatives who sued over the will and then with the IRS over gift taxes, a foundation was created to ensure that the terms of Ms. Huguette’s bequeathal were met.
Who: The foundation’s president is Jeremy Lindaman, appointed to this position in 2014 by Helene Schneider when she was Santa Barbara’s mayor.
How: Mr. Lindaman was Ms. Schneider’s campaign manager. Some have pointed out the conflict-of interest impropriety of appointing to this post a career political operative with close ties to the then mayor yet zero experience running a foundation and only 34 years of age at the time, especially since some believe Ms. Schneider and Mr. Lindaman have also maintained (and perhaps still do) a personal relationship.
This cushiony position comes with an annual salary of $120,000. A document filed with the IRS in the years 2015-16 claimed that Mr. Lindaman works this job a mere 10 hours per week (later “corrected”), but even this amount of time seems surprising since almost nothing appears to actually happen at the estate aside from routine maintenance.
But wait… there’s this:
We received reports that an elaborate wedding took place at the Clark Estate during Labor Day weekend in early September. It was apparently a grand affair with large tents and security. This was not a public event, which is what the foundation was chartered to provide, suggesting that the estate is possibly being managed as if it were someone’s private club.
Such a notion, of course, runs contrary to the foundation’s Articles of Incorporation filed in June 2011 with the Office of the California Secretary of State.
The Articles say nothing about private weddings or any private events closed to the public (except perhaps fundraising, which is actually open to members of the public willing to gift a donation). In fact, the whole purpose for creating the foundation was to make the Clark Estate available to Santa Barbara’s community, along the lines of what the foundation states on its own website: “Bellosguardo will become a new home for art, music, history, and culture.”
Or, as Ms. Schneider, when mayor, said of the city’s obligation: “Open the Bellosgaurdo house and gardens to the public as a center that will foster and promote the arts.” (When cornered these days, Ms. Schneider blames criticism of her sorrowful Bellosguardo legacy on politics, which in our opinion is not only pure bunkum but, sadly, how most politicians these days defend their poor judgment and very real transgressions.)
In short, the foundation is supposed to be operating for the benefit of the public—and striving (for how many years now?) to open the estate to the public. After all, this was Huguette Clark’s vision—perpetuating the arts—and her gift to the people of Santa Barbara.
A gift to you.
THE CORRESPONDENCE BEGINS
On 7 September, The Investigator dispatched this e-mail to foundation president Jeremy Lindaman:
It has been brought to my attention that those in control of the Bellosguardo Foundation have been running private events at the Clark Estate as recently as this past weekend.
The last I heard (in May), the City’s Planning Division found the foundation’s application for this kind of activity “incomplete.”
Has something changed?
Has the foundation’s application been completed and approved?
If so, when—and approved by whom?
I have also heard that you may be currently residing on the Clark Estate and would like to know if there is any truth to this.
Three weeks later, on 27 September, and no response from Mr. Lindaman nor anyone else at the foundation, we resent our e-mail to Mr. Lindaman (lest it went unnoticed or to spam) along with this update:
I’ve had no reply to my e-mail of 7 September.
I understand that another wedding event at the Clark Estate is now being planned. Readers of my column are asking me if these events are going through the foundation’s accounting process or if the estate is being rented out privately off the books.
A simple denial will suffice.
AN ENCAPSULATED HISTORY
While we await with baited breath a reply from the Bellosgaurdo Foundation, here is a brief history of th Clark Estate:
The last time heiress Huguette Clark visited her magnificent estate was in 1953, before it was even bequeathed to her upon the death of her mother. (Huguette lived a hermetic existence in New York City and when asked why she would not return to Santa Barbara, said simply, “I always think of times there with my mother, and it makes me very sad.”)
Huguette’s father, William Andrews Clark, was an early robber baron and later a U.S. senator from Montana, elected in January 1899, removed the following April “on account of briberies and corrupt practices by his agents” after which he was chosen, in a tricky political maneuvre, to fill the appointment of his own vacancy (!).
W.A. stripped Montana—and later, Arizona—of its copper at a time when it was much needed for a new invention called electricity along with transatlantic cables and telephone lines. Business boomed, especially with the advent of World War I and the need for copper to manufacture weapons. He also founded Las Vegas in Nevada and a railway line that connected Salt Lake City to Los Angeles via Vegas—with a train on which he kept two luxurious Pullman cars for his private use.
In 1907 The New York Times calculated that W.A. Clark was wealthier than John D. Rockefeller. That same year (if published posthumously), Mark Twain wrote of W.A.: “He is as rotten a human being as can be found under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation… and his proper place was the penitentiary, with a chain and ball on his legs.”
A fabulous book about W.A. Clarke, Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., quotes professor of history Keith Edgerton of Montana State University: “The cumulative sentiment here is that he made a fortune off of the state’s resources in the free-wheeling laissez-faire times of the late 19th century, prostituted the political system with his wealth and power, exploited the working class for his own gain, left an environmental wreck behind, and took his millions to other places to benefit a handful of others. And in some ways, the state has never really recovered from it all.”
In 1923 Clark purchased his Santa Barbara property, which he’d been renting as a vacation home, for $300,000 cash and, five years later, Huguette (pronounced “oo-GET”—she was born in Paris), the second daughter of Clark’s second wife, was wedded on its grounds. (Her marriage to William Gower lasted only 9 months due to Huguette’s refusal to consummate it.)
Five years later the Italian villa was razed—having been damaged by the earthquake of 1925—and replaced with a splendorous French-style chateau built with reinforced concrete and 16-inch walls to render it quake-proof—and decorated by Huguette’s mother, Anna LaChapelle Clark.
The Copper King passed at the age of 86 in 1925, leaving an estate of around $200 million (a few billion in today’s money), of which one-fifth went to Huguette.
Today the estate is appraised at $85 million.
It was also Huguette who gifted Santa Barbara $50,000 in 1928 to create the Andree Clark Bird Refuge (in memory of her older sister, who passed in 1917 at age 17 from spinal meningitis) on city land across Cabrillo Boulevard from the estate.
THE CORRESPONDENCE CONTINUES
Well, now it is one week later and still no word from the foundation.
So off goes a third e-mail request to Jeremy Lindaman for clarification on matters of concern to the media and Santa Barbara’s community.
I note that you did not respond with a denial, which leaves my concerned readers and myself fearing the worst.
May I remind you that the Bellosguardo Foundation is a 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit foundation accountable to the California Attorney General’s Office, the Charity’s Bureau in New York, the IRS, the City of Santa Barbara—and to the public.
In the interest of transparency, I would be grateful for a reply to my e-mails so that I, as a member of the media, may report to the public that you have nothing to hide.
Third time lucky. Because Mr. Lindaman’s terse reply arrived just 32 minutes later.
All proceeds from these events go to the Foundation - nothing is "off the books." I deny these accusations.
Of course, we had an important follow-up question:
I note that the foundation’s Articles of Incorporation filed in June 2011 with the Office of the California Secretary of State that the Clark Estate is to be used “exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes.”
By what authority is the Bellosguardo Foundation booking out for private events that are not fundraisers?
WHAT WE ARE LEFT WITH
Okay, so we did who, what, where, when and how.
So now it’s time for why.
These are the questions that beg to be asked:
Aside from renting out the estate for the odd private event, what has Jeremy Lindaman, known in political circles as a bullyboy, actually accomplished for this foundation (and to justify his salary) over the past seven years? Someone, please, think of something—and tell us, we truly want to know. Because otherwise all we’ve got are media reports that call him “abrasive and emotional”—hardly the attributes of a foundation president.
More important, why are Huguette Clark’s final wishes—to open the estate as a cultural center for the people of Santa Barbara—not being honored by those appointed by the city to do so?
Instead, we have private events along with allegations that those running the foundation are flaunting its bylaws. Oh, add reports of alleged mismanagement and favoritism to the baker’s mix—and what do you get? A batch of rancid donuts leading to a foul stench wafting in from, not the smelly Bird Refuge, but the mesa upon which sits the Clark Estate.
Not exactly what Huguette Clark had in mind with her bequeathal.
To Mayor Murillo or Randy Rowse (or whomever else the next mayor may be) and Santa Barbara City Council-persons: Please look into the Bellosguardo Foundation and Clark Estate with a view toward removing Jeremy Lindaman as its president. You have an obligation to Santa Barbara’s community to ensure that the foundation and estate are properly run.
After seven years of earning six figures per annum, Mr. Lindaman has failed to execute the foundation’s mission: opening the estate to the public.
And, unbefitting a president of a tax-exempt non-profit, Mr. Lindaman has also failed—and failed miserably—to be transparent about whatever the heck is going on over there.
|Photo: Thomas Van Stein|
Here is the reason that Special Counsel John Durham’s grand jury indictment of Michael Sussmann on a felony count for lying to the FBI is so very important: Mr. Sussmann was the primary initiator of the hoax that led to the costly Robert Muller Investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russians—a 22-month investigation that produced mass- media mania but little else of substance.
This is Mr. Durham’s second indictment. His first charged FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith with doctoring a document and thus lying to a federal court to secure a FISA application search warrant. Mr. Clinesmith resigned in disgrace and pled guilty.
Mr. Sussmann, it is alleged in the indictment filed September 16th in Washington DC at U.S. District Court, withheld from the FBI his true motivation for proffering “information” to the Bureau: Simply put, he was secretly acting as a political operative for the Hilary Clinton Campaign, amply evidenced by the billing of his time and expenses to the campaign on this “confidential project” (his own lingo) under the guise of “General Political Advice.”
And if Mr. Sussmann needed more incentive it was this: By his own admission, Hillary Clinton had offered him—should she win the White House—a top job in her administration.
“During the meeting [with FBI General Counsel James Baker] Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI,” reads the 27-page indictment. “Sussmann stated falsely that he was not acting on behalf of any client… conveying the allegations as a good citizen and not as an advocate for any client. His statement was knowingly and intentionally false.”
And then Mr. Sussmann turned around and brazenly invoiced that very FBI meeting to the Clinton Campaign with this description: “Work and communications regarding confidential project.”
A few weeks later, Mr. Sussmann used his meeting with the FBI—and the passing to them of so-called “white papers”—as a platform for generating news stories in the media “purporting,” reads the indictment, “a secret channel between the Trump Organization and a particular Russian bank,” even though, the indictment continues, “the FBI’s investigation of these allegations concluded there was insufficient evidence.”
Why would Mr. Sussmann, who, as a consequence of his indictment has now resigned as a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie… why would he choreograph his propaganda campaign this way?
Simple. Because being able to say the FBI was actively investigating his false information made it a far more credible, compelling story to reporters and editors and thus more likely to be published, which it was. This is how political spin-doctors use the media—and it happens more often than you’d like to believe.
Mr. Sussmann also billed his media shenanigans to the Clinton Campaign, states the indictment.
Once the hoaxers accomplished their objective, with an article in Slate, Hillary Clinton was able to weigh in personally with this tweet on 31 October 2016:
Four things you need to know about the Trump Organization’s secret server to communicate with Russian Alfa Bank.
1. Donald Trump has a secret server. (Yes, Donald Trump.)
2. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.
3. When a reporter asked about it, they shut it down.
4. One week later, they created a new server with a different name from the same purpose.
None of this was true; all false. The FBI disproved this claim and the Muller investigation, as hard as it tried, found no evidence to support it.
MADAM GROUND ZERO
One of the more interesting aspects of the Michael Sussmann indictment is a reference to “an anonymous computer researcher” who fabricated the data that supposedly connected Mr. Trump to Alfa Bank in Russia, data Mr. Sussmann then passed to the FBI and, soon after, to select media—effectively launching the “Trump-Russia” hoax.
The moniker/code-name of this “technical person” was Tea Leaves.
We can today reveal that the person most likely to have been Tea Leaves is 59-year-old domain name system (DNS) and malware researcher April Dawn Lorenzen, chief data scientist at ZETAlytics LLC, a cyber security company she founded in 2015, located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
The Sussmann indictment also references an Internet Company-1, Internet Company-2 and Internet Company-3 as part of the Sussmann network.
It is believed that Internet Company-3 is ZETAlytics and Internet Company-2 is another company owned by Ms. Lorenzen called Dissect Cyber Inc.
The results of a private investigation of Tea Leaves provided to The Investigator found that this individual “has remained conveniently tucked away from public scrutiny, creating a 12P Eepsite for the DNS logs and” [we shall add allegedly] “hounding tech bloggers via Tor. Those logs were the basis for the original Trump-Russia-Server hoax and were probably used by the previous [Obama] administration as a pretense to surveil Trump and associates.”
The false files first appeared—around 4-5 October 2016, soon after Mr. Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI—on the website i2p.xyzdns1.i-netco.com, a domain owned by Dissect Cyber Inc., which was hidden at the time from public registries but inadvertently made public last year when Dissect Cyber was listed as a “reseller” of the site.
If true (and we believe it is), this would crown Ms. Lorenzen as Madam Ground Zero in the plot to frame and defame Donald Trump through the use of disinformation.
And all of it bankrolled by the Hillary Clinton Campaign.
It is revealing that, in September 2020, Alfa Bank of Russia subpoenaed Ms. Lorenzen to testify in their massive defamation lawsuit filed four years ago against Fusion GPS, a political opposition research firm on retainer to the Hillary Clinton Campaign, and its principal, Glenn Simpson, who coordinated his company’s activities with (of course) Michael Sussmann. Ms. Lorenzen is fighting the subpoena; a Rhode Island court is scheduled to hear her motion to quash on 18 October.
It remains unclear whether Ms. Lorenzen has yet testified before the Special Counsel’s grand jury and/or if she is a target of Mr. Durham’s ongoing investigation.
A query to the Special Counsel’s Office regarding Ms. Lorenzen brought this reply from Wyn Hornbuckle, deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice: “We’ll decline to comment beyond what is contained in the indictment.”
The Investigator responded thus: “If you don’t deny I will consider it a confirmation.”
There was no further response from Mr. Hornbuckle.
The indictment of Mr. Sussmann also references a person identified only as “Tech Executive-1.” The person behind that mask is Roland Joffe, a cybersecurity expert and client of Mr. Sussmann.
Given the length and breadth of the Sussmann indictment, it is clear to Washington DC insiders that additional indictments will be forthcoming.
According to Kash Patel, a former deputy chief of staff for the Defense Department who deposed Michael Sussmann on behalf of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), “The indictment identified 6 to 8 individuals not by name but by title, major players that we deposed. So there’s a larger conspiracy at play here and I think [John Durham] is just getting started.”
And, indeed, just over one week ago Special Counsel Durham issued a new set of subpoenas to Perkins Coie (Mr. Sussmann’s former law firm), whose clients included the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also commissioned what became known as the Steele Dossier, which, in 2016, created a huge furor over Mr. Trump’s so-called “Russia connection.” The Steele Dossier, named after its author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, has since been discredited.
I am reliably quoted in this piece.
Yet in the latest paternity scandal, Eringer emerges as an unlikely character witness for Albert, albeit a barbed one. His doubts about Mariza’s story center on her claim that Albert had disguised his identity.
“That was not how Albert operated,” Eringer tells me. “He used his identity as a prince to attract women. By 2005 Albert was nearing 50, almost bald, fat, and rather ugly. It was his princely status that attracted women, certainly not his looks.”
As for the other references to me:
Robert Eringer remembers the tension between Albert’s professional and personal lives. The American private investigator says he got to know the prince in the 1990s and remembers him as a “shy and awkward” man.
|Monaco, December 2005|
RE, Jazmin, Tamara
In 2005, when Albert took the throne, Eringer established an unofficial agency—the Monaco Intelligence Service—to help root out unsavory characters who did not fit the new image. Late that same year, Eringer says he met Tamara Rotolo and Jazmin in Monaco, months before Jazmin was officially recognized. “I had hoped for Albert to meet his daughter for the first time in a private setting, our safe house,” Eringer writes in an email to me from his home in Santa Barbara. “It would have meant a lot to her and mitigated the harshness of legal proceedings.” But Albert and his lawyers passed up the opportunity, Eringer claims, waiting instead for Jazmin’s legal recognition the following year.
True. And Albert's cowardice led to this...
Eringer says he lost royal favor in 2007 and later attempted to sue the prince for unpaid fees of $60,000. His case collapsed when a U.S. court ruled that sovereign immunity applied to the disputed contract.
The bad guys won.
Albert and his lawyers have dismissed Eringer’s claims and sued the American for defamation, compelling him to take down his blog, according to Eringer. Albert once described his former consigliere as “a bitter person who spews his venom and resentments on the internet.” Thierry Lacoste, Albert’s lawyer, tells me Eringer’s “slanderous attacks” are “a demonstration of his absence of probity.”
An absence of probity?
As always, Thierry Lacoste, who hates Monaco and whose feeling is reciprocated by Monegasques, sounds constipated.
He is a fatuous little prick who has been leeching off Albert for decades, like so many others in the principality (though he's the worst of them).
Defense officials talk to News-Press about Afghanistan
Editor’s note: Department of Defense sources, who are deeply involved with continued efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan, told the News-Press that the number of evacuated people is much lower than the official number released by the U.S. government. They talked exclusively to News-Press columnist Robert Eringer, but they can’t be identified because of their concerns about possible political retribution.
Because this is a column, this report contains an analysis expressed by Mr. Eringer, which is in addition to the comments expressed by the authoritative sources.
It is no secret that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires, its natives having seen out the Brits, Russians and now the Americans, ejected each time and replaced by a terrorist organization even worse than the one before.
What well-armed empires failed to comprehend is that conventional warfare does not apply to Afghanistan because it is not a country but a cluster of tribes, below which are clans, below which are war lords. Sometimes these tribes, clans and war lords get along with one another, often they do not.
In other words, there isn’t any one tribe with which you can deal and hope to bring stability to the entire region.
So, the first mistake made by the U.S. Government was engaging certain Taliban leaders during the Doha meetings with a view to making a deal that would cover all members of the “constellation of franchises” known liberally as the Taliban.
A senior intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense (DoD) who was (still is) deeply involved in evacuating and now exfiltrating U.S. citizens and qualified Afghanis from Afghanistan told The Investigator, “This massive miscalculation was exploited by the Taliban who went along with the delusion because of their designs to conquer the country. The Taliban is a constellation of franchises loosely aligned for a single ideological objective: to eject the infidels from their lands and install an Islamic republic.” This source has been with DoD for over 20 years and specializes in logistics.
After Joe Biden moved into the White House, the Doha talks continued without the “retaliatory conditions” insisted upon by the Trump Administration. Also, this: to negate the necessity of involving Congress in a treaty process, the Biden strategy was to simply hand Afghanistan to China and make it “their tar-baby,” explained the senior intelligence analyst. “China was given the task to heal the dog and all iterations thereof. China has a long and esteemed reputation for dog healing.”
In exchange, China would reap a rich abundance of the copper and lithium they need to produce computer chips, automobiles and electronics and thereby quell growing civil unrest by revving up their economy. Most important of all to the Chinese is the trillions of dollars in rare earth minerals for which China’s tank is running rather low.
Add to the mix: Pakistan, which is closely aligned with China as an insurance policy against border disputes with India. Moreover, China’s “belt initiative” has resulted in billions of dollars in investments in Pakistan and now their day has come to pay up—lest their economy becomes devastated by a landlord with little patience and will foreclose on what China is owed, according to the analyst.
It is funding from Pakistan that supports and enables the Taliban because the Pakistanis consider large swaths of Afghanistan their own territory stolen from them and they, like the Chinese, have designs on its natural resources.
“So,” the Senior Intelligence Analyst continued, “Biden decides America can ill afford this conflict, the money should go instead to building social utopias at home—and let China become the next graveyard member. However, a fly snuck into the bouillabaisse. And now it is backstroking badly.”
“The Biden Administration made two major miscalculations. First, believing that the Taliban could guarantee an orderly exit by the United States. Two, that the Afghan government could hold onto power until the evacuation plan could be executed. Instead, the Taliban said, ‘No deal you China chumps and American fools, we are taking over immediately and taking possession of everything including air fields, weapons and hostages until you folks are gone like the wind.’ The Taliban shortened the runway by which America was to take off from, rendering it impossible for our evacuation to be orderly.”
The result, as we now know, was a failure of catastrophic proportions. (Excuse us if we do not use “non-success”—an Orwellian newspeak so fashionable among Biden administration spokespersons in the wake of a rash of policy failures.)
“There was no orderly exit,” continued our source, “because it was all based on a fallacy along with massive political and policy miscalculations.”
Which brings us to the real Big Lie: The U.S. Government announcing that they evacuated 127,000 persons.
They did not.
This was a big fat bold-faced lie, according to two authoritative military sources directly involved with evacuation efforts.
The proof is not in the pudding but in the logistics, which is key to unraveling this whopper.
Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul has no integrated (electronic and automatic radar) and, by extension, limited airlift windows.
“The logistics alone don’t support it,” a colonel and with 30 years in the U.S. military and senior member of Afghan aviation control, our second source, told The Investigator. “Kabul was strictly visual. Which means you can’t stack aircraft.”
According to this evacuations logistics expert who has been under contract to DoD, the separation distance (vertical and horizontal) between aircraft was 22-26 miles (as opposed to the usual radar standard of 2 miles) due to the manual 1950s system on which Kabul air traffic controllers were specially trained, approach radar notwithstanding. Furthermore, C-17 transport planes generally carry 200 civilian passengers but will extend capacity to 350 for military personnel, max. “Add to that,” said the colonel, “space was limited to park ‘em and load ‘em.”
And this: Certain people on the ground validated that a number of departing aircraft were not fully loaded, sometimes only half full.
Another logistics issue: “No f------- way that number of people came through the gates to the airport,” said the colonel. “It is an impossibility given the amount of time the gates were physically closed and the number of people that were stopped at the outer perimeter and could not get through.”
Back to the Senior Intelligence Analyst, who told us, “Just do the math. Say you can cram 400 passengers per flight. Do you have any idea how many sorties it would take to move 127,000 people? One must also deduct the time when nothing was departing, such as when the airport gates were completely closed owing to threats, bombings, etc. On top of that, we did not even have a database that consisted of 127,000 people!”
So how many people were actually evacuated?
“Roughly, around 30,000, probably fewer, more like 27,000.”
The analyst said that the White House, State Department and Department of Defense knowingly and deceptively misled the American people into believing their false narrative.
And it also means that the so-called “Greatest Airlift Since Berlin” is nothing more than a bunch of bunkum.
“But that’s not all,” continued the Analyst. “The other lie is that just a few Americans were left behind. The administration’s entire premise is based on a fallacy that we truly know how many Americans remain in the country. We don’t. The government’s number is based upon a ‘known’ number of citizens and green card holders who have sought assistance and not how many actually remain in the country and cannot send a distress signal because if they phone or e-mail the Taliban will find them.”
And what does our mass media, for the most part, report on this?
The mainstream media glosses over a catastrophic intelligence and evacuation failure in which 13 U.S. Marines were killed, over 22 severely injured and 190 Afghans slaughtered in a suicide bomb attack that (much less reported) also included snipers firing rifles from building tops, according to the colonel.
And if that’s not bad enough, our supposedly intelligence-supported military retaliated by murdering not a would-be “ISIS-K” suicide bomber, as President Biden so triumphantly announced, but an innocent aid worker and his family members, including a number of children. Bottom line, 10 dead, 7 of them kids.
“The Taliban accomplished two evil deeds,” said the analyst. “First, they perpetuated the slow walk of humiliation of America by showing we are incompetent idiots in our targeting practices. Second, they blew up our error by leaking the event to the media.”
Huh? The Taliban did this?
We were told by our government that the suicide bomber was “ISIS-K.”
But, no. According to this analyst working the situation 24/7, the atrocity was more likely a Taliban false-flag operation. (And, as we now know, misinformation to boot.)
“The foolishness of giving away our Bagram airbase and having to use Kabul airport created th perfect ‘kill box’ through which Americans and others had to pass,” said the Senior Intelligence Analyst. “Because, while the airport interior was controlled by the 82nd Airborne and marines, the exterior beyond the gate was controlled by the Taliban.”
The colonel had his own take on Bagram: “Giving up our air base there was the greatest strategic miscalculation of all time. It was our eyes and ears in the whole region, Iran on one side, the Stans and Russia on another, Pakistan and India… it never should have been relinquished. Because now there is no way to observe anything going on in that part of Asia.”
“The other idiotic mistake,” said the analyst, “was providing the Taliban with a ‘list of all manifested persons seeking passage from the checkpoints to the gates.’ We later learned that we had painted a target on the back of everyone named on the list seeking to reach us.”
The Taliban refused to allow airport access to such persons, falsely claiming their papers were not in order. Then, with their names duly noted, these folks were later rounded up by the Taliban for execution, the analyst said.
Back to the colonel. The fundamental problem, he said, was putting the Department of State in charge of the evacuation, which, he claimed “is a concept that runs alien to accepted practices, resulting in the worst screw-up I have ever seen in my life. The Defense Department has evacuation procedures and protocols that must be certified every two years. The State Department does not. All my military buddies are shaking their heads, asking, ‘Where was the Joint Chief’s head at, ceding control to State? Foreign Service officers can’t even balance their own checkbooks.’ They kept closing the airport gates, causing great stress and emotional trauma. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with the bureaucracy of the State Department.” At this juncture, the voice of this hardened colonel broke with emotion. “I almost cried when people with blue passports got through the Taliban but could then not get through our gates. That’s when we began disobeying orders by saving people.”
The Senior Intelligence Analyst concurred. “When the Department of State took over, they threw the evacuation playbook out the window and wanted to start from scratch, delaying the rollout plan by several weeks and, as a consequence, leaving folks to die a certain death.”
The Investigator wrote to the State Department’s Office of Press Operations to question their official evacuation number of 127,000, pointing out that two inside sources placed the figure at no more than 30,000.
We received this response from press officer Nicole Thompson: “We refer you to Secretary Blinken's SFRC [Senate Foreign Relations Committee] and HFAC [House Foreign Relations Committee] testimony earlier this month, where he spoke extensively to our efforts in Afghanistan, including responding to several questions regarding numbers of individuals removed and remaining in Afghanistan.”
In his sworn testimony before Congress, Secretary Blinken stated, under oath, “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated to safety.”
We also asked if the Department of State has a longstanding, tested protocol for evacuations from foreign countries and why, if not, State coopted the Afghanistan evacuation away from the Defense Department.
Ms. Thompson did not address this aspect of our query.
Robert Eringer is a longtime Montecito author with vast experience in investigative journalism. He welcomes questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.