In May 2005, scandal erupted alleging the California National Guard secretly organized a “Domestic Watch” unit that was monitoring U.S. Citizens. The controversy centered on an anti-war activist group called Code Pink. Allegations emerged of then Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres overstepping his authority to create an independent intelligence unit and delegating “Broad authority” to monitor and infiltrate the “Raging Grannies.”
It would have been laughable if not for the court of public opinion. Although a United States Army Inspector General probe exonerated the Guard of neither monitoring nor infiltrating Code Pink, political grandstanding and public fanfare prevailed, resulting in several articles and a book falsely concluding Cal Guard officers were part of an “errant spy” unit.
By acquiescing into the hysteria, state leaders not only unfairly tarnished the reputations of several officers loyal and dedicated to their state and country, but arguably altered the Cal Guard’s readiness, impaired the state’s homeland security, and unwittingly undermined protection of Golden State citizens’ civil liberates that activists originally claimed the Guard subverted in 2005.
In the next eight posts, chapters, I recount:
- Chapter 1: The Seeds of Resistance; Cal Guard whistle blowers becomes the Dynasty;
- Chapter 2: The Reincarnation of Sen. Joe McCarthy; The hysteria and hype behind the scandal;
- Chapter 3: The Spy Who Loved Me; The Dynasty organizes and form a powerful internal society;
- Chapter 4: The End Run and Power Sweep; The Dynasty infiltrates civilian leadership;
- Chapter 5: Reopening the Shinbone Star Pipeline; the Dynasty manufactures more scandal;
- Chapter 6: Coup d’état; the Dynasty changes the civilian leadership culture;
- Chapter 7: Code Red; the Dynasty launches perhaps the most massive retaliation in Cal Guard history; and
- Chapter 8: The Power of Lucifer; the impact of Cal Guard scandal on California’s Homeland Security and the National Defense
What Could Have Been, but for Prejudice & Pride
A terrorist cancer, once in remission, perhaps has a cell metastasizing within the safe havens of the University of California Davis Campus, courtesy of a 2005 California National Guard (CNG) Spy Scandal.
A scandal that arguably aborted a miniscule military information intelligence node capable of assisting campus police in analyzing whether a cell exists, and if it had anything to do with anti-Israel activists shouting down Jewish students with chants of “Allah Hu Akbar” on Jan. 29, 2015. An intelligence node that would have became a junction on an international intelligence community information-sharing highway.
A junction with a military intelligence ‘Quik Stop,’ so to speak, where UC Davis could reroute their observations of an alleged proclamation of a “Hamas & Sharia law take over of UC Davis onto an interchange where they could share their observations with an international intelligence community, over secure telephone units (STUs), and receive ‘declassified’ information to validate whether it’s a credible threat. A Quik Stop where they could acquire military analytical skills needed for those forks in the intelligence highway where authorities must decide whether spray-painted swastikas on the Jewish AEPi fraternity are random acts of vandalism, or fits a trend of anti-sematic assaults requiring the support of joint counter-terrorism task forces to prevent and disrupt terrorist activity in Northern California.
An intelligence node that anti-military activists arguably prejudiced, and prideful anonymous whistle blowers propelled through their common fear of the “Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence Fusion” center.
Natural Forces of Inertia and Resistance
The seeds of the Whistle blowers resistance were arguably planted by California Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Paul D. Monroe, who purportedly saw the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, reorganizing the Department of Defense (DOD), as a harbinger of for similar restructuring in the Reserve Components. Anticipating this transition, Monroe assembled a highly specialized “joint transition” team to facilitate this reorganization within the Cal Guard.
The team recommended restructuring Guard Headquarters into a Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) for rapid and efficient response to federal contingency and regional catastrophic missions . A Joint command staff and joint staff directors were carved from the State Active Duty (SAD) payroll system. Monroe hired retired Army Colonels–including Col Jeff Davis who whistleblowers blaspheme for spying–with active duty joint experience to head some of these joint staff directorates.
Configuring a joint branch for a National Guard Headquarters to mirror an Active Duty Joint Branch using state dollars was an anathema to the SAD culture. Congress didn’t mandate Joint Systems until enactment of the 2005 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and converting SAD Army and Air Force centric jobs was akin to breaking up an Empire–a Dynasty that those with a place in it felt entitled to advancement and heir to the Adjutant General throne.
The majority of the spy scandal’s whistle blowers, I believe, were citizens of that Dynasty. An empire in which they saw fewer promotional opportunities with a shrinking Army and Air Divisions, and unprepared to compete with officers outside the state headquarters and other National Guards for positions in the emerging Joint Division under Monroe’s reorganization. The Dynasty was comfortable with the SAD system as it existed, and any change to this structure was threatening. Those with seats in the Dynasty hierarchy were arguably the core of resistance foretold in the 2004 National Defense Strategy (NDS): “Natural forces of inertia and resistance to change will constrain military transformation.”
Eres’ Parable: Who Moved the Cheese?
This resistance reared its ugly head when Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres ordered the fusion center –a consolidated intelligence and Operations directorate–break off part of its directorate into an intelligence node. The general hired Col Robert O’Neill, a veteran military intelligence expert, to oversee, and to synchronize, the node with post 9-11 civilian security and response systems.
Eres retired before O’Neill started, and in an ironic twist of fate, the Dynasty and O’Neill surreally enacted a book on Eres’ reading list for his command staff: Spencer Johnson’s parable: Who Moved My Cheese? Like the mice Sniff and Scurry in Johnson’s book, O’Neill was on a mission to find the proverbial cheese of two-person intelligence node somewhere in a maze of 27-person “Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence Fusion” — a consolidated operations and intelligence staff.
O’Neill was to discover that node, ramp it up, and nest into civilian hubs such as California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) and the Western States Intelligence Network (WSIN) within the scope of the of Department of Defense Directives (DODD) regulating: Intelligence Activities; Oversight; Information Security Program/ Protection of Classified Information; and Presidential Executive Orders governing United States Intelligence Activities.
The Dynasty disputably played the roles “Hem and Haw” spectacularly. Like the mice in Spencer’s allegory, they denied the proverbial cheese existed, debatably invented a story misrepresenting the facts of Eres’ intent, details of O’Neill’s employment, and allegedly floated this story through contacts they nurtured in the Sacramento Capitol news bureaus that the Sacramento Bee newspaper printed the first day of O’Neill’s assignment.
It’s nonsensical to believe O’Neill–a Vietnam veteran with more than 30 years military and civilian intelligence experience–would be unaware the Sacramento Bee was writing a story in which he was controversial figure. Yet, like a pre-emptive attack on him, the story was printed the morning he started, which he learned about it about five minutes after he sat down to his desk. O’Neill, in essence was on loan from another state agency, and would spend the next six months of that furlough defending himself against allegations in which he was uninvolved, and explaining military intelligence doctrine to intractable newspaper.
In a flip of Johnson’s parable, Hem and Haw–a.k.a. the Dynasty–allegedly moved the cheese by going outside the maze, trapping O’Neil in it, and distracting him from finding his proverbial intelligence node. Operating from outside the maze, Hem and Haw would debatably ignite public fears of government spying and invasion of civil liberties disputably reminiscent of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “Red Scare” in the 1950s.
In Chapter 2, I begin with “The Reincarnation of Sen. Joe McCarthy,” and discuss in detail both the public drama and behind the scenes, and the Dynasty’s alleged tactics inside the California National Guard.