Chapter 1: Truth and Consequences of the ’05 Cal Guard Spy Scandal

  • McCarthy Comparisons. Was the U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's (Left) “Red Scare” of the 1950s comparable to California State Senator Joe  Dunn's (Right) "Spy Scare" in 2005? A U.S. Army lawyer stopped McCarthy's fear-mongering in its tracks with the question, "Have you no  decency Sir?" Dunn dismissed Army Investigator Reports concluding the California National Guard neither spied on U.S. citizens nor infiltrated Code Red. Although Dunn's senate investigation convicted innocent Guardsmen of spying in the  court  of public  opinion, Karma may have intervened to impose justice in Dunn's case when the  California  State Bar fired him as its executive director on allegations of ethic violations and filing fraudulent travel expenses. (FLICKR Photos)

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 

Anti-Israel activists who shout down Jewish students with chants of “Allahhu Akbar” at the UC Davis Campus in January 2015. (FLICKR Photo)
Anti-Israel activists who shout down Jewish students with chants of “Allahhu Akbar” at the UC Davis Campus in January 2015. (FLICKR Photo)scandal

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

Pioneer. Maj. Gen. Paul D. Monroe, the 42nd California National Guard adjutant general, launched a program to reorganize the Cal Guard headquarters into a Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ)--a command system structured for rapid and efficient to federal contingency and regional catastrophic civil emergencies missions--nearly five years before National Guard Bureau (NGB) and Department of Defense (DoD) directed Reserve Components Joint Transformation.  The 2005 Spy Scandal generated resistance that slowed the flow of  his pioneering initiatives to a steady stream, but produced enough structure for future Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. William Wade, to direct the Cal Guard's rapid response in support of Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: 2001 Spring Issue of Grizzly Magazine).
Maj. Gen. Paul D. Monroe pioneered the Cal Guard’s Joint Transformation in 1999, five years before the 2005 NDAA made it official. (Photo: 2001 Spring Issue of Grizzly Magazine).

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?

Commanding Presence. Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres, California National Guard adjutant general in 2004, was a driving force behind post-911 Cal Guard restructuring, apparently alienating some Headquarters officers, but who appeared to me has being connected to the troops. (SSG Robert Scott, Grizzly Magazine 2004.)
Commanding Presence. Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres, California National Guard adjutant general in 2004, was a driving force behind post-911 Cal Guard restructuring, apparently alienating some Headquarters officers, but who appeared to me has being connected to the troops. (SSG Robert Scott, Grizzly Magazine 2004.)

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.


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