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Report Clears Afghanistan Training Commander

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 – The U.S. Army general who leads the coalition training effort for Afghanistan’s security forces has been cleared of allegations that he used psychological operations personnel to try to influence visiting dignitaries.

A Rolling Stone magazine article in February quoted an Army lieutenant colonel saying that Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV had tried to use psychological operations capabilities to influence visiting senators and members of Congress.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who then commanded U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, initiated an investigation into the allegations and appointed Army Lt. Gen. William Webster to lead it. The investigation report exonerated Caldwell, who has served as the commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan since October 2009.

The Army probe approved by Petraeus in May found the allegations raised by the article were not substantiated, and the Defense Department inspector general agreed with the findings.

“The DOD Inspector General reviewed the 15-6 investigation initiated by U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and concurred with the findings that the allegation against Lieutenant General Caldwell was not substantiated,” said Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The officer who made the statements to Rolling Stone also alleged that he was a whistleblower and that Caldwell retaliated against him for it. “With regard to the whistleblower reprisal allegation, the DOD IG also concurred that Lieutenant General Caldwell was not implicated as a responsible management official,” Robbins said.

The investigation said the officers who made the allegations prepared information packages on the congressional delegations that visited, and that this is neither illegal nor improper.

 

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Petraeus Orders Probe of Rolling Stone Allegations


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

7/29/2011 1:49:45 AM
As the attorney for the military whistleblowers whose allegations led to the investigation I can state that these findings are consistent with the evidence we provided to the 15-6 investigator. The actions of my clients stopped anything illegal from happening after consulting with JAG officers to verify that the orders they had received were unlawful. This led to the orders being lawfully reissued. The real issue in this case concerned the retaliation my clients suffered as a result of properly - and correctly - challenging the unlawfulness of the initial orders. That focus allegedly remains the subject of investigation by the DoD OIG although the lack of response from that office has been very disappointing. Not surprisingly but the results of the 15-6 investigation was leaked without any notice to us of the conclusions. In fact, we filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on July 14, 2011, to compel release of the entire 15-6 Report of Investigation.
- Mark S. Zaid, Washington, D.C.

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