From Deadman's Trail

OSI Confidential Informant Situation at USAFA

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please keep this information within our class. I do not want this document to be a source document for others to misinterpret what we are discussing. Since some of this is written from memory, an error or two is possible. For example, in my comments at the end of this letter, I may attribute a comment to Lt. Gen. Johnson that was made by someone else within the room. The points below are accurate to the best of my knowledge and not opinions unless I clearly state that an item is my opinion.

I attended at the AOG Board of Directors meeting Friday, December 6, since the Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, was scheduled to speak. She covered many interesting items that included the direction the Academy is going, recent accomplishments, and a few challenges. The minutes of the A0G Board meeting will be published on the website, so I will not discuss everything she said.

What I want to do is to update you with the latest information about the recent use of a confidential informant (CI) within the cadet wing. I'm sure by now you have read an article or seen emails or posts on Facebook that talks about a cadet who spoke with the Colorado Springs Gazette about his allegedly improper dismissal from the Air Force Academy.

Here is a brief outline of what is in the rather length document . . .
1. The start of the publicity
2. The Players
     a. Eric Thomas
     b. Skip Morgan
     c. John C. Buckley III, MA, JD
     d. Vic Andrews
     e. Lt Gen Mike Gould
     f. Lt Gen Michelle Johnson
     g. Roger Carlton, Chairman of the Board, AOG
3. A note about Skip Morgan
4. Skip Morgan's message to graduates
5. Official Academy Response to Gazette article
6. Additional remarks by John C. Buckley III, MA, JD
7. Lt Gen Michelle Johnson's message to the graduate community
8. Remark's by Roger Carlton, Chairman of the Board, AOG
9. My remark's after attending the AOG Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting and hearing Lt Gen Michelle Johnson's remarks to the BOD.

The start of the adverse publicity

Use your favorite search engine and enter "Honor, Deception amid Air Force's Cadet Spy System" and pick a couple of articles to read. I believe the Colorado Springs Gazette was first, but the Denver Post has an article also.

As I interpret it, it is Eric Thomas' contention that he, then Cadet Thomas, accumulated excessive demerits as a result of bad conduct while in support of being a confidential informant (CI) for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). It is his allegation that these excessive demerits and record of conduct while acting as an OSI CI resulted in his improper dismissal from the Academy. Further, the OSI failed to support him in time of need.

The Players

1. Eric Thomas - an ex-cadet and formerly a member of the Class of 2013. Eric is an African American and a former USAFA football player. He came to the attention of the AFOSI after attending a party in a hotel near Divide, Colorado after it was visited by civilian police for cause. More information about this below.
2. Skip Morgan - a retired Air Force colonel and a member of the Class of 1972. He is representing Eric Thomas.
3. John C. Buckley III, MA, JD - a member of USAFA Class of 1977 and a local lawyer. I included his remarks as an introduction to "who is" Skip Morgan.
4. Vic Andrews - AOG Board Vice Chairman - Vic Andrews served 30 years in the USAF, retiring as a Colonel in 1996. The discussion of who is Skip Morgan is from an email addressed to Vic.
5. Lt Gen Mike Gould - member of USAFA Class of 1976. Lt Gen Gould was the Superintendent during the time of the activities under discussion
6. Lt Gen Michelle Johnson - current USAF Academy Superintendent dealing with the current situation
7. Roger Carlton, Chairman of the Board, AOG - member of the Class of 1967; BG (Ret)

A note about Skip Morgan

Who is Skip Morgan? As you read Skip Morgan's comments later, you will find out more of his background, but I wanted to include as a way of introduction, comments from John Buckley, Class of '77, contained in an email to Vic Andrews.

"...I know Skip Morgan (Col. USAF Ret., USAFA '72). I hold him in the highest regard, as I do you and many of the folks on this e-mail... He is not flamboyant. He had a real life before becoming a lawyer (intel in RVN). He was JAG to CENTCOM. He worked at Legislative Liaison. He was acting head of the Department of Law before Paul Pirog became the PP. His opinion was trusted enough by the USAF to be part of the religious review panel a few years ago that coolly knocked out Mikey Weinstein's disingenuous arguments about religious freedom at USAFA. Skip is not a light-your-hair-on-fire knee-jerk kind of guy. He has great character and integrity…"

A comment from me at this point, Skip Morgan also attended a portion of the AOG Board of Directors meeting on Friday. He handled himself very professionally and brought up some interesting comments for the superintendent to consider.

Skip Morgan's message to graduates
(I am including other documents in my document as to have all/most of this stuff in one place)

"Fellow graduates and distinguished colleagues,

Looking at this address list leaves me in awe and does me honor. If I could select a group of people whom I respect more I don't think I could do better. I would like to add my thanks to John in speaking up on this matter. I have been largely silent to date other than what Eric has released, and I want to do nothing that could possibly prejudice him. But I do want to set the record straight.

People who know me know that my love for the Air Force and for USAFA is genuine and enduring. I've no wish to trash either. I am a graduate myself (1972), as is my second oldest son, (2005) who is on active duty at this writing. By the same token, I have an obligation to my client and to the truth. What follows is my best recollection of events prompted by a rather large stack of documents. If there are failings or inaccuracies, they are mine and mine alone. My memory is not merely imperfect, but probably doesn't even make the curve.

For the last several years our Academy has faced a near herculean task of trying to do something about sexual assault, illegal drug use (especially Spice), and underage drinking. In doing that, they must face the reality that abuses such as this can and often do occur inside closed, tight-knit, sub-communities within the Academy-intercollegiate teams (recall the Wrestling team honor scandal in 1972), and yes, ethnic communities, and sometimes both.

They also have to take on what may well be an appreciable number of cadets to whom loyalty to class and classmate trumps all. Shortly before I retired in 2002 I overheard a first class cadet who had sat on an Honor Board that had convicted a fellow firstie ream out her classmates, with words like, "how can you convict a classmate, ever!" (The evidence of cheating in this case was overwhelming. It was not that particular cadet's first time before an honor board, either.) She was furious and didn't care who knew it. What I found so disheartening was not merely what the firstie said, but that she was apparently so certain that hers was the prevailing ethic within her class that she felt at liberty to express it openly.

The toleration clause has always been a matter of some controversy, (recall that Annapolis does not have it) and this is nothing new. I don't know how many of us ever confronted the wrenching situation where you had to choose between tolerating and thus yourself becoming an honor violator, or turning in a classmate or a teammate. I am thankful always that while a cadet I never had to make that awful choice. But the reality is that the Honor Code states that a cadet is required to "snitch" on a fellow cadet who, after confrontation, is still suspected of having committed an honor violation. So having cadets tell on other cadets is also nothing new, at least when it comes to honor. In fact, it remains a requirement of our Code. Nobody doubts that it runs squarely athwart the predominant culture of young people today. Recall the West Point cadets from Texas who had committed murder and actually confided that to their classmates, so certain were they that it would not get out.

As a general rule under the UCMJ there is not a collateral requirement to tell on a classmate, even if you suspect him of having committed a UCMJ offense. This has particular relevance to things like underage drinking, where USAFA routinely will punish the ranking cadets present where underage drinking took place, even if they did not directly contribute to it, simply for not intervening and allowing it to occur. Zero tolerance sounds so appealing, but has built into it a paradox. Because USAFA makes it clear that certain things are presumptively cause for disenrollment, tremendous pressure not to snitch builds into the algorithm, because to do so means that a classmate is nearly certain to be disenrolled. Thus, systematically, the zero tolerance policy can have the opposite of the intended effect because a code of silence virtually descends. Since there is a "death penalty" for any sort of involvement, or even knowing about it, cadets figure they have little or nothing to lose by keeping quiet, since if they're caught either way they're out. I know we'd all like to believe that cadets are above human nature and moral cost-benefit-analysis, but the reality is we are all fallen.

Finally, there is the reality that getting an outsider into a tightly-knit USAFA sub-culture, association or IC team borders on impossible. If it is rumored that members of the football team were doing Spice, or that a given squadron has a sexual predator in it, trying to investigate it without having somebody with access borders on Sisyphean. Again, we must contend with the law of unintended consequences. BCT has changed dramatically from when we were there and much of it focuses on building class unity. Entire squadrons or flights can be punished for the derelictions of one. This can have the unintended effect of teaching basics and doolies that class loyalty comes first, and one fails all fail. Neither contributes to the idea of individual responsibility or accountability.

With respect to sexual assault, USAFA has a policy where the victim could decide if she wanted to pursue the UCMJ route or not. Again, a female underclass cadet who might have been victimized by another cadet who happens to be a member of, say, an intercollegiate team, might be seriously intimidated by the prospect of being the one to wreck the future of a popular and implicitly powerful cadet athlete and possibly even the team itself. Once again, by trying to encourage victims to come forward, an unavoidable paradox was built into the system.

Eric Thomas is an African-American who was a football recruit. He was "inside" a lot of the communities that OSI agents could not expect to penetrate so long as the code of silence within those communities stood fast. But he had witnessed a sexual assault, was friends with the victim, who chose not to go along the UCMJ path because she was scared not merely of the perpetrator, but his friends. He viewed that as a terrible injustice. He was also present at a major cadet Spice party. When he was interviewed, he ultimately agreed to become a confidential informant for the OSI, focusing on sexual assault. Ultimately, he became instrumental in the general court-martial and conviction of two different cadets for various sexual assaults. Both had multiple cadet victims. One had five cadet victims. The OSI lauded him as one of their "most valuable" confidential informants, responsible for over 25 proactive AFOSI cases. Yet all of this was underground. Eric's AOC knew nothing of his activities for OSI; in fact at the time only the commandant, Brig Gen Clark, and a deputy knew about it.

Eric would tell you straight up he was far from a model cadet. There were things he did (chiefly breaking restrictions) that had nothing to do with the OSI. But it is equally true that some of his OTF's that went towards his demerits and the MRC decision were related to times he was working for OSI. So, when his AOC recommended him for disenrollment, something entirely defensible given he knew nothing about Eric's role, Eric's handling agent arranged with the commandant to take the case to an investigating officer so that OSI could be more forthcoming to the investigating officer about tradecraft and what Eric had done for them. They knew that in the broader venue of a MRC, they could not discuss tradecraft.

Then misfortune stepped in. General Clark pcs'd and a new commandant took over. At about the same time the leadership at the OSI also changed. The disenrollment procedure was changed back to a MRC. Just fifteen minutes before the OSI handler was going to go before the MRC and tell them what Eric had done, he was ordered by the new OSI squadron commander not to go. Eric was understandably frantic; his handler, his wingman, had abandoned him. So on his own he tried to tell the MRC what he had done, but they were dubious. I do not think it violates any confidence to say that I too was skeptical of all Eric told me, but I have since received confirmation to such an extent that I know the above to be true.

After the MRC disenrollment recommendation Eric tried again and again to contact his OSI handlers through text, cell phones, and everything else, but received no response. Finally, he got hold of his handling officer in November of 2012. During all of this time his disenrollment package was being processed. I do not know the reason for the delay.
It was not until November of last year that his handler finally contacted Eric, and told him that he would meet with him.
Instead, when Eric showed up he was met by the OSI commander and another agent who figuratively worked him over for an hour or two, telling him he was a disgrace, had violated his non-disclosure oath and was unfit to be an officer, or words to that effect. At this point I attempted to call the OSI commander, but did not receive a return call the first time. The second time, I left a message and he did subsequently return the call, but for whatever reason we were never able to speak one-on-one.
It was at about this point that Eric's disenrollment package left the commandant's shop and went to the superintendent, Lt Gen Gould. I was in contact with JA, and told them of my concerns that Eric's role with OSI had not been fully and completely understood by his chain of command. Meantime, we sent in the first Privacy/FOIA request to OSI. It was returned "no records." I know this to be categorically false.

I sent a letter to Lt Gen Gould, a portion of which the Gazette published. It was provided at the behest of my client. The thrust of my letter was that I thought the AFOSI had treated Eric badly, yes, even "despicably." They had deceived him and left him in the lurch at the MRC. Very important to understand is that I did not know and do not know to this day what the OSI had told the superintendent or the commandant, if anything, about Eric. He had no way of knowing that either. But the disenrollment recommendation flowed inevitably from the fact that the MRC plainly did not believe Eric's claims. I was told through JA that it would be helpful to General Gould's consideration if we could provide some corroboration to show he was on an OSI op at the time of any of his OTFs. Recalling that OSI had declined to provide any records, in fact had claimed that there were no records, the only thing we had was a few texts that show that on at least one or two of his OTFs he was actively working for OSI.

Ultimately, General Gould decided on the disenrollment, but also did not recommend he be made to pay the cost of his education-something that I know from many other cases can approach $190,000 for a second-semester firstie. I had earlier spoken to General Gould on another case about the devastating effect of that payback, which is brutal. The alternative, enlisted service, was formerly the presumptive outcome, but manpower and budget crunches along with a change in the law have reversed the default to be reimbursement. I gave Eric to appreciate that the decision to forgive repayment was a major concession, and I believe it was probably made with Eric's OSI work in mind. He also received a fully honorable discharge.
In the meantime, a second FOIA request to AFOSI resulted in a "no records" reply. It was not until Eric got his congressman involved that OSI records came forward. In deciding who is being honest and who is not in all of this, I think it's important to recognize that twice the OSI denied that they had any records on Eric. The result was that I cannot know for sure if USAFA leadership had the benefit of records that are now available at the time they were making their decision. If they did have them, then I'm hopeful that they were not aware that OSI was claiming that none existed.

Because I was once SJA for OSI, I know a little bit about the process and procedures of recruiting, deploying, and handling confidential informants. From what I know, this was not followed. AFOSI cannot promise to get a confidential informant "off" or promise immunity, and Eric does not claim that they did. What it is obligated to do is to come forward and state truthfully what a confidential informant has done in the appropriate forum. Leaving Eric to dangle in the wind at his MRC then berating him for disclosing his activities does not comport with my recollection of OSI confidential informant protocols. Lying to a confidential informant and telling him that there is no record of his assistance is, if anything, more clear cut.

Apropos to the culture. It took raw guts to do what Eric did. He was targeted against what at least one of the victims thought to be a group of cadets who were bulletproof. He bucked the powerful current of umerta (added by GWD - probably means omertà) within his generation and his culture, at genuine physical risk. Once he was outed, he became a pariah in every sense of the word. He may never be able to shake that off. Physical courage at USAFA is still plentiful, but what we need is the moral courage that Eric had and has. I don't know that I would have had the strength of character and the resolution to do what he did. As I told my classmates, "if we had more like him, we wouldn't need so many of them."

So this long jeremiad ends as it began. This is not about trashing USAFA, or the OSI corporately, or even the concept of using cadets as confidential informants. This is about honoring your commitments and telling the truth. From everything I know Eric's handling agents behaved with integrity-they may have erred in not preventing him from working on ops while he was on restriction, which can be chalked up to inexperience. But I can think of no excuse for telling a cadet you're going to bat for him at a MRC, then not showing up, refusing to answer his repeated requests for meetings afterwards, then tricking him into a "special inspection" (some of us know well what that is) with OSI command when he thought he was finally meeting with his handling agent, and finally twice lying about his OSI records. Despite all else, Eric emerged with his honor intact.

I hope this to be the opportunity for USAFA and the Air Force at large to take a serious look at things like Zero Tolerance, the building of class loyalty at the expense of individual responsibility, and the a priori decision that even knowing about a non-honor offense and not reporting it is as serious as the offense itself. All of them have the effect of reinforcing the kind of groupthink that we cannot afford in our Air Force or in our Academy. Whether or not to continue using cadets as CI needs to be looked at, of course. But it should be done with the understanding that sexual assault cases in particular will prove difficult to investigate, still more difficult to result in conviction. That will remain the case unless and until we can reshape the culture of these young men and women to accept individual responsibility and acknowledge a higher morality than protecting your classmates.

My understanding is that the finalization of Eric's case awaits disposition in the Secretary's Review Boards Agency, or its modern equivalent. The point at this stage is that Eric was deprived of due process when the OSI failed to support him at the MRC, and when they failed to provide discoverable records in time for him to use them in his disenrollment package. We cannot know if either or both would have been persuasive, but that's why a due process violation is so serious. If Eric fails to persuade the Secretary, he has recourse to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records-a process that in my experience can take a year or more. Eric is not out to hurt USAFA or the Air Force, both of which he still loves. On the other hand, if it is found that people within the OSI or elsewhere were complicit in some of the deceptions here, then accountability should be demanded. The institution does not suffer, but is strengthened when it admits error and holds those responsible accountable. But here as in politics, a cover up can be more damaging by far. John said it best, USAFA is a national treasure. The one thing I know about this address list is that all of us believe that and will do what is in our power to protect and preserve it.

Very respectfully,
Skip Morgan"

Official Academy Response to Gazette article
Air Force's Reply to the Gazette article - NOT a reply to Skip Morgan!

An article in The Gazette on Sunday, 1 December, titled 'Honor and Deception - A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward' talked about an Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Confidential Informant Program. The program uses people who confidentially provide vital information about criminal activities that would not otherwise be available. AFOSI uses that information to initiate or resolve criminal investigations. This is an Air Force-wide program and is not something unique at the Air Force's Academy.
The article further alleges that the Academy, via the AFOSI, uses cadets as informants and then "disavows them afterward."

The Gazette focused on an ex-cadet, Eric Thomas.

The article does not portray an accurate or complete view of Eric Thomas' activities while at the Air Force's Academy.
Mr. Thomas began his Academy career in 2009 as a member of the Class of 2013. The Gazette article asserts that Mr. Thomas was disenrolled from the Academy because of the work he did for OSI - that USAFA merely used him and then disavowed him.

Eric Thomas was disenrolled from the Air Force Academy on 2 April 2013 for failing aptitude and conduct probation, excessive demerits, and a pattern of military misconduct. In fact, Mr. Thomas' pattern of misconduct began in his freshman year and he accumulated a significant number of demerits, confinements, and restriction to base prior to December 2011. In fact, the demerits Mr Thomas accumulated for misconduct prior to his agreement to be a Confidential Informant exceeded the 200 demerit "threshold" noted by the Gazette article. In short, Mr. Thomas did not display the aptitude for service in the United States Air Force.

Eric Thomas met a Military Review Committee in August 2012. This committee is a panel of five officers in the grade of Lt Col or higher. That panel considers the cadet's military record and votes on a recommendation to the Commandant of Cadets. In Mr. Thomas' case, the committee recommended disenrollment based on his history of disregarding Air Force Academy rules. Although AFOSI personnel did not appear before the Military Review Committee, they did meet personally with the Commandant and Vice Commandant to discuss Mr. Thomas' cooperation with AFOSI investigations.

Thomas began work with the AFOSI in December of 2011 and not in 2010 as stated in The Gazette article. Furthermore, The Gazette article creates the impression that AFOSI asked Mr. Thomas "to infiltrate academy cliques" when in fact Mr. Thomas was already a part of these social circles in the months prior to any AFOSI investigation.

At the time Mr. Thomas was approved by AFOSI to assist as a confidential informant in December 2011, he was told that he was not allowed to violate the law, Air Force or DOD policies, or Academy rules. Mr. Thomas acknowledged these instructions in writing. Contrary to what The Gazette article states ("he was regularly directed by agents to break academy rules"), at no time did AFOSI agents ask then-Cadet Thomas to violate this agreement. Nevertheless, Thomas continued to break Academy rules while on probation and while working with the OSI.

In accordance with the Academy's processes, both the former Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets considered then-Cadet Thomas' entire Academy record-military conduct, academic performance, and physical fitness. Although his cooperation with AFOSI was a factor, since much of the misconduct that formed the basis for his disenrollment occurred prior to incurring an active duty commitment at the start of his 2-degree (junior) year, the Air Force Academy recommended that recoupment be waived. In September 2013, the office of the Secretary of the Air Force waived any active duty service commitment as well as reimbursement of the cost of education.

I included the remarks below because they represent some of the remarks I have heard from others. Between the several documents included in this collection, you should have an appreciation for the many opinions and a number of unanswered questions. Some may eventually be answered but not all!

Additional remarks by John C. Buckley III, MA, JD - from an email to Vic Andrews

Dear Vic:

I understand that this is USAFA's argument. It makes sense, but the obvious question is: is this simply a convenient press release to justify the result now that this case has seen the light of day?

The Academy's official statement does not address what the real issue is. The real issue: Is USAFA, or the OSI at USAFA, asking some cadets to do things that are inherently against the principles of honor and integrity that were ingrained in us when we were at USAFA? A simple "not true" from OSI is, unfortunately, not good enough for me. Perhaps I'm naive, but I really believe in those concepts, as do every one of the names I recognize in this e-mail.

Here's my concern, in a nutshell...I know Skip Morgan (Col. USAF Ret., USAFA '72). I hold him in the highest regard, as I do you and many of the folks on this e-mail. Skip's words...were...CHILLING. He is not flamboyant. He had a real life before becoming a lawyer (intel in RVN). He was JAG to CENTCOM. He worked at Legislative Liaison. He was acting head of the Department of Law before Paul Pirog became the PP. His opinion was trusted enough by the USAF to be part of the religious review panel a few years ago that coolly knocked out Mikey Weinstein's disingenuous arguments about religious freedom at USAFA. Skip is not a light-your-hair-on-fire knee-jerk kind of guy. He has great character and integrity. I have grave concerns about his statements in the context of what USAF is or is not doing in these investigations.

We (grads particularly) need to know what OSI did or did not do in this case. I believe this is too big to trust the USAFA leadership (which was not there, and had no responsibility for this investigation) to solve, particularly given that OSI is not in the Supt's direct COC. It is a public issue. If we have a rogue agency telling cadets what this young man alleges - even if it's only 10% of what he alleges - then we all need to be concerned. We don't need to use lies, threats, and cheating by cadets to trap bad guys. Many of us on this e-mail have been cadets as well as AOCs, coaches, academic instructors and flying instructors at USAFA (I've been blessed to be all four). There are other ways to get bad guys...period. And that is what is what is so disturbing to me. There are other ways.

In short, I'm not looking to place blame. I simply want the truth. And the truth can be suspect if it originates only from the agency and folks with the biggest conflict of interest.

Our alma mater is a national treasure. That's why this case is too big for just the USAF to resolve in a black hole, without full disclosure. And how it gets resolved determines whether the values we all learned - integrity first, service above self - are just words we expect cadets to follow, or really a culture propagated in the current "real Air Force".

Thanks for letting me vent, folks.

Lt Gen Michelle Johnson's message to the graduate community

From the Academy Superintendent


Many of you have seen the Colorado Springs Gazette article published on 1 December 2013 entitled, "Honor and Deception" which focuses on the use of cadets under the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Confidential Informant (CI) Program. The article does not portray an accurate or complete view of Eric Thomas' activities nor AFOSI operations.

The AFOSI uses the CI Program at all Air Force installations to gather vital information about criminal activities and is not unique to USAFA. Historically, the CI program has rarely been used at USAFA, and when employed it is deliberate, judicious and limited to felony activity; there are no ongoing operations.

Many of you have voiced concerns regarding inconsistencies between a CI program and the Cadet Honor Code. I want you to know that the chain of command does not condone lying, cheating or any violation of the Honor Code in support of CI investigations and that I will exercise oversight of any operations involving cadet confidential informants. I recognize that articles such as these hit an emotional chord, particularly with our graduates. I remain committed to providing a safe and respectful environment for all, rich with tradition, where only those ready to lead emerge as part of the Long Blue Line.

----USAFA Superintendent. Lt Gen Michelle Johnson

Remark's by Roger Carlton, Chairman of the Board, AOG

The Superintendent had a frank and candid discussion with the AOG Board of Directors at Friday's regularly scheduled meeting. Due to the high level of interest, the Superintendent permitted the meeting to be open so other graduates could attend. The Superintendent was forthright in taking and answering questions from everyone in the room. Discussions lasted more than an hour and those present articulated multiple views and concerns regarding the OSI case.

The Board is confident the Superintendent, her senior staff, and the Air Force's leadership are taking steps to address these current, critical issues. As additional information develops, the AOG will make that available to the graduate community.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Roger Carleton
AOG Board Chair

My thoughts after attending the AOG BOD Meeting and hearing Lt Gen Johnson's remarks

She started her comments on this particular subject by stating that the Gazette did not run a fact check on this information prior to publishing it. Early records do show that this particular cadet, who is named in a newspaper as Eric Thompson, had accumulated over 200 demerits in his first two years in the Academy. This is in itself raises questions about the disenrollment process which she will improve.

Gen. Johnson is having ongoing discussions with the OSI both locally and in Washington.

First, points by Gen. Johnson as well as I can remember.
• The use of confidential informants within the cadet wing is not new
• The chain of command is aware when informants are recruited and or placed in a unit
• On occasion, there are groups or pockets of people that cannot be penetrated by outside resources and CIs are used within the cadet wing
• The use of CIs has been directly responsible for the removal of a serial rapist, and others exhibiting unacceptable conduct. (This point may have been stated by another in the room, but not contradicted by the general)
• The three recent court marshals for sexual misconduct have been a direct result of the work of CIs. (This point may have been stated by another in the room, but not contradicted by the general)
• Gen. Johnson is pushing for the minimum use of CIs within the cadet wing
• It is not her decision alone, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the IG (the owner of the OSI) has input

To the point of the quality of the cadets within the cadet wing today - -
• Gen. Johnson started her remarks by reminding everyone in the room that she too is a graduate and cares deeply about the Academy
• It is her top priority to recruit the best candidates possible and to do all she can to maintain quality, qualified people within the cadet wing

Here's my editorial

As you may or may not remember, we had several cadets discharged for marijuana use when we were Doolies. We also had two very large scale honor scandals while we were cadets. Those guys in suits with the AOC's when they came through our open ranks and removed cadets from the terrazzo during the evening meal formation were indeed OSI agents.

The results of the investigation into what happened these past few years will not satisfy everyone. We may not get all of the questions we have answered to our satisfaction.

I know that:
1. The current Superintendent is extremely qualified and highly committed as are the Commandant and Dean
2. We recruit the best but we still turn up with some less than desirable folks
3. Getting rid of them is NOT easy
4. The Academy staff is constantly looking to improve the process of how we improve the quality of the people we bring in the door
5. We must not create "false-positives" in our process - let's not miss the many talented candidates we need by striving for a perfect candidate pool whose size does not meet our needs
6. Interrogation techniques should meet the same standards we require of our cadets - particularly in recruiting CIs and interrogating witnesses vice suspects
7. We must understand that few of us know the ins and outs of investigative techniques
8. Potential recruits are identified as candidates by their conduct or membership in questionable groups (mostly opinion but based on experience as an SP)
9. Most of the comments I hear relate to being bad at the Superintendent, the OSI, the entire Cadet Wing or all of the before mentioned - and without the benefit of knowing what really happened!
10. The following points and concerns have been brought to the attention of the Superintendent from multiple resources for her consideration. I list them here without comment by me! They are:
     a. The Academy experience is not the place to add the extra tension caused by having CIs
     b. Interrogation techniques that include lying is not appropriate, especially to witnesses
     c. How do such people get by our screening processes?
     d. Are our athletic teams represented to a higher degree in investigations?
     e. Why does the identification of candidates for disenrollment take so long?
     f. Why is the process of disenrollment so complicated and lengthy?

Your humble Class Advisory Senator

Garry Dudley

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From a December 12, 2013 email from the AoG

The following is a summary of Lt Gen Michelle Johnson's remarks to the AOG Board of Directors on 6 December 2013.

As background, the new Superintendent says she is trying very hard to "keep her eye on the ball," even as she has been hit with a new crisis every few weeks. In addition, she is fighting "draconian" budget cuts imposed by USAF. The magnitude is huge. USAFA budget in FY 2010 was $390M; FY 2013 - $278M; FY 2014 - $173M. It should be noted that this is not an apples to apples comparison because the FY 2014 figures do not include military construction dollars and the previous fiscal years do. Notwithstanding, the cuts are unprecedented. USAF-directed "deep" personnel cuts are around the corner. She has told the Air Staff that USAFA will do its part, but she has also told them the cuts threaten the "essence" of what the Academy is.

On the OSI issue, what is relevant is as follows:

Gen Johnson said up front that she hears and feels the graduate rage. Then she said, "Please remember that I am a grad too."
The Supt. has told the OSI that she will not defend their program. That's their job.
She is still working with Air Force senior leadership to specifically define her role and responsibilities regarding OSI activities at USAFA.
The OSI says there are ZERO cadet CIs at the present time.
Use of cadet CIs is a difficult decision. In recent circumstances, without cadet CIs, we would likely have had a serial rapist as a lieutenant in our Air Force, and at least one other sexual assault would have probably gone without a conviction.
Gen Johnson is very concerned about honor code conflicts with OSI CI tradecraft.
OSI cadet CI programs have existed for decades at our Academy. Grads at the meeting recounted stories of OSI entrapment and use of other OSI tradecraft back to at least 1972. The Supt's research, which is difficult to conduct without full OSI cooperation because of archived records, show that there have been 30 cadet CIs since 2002. West Point does not permit cadet CIs. They use MPs. Update-Annapolis does not use midshipmen as CIs.
The President of the Class Advisory Senate, Dick Sexton '60, reported that his input from the Senate reveals a group of grads that are adamantly against the use of cadet CIs; another group that are just as adamant that we need CIs to identify and get rid of bad cadets; and a much larger middle group who say "hold fire, let the Supt do her job."
Resolution is not easy and will require the strongest leadership and support from all levels of the Air Force including the Cadet Wing.

General Johnson is still gathering data since this all happened before her watch. She sees a four-part process to resolve these issues

OSI CI program – Air Force needs to be transparent about the activities of the local OSI commander. They need to provide the truth about cadet CIs.
Thomas case - She plans to examine the disenrollment process. The Academy process could benefit and they will continue to improve the process, where appropriate.
Honor code and CI tradecraft – She is very concerned about OSI recruitment techniques that would require cadets to possibly violate the Honor Code.
Climate and Culture at USAFA – She clearly understands that a review of everything from admissions/recruiting to graduation/disenrollment is necessary.
She understands the importance of being more proactive and agile in communicating with grads and the public. Better communication is essential to building trust inside and outside USAFA.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Roger Carleton
AOG Board Chair

Sent on behalf of the USAFA Superintendent on December 12, 2013

From the Academy Superintendent:

The recent Board meeting gave me an opportunity to address the Board and other graduates in attendance on many issues of importance to the Academy.

It was a good dialogue, capsulating my strategic imperatives and the graduates concerns. Three things became clear. The deeper issues for the graduate community are in three areas: 1) the use of cadets as CIs, 2) the confluence of the Honor Code and the CI program, and 3) the existence of "communities" or "sub-cultures" at the Academy.

In the near term, the AF/IG will be tasked to look into the specifics of the Thomas case, with a focus on the protocols of the CI program, and tangentially, in coordination with the Academy, the use of cadets as CIs. We are going to examine our disenrollment process. We think we have it right, but we need to focus on continually improving our processes. These will take some time, and I'll keep you informed as I know more.

We do not condone any violation of the Honor Code in support of CI operations. The gist of this is trust. Cadets must have trust in their institution and in their fellow cadets. I am working to improve and strengthen our culture of commitment and respect, I will personally oversee any use of the CI program with my long term intent to eliminate the need for cadet Confidential Informants in the cadet wing. We will also not tolerate criminal activity within the cadet wing.

As I have mentioned, we have an opportunity to build on our focus of a Culture of Commitment, Respect and Inclusion. It's a Commitment to our Nation, the Air Force, the Academy, and to fellow cadets as individuals. There's a bigger picture than loyalty to a classmate, a class, a squadron, or a cadet organization. It's also about finding and eliminating the sub-cultures that have no place in an organization built on respect and inclusion.

----USAFA Superintendent. Lt Gen Michelle Johnson

Sent on behalf of the USAFA Superintendent on December 14, 2013

Good Evening fellow graduates,

Many of you have reached out to me in the past months to share your thoughts, ideas and perceptions of our Academy, as well as some of the challenges we're facing today. I'm reaching out to you now to share some of my initial thoughts from my first months as superintendent and my vision for a path forward. Your perspectives are valuable, and I hope you will continue to provide support and communication.

I'm taking a fresh look at what the Air Force needs in the next 5-10 years, and what exactly is required to graduate top-quality Lieutenants who are exceptionally well prepared to lead Airmen in our Air Force. Over the next few months, our leadership team will implement a back-to-basics approach with the overarching goal to foster a culture of commitment and respect across the Academy.

I am creating a new leadership position to aid our transformation. This position will report directly to me and will serve as the focal point for diversity, inclusion and the culture and climate challenges of today. Each incoming class brings with them a new set of ideas and expectations that are unique. As an institution, we must continuously adapt ourselves to adequately address the realities of being a top-tier university and a military academy.

We are thankful for your support and we need it now, more than ever, as we strive to develop leaders of character, create and sustain a culture of commitment and respect, and continue to ensure America's Air Force Academy is producing what our nation needs.

----Lt Gen Michelle Johnson

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