Army Memo re: 15-6 Investigation Findings and Recommendations Concerning Photographs Taken of Mr. John Walker Lindh

Results of a AR 15-6 investigation of photographs taken of John Walker Lindh by 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Describes photos taken of Lindh as "sophomoric". The Dep. Commander recommends counseling sessions, staff training and inclusion in future Professional Development training.

Doc_type: 
Non-legal Memo
Doc_date: 
Monday, February 3, 2003
Doc_rel_date: 
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Doc_text: 

-_
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY
SPECIAUFORCES COMMAND (AIRBORNE)
FORT BRAGa NORTH CAROLINA 28310

'REPLY TO
ATTENTION

AOS4CG

) 3 February 2003
MEMORANDUM FOR Record

SUBJECT:

Findings And Recommendations Regarding 15-6 Investigation of Photographs Taken of Mr. John Walker Lindh by5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
1. This AR 15-6 investigation is submitted for legal review and
action by the Command. Recommendations are important but do not
indicate.any intentional wrongdoing or significant omissions on
the part of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldiers.
In review of this finding, the timing of requests, disparate
assumptions,- and the actual delivery dates of evidence are key
determining factors. Despite this investigation, it is

noteworthy that the US Attorneys Office of the Department of
Justice praised 5th SFGA in an unsolicited letter last October •
and reflected on what a pleasure it was to work- with these Green
Berets in•common pursuit of a potential enemy of our nation.

2. Delay: The delay in closing out this investigation has

multiple origins.

a. The initial 5-6 investigation by 5th SFGA (also known

as the -M-0,0F:.

Report) indicated that it was done in April

of 2002 at Fort amp e 1. However, my own appointment orders of

22 April 2002 actually predate the transmittal and receipt of

that initial investigative report here at FOrt -Bragg to our US

Army Special Forces Headquarters, by FAX on 29 May 2002 but

classified as Secret/SCI. I concur with all of Major

findings and relied heavily on them during my own inquiries.

These items now declassified, therefore become exhibits.in my

report as well.

b. Members of 5th SFGA were made available for interviews.
but were not always immediately accessible as this particular

Army SOF element continues to transition from combat in one
battlefield to train and equip for another in the Global War on

Terrorism.

013560
DOD-015514

Aosotc,

3 February 2003

SUBJECT: Findings And Recommendations Regarding 15-6
Investigation of Photographs Taken of Mr. John Walker Lindh by

5th
Special Forces Group (Airborne)

•c. The statements from the US Attorney's prosecutors were

also key to the allegations; but these prosecutors were very
focused on preparation of the Lindh case through his plea in
July of 2002 and the sentencing in October 2002 during which
these evidentiary allegations against 5th Special Forces Group
(5th SFGA) quickly became secondary: .With the final resolution

of the Lindh case, priorities shifted in favor of the actions
needed to complete this investigation.

d. The formal letter of

States Attomey.
Conclusion: This letter of Executive Office of the United *to a request from the Exemption (b)(5) - pursuan.
withheld - Exemp
Information
and I concur. I wou
add momentary lapse of "mature goo judgement and propose that
it was a sophmoric idea that quickly grew unsavory in its own
right.' This is clearly indidated by the ODA team leadership who
began to expupge.the photo-in-question from the archives within
24 hours of its existence. . However, the age of electronic data-
handling or "business velocity" enabled.the photo to quickly
outpace local recovery efforts and others outside the'ODA were
soon seeing the photo-in-question on other electronic devices.
While there was at least one copy of the photo-in-question
deleted in February at Fort Campbell, this was done out of a
matter of operational security customary to SOF as the'photo
included the faces of ODA members. There is.no evidence to
support the allegation that ODA members or any soldier of 5th
Special Forces Group intentionally or maliciously acted to hide

the existence of the photograph to the DOJ office when formally
asked in April 2002 through the Discovery Motion recieved at
Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

013561
DOD-015515

AOSISCG)
SUBJECT: February. 2003

.

J CT: Findings And.RecommendatiOns Regarding 15-6

Investigation of Photographs Taken of Mr. John Walkpr Lindh by5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
4. Recommendations: I believe that the.

Group Commander has

adequately addressed my concerns with t e soldiers involved

his actions in response to the: . by •

15-6 and I trust he will

quickly implement my other rec6Mmnda ions through counseling
sessions, staff trainng and inclusion in future Professional

Development training..

In addition,my recommendations for non-

DoD federal agencies as to formally expressing their intentions
and implications to our military members, is for discussion
within a higher forum and I stand:prepared to assist as

requested.

'

4C„K

Encl

DAVID P. BUR

IIIIMHrlliIlhh

Findings & Recommendations.

Br:igadier ;General , USA
Deputy Commanding General

013562
DOD-015516

Doc_nid: 
3621
Doc_type_num: 
63