New Details Emerge in Salomi Hostage Case: High Drama in HTS
by John Stanton
Monday, 08 February, 2010
Observers indicate that two individuals in HTS leadership positions on the ground in Iraq—Lieutenant Colonel Byrd (Program Management Office – FWD) and Michael Goains, GG-15 (Theater Coordination Element) had direct knowledge of Issa Salomi’s prior forays outside Camp Liberty/Victory Base Complex in Iraq unaccompanied by his teammates (team designation IZ-02,) or US military personnel. Salomi was apparently taken by an Iraqi insurgent group in January 2010 and a video of him recently appeared in global media outlets in February 2010.
Observers have also pointed out that Salomi is not, in fact, a contractor but is instead a temporary US Army Civilian employee. In 2009, HTS reverted to a government program and contractors were forced to choose between leaving or converting to US government civilian status.
“There is so much drama within the HTS program right now that it is unbelievable. Many, many people are being fired, rearranged and moved around due to management incompetence and personality problems,” said observers. “The amount of money being squandered is ridiculous.”
One team leader (HTAT-B) was fired because of allegations of sexual harassment (a problem apparently not confined to HTS operations in Iraq and Afghanistan). Some members of his team quit because of his behavior. Some believe that he “literally looked at pictures and selected his incoming team members based on physical attractiveness.”
Another HTS employee was apparently fired because she was caught breaking into a building on the Victory Base Complex in the middle of the night looking for something to eat.
One Big Incestuous, Corrupt Family
A senior NCO (although reportedly married) is allegedly having an affair with a Human Terrain Analyst in Baghdad, Iraq (mimicking senior management one presumes). Apparently they have become quite adept at influencing military leadership. “One of them routinely denigrates social scientists she works with, and claims her six years of military intelligence (interrogations) background makes her more qualified than those with a PhD.”
Goains’ wife is currently going through HTS training and will evidently be going to work with him in Baghdad as a Social Scientist for the TCE.
Goains evidently had the Knowledge Management Officer and IT Director in Iraq fired for unknown reasons. “There is now no IT/tech support for the people on the ground and this will most likely remain the case,” said sources. “This means that most of the reports that the teams are tasked with producing will never see the light of day outside Iraq. This is another monumental waste of taxpayer money.”
According to sources, the Knowledge Management (KM) Directorate is headed by Dan Wolfe, President/CEO of Universal Solutions, Inc (USAI) located in Virginia. The other contractor involved was Ascend Intelligence (recently purchased by General Dynamics C4 Systems (GDC4S). Bradley Green is the new Project Manager for GDC4S/HTS.
Observers allege that Wolfe redirects “a lot of program money to his own company.” For example, the SSRA work is contracted through him and then subcontracted to Glevum Associates, so Wolfe profits from that contract too. Wolfe apparently advises Steve Fondacaro (HTS program manager) on all the IT & KM related matters.
Two Optia/MaxVision computer servers ($20,000 each) that were sent out to the field in 2009 were never even used by the HTS/HTT’s. There is a rumor that Fondacaro’s brother is involved with/owns the company that provided the Optia/MaxVision servers.
That story remains rumor but, given the track record with HTS, virtually anything is possible.
Corrections: CornerStone ref. in last article was incorrect. Career Stone is the proper name.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. Reach him at email@example.com.
Max Forte: As I asked here, this crisis raises numerous questions, and HTS has apparently gone AWOL and is answering none.
Like in previous crisis situations, except more so this time, the HTS website is completely useless (now reaching the extreme of being totally offline for more than several days): “Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)”
There are important questions here besides those raised in the media reports and by John Stanton. One concerns the ability of the resistance to pinpoint and target this individual, which raises the question: why? And of course: how? It suggests that the League of the Righteous are aware of what HTS is, and who its personnel are. Whatever they knew about HTS, one thing seems certain: now they will learn even more about it.
Another question is: does Salomi’s family receive compensation during the period of his captivity? Is Salomi paid danger pay and is paid while he is a hostage?
In addition: what are HTS, the Army, etc., doing to seek his release? Will they negotiate?
[Revised 14-02-2010] Do they train their personnel to deal with situations like this? How was Salomi able to leave the base without anyone knowing, especially in a situation where a Status for Forces Agreement stipulates that U.S. forces are to be confined to their bases, except in emergency cases or where Iraqi forces seek their backup? [Note: thanks to Darryl Li, the Pentagon says that this was not the case: Salomi was on an excused absence: http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=13291, one commentator offers a very different explanation for the Pentagon's press release.]
HTS’ silence is extreme this time, a rather irresponsible outfit that exposes its employees to great dangers. That’s also unethical of course. What is not so funny is that HTS senior representatives are otherwise all over the media like some attention-starved, has-been celebrity desperately trying to tout a come-back special. When trouble explodes, they rush for the nearest exit. So another question is: why does anyone sign up to join this crew?