MIA Facts Site

Roger Hall's Lawsuit:
Tilting at Windmills

 

Summary.  Most literate people are familiar with the phrase "tilting at windmills."  The phrase originates with an incident in Cervantes' Don Quixote when Quixote spies windmills and tries to convince his companion that the windmills are giants and he must do battle with them.  Don Quixote battles enemy knights and soldiers, sorcerers, and giants. His only problem is that he often gets things wrong, mistaking strangers for enemies, falling off his horse, and being beaten senseless by mule-drivers. He blames every setback on the magic of an evil enchanter he believes to be his nemesis.  Everywhere he goes, Don Quixote sees the everyday as the legendary: he confuses inns for castles, windmills for giants, and prostitutes for princesses.   The MIA cult acts much like Don Quixote -- seeing a conspiracy behind every tree, an evil government official in every shadow, and secret documents where there are none.  The following item from Roger Hall -- self-appointed "MIA researcher" -- is a fine example of seeing a windmill and believing it is a giant.

UPDATE:  March 2006.  Click here to go to the bottom of this page and read the March 2006 update.

Hall's Article

Who is Roger Hall?

Hall is a nut.   Roger Hall is a self-styled "MIA researcher" who claims that the CIA is withholding a vast trove of documents dealing with US POWs in SEAsia.  He is so convinced of this fantasy that he filed suit against the CIA and, for two years or so, has been soliciting donations to help pay his legal expenses.   You can visit the "POW-MIA Freedom Fighters" site and buy a T-shirt supporting Roger.

Here is my favorite Hall story.    While I was in the DPMO (1993 - 1995), he was a regular correspondent.  We would receive letters from Hall demanding that we declassify documents that had been released long ago or letters demanding documents that did not exist.  When we wrote back and told him where he could find the documents that had been released, he would reply that we were stonewalling him.   When we told him that what he was looking for did not exist, he wrote back claiming that our denial proved that such documents existed. 

One day, one of our action officers came to me to report on a conversation that the had just had with an archivist at the National Archives.  It seems that Hall was a regular at the National Archives -- and when they told him that what he was searching for was non-existent, he pulled the same crap with them.  On this particular day, Hall became more and more insistent and finally shouted to the archivist assisting him that she was a "dumb bitch" -- which earned him an invitation to leave.  He then claimed that he was ejected because he had discovered documents that the Archives was trying to hide.   This story was related to our action officer by the archivist involved.

Hall's Article

This article was snipped from the "POW-MIA Freedom Fighters" message board on November 10, 2000.  The article is reproduced here twice.  The first version is without interruption, the second version has the truth inserted.

QUOTE

In from Roger Hall:

In the case of:
Roger Hall,
Plaintiff
Vs
Central Intelligence Agency,
Defendant
Civil Action No. 98-1319


The hearing on pending motions for summary judgment for withheld POW/MIA documentation is set for June 11, 1999 at 9:30 A.M. The case will behead before Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge for the District of Columbia

Suing the CIA on Behalf of Abandoned POWs
by Roger Hall

A law suit was filed against the CIA on May 28th, 1998 for the POW/MIA
documentation that the CIA was ordered to declassify and release, ordered by two presidents and the Congress. President Bush in 1992 issued Executive Order 12812 for all government departments and agencies to declassify and
release all POW/MIA documentation except for matters of national security, sources and methods. President Bush wasn't reelected, the declassification was never completed.

The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs that ended January 3, 1993, ordered all of its POW/MIA documentation declassified and made available to the public. The CIA has not declassified those documents and has classified
that very list of the documents, This is because the Senate did not enforce their promise to have all Select Committee documents declassified, the Senate just turned all documents [both unclassified and those in still classified
form] over to the National Archives. The National Archives never processed the classified CIA POW/MIA documentation for declassification as promised by the US Senate and the CIA would not initiate declassification.

On Memorial Day 1993 President Clinton promised America that he would issue an Executive Order for the declassification of all POW/MIA documentation to be released by Veteran's Day 1993. He put a dead line on when government must
get the job done. On Veteran's Day 1993 President Clinton informed the American public that all POW/MIA documentation declassification except for national security information, sources, and methods had been completed. It wasn't, much of that documentation was not declassified or released. The Department of Defense, CIA, and State Department didn't even notify their
components, i.e., military bases or field stations to search for additional documentation, they just declassified what they had on hand.

That promise was made six years ago on Memorial Day and the CIA documentation is still classified. One reason is because President Clinton did not issue an executive order, the national security council issued a presidential decision directive instead, not an executive order, there's a big difference. A directive does not have the same force in law as an executive order. We were lied to again about POW/MIA documents. An Executive Order must be published in the Federal Register, it can be referenced there by anyone, a directive is not. In fact it took more than six months to get a copy of the directive when they did admit what had happened. Why all the deception about POW/MIA documentation?

 Once the directive was given, the President had nothing to do with seeing that the order was complied with. That is up to his staff if they're interested; they weren't. This is because once an order is given it is left to each department or agency to implement an order as they see it should be implemented. The different agencies are responsible only to themselves unless someone makes them comply. The President had taken time to hang a carrot before the public that led nowhere without enforcement. It got him off the
hook, it got the public off his and the governments back.

The CIA has a conflict of interest in its POW collection activities. They are the intelligence arm of the State Department in addition to their own activities, and their POW collection activities prevent them from effective performance. The CIA controls the tasking of satellites and intelligence activities in former communist countries. They also receive tasking from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency. This is how pilot identification codes were found in the 1980s and 90s.

Acknowledgment of the existence of POWs complicates their other tasking requirements that includes trade with Russia, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Such POW information is classified as national security. The release of that POW information is now prevented by the CIA. If it is released to the DIA the DIA does not acknowledge it in that they are only required to reveal documentation that they originate.

If you still expect the government to just declassify POW/MIA documentation, that's just what they want you to do. It won't happen. It won't get done. You need to finish the job you began on Memorial Day 1993. It's up to you.

The CIA did produce some documentation on 19 specific cases we requested, and 30 additional documents that were previously released. They front-end-load their documents as a buffer in dealing with the public, they make you go through a gauntlet of obstacles designed to frustrate you and make you go away, to exhaust your resources and energy. They haven't yet been required to dig into their denied records including other programs on POWs taken to Russia from Vietnam and produce them.

We have identified the existence of more than 574 records being withheld for reasons of national security. We have also identified numerous records over which the CIA has declassification authority, records outside the CIA that contain POW/MIA information. This court case can require them to produce identified documentation and the court can order the search for more. We have government witnesses that require the protection of the court that will identify that additional documentation.

The progress that has been made so far is the result of donations from individuals, veteran's and non veteran's, POW/MIA family members, Veteran's organizations and non-veteran's organizations. That is who I refer to as "we," this is a community effort.


Roger Hall
POW/MIA FOIA Litigation
8715 First Ave., apt 827C
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301/585-3361
rhall8715@aol

END QUOTE

Article with Facts Inserted

Now, let's read Roger's article and insert some facts.  In the following paragraphs, the Hall article is in this typeface and color while
my comments are in this typeface and color.

In from Roger Hall:

In the case of:
Roger Hall,
Plaintiff
Vs
Central Intelligence Agency,
Defendant
Civil Action No. 98-1319


The hearing on pending motions for summary judgment for withheld POW/MIA documentation is set for June 11, 1999 at 9:30 A.M. The case will behead before Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge for the District of Columbia

Suing the CIA on Behalf of Abandoned POWs
by Roger Hall

A law suit was filed against the CIA on May 28th, 1998 for the POW/MIA
documentation that the CIA was ordered to declassify and release, ordered by two presidents and the Congress. President Bush in 1992 issued Executive Order 12812 for all government departments and agencies to declassify and
release all POW/MIA documentation except for matters of national security, sources and methods. President Bush wasn't reelected, the declassification was never completed.

Yes, the declassification was completed.   The fact that President Bush was not re-elected had nothing to do with anything.

The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs that ended January 3, 1993, ordered all of its POW/MIA documentation declassified and made available to the public. The CIA has not declassified those documents and has classified
that very list of the documents, This is because the Senate did not enforce their promise to have all Select Committee documents declassified, the Senate just turned all documents [both unclassified and those in still classified
form] over to the National Archives. The National Archives never processed the classified CIA POW/MIA documentation for declassification as promised by the US Senate and the CIA would not initiate declassification.

The bulk of the SSC documents were documents that the committee obtained from other government agencies -- and those documents were already declassified or were subsequently declassified by the departments and agencies concerned.

On Memorial Day 1993 President Clinton promised America that he would issue an Executive Order for the declassification of all POW/MIA documentation to be released by Veteran's Day 1993. He put a dead line on when government must
get the job done. On Veteran's Day 1993 President Clinton informed the American public that all POW/MIA documentation declassification except for national security information, sources, and methods had been completed. It wasn't, much of that documentation was not declassified or released. The Department of Defense, CIA, and State Department didn't even notify their
components, i.e., military bases or field stations to search for additional documentation, they just declassified what they had on hand.

Mr. Hall does not have a clue.  Yes, the executive departments did notify their subordinates of the requirement.  Following President Bush's order in 1992, the executive departments notified their subordinates to search their files for any documents having to do with US POWs and MIAs.  I was assigned to the DIA Special Office for POW-MIA Affairs 1986 - 1990 then was the DIA Liaison Officer in Japan, 1990 - 1993.  When the 1992 executive order was issued, my office in Japan -- that had nothing at all to do with the MIA issue -- received a directive from DIA to search our files, etc., etc.  I received a number of phone calls from colleagues in other intell organizations in Japan who had received similar messages from their headquarters.

That promise was made six years ago on Memorial Day and the CIA documentation is still classified. One reason is because President Clinton did not issue an executive order, the national security council issued a presidential decision directive instead, not an executive order, there's a big difference. A directive does not have the same force in law as an executive order. We were lied to again about POW/MIA documents. An Executive Order must be published in the Federal Register, it can be referenced there by anyone, a directive is not. In fact it took more than six months to get a copy of the directive when they did admit what had happened. Why all the deception about POW/MIA documentation?

Mr. Hall is seriously misleading folks here.   In the first place, an Executive Order and a Presidential Directive carry equal weight.  Each is a Presidential order to the Executive Branch to do something and do it now.  Hall's claim that it took him six months to get a copy of President Clinton's directive suggests to me that he did not try very hard.  Visit this URL for links to the Bush Executive Order, the Clinton Directive, and other relevant documents.   Read the documents for yourself and see what the Executive Branch was ordered to do.  http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/foia/index.htm

 Once the directive was given, the President had nothing to do with seeing that the order was complied with. That is up to his staff if they're interested; they weren't. This is because once an order is given it is left to each department or agency to implement an order as they see it should be implemented. The different agencies are responsible only to themselves unless someone makes them comply. The President had taken time to hang a carrot before the public that led nowhere without enforcement. It got him off the hook, it got the public off his and the governments back.

The CIA has a conflict of interest in its POW collection activities. They are the intelligence arm of the State Department in addition to their own activities, and their POW collection activities prevent them from effective performance. The CIA controls the tasking of satellites and intelligence activities in former communist countries. They also receive tasking from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency. This is how pilot identification codes were found in the 1980s and 90s.

Wait a minute.  Did Mr. Hall really say that the CIA is " . . . the intelligence arm of the State Department in addition to their own activities. . ."?  This is silly.  The CIA is a separate entity within the Executive Branch and is in no way an "arm" of the State Department.   Hall reveals the depth of his ignorance here. 

His reference to "pilot identification codes" is one of the favorite MIA cult myths.  See this article for the facts on the "pilot identification codes."

Acknowledgment of the existence of POWs complicates their other tasking requirements that includes trade with Russia, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Such POW information is classified as national security. The release of that POW information is now prevented by the CIA. If it is released to the DIA the DIA does not acknowledge it in that they are only required to reveal documentation that they originate.

Huh???  What did he say?

If you still expect the government to just declassify POW/MIA documentation, that's just what they want you to do. It won't happen. It won't get done. You need to finish the job you began on Memorial Day 1993. It's up to you.

Sorry, Roger.  It's been done.

The CIA did produce some documentation on 19 specific cases we requested, and 30 additional documents that were previously released. They front-end-load their documents as a buffer in dealing with the public, they make you go through a gauntlet of obstacles designed to frustrate you and make you go away, to exhaust your resources and energy. They haven't yet been required to dig into their denied records including other programs on POWs taken to Russia from Vietnam and produce them.

The reason the CIA has not ". . . been required to dig into their denied records including other programs on POWs taken to Russia from Vietnam and produce them" is simple --- there are no such documents because there were no such programs or POWs.

We have identified the existence of more than 574 records being withheld for reasons of national security. We have also identified numerous records over which the CIA has declassification authority, records outside the CIA that contain POW/MIA information. This court case can require them to produce identified documentation and the court can order the search for more. We have government witnesses that require the protection of the court that will identify that additional documentation.

There's the old we-have-witnesses-who-are-afraid-to-come-forward claim.  What a crock.

The progress that has been made so far is the result of donations from individuals, veteran's and non veteran's, POW/MIA family members, Veteran's organizations and non-veteran's organizations. That is who I refer to as "we," this is a community effort.


Roger Hall
POW/MIA FOIA Litigation
8715 First Ave., apt 827C
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301/585-3361
rhall8715@aol

hall02a.gif (34523 bytes)

The end

Mercifully, that's the end.  Oh well, pursuing his suit against the CIA keeps Roger out of trouble -- as dumb as he is, he is likely to hurt himself and others if he were not staying busy doing battle with these windmills.

March 2006 update

Without going into a lot of detail, Roger Hall has lost his suit against the CIA but he is not smart enough to realize that he lost.

For several years Hall has been pursuing a suit against the CIA claiming that they have information on many US POWs who were abandoned in SEAsia in 1973.  Hall's claim is nonsense but at least it keeps him busy.  Hall formed a non-profit organization and submitted a FOIA request to the CIA.  They told him it would cost $10,000 for their time and effort to search hundreds of thousands of documents.  Hall replied that he was a journalist and should not have to pay.  Things became more and more confused with claims and counterclaims.  Finally, in February 2006, the District Court of Appeals sent Hall's appeal back to the lower court and ruled against Hall. 

Hall, being too damn dumb to understand what the Court of Appeals said, has now posted an "editorial" on his website claiming that he won and his case is still active in the court system.

If you really want to do this, go to Hall's website and read the Appeals court ruling and Hall's reply: 
http://www.powfoia.org/breaking.htm

Oh, and by the way, the CIA finally said to hell with it and released the documents Hall was asking for.  The court noted this in their decision that Hall's suits are now moot.  He must not understand the word "moot."

8 March 2006