LEADER ISSUES - Problems, Concerns Lloyd Austin
Leadership Position Secretary of Defense Start Jan 22 2021 Latest Position Background US Army 4-star general, retired Vice Chief of Staff of Army, January 2012 to March 2013 Overall Military Leadership Commanding General of United States Forces – Iraq Operation New Dawn, ending 2011 significance: part of Obama-lead drawdown from Iraq ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lloyd Austin’s Ties to the Defense Industry brought with him to US Secretary of Defense Position It looks like he stepped down from several of these following his nomination in 2020 - apparently was making seven figures - see Open Door-2021/03/09 Raytheon Technologies (one of Pentagon’s largest contractors) membership on the board (see Politico-2020/12/10) -When United Technologies merged with Raytheon in April, Austin formally joined the board of the newly formed Raytheon Technologies, whose subsidiaries make defense products ranging from F-35 jet engines to ballistic missile interceptors - from Politico 2020/12/10 -United Technologies Corporation merge April 2020-Lloyd joined in 2016 Nucor (North Carolina) membership on the board, -Nucor is subcontractor to at least two major defense contractors (Politico-2020/12/10): -Oskhosh: second-tier supplier to Oshkosh Defense (currently (as of 12/2020 article, efforts to recompete contract expected in 2022) replacing Humvees w/50k light tacticals) -Huntington Ingalls Industries (Virginia and Mississippi) United Technologies Corporation - elevator and air conditioning industries, includes defense section, later merged with Raytheon in April 2020, also noted under Raytheon Pine Island Capital - partner in this investment firm (see Politico-2020/12/10) -InVeris Training Solutions, which develops virtual and live-fire training systems for the military (Politico) -Precinmac Precision Machining, which make components for the defense industry, as well as the semiconductor and aerospace communities. (Politico) Tenet Health Care - served on board (See China US-ICAS) Austin Strategy Group, LLC, based in Great Falls, Va. (Politico) (Also see Open Secrets dot org) -runs this, his own private consulting firm -a cached version of the page from Dec. 1 lists areas of expertise as U.S. foreign policy, national security and leadership. -Website showed error message at time of Politico’s article People who have voiced concerns or raised awareness about Austin’s potentially to likely comprimising position Project on Government Oversight’s Center for Defense Information. Mandy Smithberger Politico 2020/12/10 article Delayed or Altered Intelligence on his watch at CENTCOM CBS News https://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-a-centcom-general-delay-intelligence-meant-for-the-president/ Context: Other American Secretaries of Defense have had private ties to defense contractors or their secondaries See Politico-2020/12/10 Lawsuits Judicial Watch dot org 2021/07/08 Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense over Denied Promotion https //www judicialwatch org/press-releases/navy-pentagon-galvin/ Excerpt: Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Maj. Fred C. Galvin (USMC, Ret.), commander of an elite U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations unit falsely accused of war crimes in Afghanistan in 2007 and fully exonerated in 2019, but who was still denied retroactive promotion to lieutenant colonel by the Marine Corps in 2020 despite an otherwise exemplary service record. The lawsuit was filed against the Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Harker, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. It alleges that the military violated the Administrative Procedure Act and another statute in denying Maj. Galvin a promotion (Maj. Fred Galvin v Thomas Harker et al, (No. 1:21-cv-01813)). 2021/05/11 Judicial Watch Sues for Records of Pentagon Communications about Tucker Carlson and Fox News https //www judicialwatch org/press-releases/comms-carlson- pentagon/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=press_release Excerpt: Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Department of Defense failed to reply to a March 16, 2021, FOIA for: All emails sent between Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and email accounts ending in .gov and/or .mil containing the terms “Tucker Carlson” and/or “Fox News.” All emails sent between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and email accounts ending in .gov and/or .mil containing the terms “Tucker Carlson” and/or “Fox News.” All emails sent between Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten and email accounts ending in .gov and/or .mil containing the terms “Tucker Carlson” and/or “Fox News.” The time frame of the request was identified as March 1, 2021 to March 16, 2021. Cont. Excerpt: [yellow highlighting added by PF] …Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz sent a letter to Defense Secretary Austin demanding a meeting with the Commandant of the Marine Corps to account for the attacks on Carlson and “a plan to prevent other military units from being similarly mobilized against the speech of American citizens.” In the letter, Sen. Cruz wrote: I am deeply troubled that the comments you made, and the military’s broader obligation to avoid political endorsements and controversy, are being systematically undermined for the sake of leftwing ideology and political expediency. The last week has witnessed the Pentagon mobilize systematic, public attacks against television host Tucker Carlson that in substance, tone, and political resonance are inexplicably inappropriate. The Department of Defense has rules about how members of the U.S. military can participate in politics. Active military members may express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but they cannot express opinions on behalf of or as a representative of the U.S. military. As Miliary.com stated in 2016: The DoD’s regulations are guided mostly by the Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939 restricting certain types of political activity among military members and other federal employees. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel provided updated “guidance” to the act regarding social media activity in 2012 and again in late 2015. https //www judicialwatch org/press-releases/comms-carlson- pentagon/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=press_release Related: Covers same material as article above 2021/07/12 [apparent date] Judicial Watch on Facebook Judicial Watch announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense seeking records of communications between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other top military officials regarding Fox News and its host Tucker Carlson, whose recent commentary on the U.S. military was attacked by top Pentagon officials. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Department of Defense failed to reply to a March 16, 2021, FOIA. “Judicial Watch is disturbed about the Pentagon’s illicit secrecy about its coordinated attacks on the First Amendment-protected speech of Tucker Carlson,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The fact that we must take the Pentagon to federal court for these documents suggests the agency has something to hide.” ARTICLES DETAIL AFCEA https://www.afcea.org/content/?q=grove-assigned-director-intelligence-j-2 CBS News https://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-a-centcom-general-delay-intelligence-meant-for-the-president/ CENTCOM Most Recent Position(s): CENTCOM commander, 2013-2016 significant point: Obama presidency years, appointed by Obama Bulwark https://thebulwark.com/lloyd-austin-should-not-become-secretary-of-defense/ China US ICAS dot org https://chinaus-icas.org/biden-administration-international-affairs-personnel-tracker/biden-personnel-tracker- defense-and-security/lloyd-austin-secretary-of-defense/ Excerpt: After retiring from the armed services, Secretary Austin served on the boards of Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare. The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/10/james-clapper-pentagon-military-official Judicial Watch See more above https //www judicialwatch org/press-releases/comms-carlson- pentagon/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=press_release https //www judicialwatch org/press-releases/navy-pentagon-galvin/ The Hill 2021/01/11 Biden Pentagon pick could make up to $1.7M from leaving Raytheon. By Rebecca Kheel https //thehill com/policy/defense/533631-biden-pentagon-pick-could-make-up-to-17m-from-leaving-raytheon Media dot defense dot gov 2017/01/ 1 Unclassified Report of Investigation on Allegations Relating to USCENTCOM Intelligence Product https //media defense.gov/2017/Feb/01/2001714315/-1/-1/1/DODIG-2017-049.pdf MSN 2020/12/09 Iraq Troop Withdrawal Was Austin’s Failure — and Biden’s. By Eli Lake. https //www msncom/en-us/news/politics/iraq-troop-withdrawal-was-austin-s-failure-and-biden-s/ar-BB1bNmom Excerpt: (Bloomberg Opinion) -- One of the stranger aspects of President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of retired General Lloyd Austin to be his secretary of defense comes in his explanation of why he made the choice. In an essay in the Atlantic, Biden says he chose Austin because of how he oversaw the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011 from Iraq. “Pulling that off took more than just the skill and strategy of a seasoned soldier,” Biden wrote. “It required Austin to practice diplomacy, building relationships with our Iraqi counterparts and with our partners in the region.” Biden is certainly in a position to know this. He was the Barack Obama administration’s point man on Iraq when he served as vice president. What’s puzzling is why Biden would select Austin because of – not in spite of – his role in the U.S. retreat from Iraq. The 2011 decision was a strategic blunder that Biden and Obama reversed in part in 2014, after an Islamic State army had taken Iraq’s second largest city and was threatening Baghdad. A big reason why Obama agreed to a full withdrawal of forces from the country was because Austin, Biden and U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey failed to get the Iraqi parliament to approve a provision that stipulated U.S. forces remaining in Iraq would not be tried in Iraqi courts. This may seem like a technical detail, but almost all status-of- forces agreements with foreign countries include such provisions. https //www msncom/en-us/news/politics/iraq-troop-withdrawal-was-austin-s-failure-and-biden-s/ar-BB1bNmom Open Secrets https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/07/high-level-saudi-visit-multimillion-dollar-influence-operation/ Excerpt: Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, according to a readout of the meeting. And Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a former board member of defense industry giant Raytheon, tweeted that he also “enjoyed seeing” the crown prince’s brother. Defense industry interests and Saudi influence are closely intertwined as both have a common interest in continued U.S. support of the Saudi war in Yemen. The war has generated billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales. Biden’s 2020 campaign pledged not to take any contributions from lobbyists or foreign agents, but his campaign and joint fundraising committee took in thousands of dollars from individuals registered to lobby for Saudi Arabia and the defense industry. These donors included defense lobbyists who worked as foreign agents for Saudi Arabia during the 2020 election cycle. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/07/high-level-saudi-visit-multimillion-dollar-influence-operation/ 2021/03/09 Revolving Door - Austin’s Employment History. Updated by Alyce McFadden https://www.opensecrets.org/revolving/rev_summary.php?id=82688 [Note from PF: See Employment Timeline Graph in this article] Excerpt: Austin stepped down from all three board positions following his nomination in 2020. Prior to joining the Biden administration, Austin worked alongside fellow cabinet member Antony Blinken at Pine Island Capital Partners, a private equity firm investing in defense companies that touted its access to Washington. Politico 2020/12/10 Austin's ties to steel company add to concerns over industry influence. Critics say this is yet another knock on a nomination that has already faced opposition due to industry ties and the need to seek a waiver. By Jacqueline Feldscher https //www politico com/news/2020/12/10/austin-ties-steel-company-influence-444347 RT 2016/08/12 ‘Bad analysis’: Congress panel blasts military for rosy-eyed ISIS intel [Note from PF: Austin has ties to Raytheon (formerly United Technologies) and steel company Nucor; he had a major run-in with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain 2016/08/12 ‘Bad analysis’: Congress panel blasts military for rosy-eyed ISIS intel https //www rt com/usa/355715-centcom-isis-intel-repor Excerpt: US Central Command intelligence reports provided a “more positive” picture of US efforts against Islamic State than facts on the ground actually supported, claims a new report from a congressional task force led by House Republicans. The preliminary report, released Thursday, looked into whistleblower allegations that Central Command (CENTCOM) touched up intelligence reports to make US efforts against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria appear more effective than it actually was. After interviewing five analysts and several experts, the panel found “persistent problems” with intelligence reports in 2014 and 2015. https //www rt com/usa/355715-centcom-isis-intel-repor Slate 2020/12/08 Lloyd Austin Is the Wrong Choice for Secretary of Defense. He’s had an impressive career, and it’s a historic pick—but there’s a reason generals shouldn’t run the Pentagon. By Fred Kaplan https //slate com/news-and-politics/2020/12/lloyd-austin-secretary-defense html Washington Examiner 2020/12/10 Lloyd Austin’s mixed record as four-star commander. by Jamie McIntyre, Senior Writer https //www washingtonexaminer com/policy/defense-national-security/lloyd-austins-mixed-record-as-four-star- commander [Note from PF: Austin had a serious run-in with recently deceased John McCain] Excerpt: …McCain was stunned with disbelief. "I must say I've been a member of the committee for nearly 30 years, and I've never heard testimony like this. Never," McCain fumed at the infamous Sept. 16 hearing. "Basically, general, what you're telling us is that everything's fine as we see hundreds of thousands of refugees leave and flood Europe, as we're seeing now 250,000 Syrians slaughtered, as you see more and more Iranian control of the Shia militia," McCain continued. "I have never seen a hearing that is as divorced from the reality of every outside expert." https //www washingtonexaminer com/policy/defense-national-security/lloyd-austins-mixed-record-as-four-star- commander Other sources on this website where Austin’sname is mentioned Discussion on EFP’s in Iraq Military Times (2015/07/14) Iran linked to deaths of 500 US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. By Andre DeGrandpre and Andrew Tilghman https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2015/07/14/iran-linked-to-deaths-of-500-u-s-troops-in-iraq- afghanistan On Home Page-Index under Recommended Reading 2017 article still applicable Times Examiner 2017/02/22 Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration of U.S. National Security Agencies: Stealth Jihad for Transforming America. By Mike Scruggs https://www.timesexaminer.com/mike-scruggs/2747-muslim-brotherhood-infiltration-of-us-national-security- agencies Excerpt: A September 29, 2015, Center for Security Policy (CSP) article indicated that more than 50 U.S. intelligence analysts working with the U.S. Central Command had filed complaints with the Department of Defense Inspector General claiming that their analyses had been manipulated by senior officials to downplay the threat of ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria. The alleged motive for these omissions and manipulations was to present a picture of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Syrian War that supported Obama Administration ideology and policy…In August 2016, a Congressional task force investigating the complaints of the Central Command intelligence officers found convincing evidence that the dire warnings of their intelligence analysis had been considerably altered regarding the urgency and degree of the ISIS threat after senior officers of the Central Command had become involved. This involved both the alteration and destruction of documents. General Lloyd Austin’s testimony to Congress was far more optimistic than what turned out to be the truth. This gave Presidential allies in Congress an opportunity to downplay the ISIS threat. The Congressional task force recommended further investigation by the Inspector General. https://www.timesexaminer.com/mike-scruggs/2747-muslim-brotherhood-infiltration-of-us-national-security- agencies Updates: 2021/07/15 editing, additions Judicial Watch lawsuits; 2021/07/13-14 -PAGE STARTED-Lloyd Austin
Index Index