Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Phony Soldier as CEO

Blue Girl picked up on this guy last week, but neither one of us got around to doing much with the story because, well, we're busy people and there was so much going on.

How is it that several actual Veterans can work for a man who "claims" to have been a Veteran but never actually served? I'm scratching my head because nothing in this story makes sense. These are people at the executive level. There's a former one-star General who works for a man claiming military service. Did they ever sit down and talk? Did they ever compare notes? Or are the executives at this company complicit in hiding the fact that the owner of the company didn't serve because it would drive away business? Because the easiest thing in the world to spot is a phony Veteran, and what should follow when one discovers that the CEO of the company you work for is lying about being a Veteran are outrage and resignations.

Here's what we know about Barrett H. Moore: he is a donor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth AND a donor to George W Bush. He apparently shares with those entities an affinity for lying and filing bankruptcy. He has, working for him, some very distinguished people who actually served in the military.

Here's the story of a phony soldier:

In December 2003, the founders of Triple Canopy, a private security firm in Baghdad, caught their first big break, signing a contract with the Coalition Provisional Authority governing Iraq. Within four months, Triple Canopy had signed six contracts worth more than $28 million to guard U.S. facilities throughout Iraq.

For the military veterans who founded the company and Barrett H. Moore, who was then Triple Canopy's chief executive officer, these agreements launched the company on the path to what it is today: one of the leading private military contractors, sharing a $1 billion contract with Blackwater USA and DynCorp to guard U.S. personnel in the Middle East.

Moore, 43, a Chicago businessman, now presents himself as a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and business "visionary" who revolutionized the private security market but an Army spokesman said Moore was never an officer and never had intelligence training. Moore, fired by Triple Canopy in 2004, has launched a new private security firm called Sovereign Deed. He has parlayed his Triple Canopy success into political influence, persuading Republican and Democratic state officials to rewrite state law so that Sovereign Deed can receive $10 million in tax abatements and other incentives to establish a "national response center" for its private disaster relief business in northern Michigan.

I'd sure like to find out what was paid to those state officials--whether it was in campaign contributions or drinks and dinner--to get such a sweet deal.

In promoting Sovereign Deed, Moore has emphasized the military expertise of himself and the company's top officials. On the company's Web site, Moore states that he "served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, specializing in issues related to the non-proliferation of biological weapons and related weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."

What Moore's Pentagon patrons and political allies in Michigan have not known is the true story of Moore's military service. According to U.S. Army record keepers, Moore never completed his Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in college and was discharged from an inactive branch of the Reserves in 1994 without ever having gone through basic training. Contrary to the claims on Sovereign Deed's Web site, Moore never served as an Army intelligence officer, or in any other branch of the country's armed forces.

Moore's brushes with law enforcement also escape detection. He was convicted of three counts of criminal fraud in Australia in 1992 and served time in prison, according to court records there. An appeals court later reversed Moore's conviction. But in a related criminal trial, Moore acknowledged participating in an "illegal enterprise" to smuggle cars from Chicago to Melbourne and admitted fabricating documents as part of the operation.

Can you say two-bit crook? How did this clown ever get within shouting distance of doing major business with the Federal Government and the State of Michigan?

Moore and his associates at Sovereign Deed have emphasized military experience as a key feature of the company. The firm's spokesman in northern Michigan is retired Brigadier General Richard Mills, a former deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

In community meetings about Sovereign Deed's plans in November, Mills received hearty applause when he was introduced as a 30-year military veteran. He said he was proud to associate with veterans whom he called "the most magnificent of people."

In a phone interview Mills said that Moore was among the people who brought military experience to Sovereign Deed, adding he knew people who had served with him. He declined to provide any names.

But a spokesman for the National Personnel Records Service in St. Louis, which maintains records on all armed service personnel, said the NPRS has no record of Moore's service. Another search by the Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va., determined that Moore never completed his college ROTC training at DePauw University in Indiana in 1985-86, had never gone into basic training or been on active duty or had intelligence responsibilities.

In response to questions from Michigan Messenger, a Sovereign Deed official stressed the accusation, if true, was quite serious.

"Stating that one has falsified military service goes to the very core of pride, honor, and integrity of those who have served," wrote Glenn Collins, the chief operating officer of Sovereign Deed, in an email.

So the very excellent Michigan Messenger, which deserves a mighty tip of the hat for this story, has now been "sued" because this story is "defamatory."

Michigan Messenger's reporting on Barrett Moore, founder of the Sovereign Deed private security firm, is "unscrupulous and defamatory," says the firm's attorney in a letter sent to Michigan Messenger last Friday. The letter demanded that Michigan Messenger remove from its Web site a story headlined "Sovereign Deed CEO lied about military service, records show." Sovereign Deed also requested withdrawal of another Messenger story published last week, "Hypocrisy and Ambition: What the Barrett Moore story says about America" by Ed Brayton.

If the Messenger did not remove the stories by 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, Sovereign Deed's lawyers threatened "all appropriate legal proceedings," including "likely alleging defamation, tortious interference with business relationships and prospective business relationships."

Michigan Messenger declined to remove the stories.

If the US Army says you didn't fucking serve, you didn't fucking serve. They do tend to make minor mistakes here and there. They don't confuse a dropout cadet with someone who did thirty years as a commissioned officer. It just doesn't work that way.

Here's the biographical sketch from the Sovereign Deed website--see how long it takes for them to remove this para from the page:

Mr. Moore served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, specializing in issues related to the non-proliferation of biological weapons and related weapons of mass destruction (WMD). After completion of his service, Mr. Moore continued his entrepreneurial activities and founded several organizations, including Duramitt (AMI) and Knight International (an overseas based manufacturer and trading company, respectively).

I'm guessing if you click the link today and nothing happens, it means someone had an "oh shit!" moment and took it down. I find it hard to believe that, in this day and age, someone is stupid enough to have confused a thirty year career as an active duty commissioned officer with dropping out of ROTC after a year and thinks they can simply get away with it. It's not 1971 and you really can't pull that shit these days, what with those two or three big computer databases they got now and all that.


Also on the payroll and working for Moore is Former Los Angeles Fire Chief William R. Bamattre, who resigned last year:

The city's fire chief, given his job a decade ago with a mandate to stamp out racism and sexism, is leaving amid controversy over a black firefighter's claim that his white colleagues served him spaghetti with dog food.

Here's one of the legitimate soldiers who work for Moore: former Brigadier General Richard W Mills, as pictured in 2002 with President Bush at Fort Bragg, NC:


Now, General Mills is an actual soldier with a verifiable biography:
Richard W. Mills, Executive Vice President — Strategic Development

Mr. Mills joined Sovereign Deed after having achieved the rank of Brigadier General during a distinguished 32 year career with the U.S. Army. Having served as a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer for 27 years in a variety of operational, staff and command positions, he has an extensive background in military and interagency operations.

Now, when do you suppose Moore will simply claim that his biography was "confused" with that of General Mills?


Here's what appears in the legal proceedings against Moore in 1992:

Page 24:

The first witness called by the plaintiff was Mr. Moore who, as a 25 year old, had come to Australia in early 1988 to work as an equity options trader with the Macquarie Bank in Sydney.


I made a mistake in not more clearly stating that I think that Moore might wriggle out of this by claiming that his "bio" was confused with that of one of the legitimate Veterans at his company, and I should not have insinuated that he was claiming that he, Moore, served for "thirty years" when that is what General Mills actually served on active duty. Moore does not state for how long her served (that would reveal how much rank or responsibility he might have accrued) and that was the real point I was, clumsily, trying to get at.

No comments: