Politics

The Hunt for Bowe Bergdahl: ‘You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!’

(Lt. General [U.S. Army-Retired] Mike Flynn’s contributions to U.S. Special Operations are legendary and fall into the category of, “You don’t know, what you don’t know!” Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld used a similar category in his planning called “unknown, unknowns.”)

I spoke directly to Michael Furlong as soon as the Vanity Fair piece was published on March 7, 2019. The article characterized General Flynn and SES Michael Furlong’s actions on hiring former CIA official Dewey Clarridge (and his existing sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan) to help find the captured U.S. Army soldier, Bowe Berghdal, on June 30, 2009.

Furlong’s major concern was to clarify gaps in the facts pertaining to the author’s paragraph (below) regarding the legalities of the $200,000 contract to obtain the services of the late-Dewey Clarridge. In the summer of 2014, the U.S. attorney in Miami ended the Furlong investigations with a “No True Bill.”

In the coopted article published in Vanity Fair, Matt Farwell and Michael Ames wrote: “Furlong scoured his spreadsheets for the black budget money he needed. He diverted $200,000 from another contract and was ready to get Clarridge, a retired, indicted, and pardoned ex‑C.I.A. officer, back in the game. Furlong recalled how easy it was; he would eventually collect $24 million and change for Eclipse and his other private intelligence operations, deliberately keeping it under the threshold of $25 million that would trigger congressional oversight. Pentagon lawyers could parse whether this was technically legal. They had a soldier to find and a way to do it. It was legal enough for Furlong.”

Regarding Ames’ characterization that Michael Furlong diverted $200,000 to hire Dewey Clarridge’s existing network of sources in Afghanistan/Pakistan to find missing soldier Bowe Berghdal, the facts were: Furlong was a U.S. government (USG) civilian in the Senior Executive Service (SES) with an existing Pentagon contract awarded ($24.8 million under a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement). This contract had adequate “Scope of Work” and internal funding to cover the new task under “Urgent and Compelling” circumstances of the Berghdal capture.

Furlong contacted the USG Contracting Official (KO) and expedited the authority to employ/fund a “Government-Directed Source” (sub-contractor) with an emailed “Notice to Proceed” from the KO while a formal modification to the existing Firm-Fixed-Price contract was processed. Clarridge’s company qualified as a “Unique Source” with the one-of-a-kind capabilities to address the “Urgent and Compelling” circumstances of hunting for Bergdahl.

The italicized text above represents authorities/exceptions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) “full and open competition” requirements. General Flynn and SES Michael Furlong made a quick, legal decision that enabled the immediate pursuit of a missing U.S. Army soldier.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Ex Umbra

Ex Umbra is a pen name used for the security of an experienced senior counterterrorist operative currently working outside of the US government.

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