Autopsy of an insider attack

| December 4, 2012

The Associated Press submitted a FOIA to get the details of the insider attack at an Army base in Afghanistan which resulted in the deaths of U.S. Army Capts. Joshua Lawrence and Drew Russell. How no one saw this attack coming is beyond me. The two were murdered after a day of hosting about a hundred Afghan tribal and religious leaders at the base;

The investigation – a standard process in a war zone – found that security at the U.S.-Afghan command post was so relaxed that guards were not told to check anyone entering. Potential Afghan thievery, not treachery, was judged the chief threat. Thus the killers had unfettered access and moved about without arousing suspicion.

Only 10 designated Afghan security personnel were supposed to be in the compound, but U.S. guards were given no access roster. Unknown numbers “freely entered and exited the compound unchecked,” an Army investigator found.

The Americans had been told to treat the Afghans as if they were mingling in Iron Horse Park, a recreation area on their home base, Fort Carson, Colo., according to a staff sergeant who was present but whose name is blacked out on his sworn statement to investigators.

Yeah, it’s funny, not funny ha-ha, how the enemy always exploits weaknesses and doesn’t always use a frontal assault to kill Americans.

The Americans had convinced themselves, 10 years into a war whose successful outcome depended on empowering local security forces, that they could trust their Afghan colleagues.


As the attacks mounted this year, U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington insisted these were “isolated incidents.”

Yeah, because if you ignore the problem, eventually it will go away. AP says that 63 US troops have been murdered this year in these insider attacks, but we’ll never know how many incidents have occurred that didn’t result in deaths, because the Pentagon is hiding those numbers. I’ve been told by folks who know that they’re just the tip of the iceberg – that many more green-on-blue attacks are covered up at the highest levels of command when no one was killed.

Although the Benghazi consulate attack on September 11th was tragic, this, to me, is a worse scandal. For most of this year, many troops weren’t even allowed to arm themselves in the presence of Afghan troops to demonstrate our trust of our allies, in spite of the fact that there wasn’t really any reason to trust them. But, it won’t be a scandal, because in the minds of Americans, soldiers die in war. But, it’s the command’s responsibility to keep those numbers as low as possible.

This incident demonstrates the foolhardy and misplaced “trust” in our allies, costing two Americans their lives.

Category: Terror War

Comments (13)

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  1. Civilwarrior says:

    A gigantic WTF for me. How in the name of GOD can security in a war zone be so lax? I only deployed once before retirement, and that was to effing KOSOVO, and we did not give unfettered access by locals to ANYTHING, And we had a damned fine relationship with them. What the hell is wrong with our leadership?

  2. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Maj. Gen. James L. Huggins ordered the investigation and then rejected its key finding that “U.S. officers had failed to take necessary security precautions.” Huggins called the security “appropriate” to available intel. The US colonel who ran the investigation said, among other sensible things, that the chain-of-command should be held accountable for its reliance on the Afghans to police themselves. The whole nine yards was tossed by Huggins. The AP story says nothing about what became of the colonel who ticked off Huggins but offers this about ole General Jimmy:

    “Huggins, who now works for the director of the Army staff at the Pentagon and has been selected for promotion to lieutenant general, declined through a spokesman to be interviewed for this story. In a brief encounter last week, Huggins told the AP he could not remember enough about the case to discuss it.”

    He could not remember enough about the case to discuss it? Gotta go throw up now.

  3. Sporkmaster says:

    Oh and if anyone has access to AKO there is a training video that is going around that talks about the insider threat. Long story short is that all the stories that they talk about want to make the point that the cause was a grievance started with the Afghanistan personal. They cite the issue of drinking water during Ramadan as a possible cause for a attack.

  4. 2BlueStars says:

    A fairly recent Green on Blue attack stated an altercation when in fact the soldiers were murdered in their sleep!

  5. USMCE8Ret says:

    What’s next if the ROE isn’t changed and security increased? If free-run is given on U.S. bases now, it’s just a matter of time before it’s discovered that the little Afghan guy that performs menial jobs on base is really pacing the compound for distance for mortar strikes.

  6. Tman says:

    The sooner we get out of that toilet the better.

    NO American life is worth these two faced rats.

  7. Jabatam says:

    “I’ve been told by folks who know that they’re just the tip of the iceberg – that many more green-on-blue attacks are covered up at the highest levels of command when no one was killed.”

    I’ve heard similar

  8. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    My Army nephew says attacks and harassment happens daily. Why would I doubt the nephew I helped raise? Why don’t we hear about this?

  9. Common Sense says:

    @2 – AND he’s going to get promoted. As did the Air Force general who left Jason Cunningham to die (read None Braver).

    The guys (and gals) doing the hard work for their country are heroes. Can’t say the same for the garbage at the top. What happens to them as they get promoted? I know Dempsey was never a warrior but that doesn’t seem to be true about this guy:

    I can accept deaths in battle, it’s war, but deaths due to stupidity, incompetence, and negligence, or just good ol’ “protect my career” make me sick.

    It just rips my heart apart to hear these stories.

  10. DetCord says:

    Bar none, the ANA and ANP are the worst examples of professional Soldiers and LEO’s I’ve ever had the displeasure of working alongside, and make the their Iraqi counterparts look like Special Forces in comparison.

    These fuckers… oh man. When they’re not high as a kite on hash or opium, or a combination thereof, they’re emptying entire mags or drums of ammo at non-existent targets, and when they’re not blowing through ammo they’re high. What a giant Charlie Foxtrot.

  11. Twist says:

    I’ve never had the (dis)pleasure of working with the ANA or ANP, but if they make the IA look like SF then they are one step above a monkey with a football bat.

  12. Son of Liberty says:

    Thousands of American lives, billions of dollars, and 11 years and the Afgans shoot the hand that feeds them and continue practicing totalitarian sharia law. Let them wallow in their rot.

  13. CSE CSC says:

    @11: I disagree. I would say they’re one step BELOW a monkey with a baseball bat. Monkeys can be trained.