Mishandling of the Speicher Case -- If we needed another reason to support our "no confidence" vote in DASD Jerry Jennings, and DPMO, we got it. Recently, we were contacted by a source who provided information on one aspect of the Speicher investigation. This individual, with direct access to the information, stated: [Begin Source Statement]
In late March 2002, the Iraqi Government issued an invitation to the U.S. Government to send a delegation to Baghdad to discuss the Speicher case. My first thought was that this would allow both sides to put everything on the table and to clear the air, and perhaps get Speicher released. Rumsfeld stated that he felt the Iraqis were not sincere.
Within days the Iraqi Government also issued a similar invitation to any members of Congress to visit Iraq and inspect any portion of the country they wished to visit; of course, Speicher could have been on the agenda. Congress did not respond.
Since the consensus among DPMO analysts was that Speicher died during his aircraft loss incident, the analysts made no move to urge the Government to react to the invitation. Then, while the Iraqi invitation was still outstanding DASD Jennings took a small delegation of his DPMO "policy advisors" to the mid-East.
On 22 May 2002 the group visited Tel Aviv; on 25 May the group traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and on 29 May all concerned traveled to Kuwait. Personnel on the DPMO staff admitted that the sole purpose of the trip was to "get the DASD out of the office!"
During the period 21 May - 31 May 2002, SPEICHER WAS NOT ON THE AGENDA. As a matter of fact, the Israelis took the initiative to bring up the Speicher case. In other words the trip was a boondoggle at taxpayer's expense and had nothing to do with the POW issue.
The first time the Government responded to the Iraqi invitation actually occurred in ! July 200 2, when six pages of questions were forwarded to the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, to be passed to the Iraqis, with the understanding that meetings with the Iraqis could occur only after the Iraqis had responded to the questions. It should be noted that the Iraqis had not attended the ICRC meetings for the previous three years, so who knows if the questions were passed to them or not.
Within days of the questions being passed to the ICRC, Negroponte at the U.N. stated that the Iraqis were not cooperating on the Speicher case since they had not responded to the questions.
That the DASD could travel to the mid-East and not discuss Speicher is deplorable. That the U.S. Government could not respond to the Iraqi invitation reflects adversely upon DPMO since it had the lead in the Speicher case.
[End Source Statment]