There is a lot of criticism on the reporting of this story today – and wouldn’t you know Media Matters would be at the top of the heap. The bottom line is that the investigation is open and continuing. See a video below, and note that three of the five soldiers have now been cleared. Two remain under investigation.
The FBI has not been called into the case. An Army spokesman has said: “Two months of investigation, there has been no credible evidence to support the allegations,”…but the investigation is still open and continuing. There may or may not have been arrests, but the reporting by Katherine Herridge at FOX News, still stands as correct – and did I mention that the investigation is still…open and continuing.
Erick Stakelbeck’s report for CBN yesterday was the first available to link to, after I heard Herridge’s report. Read my original reporting here, where you can see the timeline as the report began to make news.
From among all of these reports, you can see that there have been numerous confirmations. Apparently, Media Matters does not think it worthwhile to talk about an incident – poisoning soldiers – that could have happened, but didn’t.
Media Matters obviously sees no merit to an investigation that is “open and continuing,” but I do, so here is the latest update from Erick Stakelbect at CBN, and at the end finish reading the rest of the story by Chuck Holton, Stakelbeck’s colleague and a CBN Military Correspondent.
by Erick Stakelbeck:
This morning, I spoke to Army CID spokesman Christopher Gray and
learned more details about a possible poisoning plot that I first
reported here yesterday after CBN confirmed with Patrick Jones of
Fort Jackson’s Public Affairs Office and a reliable source with intimate
knowledge of the investigation. Here is the latest on what we do know.
According to Gray, the Army is investigating allegations that a group
of soldiers from the 09 Lima program (more on that later in this post)
at Fort Jackson–which is based in South Carolina–had talked about
poisoning food in the base’s mess hall. The men were questioned about
two months ago, around Christmas. Gray said that to protect the
integrity of the investigation, he could not comment further. He
stressed that the investigation is “open and continuing.”
CBN News also spoke to a Department of Homeland Security official
with knowledge of the investigation who wished to remain anonymous. The
official confirmed that the investigation was ongoing and said that
someone in the Lima 09 program overheard five Muslim colleagues talking
about poisoning food at the base. The person then reported the men, who
were brought in for questioning.
The DHS official stressed that after the terrorist massacre at Fort
Hood, the Army is taking a zero tolerance policy towards any potential
threatening statements and is now extremely sensitive about any
allegations in that regard.
Terrorism expert Patrick Poole, an anti-terrorism consultant for the
U.S. military and law enforcement, told CBN News that “if this incident
had become public in late December while the military was still working
on the Ft. Hood report it would have no doubt been catastrophic. What
exactly happened at Ft. Jackson and why is this only coming out now?
That’s a question that Congress should be asking. “
“As noted in the Washington
Times last month,” Poole continued. “My colleagues and I have been
warning of jihadist threats – both external and internal – for several
years. The Pentagon has entirely ignored us and the Ft. Hood report
released last month is evidence of the culture of willful blindness that
wants to pretend this threat doesn’t exist. Regardless of how the Ft.
Jackson incident is resolved, it demonstrates that this threat is not
I spoke today to Army spokesman Christopher Garver, who said the five
men are not currently in custody. He was unclear whether the men who
were questioned were U.S.citizens. And that brings us to another
interesting wrinkle to this story.
According to my colleague, CBN
Military Correspondent Chuck Holton, the 09 Lima program, which
these men are a part of:
…is specifically geared
towards non-US citizens who bring to the table one very in-demand skill –
the ability to speak fluent Arabic, Dari, Pashto, or some other needed
language. But these recruits also have a handicap – their grasp of the
English language is not sufficient to allow them to make it through
basic training. So the 09 Lima program puts them through a sort of
pre-basic basic, where they learn American culture, Army culture and
work on their English language skills. Once they finish the course,
they are then able to enter normal basic training. It’ is a very small
program, with something less
than forty recruits in each class.