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Truth & Consequences: Blowing the Whistle on Government Abuse

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 11/13/11

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Jesselyn Radack presents the 2011 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

On Monday, November 21 at 8:10 pm, in the Ward Circle Building, Room 2, of American University, Keynote Speakers, Thomas Drake (former NSA official) and Jesselyn Radack (former Justice Department attorney) will share their experiences in exposing abuse and subsequent government retaliation.

The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Annual Award to Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack. The event is sponsored by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence and American University's Nuclear Studies Institute. Drake and Radack are recipients, ex aequo, of this year's award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Also on the agenda ...

Col. Larry Wilkerson (USA, ret.), SAAII awardee in 2009 and former chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell (2002-2005) will speak on his repeated attempts to set the record straight since his retirement.

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Coleen Rowley, Former special agent and legal counselor, Minneapolis FBI, who called the FBI director's attention to serious flaws that might have prevented 9/11; Time Magazine Person of the Year and Sam Adams Award Recipient: 2002

Peter Kuznick, Professor of History; Director, American University's Nuclear Studies Institute; Co-writer (with Oliver Stone) "Untold History of the U.S." (coming in 2012 on Showtime & in print)

Ray McGovern, Veteran CIA analyst, whose duties included preparing and briefing the President's Daily Brief; Co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS); colleague of Sam Adams.

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The late Sam Adams, in calculating the number of Vietnamese Communists under arms, came up with twice the number Gen. William Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. forces, would allow the Army to acknowledge. Sadly, the countrywide Communist offensive in January-February 1968 proved Sam right.

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence is a movement of former CIA colleagues and other associates of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those in intelligence who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. Sam did the best he could and in honoring his memory, SAAII confers an award each year to a member of the intelligence profession exemplifying Sam Adam's courage, persistence, and devotion to truth -- no matter the consequences.

It was Adams who discovered in 1967 that there were more than a half-million Vietnamese Communists under arms -- roughly twice the number that the U.S. command in Saigon would admit to, lest Americans learn that claims of "progress" were bogus. Gen. William Westmoreland had put an artificial limit on the number Army intelligence was allowed to carry on its books. And Gen. Creighton Abrams specifically warned Washington that the press would have a field day if Adam's numbers were released, and that this would weaken the war effort.

A SECRET/EYES ONLY cable from Westmoreland's deputy, Gen. Creighton Abrams, on August 20, 1967 stated: "We have been projecting an image of success over recent months," and cautioned that if the higher figures became public, "all available caveats and explanations will not prevent the press from drawing an erroneous and gloomy conclusion."

The Communist countrywide offensive during Tet (January/February 1968) made it clear that the generals had been lying and that Sam Adams' "higher figures" were correct. Senior intelligence officials were aware of the deception, but lacked the courage to stand up to Westmoreland. Still, Sam remained reluctant to go "outside channels."

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A few weeks after Tet, however, Daniel Ellsberg rose to the occasion. Dan learned that Westmoreland was asking for 206,000 more troops to widen the war into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam -- right up to the border with China, and perhaps beyond. Someone else promptly leaked to the New York Times Westmoreland's troop request, emboldening Ellsberg to do likewise with Sam Adams' story. Dan had come to the view that leaking truth about a deceitful war would be "a patriotic and constructive act." It was his first unauthorized disclosure. On March 19, 1968 the Times published a stinging story based on Adams' figures.   

On March 25, President Lyndon Johnson complained to a small gathering, "The leaks to the New York Times hurt us...We have no support for the war. This is caused by the 206,000 troop request [by Westmoreland] and the leaks...I would have given Westy the 206,000 men." On March 31, 1968, Johnson introduced a bombing pause, opted for negotiations, and announced that he would not run for another term in November.

Sam Adams continued to press for honesty and accountability but stayed "inside channels" -- and failed. He died at 55 of a heart attack, nagged by the thought that, had he not let himself be diddled, many lives might have been saved. His story is told in War of Numbers

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