Tim Sumner

President Trump should immediately free Army LT Clint Lorance unjustly convicted of murdering Taliban attacking his platoon

On July 2, 2012, in broad daylight, in Taliban-controlled territory, three men on a motorcycle were speeding towards Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance’s dismounted infantry platoon subordinates. They had ignored signs on the road saying it was to be used only by ISAF and Afghanistan military and police units. The Taliban had recently conducted several suicide attacks upon U.S. forces using motorcycles, the platoon had been repeatedly attacked during the past month, and they had been sniped at from that same road the day before. Then 27-year old Iraq War veteran Lorance had assumed command of the platoon 3 days earlier after the previous platoon leader and another soldier were badly wounded by an IED nearby. An endangered American soldier asked Lorance for permission to fire.

Lorance gave the order to shoot. Had he not given it, within seconds more American soldiers would most likely be dead or maimed for life.

Two Taliban riders died and the third escaped. (More about them in a moment.) While the motorcycle did not explode, it could not be recovered to check for bombs as an attack from another direction loomed. Villagers dragged off the bike and the dead riders were buried by locals without an autopsy to determine if the bullets that killed them were fired by U.S. troops of by Afghanistan Army troops who also fired at the motorcycle.

Even without knowing the exculpatory evidence – proof positive bio-metric and other evidence that the riders were Taliban bombers – which the prosecution later withheld from his defense lawyers and the jury, Lorance knew enough to make giving the order to shoot his duty.

A year later, Lorance was acquitted of ROE violations. Yet, incredibly, he was convicted of murder and is spending the prime years of his life in Fort Leavenworth’s prison for making the right, split-second decision. After nearly 10 years of honorable and heroic service in the Army, he may spend 19 years in a cell and be nearing 50-years old before he is freed.

President Trump has the authority to disapprove Lorance’s conviction with prejudice, restore him to military duty with back pay, and, by doing so, begin to reverse this travesty of justice.

According to military prosecutors, when the enemy acted as though they were about to attack, our troops were required under the Rules of Engagement (ROE) to delay firing their weapons until determining whether the fast-approaching motorcycle displayed a “hostile intent.” They then were to make a battlefield determination as to whether the fast-moving inbound motorcycle constituted a “hostile act.” But doing so would have increased the risk to themselves and the lives of their fellow troops. In other words, they were to play battlefield lawyer when all they did was sign up to defend our nation.

While Lorance was acquitted of ROE-related charges, his chain of command’s gutless, political and self-serving decision to charge him was all about ROE that should never been formulated or enforced. The chain of command – from the then President down to his company commander – more than failed Clint Lorance; they failed our country. They made an example of him. Yet they also empowered our nation’s sworn enemies with strategic and tactical advantages.

President Trump doing the right thing by Lorance would send two main messages to our military: stop prosecuting your troops for doing their sworn duty; and your mission is to win battles and help prevent further attacks upon our homeland and interests abroad.

An experienced and decorated American combat veteran soldier was convicted and incarcerated for the very thing his superiors gave him the authority and responsibility to do. Moreover, he did what the American people expect our small unit leaders to do. Clint Lorance made a combat decision to protect our side’s troops.

The American people don’t expect our troops to commit suicide to accomplish the missions we send them on. If anyone made that same decision 70 years earlier during WWII while fighting the suicide-for-their-emperor-loving forces of Imperial Japan, they’d have received praise from their superiors.

President Trump should act immediately. Clint Lorance has already spent 6 years in a cell.

Post updated at 12:22 PM, May 16, 2019.

Gina Haspel, Congress, the CIA, and deliberately failing memories

Al Qaeda ruthlessly slaughtered 3,000 men, women, and children on 9/11.

Terrified and screaming, eight kids aboard the planes were slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Seen among the 200 forced by searing heat to leap to their deaths from the Towers was an eight-months pregnant woman whose last act was to wrap her arms around her stomach. As FDNY Engine 216 set up near the South Tower, a falling body struck and killed Danny Suhr, who had been a firefighter since 1983. Most remember the numerous acts of courage, humanity, and self-sacrifice that day.

The American people – including every Member of Congress – said, “Never again.” It was mandate to every soldier, law enforcement officer, intelligence officer, and official charged with the responsibility of defending our nation. We knew the enemy was still coming and had to be stopped. Our best and brightest had to step up and they did.

Gina Haspel was among the patriots who answered the call.

The intelligence gained by the CIA using EITs was enormous. On June 23, 2013, then CIA Director John Brennan predicated the CIA’s response to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program. In part, Brennan wrote:

“In particular, the Agency disagrees with the Study’s unqualified assertions that the overall detention and interrogation program did not produce unique intelligence that led terrorist plots to be disrupted, terrorists to be captured, or lives to be saved. The Study’s claims on this score are inconsistent with the factual record, and we provide detailed comments in TAB C on where and why the Study’s assertions and representations are wrong.”

The implementation of the Enhanced Interrogation Program was not Gina Haspel’s decision; it was the President’s decision after her seniors at the CIA recommended its approval. It had been cleared by the Office of Legal Counsel and briefed to Majority and Minority Leaders of Congress, to include the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Nancy Pelosi. The moral high ground was to deny unlawful enemy combatants the protections of the Geneva Conventions, to not allow those who acted outside of the Rules of War, who slaughtered civilians and soldiers alike, to remain silent.

Gina Haspel has served our nation with honor for thirty years. The EIT Program saved American lives. She deserves our thanks and far better than to be smeared by those with short memories.

Stolen valor; there is no reason to believe faithless elector Chris Suprun’s 9/11 first responder stories

Ask 9/11 first responders who they went with to the World Trade Center, Shanksville, and Pentagon. Ask them who they worked with while there. Many saw co-workers from previous station houses or from bloody crimes scenes, horrific accidents, and raging fires. They are all seared into memory. Some hugged fellow first responders who were also family members or best friends, and saw them for the last time on this earth.

click on image to learn more about 'Firefight; Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11

Just don’t ask Chris Suprun for names; he won’t answer those questions. He will say he responded to the Pentagon the morning of September 11, 2001, but that’s about all.

There is no need for someone to pad their resume with a phony 9/11 story. That day serves as a stark reminder that those who wear the mantle of ‘first responder’ have a tough, often dangerous job. Rightfully, most are seen as everyday heroes.

Yet there are a few who fail to live up to their oaths either by abusing their authority, corruption, negligence, or a lack of integrity. They bring discredit upon themselves, and cause the public to wonder about the fidelity of those they serve with. They need sunlight.

WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas has shed some on Chris Suprun. He put himself into public view by vowing as an elector for Texas to not vote for Donald Trump on December 19, 2016, and asking fellow Electoral College members to do the same. And he obviously hoped to add weight to his argument in an op-ed in the New York Times with this passage:

“Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.”

At least one unidentified (identity protected) witness said Suprun told him and others two different versions of his 9/11 heroics:

“He claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park Fire Department on September 11, 2001, and personally told us stories: “Well, I was fighting fire that day at the Pentagon. No, I was on a medical unit that day at the Pentagon.””

Chris Suprun claims he never said he responded as a member of the Manassas Park FD and their Fire Chief says Suprun did not begin working there until October 10, 2001. However, while he now says he responded to the Pentagon as a member of the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, Suprun’s LinkedIn resume says he was with Manassas from September 2001 to April 2004 and never mentions Dale City:

Screen shot extract from Chris Suprun's current LinkedIn resume

Perhaps Suprun’s most detailed 9/11 first responder story was told to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist (now editor) Daniel Rubin in 2012:

“Suprun’s own 9/11 story began with a decision that runs counter to everything he has taught in disaster management classes – he dispatched himself. He was 27, a volunteer paramedic at the Dale City fire company in Northern Virginia, and he was teaching emergency medical response at George Washington University. When his beeper sounded after the first jet struck in Manhattan, he drove with a buddy to the fire station, where he always kept a fresh uniform. As they dressed, preparing to drive to New York, they watched a TV report from the Pentagon, where a third jet had just smashed into the 30-acre building. They roared up I-395 toward the thick, black smoke, which they could see from five miles away. “It’s not like the movies,” he said. “People weren’t screaming. But you could smell burning Jet A [fuel], burning paper, burning material. …” He and his partner were put to immediate use. In a parking lot, they administered basic first aid until 6 that night, then were deployed to a recreation center, where they treated the first responders for six hours more.”

Surely Chris Suprun remembers who he raced up I-395 with and the names of first responders he assisted at the recreation center or while doing first aid.

Until he provides them and they confirm it, there is no reason for anyone to believe his 9/11 first responder stories.

Integrity matters. Stolen valor matters.