The more we read, the more we research and the more we talk to people – the more questions we have. The helical nature of these questions regarding this organization and its history seem to gradually spiral and becoming larger and larger the deeper we delve. As we have stated previously, this is about money, power and control of the POW/MIA Issue. When we talk about control, we mean control at all levels. When Ann Mills-Griffiths took over the reigns of the NLF as Executive Director (a paid position) from Carol Bates, the image and perception of the NLF took a huge 180 degree turn from its mission.
AMG came on the scene in the POW/MIA Issue in the mid 1970’s leaving her carefree Southern California lifestyle to come to DC as a legislative liaison with the NLF. Most likely in her early 30’s at the time, which would have been quite young at that time to be pounding on doors on Capitol Hill. Remember, it was much more of a Good Ol’Boys Club than it even is today. She was young and ambitious. Carol Bates, then Executive Director of the NLF, suddenly made an almost inexplicable leap from the NLF to a public relations position with DIA.
For a long time we had been perplex by this sudden jump to DIA, yet, looking at the chronology of the NLF pre-AMG and post-AMG, the landscape becomes much clearer. It was explained to us that, at the time, one striking difference between AMG and Carol was that Carol was the smarter of the two and AMG was the more ambitious. Quite possibly, by offering Carol an entry-level position at DIA, this left the door open for AMG to take over the Executive Director post with the NLF.
AMG quickly began to parse away at what we like to call the POW/MIA splinter groups that were popping up all over the country in post-Vietnam America. As was shown in several of our past posts, AMG wielded the NLF sword to discredit many of these other groups leaving the NLF at the top of the food chain. Clearly, just by the mere fact that AMG was purportedly representing the POW/MIA families-the general public, veterans’ groups and the like would certainly side with the families whenever a rift came to pass with non-profit groups that consisted of only concerned citizens.
AMG made every effort to see to it that the NLF was *the* POW/MIA advocacy group. Once the NLF’s dominance was established, the USG gingerly took advantage of AMG’s ambition and gave her a nice shot of Potomac Fever. Potomac Fever is, in part, what we are suffering today on a national level – the audacity of those in power in Washington who believe that they know what is best for the rest of us because we are too naive to grasp how our nation really works. So, out of pity, they hold our innocent little hands and walk us through the political jungle because, according to them, we are too stupid to survive without them.
We know what you may be thinking, that is a pretty big leap. Yet, when we put everything into chronological order, it makes sense. In 1978 AMG became the Executive Director of the NLF, in 1979 she signed the secrecy agreement with DIA – against NLF by-laws and without consulting the NLF Board. She then, almost methodically went about alienating every POW/MIA group possible. Nothing was going to go on in the POW/MIA Issue without her personal rubber stamp of approval which included even manipulating others; as was the case of the money laundering scandal, which, ironically lead to the loss of Support Our POW/MIAs’ non-profit status.
Enter Army Lt. Col. Richard Childress of the National Security Council. It has amazed us, by looking at the series of documents, the level of access and influence that AMG allowed him to have on the NLF; an influence that still exists today. Taking a look at some of the early documents, specifically one that Richard Childress shared with others within the DoD and State Department (see below). This document outlines the fact that AMG had been sharing information with the government in violation of NLF by-laws and directives. As he explained to the recipients of the information, the reason for this betrayal of her employer and fellow POW/MIA Family members was, according to Childress, “..for the best interest of the issue.” Remember Potomac Fever?
You can see the interesting cover letters by clicking Childress_and_AMG. That was in 1983, AMG had then dismantled most of the POW/MIA groups and she and Carol were deep in the money laundering with the Support our POW/MIAs (while Carol was employed at DIA). Meanwhile, AMG was, against NLF directives, recording an NLF Board Meeting and then passing a transcription on to her confidant at the NSC, Richard Childress. And what did Childress do with this information? He forwarded it to:
Col. Mark Richards, USAF – a senior official at DIA (retired in 1984)
John Monjo, then Deputy Assistant Secretary (State Department), East Asia and Pacific Affairs ( later Ambassador to Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan)
Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs
James Kelley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, East Asia and Pacific Affairs
Col. Lee J. Elwell, Deputy Director for Strategy and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The most interesting discussion point is the fact that Childress wrote “PROTECT” across the top and bottom of the cover letter. Based on a Google search, this unclassified designation would most likely mean, “Extremely sensitive information, if compromised, could reasonable be expected to cause extremely grave injury outside of national interest.” This is used to protect the identity of an informant. It it also worth noting that Childress makes no formal introduction of AMG to these men. He only refers to her as “Ann” – giving the impression that all of these men know exactly who she is and what she is/was doing at the time. (We have submitted the question of PROTECT and once we have a specific answer we will update this post.)
How would sharing this information with the above individuals be ” …for the best interest of the issue”? Best for the families … or best for the DoD and the State Department?
If AMG was willing to throw Board members and US Congressmen under the bus, what is to make us believe that what she has orchestrated since these early days hasn’t been for her own narcissistic satisfaction and to indulge her Potomac Fever?
It is abundantly clear that AMG is going to do what AMG wants and the rest of us are to either get on board or get out of her way. Have NLF members allowed her to control the issue from the inside under the guise of her government-influenced definition of what is best for the issue?
Some Lingering Questions:
1) Why was the question about Susie Harvey’s eligibility as a Board Member the only question addressed during the Membership Meeting at the annual meeting?
2) Why did AMG tell Mark Stephensen to “shut it down” while they both knew they had another 30 minutes of Q and A with the membership? (Ann, you need to be more careful, at least one person in the room could read lips.)
3) Did AMG know that members had questions about her pending book publication?
- Has AMG consulted with DIA, per her secrecy agreement, over her book?
- Has AMG legally insulated the NLF from any potential legal action taken against the organization resulting from the content of her book?
- Who will be the recipient of any royalties that come from the book? AMG personally or the NLF?
4) Why, once AMG stepped down, was the position of Executive Director done away with? At whose urging, under what rationale and when was this voted on by the NLF Board?
5) How does the job description for the newly introduced “National Coordinator” differ from that former position of “Executive Director”?
6) Why has the sole official email address for the NLF (firstname.lastname@example.org), which has been in use for as long as anyone can remember, now considered AMG’s personal email address? The new National Coordinator has been given her own email address and now, the only email address that has been used by government officials, foreign dignitaries, the press and veterans’ organization, etc. to contact the NLF still remains in the hands of a former employee.
7) How are we supposed to interpret the undeniable silence of the Board of Directors regarding the illegal elections? Could it possibly be a new strand of Potomac Fever?