Tuesday, April 5, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Key Source in Hersh's Ghouta Claims Investigated by FBI and ICE

On the morning of October 25th, 2010 Federal Agents from the FBI and ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) raided a home in Melrose, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. At the same time, an interview was conducted by FBI agents at JFK International Airport. The subject, a warhead expert affiliated with defense industry giant Raytheon, had recently returned from India on business.

The late Mr. Richard Lloyd was regarded as one of the top experts in his field, with decades of experience, and at least two books on conventional and nuclear warheads according to Amazon listings. In recent years he, along with Theodore Postol, received some attention for his work attempting to refute the efficacy of the Iron Dome, and to prove that Assad’s forces were not responsible for the August 2013 Ghouta Massacre. He died in October 2014 of an unspecified cancer.

As the article on Boston.com notes, Lloyd was no longer employed by Raytheon on October 26th, 2010, but the spokesman 'declined to say when or under what circumstances Lloyd left the company.". It is unclear if the raid and interview led to Mr. Lloyd's termination, or if not, how long before this happened did he no longer work for the company.

Because Mr. Lloyd is deceased, it is possible to submit Freedom of Information Act requests about him and receive information. I submitted parallel requests about the arrest and interview to the FBI and ICE. ICE refused to comply, citing “ongoing criminal investigations” despite Mr Lloyd having been deceased for 5 months, while the FBI delayed for nearly a year before providing partially redacted documents. Following are the documents (annotated by me) which undermine the integrity and reliability of Mr. Lloyd. 

It is unclear if Lloyd lied because he was panicking. It is evident that the first priority of the special agents was to ensure that he was not trafficking information on nuclear weaponry, but the consistent lies are deeply concerning. Was Lloyd was terminated from his employment at Raytheon before he went to India or afterwards? Was he fired because he violated security protocols? If he had been fired before this why would he still have sensitive computers from Raytheon in his possession? There are many questions which remain unanswered.

Richard Lloyd, for all his valuable work in the past, seems to have made some major mistakes in his Iron Dome work as I've pointed out herehere and here, and as Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have pointed out, also appears to have made some mistakes in his work on Ghouta. Despite this, he was still cited as a source by Seymour Hersh in his work attempting to prove Assad's innocence. The information which I have obtained, partnered with the shoddy work on these two major cases demonstrates that Lloyd has serious credibility issues and should not be taken at face value.