Larry C. Johnson (bio below)
It is time for FOX NEWs and one of its “military” analysts to come clean. I refer to Major General Paul Vallely, who has emerged in the last month with the claim that Joe Wilson told Vallely that his wife was a CIA operative. I know Joe Wilson and Paul Vallely and do not find the General’s claim to be credible. What is more important to know is that Paul Vallely is not what his bio suggests. It is true that he is a West Point Graduate and served in Vietnam. For that we owe him our thanks as a nation.
But, Vallely did not stay in the regular Army. Instead, he joined the Army reserve as a major and rose thru the ranks to become a RESERVE Major General. That is very different from regular Army officers who served full time.
Some of his classmates at West Point note that he was not the brightest bulb (one says he had a “W at Yale” personality). If he started talking about anything of substance, his plodding intelligence coupled with his personality probably could lead someone to think he was a braggart. Out of 530 grads in his class, he was number 508 (22 from the bottom). Among West Point grads that is known as a “goat”.
His West Point bio indicates that he got out of the Army a couple of years after he returned from Vietnam. He was a Major. He then went into the Reserves and never was on active duty again except to attend some Army schools, most likely so he could meet his annual commitment to the Reserves. His West Point bio indicates that he spent his civilian days, all years from 1971 to the present, as a financial consultant including eventually his own financial consulting firm or as a Senior VP or Director of a company.
His Fox bio implies that he was a Regular Army Major General. Nope! He retired from the Reserves as a Major General, a significant difference. He never rose to Lt Col in the Regular Army. According to his Fox News bio he was the Deputy Commanding General of something in the Pacific when he retired. Active Regular Army organizations have unfilled slots that are meant to be filled during a mobilization and he was probably designated for that slot; it was not an active duty slot. Notice that his Fox bio has him roaming the world providing security assistance of some sort. That could mean many things from arms sales to training to providing maintenance. The West Point and Fox bios agree that he now works for IBM in Washington.
If all his accomplishments per his Fox bio were true, he would be one remarkable human being. If all the accomplishments and experiences occurred as Fox infers, Paul would have to be 150 years old. His bio lists so many places he served that I believe it would be equivalent to me taking a trip around the world and saying I had lived in India when I had actually spent two nights in a hotel there.
His personality, incidentally, lends itself to being quite a salesman. He sure sold himself to Fox somehow?
Paul is not a bad guy. He is amiable. And, unlike most of the Bush supporters in Washington, he actually had a son in the military. He was not just an armchair hawk. Sadly, his son was killed in a training accident in 2004 while preparing to go to Iraq. But, all of this does not make him an expert on Iraq or military tactics for a counter insurgency strategy. Paul has been part of the chorus claiming Joe Wilson lied. Paul should remember that those who live glass houses should not be throwing rocks.
Photo from Gen. Valelly’s Web site
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world. Further bio details.