Another of the heroes of the MIA cult is former US Army sergeant Barry Toll.
appeared on the scene during the Senate Select Committee hearings, 1991 - 1993.
Toll had served as an intelligence sergeant in the detachment that supported the national airborne command post at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.
claimed that while in this assignment -- 1973-1975 -- he
saw briefing material for the Nixon and Ford White Houses and for senior military commanders.
claimed that these briefings told of US knowledge that 290 to 340 US POWs were being held in Laos or North Vietnam.
further claimed that US intell had tracked Soviet flights carrying US POWs from SEAsia to the USSR or to Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe.
Another former American noncommissioned officer with a background in intelligence, Barry Toll
, also made dramatic allegations about POW transfers to the Soviet Union.
been able to substantiate his
assertions, Barry toll would have become famous, and in the process unearthed a truly monstrous conspiracy meant to cover up the abandonment of hundreds of American POWs in Indochina and the transfer of many of them to the Soviet Bloc.
arrived on the POW/MIA scene in the summer of 1992, when he
contacted Senator Kerry, chairman of the Senate Select committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
sent Kerry a long statement detailing sensational charges that the highest level of the American government had been aware of up to 340 American POWs held in Laos after Operation Homecoming in 1973.
The team on which Toll was a junior member was one of several charged with around-the-clock duty to administer the "doomsday" orders under the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) in the event of nuclear war.
In this capacity, Toll's
team allegedly received sensitive, high-level intelligence from U. S. government sources worldwide.
These intelligence bulletins were part of daily updates to be used in strategic decision-making in the event of sudden nuclear war. (52)
claimed that he
"personally saw, distributed and briefed high-ranking officers of the Joint Staff, on intelligence reports, analyses and operations regarding the transfer of U.S. POWs and/or MIAs from the custody of North Vietnamese or Laotian authorities through Soviet Bloc nations, or directly into the USSR.
further stated that it was "the considered opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and the entire U.S. intelligence community" that there were an estimated 290 to 340 U.S. POWs alive in Laos after Operation Homecoming.
stated that he
specifically recalled this information , as well as reports on the transfers of U.S. POWs to the Soviet Bloc, was included in the President's Daily Intelligence Briefing agenda on more than one occasion between 1973 and 1975.
personally recalled u to five occasions when American intelligence agencies tracked the "real-time movements" of Soviet and Eastern Bloc aircraft carrying American POWs out of Indochina. (54)
He provided detailed descriptions of these flights, which he said included diplomatic courier trips and on two occasions used the presence of an East European ambassador to North Vietnam as cover for the transfer of American POWs . And on one occasion, he said, the U.S. military made an attempt to intercept and force down one of these aircraft believed to be carrying American POWs out of Indochina.
But the plane "fled into Soviet air space at the approach of U.S. intercept aircraft, and the attempt was abandoned.
stated that it was his
knowledge of the cover-up of these events by the American intelligence community and two presidential administrations that drove him to request immediate relief from duties that resulted in his
discharge from the Army in August 1975.
None of these officers or NCOs recalled seeing any of the message traffic that Toll
claimed described surviving POWs or transfers of prisoners from Indochina to the Eastern Bloc or Soviet Union. (57)
Gekoski's investigation also revealed that Toll never mentioned the alleged conspiracy as the reason for his
request for discharge from the Army.
had gone Absent Without Leave (AWOL) from his
duty station during the period July 3 to 9, 1975.
This was a serious infraction for someone in his
position, which was covered by the military's Personnel Responsibility Program (PRP).
Personnel serving under the restrictions of the PRP, who include those responsible for strategic nuclear weapons and extremely sensitive intelligence, are automatically suspended from duty and subject to criminal investigation for infractions such as going AWOL.
It was clear that Toll's period of AWOL would have disqualified him from further service on the SIOP Battle Staff. (58)
Gekoski further discovered that Toll
was under active investigation by the Defense Intelligence Agency
before having gone AWOL.
Although the DIA
did not reveal the exact nature of this investigation, Gekoski surmised that it was connected to Toll's
increasingly unstable behavior.
As a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Toll had been treated for "a traumatic war neurosis" before July 1975, and had manifested symptoms of that disorder when interviewed by an Army psychiatrist after requesting release from military service. (59)
Attorney J. Lawrence Wright, who represented Barry Toll on the AWOL charges that led to his discharge from the Army in 1975, clearly recalled the incident in correspondence to the Senate select committee, which included a sworn affidavit describing the events.
Wright confirmed that Toll
was under investigation by the Defense Intelligence Agency
at the time. (60)
In his affidavit, Wright also stated that Toll
was particularly affected by the fall of South Vietnam to the Communists and the Khmer Rouge victory in Cambodia, which precipitated the notorious genocide.
Wright cited Toll's
"overwhelming belief that the Administration was lying to the American people," and noted that Toll
"said he could no longer serve in the military.
(61) Wright also noted that another reason for Toll's
request for discharge "had to do with secret document and transmissions that Staff Sergeant Toll had seen but cold not disclose to me." (62)
During Steve Gekoski's and the select committee counsels' exhaustive investigation of Barry Toll
, they encountered some other unusual aspects of Toll's background.
Among these was Toll's
statement that convicted Soviet spy John Walker, then a retired Navy warrant officer, might have tried to recruit Toll
for his espionage ring.
Toll later pursued the Walker spy ring allegation by contact the FBI in September 1986, offering to provide information about Walker.
In a phone conversation on September 11, 1986, Tampa , Florida FBI Special Agent E. S. O'Keefe, Jr., spoke with Toll
about the matter.
stated that he
left the U. S. Army
after "flipping out" and receiving psychiatric treatment Toll also told O'Keefe he
actually had no information that John Walker had ever tried to recruit him, "or otherwise engage him in his
[Walker's] espionage ring.
(Toll also later began telling journalists and claiming on computer bulleting boards that he
had been on secret reconnaissance missions as a member of the elite covert operations branch of the American military in Vietnam, MACV-SOG, and had served as an intelligence officer at the American embassy in Bangkok. (67) )
Gekoski eventually reached the conclusion that Barry Toll
was s deluded self-promoter, possible motivated by a desire to create a smokescreen of sensational charges to disguise the true circumstances of his discharge from the Army and his later drug conviction.
This inference was bolstered during one interview when Toll
gave Gekoski a disjointed and rambling account of his service on the Battle
Staff of the Airborne Command Post
deposition to the select committee, Toll
did not reiterate this particular bizarre charge.
did discuss equally strange events.
stated that during the 1973 October War in the Middle East, the Airborne Command Post
staff received repeated messages from members of President Nixon's cabinet "telling us not to obey a nuclear execution order from the president.
This, Toll testified, was "virtually treasonous and unconstitutional, but this was the pervasive atmosphere of circus and theatrics going on in the Nixon
Even though Barry Toll continues to be one of the most consistently cited "intelligence experts" among radical POW/MIA activists, select committee Vice Chairman Senator Bob Smith, not a man to shy away from controversial figures, has distanced himself from Toll.
Even though Barry Toll continues to be one of the most consistently cited "intelligence experts" among radical POW/MIA activists, select committee Vice Chairman Senator Bob Smith, not a man to shy away fr