According to a report published Wednesday night, the U.S. military ordered its "psychological operations" unit in Kabul to manipulate visiting political figures into approving additional troops and funding for the war in Afghanistan.
The much talked about story lists political figures such as Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., among the individuals targeted by the "psy-ops" initiative.
And at the story's center sits Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, whom the report accuses of repeatedly pressuring the "information operations" units in Kabul to manipulate the visiting members of Congress.
Here are five quick facts on the three-star general.
1. He rose through the military education system
Caldwell graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976. He later earned master's degrees from the United States Naval Postgraduate School and the School for Advanced Military Studies at the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He also held a fellowship at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
2. He's no stranger to the media
For 13 months during his service in Iraq, Caldwell acted as deputy chief of staff for strategic effects and spokesman for multinational forces in Iraq.
Here's an interview he had with Al-Jazeera's Sami Zeidan in April 2007:
3. Calling him a well-decorated military officer is an understatement
Caldwell's awards include:
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Defense Superior Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Legion of Merit (with two Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Bronze Star (with one Oak Leaf Cluster)
- Humanitarian Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- Presidential Service Identification Badge
- Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
- Louisiana Cross of Merit
In January 2008, Caldwell emerged as a vocal proponent of allowing soldiers access to blog publishers and YouTube as a means of fighting the inevitable information war resulting from military conflict.
"We must encourage our soldiers to interact with the media, to get onto blogs and to send their YouTube videos to their friends and family," Caldwell said. "When our soldiers tell [or] share their stories, it has an overwhelmingly positive effect."
5. He appeared on "The Daily Show":
He doesn't seem to be brainwashing Jon Stewart.
For more Surge Desk coverage, check out:
Rolling Stone's Army Psy-Ops Story Is Out; Twitter Already Making 'Goat' Jokes
Rolling Stone's Big Army Psy-Ops Story: Here are the 5 Juiciest Nuggets From It
Follow Surge Desk on Twitter.