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At the request of Technology Review, Inc., Susan Rasky agreed to oversee the fact checking of 10 articles by Michelle Delio that TR published online between December 16, 2004, and March 7, 2005. After conducting their own review, the editors at Technology Review had concerns regarding some of the sources and quotations in these articles.

Click here to see the report findings. What follows below is a point-by-point analysis of what the investigation turned up in regards to “The Invisible Fighter”. Click here to read Appendix A: The Investigation Findings. Click here to read Appendix B: The Future Shock. Click here to read Appendix D: Delio’s response.

REPORT: The Invisible Fighter
Researcher Jonathan Jones

A review of this story failed to verify that Michelle Delio had spoken to any of the sources quoted in article about army camouflage.

According to Wayne Stroupe, public affairs officer for the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Delio set up an interview on Oct. 21 for the next day to discuss the technology being developed at the research and development center in Vicksburg, Mississippi with Col. James R. Rowan.

On Nov. 5, 2004, Wired News published an article based on the interviews and visit by Delio on the center, “Hardest Tech-Support Job on Earth.”

On Dec. 30, 2004, when the article ran, Stroupe and Rowan said they began to get calls from people interested in the camouflage technology.

Both Rowan and Stroupe insisted that the research and development center in Vicksburg is not involved in developing army camouflage though both they said that they believed that the military is presently developing that technology – just not at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center there.

Stroupe said they contacted Delio by telephone about their problems with the Tech Review article after it came out, but did not follow up or demand a retraction.

According to Stroupe, the experience with Delio left Col. Rowan, “highly wary of subsequent media contacts and interviews and has made our job difficult in working with him on media matters.”

“We did not talk about camouflage or the invisible warrior program,” Rowan said in an email replies to Stroupe, who forwarded those comments on to a journalist reviewing the story for its accuracy.  “The only topic I recall specifically talking with her about was tele-engineering, but I’m confident we didn’t talk about camouflage.”

Sarah Leach, an employee of the public affairs who sat in on the interview, said she has confirmed Rowan’s comments, in an email.

“I have notes from Michelle’s visit and nothing was discussed on camouflage,” she wrote. “I have my notes and can let (Wayne Stroupe from public relations who is conducting the review for the Army Corps.) take a look at them when I get back to the office later this week.”  

Col. Rowan said he had spoken to Delio to discuss “reach back” technology, a method that involves the use of laptops on the battlefield to calculate whether bridges could withstand the weight of tanks.

Stroupe described the article as “off the wall.” The discussions at the meeting were like “night and day” with the content of the article.

“We don’t do work like that,” Stroupe said.  “That one was so far off.”

Michael Logue, chief of public affairs for the Army Corps of Engineers, confirmed that he had spoken with Delio

He said his quote comparing the camouflage technology development invisibility as “a little too James Bond,” did not sound like something he would say.  But he did not ask that the quote attributed to him be retracted.

“We talked at great length about Mississippi,” said Logue, who is also stationed in Vicksburg. “The information in the article sounds accurate.  But that (research) occurs in a different part of the army.”

Attempts to contact retired optical engineer Frank Kennedy were unsuccessful.  None of those contacted had heard of Mr. Kennedy.

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