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I’ve Got Better Things To Write About But…

I’m going to briefly discuss this whole Dakota Meyer lawsuit with BAE that is all over the internet. I guess I have to say something since I received a slew of emails from readers with links to the story. I have read the news articles and I have to say that I will probably be a dissenting opinion because I’m not going to be vilifying anyone here. These are just the facts as I see them and facts, we all are short of.

First off, I need you to do something for me. This issue isn’t about Dakota Meyer, Medal Of Honor recipient. This is about Dakota Meyer, the guy. And once you take the MoH out of the equation, this isn’t even news. He didn’t work for BAE when he was a MoH Recipient so it isn’t even an issue. He didn’t even receive the award until September. All of this went down prior to his award.

I willingly admit that I know Bobby McReight and while we aren’t BFFs he has always been a straight shooter and a level headed guy to me. I haven’t seen any actual statements by Mr McReight yet, just hearsay. Dakota Meyer, I don’t know. I hear he is a great guy, from a lot of people. Not sure if any of them actually know him tho.

The issue is actually with OASYS, a business unit of BAE. They manufacture Thermal Sights and we have written several times about them. The US military has purchased thousands of these scopes for use in identifying IEDs. This isn’t any special new high-tech here that our troops don’t have. It’s hard for me to get upset with OASYS for having the audacity to build a better mousetrap. The current standard issue thermal sight, the PAS-13, dates from the mid-90s. It’s big, eats batteries, and is heavy. On the other hand, the OASYS SkeetIR and UTM are a fraction of the weight, size and cost. But at 15 years on, they should be.

I’m not even going to bother with the ethical issue of demonstrating these thermal sights to Pakistan. Despite things you are reading on the internet, all BAE did was ask for a marketing license to temporarily export (ie take into and bring out of Pakistan) the sights. They haven’t sold anything yet. In fact, selling anything to a foreign government is a long arduous process and usually the sale never even happens.

I am a little perplexed by the content of one of the emails used in the lawsuit. According to CNN.com, Meyer wrote to his supervisor, “I think that one of the most disturbing facts to the whole thing is that we are still going forth with the PAS-13 optic and issuing these outdated sub-par optics to our own U.S. troops when we have better optics we can put in their hands right now, but we are willing to sell it to Pakistan.” While we don’t have the entire email to put this statement into context, it seems as if Meyer doesn’t realize that the PAS-13 is built by BAE’s competitor Raytheon or that the US has already fielded OASYS systems.

Additionally, the (non)hiring story we are hearing in the news makes ZERO sense. According to a Foxnews report, Meyer left Ausgar to go to work for OASYS. When his relationship with OASYS (BAE) soured he tried to go to work back at Ausgar but they wouldn’t hire him because of statements by BAE.

Anyone else who’s ever held a job in the commercial sector see any red flags here? Seriously? They didn’t hire him because the company that he just left said something bad about him? And then, they told Meyer what they said about him and that it was their reason for not rehiring him? And on top of that, they included it in an email? It’s an unwritten ethical rule that you NEVER share comments about a prospective employee made during background checks. Way to go Ausgar for violating trust. Not only that, but don’t you take another company’s comments with a grain of salt? Sounds like Meyer’s issue is with Ausgar and not BAE. They made the decision not to rehire him. Whether or not the decision was made based on bad info, the decision was theirs which begs the question. Is there some other reason they didn’t rehire him?

We’re only hearing Dakota Meyer’s side of this story. Remember, this is a lawsuit. No one has presented BAE’s side of it and it’s really hard to determine the truth with a single point of view. Although I don’t believe Dakota Meyer brought this issue to the national stage, someone did. Someone who has an agenda. You’ve got to figure out what that agenda is. And, I’ll have to say, since this is a lawsuit, at this point, Dakota Meyer is certainly benefiting from all of the press. BAE? Not so much.

And one final issue. Dakota Meyer the MoH recipient is having zero trouble finding employment. In fact, we’ve even featured him on these very pages. He ain’t starving, so whatever went down, it hasn’t wrecked his life. I certainly hope that those things weren’t said about him if they aren’t true and I hope he deals with whatever happened, but it’s hard from me to feel any sympathy here considering the facts we have seen so far.

I think this is a great place for me to stop and let you guys discuss this amongst yourselves. I don’t have a stake in it one way or the other, so have at it. Just please, don’t make stuff up. Links to external sites with facts are great.

39 Responses to “I’ve Got Better Things To Write About But…”

  1. Brando says:

    Finally, some objective analysis instead of Appeal to Emotion.

  2. straps says:

    It’s no damned fun reading about this case from someone who actually understands the people, the products, and yes the personalities and politics involved. There, fresh outta “P’s.”

    But yeah, you do have better things to write about.

    CAN I HAS MOAR FR MULTICAM STUFFS?

  3. killslowly says:

    Thank you for expressing what I’ve been thinking.

  4. DAn says:

    its nice to see some perspective shown in the discussion. I will just add some labor law info from the lawyers in my family. If what is claimed to have been said about Dakota Meyer is what was said about him then BAE does have a problem if they could not back up the claim. its no different than Soldier Systems or a proper news paper making spurious claims about individuals.

    secondly its at the discretion of hr department to reveal any comments received from your references some places feel its unfair to give that info out while others feel that extreme or harsh references should be shared seen as using those references affect individuals ability to get hired and may not reflect the real situation of what was happening in an office at the time.

  5. Jason A says:

    Pas-13? Far from standard. The thermals that come with the SOFLAM are way more superior.

  6. Puncheur says:

    “…selling anything to a foreign government is a long arduous process and usually the sale never even happens,” so we shouldn’t look too deeply into a marketing attempt for badass war-tech to the Pakis. I mean, if all BAE was doing was marketing an optics widget with the INTENT to sell, that’s not the same as actually selling it, right?

    • Administrator says:

      This ain’t a narcotics bust

      • Joe says:

        What are we to assume their purpose was in requesting this license, then?

        • Joe says:

          Couple of links on BAE systems’ parent company.

        • Administrator says:

          All we can assume is that they were going to demonstrate them. There are a variety of reasons to get a license. Did you know you have to get a license to demonstrate many technologies here in the US to a foreign national?

          • jrexilius says:

            While I understand the technical difference, companies usually don’t embark on that spend of cash without intent to recoup those expenses. Now maybe the strategy is to scare the USG into buying more so they don’t need to sell it to Pakistan or something like that but I think Puncheur’s point is somewhat valid.

            And honestly, I’m appalled at the idea of selling any small-arms tech to Pakistan as it will end up in the hands of Taliban and others shooting at our (both US and UK) troops.

  7. Jungle recon says:

    Classier move would be just to bow out of this one. He’s a young dude, in his place I would get hammered in social situations and get pissed about the export. Bae should have thought of things like that before they offered him employment. Now they look like assholes to every grandma in America.

    • Administrator says:

      Could you expound? You think BAE should have not conducted business because one employee didn’t like what they were doing? Or that they shouldn’t have hired him in the first place? I’m not clear on your point.

      • jrexilius says:

        I think what he may be saying is that rather than bad mouthing Dakota Meyers, they should have just accepted his resignation and stayed quiet.

  8. Kevin says:

    Umm, have you actually READ any of the links people sent you or did you rely on your buddies at BAE to tell you the details? You have missed the entire point.

    The claim that is being made is that McReight, an employee of BAE, decided in his role as a BAE agent to call a senior DoD official directly and made the allegations to him. So he couldn’t be hired due to the senior DoD official objecting. BAE is dead if it’s true and they cannot support the allegation.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/11/30/142961330/medal-of-honor-winner-sues-defense-contractor

    “BARNES: He was content, I think, at that point to make his resignation his protest. But right after he gave his notice, he received an email from his previous employer saying they wanted to hire him back but that his supervisor at BAE had contacted a federal government employee who supervises this sniper scope program. And the BAE supervisor had told the other official that Dakota Meyer had, as you said, a drinking problem and was mentally unstable. And they retracted the offer of employment.”

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/11/bae-dakota-meyer/

    “When BAE didn’t heed him, Meyer decided to take a job with his old defense firm, Ausgar Technologies. But Meyer didn’t get the job. His supervisor at BAE, Bobby McCreight, allegedly e-mailed a Defense Department acquisition official to say Meyer was clearly traumatized from combat, “had a problem related to drinking in a social setting,” and even mocked Meyer’s forthcoming Medal of Honor award as his “pending star status.” The suit says an Ausgar official informed Meyer that he wouldn’t be rehired, thanks to the Defense Department official’s decision to pass McCreight’s assessment on to Ausgar.”

    • Administrator says:

      Good stuff Kevin but please don’t assume anything. I haven’t spoken to the guy about it. I linked to two of the articles I was sent. These are the kinds of things that get to the heart of the matter.

      I got a lot of links to fox and CNN stories and associated Internet hyperbole. In none of those articles did they put any meat on the bones of the angle of the story that McReight made the allegations about Meyer. The stories sometimes obtusely mentioned that McReight had approached the Government but then talked about Ausgar.

      I hope you see the irony in recieving a link to an NPR piece. Personally, I like NPR but many of my readers would probably consider it a bastion of liberal thought. It gives a different view on the news. Hopefully, it’s inclusion here will serve as an opening for others to look at their work.

      Finally, thank you for concentrating on the real issue here. It’s whether not McReight slandered Meyer and if he did, did it negatively impact his job hunting.

  9. Swat says:

    Ive had an employer fire me without much information, but what they did say us that I’d lied about something. I hadn’t lied and I had paperwork to prove anything I’d said in my interview. I think it’s good in him for holding BAE responsible for their slander (if it is indeed just that) and its good that the sale is sophisticated arms to such shaky allies like Pakistan be brought to the public eye. Selling them to England? So what! Selling em to Pakistan? We’ll probably find our own troops in those sights at some point.

  10. Jerr says:

    I know Bobby McCreight. He was a shitbird Recon Marine who banged a platoon members wife. He AD’d a paintball gun

  11. JHead says:

    Guess that got posted too early… Oops.

    He AD’d a paintball gun in a room full of LASO. Shot the sky screens off our chronograph, and was a all-around turd this doesn’t surprise me that he f’d over a fellow Marine…

  12. Buckaroomedic says:

    I’m glad you decided to keep it “brief” ; )

    What a non-issue, gotta love the worldwide inter-web and it’s ability to make-up these kind of issues.

  13. I see what you mean but... says:

    Does anyone have the court papers. It seems like there was a lot of cherry picking here.

  14. MarkM says:

    First, nobody has sold anything to Pakistan. Secondly, if they can, it would be for the exact same reasons France, Britain, and Germany already have: They are ostensibly an ally, and everybody is giving them enough foreign aid money to buy kit to align them politically.

    What, you think Pakistan can actually afford to pay out of pocket for this stuff on their own? These guys went from kitchen table gunsmithing of Brit bolt action rifles, to buying an HK plant and building G3’s all on their own?

    Aside from the messy leak of derogatory information from another employer – good catch there, some people act as if they’ve never been fired – the pollyanna naivete of thinking that the Pakis are to be held to a fine line in what they can buy is incredible. I have no doubt the FN rep is salivating at the chance to give a demo, and his industrial buddies would share the expenses to pull off a weapons demonstration if they could get a piece of that pie. Southwest Asia is swimming with aid money ready to be snapped up at the earliest opportunity. They aren’t buying tractors for the poppy crop.

    Some are agonizing over the paperwork to show off a new scope, but the $1 billion in cash given Iraq and barely “accounted” for is no problem? It’s spelled c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s.

  15. Crusty says:

    Bobby is well known for being harsh at times. Sounds to me like he allegedly was harsh to the wrong guy…..

  16. Sal says:

    Virtually all large reputable companies have two policies in place.

    1. Immediate supervisors are not permitted to provide references.

    2. Comments about former employees are limited to dates of employment, last salary and eligibility for re-hire. Period.

    As Eric states, there is a lawsuit involved and you’ll have to wait for discovery to find the real facts.

    If an immediate supervisor was allowed to provide a reference, or if that supervisor failed to use good judgment and actually discussed employee performance, then BAE may have an issue. MOH or not.

    Great piece Eric!

  17. SteveG says:

    Just for the record BAE is one of 3 that make the PAS-13. DRS and Raytheon are the 2 others. This potential sale could have involved any of the Oasys products and potentially the light, medium and heavy PAS-13’s

  18. jrexilius says:

    Eric,

    I appreciate the mature and balanced perspective. You do point out some more considerations for the average reader (like me) to take into account.

    I am still, based on what I’ve read, pretty comfortable with saying that I agree with and understand Dakota Meyers objecting to the prospect of selling that tech to Pakistan.

    The labor case is more complex, I’m sure, than BAE just trying to screw with one completely perfect and innocent MoH recipient and it’s worth waiting for facts to come out (if they ever do) but I suspect that BAE didn’t handle everything right.

    Thanks for more thoughtful discussion on the topic!

  19. D Reeder says:

    One thing I personally think we have to be careful here is the emotive impact of him being a former Marine and the absolutely deserved fact he earned the Medal of Honor. Those things speak to the caliber of man he is BUT they really don’t have a lot to do with the crux of the matter. It’s like the former Marine killed by SWAT officers in Arizona. Maybe it was a righteous shoot, maybe it was a completely unjustified tragedy, but either way it is what is REGARDLESS of the fact that he was a former Marine. Many people lose sight of the fact. What happened to Meyer, and what happened to the man killed in Arizona, was either right or wrong regardless of who was involved…whether it was Chesty Puller or some poor schlep doing a 9 to 5 to feed his family. It’s hard to be objective, but I think we should try to do so.

  20. M Scott says:

    I have my own thoughts about this situation, based on the articles I have read and my gut feeling.

    This discussion is exactly why I love this site. Great points on both sides of the issue and candor from the staff.

  21. Kevin says:

    The only things you can say about an employee without incurring the possibility of legal liability are what his dates of employment were, what the job title was and whether they would be eligible to be rehired. And it’s HR that does that talk, not a direct supervisor. There are lots and lots of lawsuits and case law that explain why you don’t do things like write emails in which you libel your ex-employees, and particularly not to people who can impact their ability to get a job.
    http://www.toolkit.com/small_business_guide/sbg.aspx?nid=P05_8640

    Though I can’t see why he might be worried that BAE might do something without permits and stuff. No legit company ever do that. Oh, wait. …

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=27737
    ‘BAE Systems plc and its business units and subsidiaries – except its U.S. subsidiary, BAE Systems, Inc. – entered into a civil settlement with the U.S. Department of State for alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The State Department alleged BAE committed 2,591 violations of the ITAR in connection with unauthorized brokering of U.S. defense articles and services, and that the violations were “systemic, wide-spread, and sustained for more than ten years.”’

    • Administrator says:

      Good stuff Kevin, except one odd piece of information stuck out at me.

      “BAE Systems plc and its business units and subsidiaries – except its U.S. subsidiary, BAE Systems, Inc. – entered into a civil settlement with the U.S. Department of State for alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA)…”

      Could you explain that part of the statement?

  22. Paralus says:

    Whether Mr. Meyer is currently earning income or will earn income in the future is irrelevant. He isn’t permitted to pursue his career in a field he is qualified for because his past employer allegedly made unsubstantiated claims about his fitness and temperament.

    If BAE destroyed his reputation in his preferred line of work because he rocked the boat, then they should be held liable.

    It doesn’t matter if in the meantime Meyer was awarded the MoH winner, or a Marine, or if he won the Powerball, or has his mug on a gear blog, if the employer fucked up, then they need to held liable.

    If Meyer complained to his employer that he disapproved of their ethics of selling equipment to the wrong country and BAE terminated him, they’d of been in the clear. But if the supervisor took it upon himself to slander Meyer’s reputation (regardless of whether he assumed potential employers wouldn’t reveal that he had finked on Meyer), then BAE has a problem.

    When he was just a USMC veteran who got canned, BAE’s legal dept. probably laughed at the prospect of being sued by Meyer. But now that he’s been awarded a MoH, they have a PR nightmare. But whether he was just some average USMC vet or a MoH winner, the employer shouldn’t have trashed his reputation.

  23. […] Dakota Meyer has reached an accommodation with BAE Systems’ OASYS business unit and dropped hi…. We are happy to hear that this has been worked out. Reading through court filings by both parties […]