Operation Granite Shadow: domestic military operations


Richard Moore


Top Secret Pentagon Operation "Granite Shadow" revealed. 
Today in DC: Commandos in the Streets? 

"Granite Power" allows for emergency military operations in
the US without civilian supervision or control.

By  William  Arkin 

September 25, 2005 
Washington Post 

Today, somewhere in the DC metropolitan area, the military is
conducting a highly classified Granite Shadow "demonstration."

Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented
operation related to the military's extra-legal powers
regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency
military operations in the United States without civilian
supervision or control.

A spokesman at the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital
Region (JFHQ-NCR) confirmed the existence of Granite Shadow to
me yesterday, but all he would say is that Granite Shadow is
the unclassified name for a classified plan.

That classified plan, I believe, after extensive research and
after making a couple of assumptions, is CONPLAN 0400,
formally titled Counter-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass
Destruction. Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 0400 is a long-standing
contingency plan of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(CJCS) that serves as the umbrella for military efforts to
counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It has
extensively been updated and revised since 9/11.

The CJCS plan lays out national policy and priorities for
dealing with WMD threats in peacetime and crisis -- from far
away offensive strikes and special operations against foreign
WMD infrastructure and capabilities, to missile defenses and
"consequence management" at home if offensive efforts fail.

All of the military planning incorporates the technical
capabilities of the intelligence agencies and non-military
organizations such as the national laboratories of the
Department of Energy. And finally, CONPLAN 0400 directs
regional combatant commanders to customize
counter-proliferation plans for each of their own areas of

When that "area of operations" is the United States, things
become particularly sensitive.

That's where Granite Shadow comes in. U.S. Northern Command
(NORTHCOM), the military's new homeland security command, is
preparing its draft version of CONPLAN 0400 for military
operations in the United States, and the resulting Granite
Shadow plan has been classified above Top Secret by adding a
Special Category (SPECAT) compartment restricting access.

The sensitivities, according to military sources, include
deployment of "special mission units" (the so-called Delta
Force, SEAL teams, Rangers, and other special units of Joint
Special Operations Command) in Washington, DC and other
domestic hot spots. NORTHCOM has worked closely with U.S.
Special Operations Command (SOCOM), as well as the secret
branches of non-military agencies and departments to enforce
"unity of command" over any post 9/11 efforts.

Further, Granite Shadow posits domestic military operations,
including intelligence collection and surveillance, unique
rules of engagement regarding the use of lethal force, the use
of experimental non-lethal weapons, and federal and military
control of incident locations that are highly controversial
and might border on the illegal.

Granite Shadow is the twin to Power Geyser, a program I first
revealed to The New York Times in January. The JFHQ spokesman
confirms that Granite Shadow and Power Geyser are two
different unclassified names for two different classified

In the case of Power Geyser, the classified plan is CJCS
CONPLAN 0300, whose entire title is classified. According the
military documents, the unclassified title is
"Counter-Terrorism Special Operations Support to Civil
Agencies in the event of a domestic incident." It is another
Top Secret/SPECAT plan directing the same special mission
units to provide weapons of mass destruction recovery and
"render safe" in either a terrorist incident or in the case of
a stolen (or lost) nuclear weapon. Render safe refers to the
ability of explosive ordnance disposal experts to isolate and
disarm any type of biological, chemical, nuclear or
radiological weapon.

The obvious question is why there is a need for two plans. My
guess is that Power Geyser and CONPLAN 0300 refers to
operations in support of a civil agency "lead" (most likely
the Attorney General for a WMD attack) while Granite Shadow
and CONPLAN 0400 lays out contingencies where the military is
in the lead. I'll wait to be corrected by someone in the know.

Both plans seem to live behind a veil of extraordinary secrecy
because military forces operating under them have already been
given a series of ''special authorities'' by the President and
the secretary of defense. These special authorities include,
presumably, military roles in civilian law enforcement and
abrogation of State's powers in a declared or perceived

In January, when The New York Times reported on the Power
Geyser name from my Code Names website, the Pentagon argued
that "It would be irresponsible Š to comment on any classified
program that may or may not exist."

I can't see how the Defense Department can continue this line
of argument post-Katrina. We see the human cost of a system of
contingency planning done in complete secret, with a lack of
any debate as to what should be the federal government's
priorities, emphasis, and rules.

As the Granite Shadow commandos and their federal brethren go
through their paces today, some inside the system will lament
that I have "compromised" their work. But the very fact that
nothing in my writing damages the Granite Shadow effort should
demonstrate that we can have a discussion of contingency
planning priorities in the United States, and debate
extraordinary special authorities granted to those in uniform,
without compromising the details of the plans themselves.

There's still time. The full-scale exercise of Granite
Shadow's capabilities and procedures doesn't start until April

A note to readers: Today begins a weekly feature of Early
Warning, namely code name of the week. This will endeavor to
discuss some secret program of the government, sometimes with
an argument that the secrecy is excessive, sometime with far
more questions than answers.

© Copyright William Arkin, Washington Post, 2005 


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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