'We Live in Grey Areas'
ABC News requested comment from the Army and also filed a Freedom of Information Act request on May 5 at the urging of U.S. Army Special Operations Command's public affairs office. But a FOIA officer there said on Friday that copies of the investigation and Mulholland's reprimand could not be located -- even though copies are in USASOC's possession, according to one official who read them there.
ORIGINAL DOCUMENT: Army Special Operation Command's Full Response
In two dozen interviews with confidential sources among the "quiet professionals" who served alongside Gant or were familiar with his rise and fall, many were critical of his screw-ups but none quibbled with his incredible success at winning the tribes' loyalty and neutralizing Taliban. Most said keeping a lover in a tiny combat outpost was a flagrant violation of rules –- and virtually unheard of –- but one officer who served with Gant said it was inconsequential compared to his successes.
"I have no problem with anything he was doing out there. Having his girlfriend out there was a grey area. But we live in grey areas," the senior Special Forces officer told ABC News.
Another senior officer, who had criticized Gant four years ago when speaking to a reporter in Afghanistan, recently dismissed his fellow Green Beret as "damaged" and with a "blood lust" that led him to go rogue.
But only 250 miles away from Mangwel in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 found a copy of Gant's "One Tribe" pamphlet in the al Qaeda leader's house along with an order by the al Qaeda kingpin to assassinate Jim Gant, according to Tyson's book. A CIA spokeswoman said the bin Laden documents are still classified and she would not confirm the book's claim.
Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director amid his own personal scandal in late 2012, was targeted by bin Laden. While he could not confirm that Gant was too, he told ABC News that if true, it validated Gant's success in Kunar province and the threat he posed to al Qaeda's plans in Afghanistan.
As the U.S. pulls out of another war that has not been won, there are a lot of hard feelings. But not for Jim Gant. When he and his wife Ann went back to Mangwel last fall, as civilians with no U.S. military protection, they were welcomed like blood kin.
"My heart just wanted to burst. I was so happy to see them again. They're my family, my family," Gant said, his voice full of raw emotion and his face wet with tears.
Their surprise visit to Mangwel began when the Afghan Local Police's Niq Mohammed – a onetime Taliban commander Gant had tapped to be the ALP chief -- met them on the road. The former Taliban hugged the former Green Beret. And then, as is tradition, the Afghans began firing bursts of automatic fire from their Kalashnikovs into the air -- the gunfire this time in celebration.
"Music to my ears, yes... and it was saying, 'I love you and I miss you'," Gant said, smiling. "Happy gunfire. Happy gunfire. Yeah."