The new SAC Warren Bamford swears in President Larry Guglietta
In order from left to right: NE Chapter Secretary Harold Murphy, SAC Warren Bamford, SA Russell Kleber, Guest Speaker US Attorney Robert Corrente, 1st Vice President Chief Rick Smith, Immediate Past President Deputy Chief Paul Stavenger, 4th Vice President Michael Allen, President Larry Guglietta
Other pictures from the Rhode Island FBINAA New England Chapter Luncheon/Business Meeting held at Bella Restaurant in Burrillville. Over 90 FBINAA NE members attended including SAC Warren Bamford, ASAC Mark Morelli from the FBI Boston Division, US Attorney from the District of Rhode Island Robert Clark Corrente, and the Town Manager of the Town of Burrillville Michael C. Wood.
Please email any photo submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8): National Preparedness
Comprehensive List of Staffing Recipients for National Preparedness Goal,
Universal Task List (UTL), and Target Capabilities List (TCL)
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8) tasks the Secretary of Homeland
Security, in coordination with the heads of other appropriate Federal departments and
agencies and in consultation with State and local governments, to strengthen the
preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic
terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies by requiring a national domestic
preparedness goal; establishing mechanisms for improved delivery of Federal
preparedness assistance to State and local governments, and outlining actions to
strengthen preparedness capabilities of Federal, State, and local entities.
To this end, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of State and Local
Government Coordination and Preparedness (DHS/SLGCP) has consulted with Federal,
State, local, tribal, and private sector representatives throughout the development of the
National Preparedness Goal, the Universal Task List, and the Target Capabilities List.
These documents have also been sent out to over 1,500 organizations for broad national
review and made available online through the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP)
Secure Portal (http://www.odp.esportals.gov) and the Lessons Learned Information Sharing
website (http://www.llis.gov). Stakeholders have submitted hundreds of comments on HSPD-8
documents via a dedicated e-mail address (email@example.com).
National Preparedness Goal
In coordination with the Homeland Security Council (HSC), DHS/SLGCP submitted an
initial draft of the National Preparedness Goal for national review on August 20, 2004.
Following the first national review, SLGCP worked with the HSC to further revise the
Goal. In coordination with the HSC, SLGCP sent out the revised draft of the National
Preparedness Goal for national review on February 14, 2005. A list of the Federal, State,
local, and tribal entities involved in both national reviews is provided below. Please see
Appendices A – G for a detailed list of individuals and entities.
August 20, 2004 (Draft Goal released for first national review)
HSPD-8 Integrated Concept Teams
HSPD-8 Senior Steering Committee (convened August 25, 2004, to review Goal)
DHS components through DHS Executive Secretary
State, local, and tribal entities through DHS/SLGCP
State, Local, and Tribal Working Group through DHS/SLGCP (convened
September 2, 2004, to review Goal)
Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Emergency Response Senior
Advisory Committee through DHS HSAC Executive Director (briefed September
21, 2004; and on November 16-17, 2004)
HSAC State and Local Senior Advisory Committee through DHS HSAC
Executive Director (briefed September 21, 2004)
Domestic Threat Reduction and Incident Management Policy Coordinating
Committee (DTRIM PCC) members through HSC (briefed July 21, 2004)
February 14, 2005 (Draft Goal released for second national review)
HSPD-8 Federal UTL-TCL Working Group
HSPD-8 Senior Steering Committee (scheduled to meet March 3, 2005, to review
State, Local, and Tribal Working Group through DHS/SLGCP
HSAC Emergency Response Senior Advisory Committee through HSAC
DTRIM PCC members through HSC (scheduled to meet March 4, 2005, to review
Universal Task List
The Universal Task List (UTL) identifies the tasks that need to be performed by all levels
of government and a variety of disciplines to prevent, protect against, respond to, and
recover from terrorist attacks, natural disaster, and other emergencies. The UTL,
developed with extensive involvement from all levels of government, contains a
comprehensive library of tasks for all levels of government from the national strategic to
the incident level. DHS/SLGCP will continue to incorporate feedback from national
stakeholders to strengthen the UTL over time. The following is an outline of the UTL
stakeholder engagement process to date. Please see Appendices A – G for a detailed list
of individuals and entities.
June 23-25, 2004 (UTL Workshop – 160 participants)
July 12-26, 2004 (National review of draft task list by scenario)
UTL Workshop participants
HSC Scenario Working Group
August 13-27, 2004 (National review of UTL: Version 1)
December 17, 2004 (National release of UTL: Version 2)
UTL and TCL Workshop Participants
Members of Lessons Learned Information Sharing Website
Members of ODP’s Secure Portal
Target Capabilities List
The Target Capabilities List (TCL) describes 36 capabilities required to perform almost
200 critical tasks. Critical tasks are defined as those tasks that must be performed during
a major event to prevent occurrence, reduce loss of life or serious injuries, mitigate
significant property damage, are essential to the success of a homeland security mission,
and require coordination among a combination of Federal, State, local and tribal entities.
The target capabilities are combinations of resources that provide the means to achieve a
measurable outcome resulting from performance of one or more critical tasks, under
specified conditions and performance standards. A capability may be delivered with any
combination of properly planned, organized, equipped, trained, and exercised personnel
that achieve the expected outcome. DHS/SLGCP will continue to incorporate feedback
from national stakeholders to strengthen the TCL over time. The following is an outline
of the TCL stakeholder engagement process to date. Please see Appendices A – G for a
detailed list of individuals and entities.
October 12-14, 2004 (Capabilities Workshop - 350 participants)
December 8-10, 2004 (Working Group Meetings)
State, Local, and Tribal Working Group
December 17, 2004 – January 17, 2005 (National review)
Members of ODP Secure Portal
January 6-7, 2005 (Working Group Meetings)
Federal UTL-TCL Working Group
February 15, 2005 (National release of TCL: Version 1)
APPENDIX A – HSPD-8 SENIOR STEERING COMMITTEE
Senior Steering Committee
DHS – State & Local Government Coordination and Preparedness
DHS – Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP)
DHS – Science and Technology (S&T)
RADM Thomas Gilmour
DHS – United States Coast Guard (USCG)
DHS – HQ Operational Integration Staff
DHS – Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Homeland Security Council
James A. McAtamney
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Chief Michael Freeman
Los Angeles County Fire Department
Governor Dirk Kempthorne State of Idaho
Commissioner Karen Miller National Association of Counties
Chief William Phillips
Aroostook Band of Micmacs
Mayor Anthony Williams
Office of the Mayor, District of Columbia
Chief Gary McLhinney
Maryland Transportation Authority
American Red Cross
APPENDIX B – HSPD-8 INTEGRATED CONCEPT TEAMS
Training, Exercises, and Lessons Learned Integrated Concept Team
DHS – Border and Transportation Security (BTS)
DHS – EP&R
DHS – IAIP
DHS – S&T
DHS – Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
DHS – TSA
CDR Jeff Hughes
DHS – USCG
DHS – USCG
Peter J Mangan.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
U.S. Marshals Service
Balanced Investments Integrated Concept Team
DHS – EP&R
CDR Lynn Slepski
LCDR Dan Norton
Department of Labor (DOL)
James A. Taylor
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Fraternal Orders of Police
National Association of City & County Health Officials
International Association of Emergency Managers
LEAD: A former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was indicted on a manslaughter charge today, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
A former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was indicted on a manslaughter charge today, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
It was believed to be the first time anyone had been charged with committing a crime involving homicide while an agent for the bureau, said Terry O'Connor, special agent in charge of all F.B.I. offices in Kentucky.
Today's rapid developments followed weeks of negotiation between Commonwealth's Attorney John Paul Runyon and 30-year-old Mark Putnam, who resigned from the F.B.I. last Friday and who with his plea today admitted the slaying last year of a pregnant woman, Susan Daniels Smith, 27, with whom he was romantically involved.
Ms. Smith had met Mr. Putnam while he was assigned to the bureau's office in this city 120 miles southeast of Lexington and she was serving as an informer in a car theft case. Last week, a year after she disappeared, Mr. Putnam led the police to her remains near an old coal-mining road nine miles north of town.
In return for an indictment charging Mr. Putnam with manslaughter instead of murder, Mr. Runyon received the agent's admission that he strangled Ms. Smith on June 8, 1989, in a quarrel over the baby they were expecting. Mr. Putnam had apparently offered to adopt the child, but Ms. Smith wanted him to leave his wife.
The indictment, returned by a Pike County grand jury, said Mr. Putnam killed Ms. Smith ''while under extreme emotional duress.''
If convicted of murder, Mr. Putnam could have received the death penalty or a life prison term.
Bob Foster, the new chief investigator for Attorney General Jack Conway, is reviewing the Kentucky Bureau of Investigations and will present a series of recommendations to improve the agency in April. Foster spent almost 30 years with the FBI and was later director of security for the Transportation Security Administration. On Jan. 16 he became commissioner of the KBI, with a monthly salary of $7,100, and said he's excited about taking the job. "It's challenging and I enjoy it very much," Foster said. "It has met all my expectations and then some." Foster joined the FBI office in Frankfort in 1987 and helped conduct the BOPTROT investigation in 1992 that led to the conviction of more than a dozen lawmakers on charges of bribery and corruption. "I feel my experience in the FBI coincides very closely with the job I'm doing now," he said. The TSA was a new agency when Foster joined, and he said he had to build partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. He said those contacts and experience will be important in his new job. "We want to maximize our resources by conducting joint investigations," Foster said. In his new position, Foster will supervise the cases pursued by 37 investigators in four offices across the state. Former Attorney General Greg Stumbo created the KBI in September 2004 to improve efficiency. Staff members investigate Medicare fraud, drug cases and allegations of public corruption. Foster said one of his first priorities will be to conduct a review of the agency and introduce proposed organizational changes in April. Foster said the investigators are efficient and experienced. "I'm very impressed with the ability and competence of the investigators," he said. "They are very efficient for the manpower they have." Conway has also pledged to create a new unit to investigate cyber crimes such as identity theft. Foster said he will introduce a plan in April to align the KBI with Conway's investigative priorities. Creating a cyber crimes unit will require money to purchase new equipment and train investigators, Foster said. However, Gov. Steve Beshear's proposed budget would impose funding cuts for a number of state agencies, including the attorney general's office. "As we move into new jurisdictions, we may need additional assets and if they are not available, it could definitely impact our investigative ability," Foster said. "But we are committed to it even with the budget cuts."
Members of the Schaumburg Business Association today learned of the role businessmen and businesswomen just like themselves play in combating Chicago-area organized crime.
At its monthly breakfast meeting in Schaumburg, the group heard from an FBI agent and federal attorney involved in the investigation and prosecution at the recent "Family Secrets" mob trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully told the association that the Chicago Crime Commission was formed in 1919 out of the frustration legitimate businesses felt from the influence of organized crime.
Since 1919, there have been more than 1,000 gangland murders committed in the Chicago area, FBI Special Agent Michael Maseth said.
Though the Chicago Crime Commission has enjoyed many successes, only 14 of these gangland murders have ever ended in convictions, Maseth said.
The "Family Secrets" case brought about some of the most significant victories in the law's long battle with the mob, he added.
The five men found guilty last September were James Marcello of Chicago, Frank Calabrese Sr. of Oak Brook, Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo of Chicago, Paul Schiro of Phoenix and Anthony "Twan" Doyle of Wickenburg, Ariz.
But one of the first challenges prosecutors faced, Scully said, was to prove the Chicago Outfit actually existed.
The mob's coded language and code of silence long prevented isolated arrests from doing any significant damage to overall operations.
"To be honest, for a while (former FBI director) J. Edgar Hoover wouldn't even acknowledge that there was a mob," Scully said.
The creation of racketeering charges - which target illegal business operations rather than traditional criminal acts like theft and murder - helped law enforcement widen its net.
But the key that helped unlock years of investigative work in Chicago and its suburbs was the offer of help the FBI received from Frank Calabrese Jr. in July 1998.
Maseth said Calabrese was willing to turn informant and spy on his father, Frank Calabrese Sr. - breaking a cardinal rule of the mob.
The younger Calabrese's change of heart came not from any sudden insight of right and wrong, but because his father had shoved a gun in his mouth after learning of his embezzlement of a million dollars of the outfit's money.
The significance of Calabrese's help was that it helped show evidence already collected in a new light.
"A lot of the indictments were based on work that had been done years and years before," Scully said.
One of the prominent pieces of evidence was a strange 1976 photo showing all of the mob's prominent figures together at a restaurant - the type of photo they'd all avoided before and after. It was conclusive proof that all knew each other well.
The younger Calabrese's help netted his brother, Nick Calabrese, who turned informant himself.
"Nick told us things we never dreamed we would hear," Maseth said. "He confessed to 15 murders."
"We really had no idea that Nick Calabrese was a killer," Scully added.
The two lawmen also detailed other aspects of the investigation, including the funding of Las Vegas casinos with money from the Teamsters' pension fund and the bombing of cars belonging to resistant extortion victims.
There were some aspects of the investigation they still couldn't talk about as the trial of one remaining suspect, Frank Schweis, is still coming up. Illness prevented Schweis from being tried with the rest.
Retaliation and Censorship at the FBI Attorney Stephen Kohn, left, whispers to his client, FBI whistleblower Bassem Youssef, before Youssef responds to a question during the American Library Association meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday Jan. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
January 11, 2008, Washington, DC. Take Action! Click here to contact Attorney General Mukasey and tell him that he must not tolerate further retaliation against whistleblower Bassem Youssef by managers at the FBI. The Department of Justice is charged with overseeing the FBI, and it is time they begin doing just that.
As reported on NPR, in the Wall Street Journal, and on the Whistleblower Protection Blog on January 11, 2008, the FBI is threatening to retaliate against Special Agent Bassem Youssef...again.
Mr. Youssef, who has exposed misconduct and ineptitude in the War on Terror (more info here>>, is scheduled to give a presentation to the American Library Association on Saturday, January 12. The FBI was fully aware of this speaking engagement, and had already granted permission for Mr. Youssef to speak. Unfortunately, when certain individuals within the FBI hierarchy caught wind of the fact that Mr. Youssef's presenation might in some way critique the Bureau, Mr. Youssef was threatened, and was issued documentation detailing secret censorship requirements that he cannot share with anyone outside of the Bureau.
Due to this intimidation from higher-ups at the FBI, Mr. Youssef is unable to give his prepared speech. He will only appear to take questions from audience members. (For more information, see the blog post)
This format change will not stop the retaliation that Mr. Youssef faces every day at work. Being threatened for speaking in the public interest is wrong, and Mr. Mukasey should make that clear. Click here to Take Action Now!
FBI Whistleblower's Court Award Tops $1.3 Million
January 4, 2008 Washington, D.C. - This morning Chief U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum issued a final order in the case of former FBI Agent Jane Turner, bringing her total court award, including attorney's fees, to nearly $1.4 Million. The judge's ruling dealt yet another blow to the FBI, which had filed an objection to Ms. Turner's request for reimbursement of her attorneys fees.
Turner was a highly regarded child crime agent working in the "Indian Counry" of North Dakota for thirteen years. She experienced retaliation from her managers after blowing the whistle on, among other issues, sex discrimination within the FBI. In January 2007, a Minneapolis jury awarded Turner over 500,000 for retaliation and backpay - which by law was capped at $360,000.
The FBI initially appealed the ruling, but the Solicitor General of the United States intervened and forced the FBI to drop their appeal.
Stephen Kohn, Ms. Turner's attorney and President of the National Whistleblower Center, called the Turner decision "vindication for an irrational attempt by the FBI to destroy one of its highly decorated veteran agents after she exposed highly discriminatory practices by her management."
In addition to disclosing discrimination, Ms. Turner also reported widespread theft by FBI agents at the 9/11 crimescene. A subsequent DOJ investigation found that scores of employees had stolen items belonging to the victims, including a crystal Tiffany globe and bloodstained clothing.
"FBI management at the highest levels must be held accountable for their crude attempt to cover up official misconduct. What the Bureau did to Jane Turner is unacceptable in modern law enforcement." Added Kohn.
FBI Whistleblower to Speak Out
December 28, 2007, Washington, D.C. - The American Library Association has announced that FBI whistleblower Bassem Youssef will speak at it's winter conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, January 12th. Mr. Youssef is the Chief of the FBI's Communications Analysis Unit (CAU), and he is responsible for administering two highly controversial warrantless search programs created under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT, including the "National Security Letters" program which was reported widely earlier this year.
Mr. Youssef is expected to speak about failures in the FBI's Counterterrorism program, and his experiences as a whistleblower.
The ALA has long been a champion for civil liberties, privacy, and intellectual freedom.
Senate Passes Major Whistleblower Reforms
December 18, 2007, Washington, DC. Last evening the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, passed the Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act (S.274). This law enhances the protection for federal employee whistleblowers by expanding the scope of protected activity to cover complaints within an employees chain of command.
Passage of S.274 now sets the stage for a conference between the House and Senate to agree final legislative language. On March 14, 2007 the House enacted the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985), which expanded the scope of whistleblower protections to national security related agencies, permitted employees to obtain jury trials in federal court, provided enhanced protections for federal contractors and protected employees who exposed misconduct to their managers.
"The House and Senate whistleblower protections laws complement each other. They need to be melded together in conference and immediately enacted into law. Only by combining the best of both bills will federal employees obtain realistic protection. Until then, the taxpayers and citizens will remain the losers in this debate, as billions of dollars in waste remains unreported and government officials who violate the law and mislead the American people escape accountability," said Stephen M. Kohn, the President of the National Whistleblower Center.
"The Senate Action now sets the stage for the final passage of what will be one of the most important laws enacted by this Congress," added Kohn.
The House and Senate bills were strongly endorsed by a broad coalition of public groups, including the National Whistleblower Center, the Project on Government Oversight, the Government Accountability Project and Taxpayers Against Fraud, the No Fear Coalition, the Make it Safe Coalition, the National Employment Lawyers Association, OpentheGovernment.org, the Liberty Coalition, and the Bill of Rights Foundation, among numerous others.
For more information, visit the Whistleblower Protection Blog
Major Civil Rights Tax Case Filed With Supreme Court
December 13, 2007, Washington, D.C. – Today, The U.S. Supreme Court was asked to hear a key civil rights tax appeal which could affect thousands of past and future victims of civil rights offenses and whistleblower retaliation. In Murphy v. IRS, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed its own original ruling in deciding that court awards for damages such as emotional distress and loss of reputation are taxable as income.
The case was brought by Marrita Murphy, an environmental whistleblower who won her case before Department of Labor, and was awarded compensatory damages to vindicate her rights under six federal environmental whistleblower statutes. Murphy filed suit when the IRS demanded that she pay taxes on the “make-whole” award as if it were income. After having her case dismissed, Murphy filed an appeal.
After full briefing and oral argument, the Appeals court initially held that Murphy’s award was not income and the tax on her damages violated the U.S. Constitution. Then, under pressure from the Bush Administration, the judges decided to rehear the case. In this ruling, Murphy II, the D.C. Circuit reversed its own previous decision, declaring that non-physical compensatory damages are taxable as gross income.
For the first time the issue of whether compensatory damages for non-physical injuries are taxable income is squarely before the Supreme Court. This is a major issue impacting all cases in which any person obtains compensatory damages for a mental distress or illness, or for physical problems resulting from or associated with emotional distress.
David K. Colapinto, General Counsel for the National Whistleblower Center and attorney for Marrita Murphy said he is requesting that the Supreme Court review the issue because "The D.C. Circuit’s reversal stands reality on its head."
Colapinto went on to say that, "The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Murphy case is the first time that any court has construed the tax code to imply an 'excise' tax on the 'privilege' of utilizing the 'legal system' to vindicate a federal statutory right."
“However, Congress did not pass a special tax demanding payment from people who use the legal system to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers or to vindicate civil rights. It was error for the D.C. Circuit to imply such a tax," he added.
FBI Stonewalled Bullet-Lead Record Request
Washington, D.C. - November 19, 2007. The Washington Post and 60 Minutes reported that the convictions of hundreds of defendants have come into question because a bullet-lead analysis used for 40 years has been discredited and that the FBI and Justice Department has failed for more than 2 years to properly notify those convicted about these problems. Read The Article
This story has been over 10 years in the making, and is the direct product of work done by the National Whistleblower Center and its Forensic Justice Project, which is a special project of the Center.
Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, Executive Director of the Forensic Justice Project, has for years cited the need for outside oversight of the FBI Laboratory. "In 1997 the FJP was formed with the motto, ‘Stop It, Fix It, and Find Out Who Was Harmed,'" Dr. Whitehurst said.
Dr. Whitehurst and the FJP have worked extensively with scientists, defense lawyers, the news media and members of Congress to force the FBI to address the serious problems and misconduct in the FBI's misuse of bullet-lead analysis in criminal cases.
Additionally, documents obtained from the FBI by the FJP as the result of two separate lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) were shared with the Washington Post-60 Minutes investigation about the bullet-lead scandal. These FBI documents pertain to some of the hundreds of bullet-lead cases and provided important leads for discovery of other information from public court records, as reported in the Post-60 Minutes investigation. In addition, the FJP obtained under FOIA FBI emails and other internal FBI records referenced in the Post-60 Minutes investigation documenting the FBI's failure to properly address the bullet-lead issue and communicate the problems to criminal defendants and the courts.
However, "the FBI and Justice Department have strongly resisted efforts by the FJP to determine the names of those defendants who were treated unfairly as a result of bad forensic science," said Dr. Whitehurst.
The FJP and Dr. Whitehurst are currently suing the FBI and Justice Department in court over their refusal to process the FJP's FOIA request submitted in September 2005 seeking release of all bullet-lead case files from the FBI Lab. The FJP and Dr. Whitehurst requested these files so the FBI's bullet-lead cases can be independently reviewed by scientists and attorneys.
All of the FBI's bullet-lead information should have been disclosed to the courts as well as criminal defendants and their attorneys years ago," said David Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblower Center.
Instead, the FBI and Justice Department deliberately chose to operate in the dark, out of public view, and conceal the evidence that is scientifically flawed but which was still used in criminal cases," Colapinto said. "This has severely prejudiced people who have been hurt by the FBI Lab's misconduct," he added.
The FJP and the National Whistleblower Center congratulate the Washington Post and 60 Minutes for undertaking a joint journalistic investigation to publicly expose this scandal.
"Without this reporting by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes, the FBI and Justice Department would continue to delay release of the bullet-lead case files and notification of defendants and the courts about these problems," said Dr. Frederic Whitehurst.
"The last thing the Justice Department should do is what has been done, to aggressively stop parties from discovery of those citizens harmed," Dr. Whitehurst said.
You can visit the Whistleblower Protection Blog, at http://www.whistleblowersblog.org for further information on the bullet-lead issue. We will have original documents from the FOIA lawsuit, as well as blog posts from former FBI Crime Lab whistleblower (and Executive Director of the Forensic Justice Project) Dr. Frederic Whitehurst and the General Counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, David Colapinto.
Whistleblower Blog Launches
Washington D.C. - November 16, 2007. A new whistleblower-support blog was launched by the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (NWLDEF) to provide critical information on cutting edge whistleblower issues and breaking news stories related to whistleblower rights.
The new blog, entitled the Whistleblower Protection Blog, is located at http://www.whistleblowersblog.org.
Among its features are:
News organizations, whistleblowers and whistleblower-advocates are encouraged to sign up for the Whistleblower Protection Blog RSS News Feeds to have the latest whistleblower issues downloaded right to your web browser.
The NWLDEF is a non-profit law firm associated with the National Whistleblower Center. Since 1988 both the Center and the NWLDEF have provided legal support and resources to whistleblowers. The Editor-in-Chief of the blog is Mr. Marshall Chriswell, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FBI’s Office of General Counsel and ITOS Managers Knew of NSL Violations in 2005
Washington, D.C., March 21, 2007. In response to a request for information filed by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, the Unit Chief responsible for the Communications Analysis Unit of the FBI set forth a detailed explanation of who in the FBI learned of the problems with NSL letters, how the violations were first identified and steps taken by the Unit Chief to have the problem(s) resolved in 2005-06. Senator Grassley’s letter was sent to the attorney for the Unit Chief (Bassem Youssef) on March 16, 2007. The response from counsel for Mr. Youssef was dated March 17, 2007. Senator Grassley placed these letters onto the record of the hearing conducted today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a statement issued today, the President of the National Whistleblower Center (who also serves as Mr. Youssef’s lead attorney) issued the following statement:
The record is clear. In 2005, Mr. Youssef identified the problem(s) with the NSL letters and aggressively sought corrective action within the FBI. He made FBI managers fully aware of the problem well over one year before the Inspector General issued his report. One can only hope that the FBI will undertake the systemic corrective actions necessary to prevent further abuses.
E-mails exist which fully document the nature of the problems identified by Mr. Youssef, who was made aware of these problems, and the efforts undertaken to correct the problems. Mr. Youssef has formally requested that the FBI immediately make these e-mails public. Congress and the American public should have an opportunity to fully review these e-mails in order to understand how the FBI permitted violations of law to remain uncorrected for nearly two years.
March 16, 2007 letter from Charles Grassley to Stephen Kohn
March 19, 2007 letter from Stephen Kohn to Charles Grassley
March 21, 2007 Grassley Opening Statement (Senate Judiciary Committee)
March 27, 2007 Grassley Statement at the FBI Oversight Hearing
Background information on FBI Counter-terrorism Unit Chief Bassem Youssef:
Watch Stephen Kohn’s appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews: FBI hurting the War on Terror?
Official Alerted F.B.I. to Rules Abuse 2 Years AgoBy Edmund L. AndrewsNY Times, March 19, 2007
Amid Concerns, FBI Lapses Went OnBy R. Jeffrey Smith and John SolomonWashington Post, March 18, 2007
A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of National Security Letters, DOJ OIG, March 9, 2007
FBI Report of Legat Riyadh: Youssef’s Four Years in Saudi Arabia
Director of Central Intelligence AwardAwarded to Mr. Youssef for his work in combating Middle Eastern Terrorism
Performance Appraisal Reports of Bassem YoussefThese are some of Mr. Youssef’s Performance Evaluations during the time he worked in operational counterterrorism.
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional ResponsibilityReport of Investigation of Whistleblower Allegations by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Bassem Youssef Finding Retaliation by the FBI
Additional information about Mr. Bassem Youssef can be found at http://www.whistleblowers.org/html/bassem_ youssef.html
Jon Stewart’s Daily Show Report on Bassem Youssef
Also see Inside the FBI: Counterterrorism
The Book is Printedand Ready to Ship!
Oaxaca resisteDR 2006 Latuff
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February 25, 2008
The web of U.S. government connections to the Gulfstream II jet that crashed in Mexico in late September last year with some four tons of cocaine onboard has taken on an eco-friendly green hue.
The jet, which had a tail number (N987SA) linked by European investigators to past CIA rendition operations, was owned, just prior to its crash landing, by a gringo duo, one of whom was Greg Smith — whom a CIA asset named Baruch Vega claims served as a pilot for past CIA, DEA and FBI undercover missions.
Smith and his partner, Florida pilot Clyde O’Connor, purchased the jet, according to a bill of sale, about a week before its cocaine payload unexpectedly hit the ground in Mexico’s Yucatan on Sept. 24, 2007. The seller was a Florida company called Donna Blue Aircraft Inc. — which is owned by two Brazilians, one of whom is Joao Malago.
Howard Altman of the Tampa Tribune reported recently that Malago is a business partner in a “green” company called Atlantic Alcohol with an individual named Larry Peters, who owns Skyway Aircraft Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla. Skyway also happens to have sold two planes to Venezuelan buyers in recent years that have since been identified as aircraft that were subsequently used in drug-trafficking operations.
Peters’ company sold a Beech 200 aircraft to a Venezuelan purchaser in October 2004, about a month before it was apprehended in a Nicaraguan cotton field linked to a payload of some 1,100 kilos of cocaine. In addition, a recent FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Miami identifies another plane, a Cessna Conquest II (tail number N12DT), that was sold by Skyway in 2006 to a Venezuelan purchaser allegedly linked to a drug trafficking organization (DTO).
“This particular type of aircraft was utilized by DTO’s to transport cocaine from Venezuela to Africa,” the FBI complaint alleges.
The FBI affidavit characterizes the seller of the aircraft (Skyway) as an “unwitting” party in the aircraft’s eventual use as part of a money-laundering and narco-trafficking racket.
But the facts are the facts, nonetheless. Peters and his business partner, Malago, between them have sold a total of three aircraft over the past four years that were subsequently used in Latin America for narco-trafficking operations. At least two of those aircraft, the Beech 200 as well as the Gulfstream II, as Narco News has previously reported, also have been linked to past CIA use.
The Beech 200 was found in Nicaragua bearing a false tail number (N168D), which Federal Aviation Administration records show is registered to a North Carolina company called Devon Holding and Leasing Inc. (The Beech 200’s real tail number was N391SA.)
According to press reports and an investigation conducted by the European Parliament into the CIA’s terrorist rendition program, Devon Holding is a CIA shell company and N168D is a tail number to a CIA aircraft.
In addition, the Gulfstream II, according to DEA sources, was being used as part of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) undercover operation, called the Mayan Express, when it crashed in Mexico. Those sources contend the operation is being run “unilaterally” without the knowledge or cooperation of Latin American governments.
CIA asset Vega further claims that a notorious Colombian narco-trafficker named Nelson Urrego works as an informant for the U.S. government, both ICE and the CIA, and that he helped to arrange the Gulfstream II’s cocaine payload through Colombian paramilitary groups. Panamanian authorities arrested Urrego on money-laundering charges about a week before the Gulfstream II crashed. Urrego has since told the Panamanian press that he is, in fact, a CIA asset.
Given this backdrop, several Narco News sources, including Mark Conrad, a former supervisor special agent with ICE’s predecessor agency, U.S. Customs, have suggested that the CIA, not ICE, is actually the U.S. agency controlling the Mayan Express operation.
Due to the multiple allegations linking at least two of these cocaine planes to U.S. intelligence agency operations, questions do arise as to whether the current DEA and FBI investigations into the cocaine planes will be allowed to get to the bottom of this mystery, according to law enforcement sources who spoke with Narco News. They explain that any individuals or companies involved in a CIA-backed operation, even ones that are complicit in drug trafficking, would be off limits to U.S. law enforcers due to the cloak of national security the CIA can invoke.
Sandalio Gonzalez, a retired DEA veteran who used to run the agency’s South American operations, in commenting on the Mayan Express operation, told Narco News previously:
What sense does it make for the government to smuggle drugs into the country itself just to make cases? I find it strange for a law enforcement agency to be running a unilateral operation [the Mayan Express] involving that much dope being moved out of Colombia. It’s an indication to me that something illegal is going on involving either crooks and/or government people.”
However, Gonzalez adds:
Intel collection in exchange for letting a narco-trafficker run his business is standard operating procedure for the Agency. I personally have witnessed it. DEA has a law enforcement agenda; the CIA is a law-breaking agency.
As far as Carlos Mitchem, spokesman for DEA’s Mexico City office, is concerned, though, the agency’s investigation is moving forward.
“We are running a separate investigation from the FBI,” Mitchem told Narco News. “It is a progressing, active investigation right now.”
Narco News contacted Malago by phone and he confirmed that he does serve as a “South American representative” for Atlantic Alcohol, which lists Skyway’s Peters as one of its principals and officers.
Atlantic Alcohol is essentially a broker for biofuels, in particular ethanol, according to a brochure the company produced to promote its business. Malago explains that Atlantic Alcohol purchases ethanol from third parties and then resells and distributes the fuel to buyers primarily in the United States and Europe.
He confirms that the company operates a warehouse facility in Brazil that is used to store biofuels. In addition, the company’s promotional literature indicates Atlantic Alcohol has operations in the British West Indies and in the Dominican Republic.
“We buy biofuels in Brazil and sell them to companies looking to buy it. …We are trying to get out of the plane business and into the fuel business because you don’t have the problems associated with it, unless you can carry drugs in ethanol,” Malago quips. “There is a big market for ethanol now.”
Both Peters and Malago have previously told Narco News that they have no control over what happens to aircraft they sell once the new buyers take possession of the planes. Neither of them have been identified as targets of the ongoing, separate DEA and FBI investigations into the cocaine planes — although Malago says he has provided information to the U.S. Embassy in Brazil with the goal of assisting investigators looking into the crash of the Gulfstream II aircraft.
Peters did not return calls to Narco News seeking comment on Atlantic Alcohol’s operations.
Malago and Peters are not alone in their Atlantic Alcohol venture. The company’s brochure lists several other people as officers of the company, including David Janney and Neil Singer.
Narco News contacted Janney via telephone for a comment for this story. Janney suggested that Narco News contact Singer, “who is in charge of media” for the company.
Singer told Narco News that he had “never heard of” the cocaine planes and that he has “no relationship with Skyway.” He declined to comment beyond that other than to confirm that he owns a high-tech computer-assisted design company in the Washington, D.C. area., called the Cornerstone Companies and that a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based real-estate investment firm called Bison Financial Group Inc. “on occasion has been a customer of mine.”
Despite Singer’s reluctance to speak with Narco News, a paper trail does exist that illuminates his career interests to an extent.
Singer also is listed as the registrant of Atlantic Alcohol’s Web site, according to public Internet records. In addition, the Web site and brochure for Atlantic Alcohol lists both Peters and Singer as principals and officers of the company.
Several Web sites also mention Singer’s past and present employment experience and also include biographical information of interest.
For example, the following background on Singer can be found at a cached Web site for a high-tech real estate company called the SettlementRoom:
Neil Singer joined SettlementRoom on a permanent basis after being the lead developer on the original SettlementRoom development contract. He has significant expertise in process automation, database integration, and dynamic content generation. He is also experienced in a wide variety of database architectures, graphics and system design software, and a variety of hardware and operating system environments. Over the past 12 years, Mr. Singer has worked as a consultant on major government contracts and large commercial systems, including projects for AT&T, Blue Cross, CSC, HUD, NASA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Neil Singer has a B.S. degree from Cornell University.
Singer also is listed as a board member of a small nonprofit group called the Israel Fund. His bio on that group’s Web site states the following:
Neil Singer is the president of The Cornerstone Companies, with offices in Washington, DC and Tampa, FL. Twenty years of national and international operations have required him to work in widely disparate communities, with contrasting opportunities and needs. New ventures include seeking opportunities to promote ethanol and other clean-fuel alternatives to petroleum power. His undergraduate work at Cornell University in both Natural Resources and Business management was followed by graduate work at American University in International Development. These programs provided a foundation for Mr. Singer to bring the priorities of continuing education and fair labor practice into the world of entrepreneurial business. …
His undergraduate work at Cornell University in both Natural Resources and Business management was followed by graduate work at American University in International Development. These programs provided a foundation for Mr. Singer to bring the priorities of continuing education and fair labor practice into the world of entrepreneurial business. …
And, finally, this link on the Web site for Bison Financial actually lists Singer as one of the “principals” of the firm and offers this insight into his career experience:
Neil, 36, was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and graduated from Cornell University in 1988. Neil brings fourteen years of experience in corporate communications in both independent contracting, corporate and government information technology consulting. Neil’s involvement in IT and business communications projects has earned him experience living and working in San Francisco, Boston, San Antonio, Houston, Orlando, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., before making Fairfax, Virginia his base of operations in 1997. Neil is now happily spending more time living and working on projects on Florida’s Gulf Coast.Neil has built front-end websites and back-office data systems for Fortune 100 companies and Federal Government Agencies. Neil has experience supporting the US Marine Corps and the US Army with Internet technology, training and support services, and he carries a current security clearance. [Emphasis added.]Neil supports Bison with his technical perspective, and helps keep Bison Financial Group at the leading/bleeding edge of the important business computer and Internet tools of the 21st century.
Neil’s involvement in IT and business communications projects has earned him experience living and working in San Francisco, Boston, San Antonio, Houston, Orlando, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., before making Fairfax, Virginia his base of operations in 1997. Neil is now happily spending more time living and working on projects on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Neil has built front-end websites and back-office data systems for Fortune 100 companies and Federal Government Agencies. Neil has experience supporting the US Marine Corps and the US Army with Internet technology, training and support services, and he carries a current security clearance. [Emphasis added.]
Neil supports Bison with his technical perspective, and helps keep Bison Financial Group at the leading/bleeding edge of the important business computer and Internet tools of the 21st century.
Although Singer was reluctant to talk with Narco News over the phone, he did suggest we send him an e-mail with questions we might have about his business endeavors. Given Singer’s extensive background in doing work for the U.S. government, including the fact that his Bison Financial profile indicates he holds a “current security clearance,” it seems that he might be of great value to U.S. government investigators in helping to track down the mystery of the cocaine planes.
After all, Singer’s business partners, Peters and Malago, have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous drug traffickers, so it doesn’t seem out of the question that Singer might want to be of some assistance to U.S. government investigators in helping to bring the criminals who duped his business partner to justice.
So, that was the nature of the e-mail Narco News sent to Singer:
Neil, We spoke on the phone today concerning Atlantic Alcohol and a company called Skyway Aircraft in St. Petersburg, Florida.The brochure for Atlantic Alcohol lists you and Larry Peters as well as an individual named David Janney as officers of the company. Mr. Peters also owns Skyway Aircraft.I spoke with Mr. Janney briefly and he recommended I talk to you about Atlantic Alcohol.You said you are not aware of the media coverage involving Skyway and the fact it sold two planes to Latin American buyers who subsequently used those aircraft in narcotics-trafficking- and money-laundering-related activities. Mr. Peters has previously stated that he had no knowledge of how those planes were being used after his company sold them and cannot control what third parties do with the aircraft once they have been sold.Another Atlantic Alcohol representative, Joao Malago of Brazil, also was involved the sale of a plane … that subsequently crashed in Mexico with nearly four tons of cocaine onboard. Mr. Malago likewise says he cannot control what happens to a plane once he has sold it.However, the FBI and DEA are conducting separate investigations involving those planes.Given these connections, it does not seem improbable that federal agents might have approached individuals associated with Atlantic Alcohol as well as Skyway to question them about the planes. Mr. Malago has already confirmed that he has supplied information to the U.S. Embassy on the matter.So my questions to you are the following:Have you been questioned by law enforcement officials on this matter, or are you cooperating with law enforcement or intelligence officials with respect to these aircraft and their past use in narco-trafficking- and money-laundering-related operations?Also, is there any insight you can provide into the situation and how it affects Atlantic Alcohol?I realize you may be constrained in answering these questions, but any help you can provide is appreciated. …
We spoke on the phone today concerning Atlantic Alcohol and a company called Skyway Aircraft in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The brochure for Atlantic Alcohol lists you and Larry Peters as well as an individual named David Janney as officers of the company. Mr. Peters also owns Skyway Aircraft.
I spoke with Mr. Janney briefly and he recommended I talk to you about Atlantic Alcohol.
You said you are not aware of the media coverage involving Skyway and the fact it sold two planes to Latin American buyers who subsequently used those aircraft in narcotics-trafficking- and money-laundering-related activities. Mr. Peters has previously stated that he had no knowledge of how those planes were being used after his company sold them and cannot control what third parties do with the aircraft once they have been sold.
Another Atlantic Alcohol representative, Joao Malago of Brazil, also was involved the sale of a plane … that subsequently crashed in Mexico with nearly four tons of cocaine onboard. Mr. Malago likewise says he cannot control what happens to a plane once he has sold it.
However, the FBI and DEA are conducting separate investigations involving those planes.
Given these connections, it does not seem improbable that federal agents might have approached individuals associated with Atlantic Alcohol as well as Skyway to question them about the planes. Mr. Malago has already confirmed that he has supplied information to the U.S. Embassy on the matter.
So my questions to you are the following:
Have you been questioned by law enforcement officials on this matter, or are you cooperating with law enforcement or intelligence officials with respect to these aircraft and their past use in narco-trafficking- and money-laundering-related operations?
Also, is there any insight you can provide into the situation and how it affects Atlantic Alcohol?
I realize you may be constrained in answering these questions, but any help you can provide is appreciated. …
Unfortunately, Singer has not yet replied to the e-mail, nor has he returned several calls seeking to assure he received the e-mail correspondence.
But we should think the best of this.
If these cocaine planes are linked to CIA operations, as signs point to in at least two of the aircraft, and Singer (who has a history of doing highly sensitive work for the U.S. government) and/or his business partners at Atlantic Alcohol are assisting the Agency in this endeavor in some way, it is very likely Singer would not be at liberty to discuss that with the press, right?
So that means the answers to the questions this story raises cannot be answered with certainty at this point.
For now, we’ll all have to be satisfied with the less-than-settling recognition that there is no three-strikes rule under U.S. law when it comes to private companies selling aircraft to narco-traffickers.
Third Cocaine Plane Surfaces and is Tied to Web of Government Connections
Cocaine Jet Crash in Mexico Linked to Narco-Trafficker Who Worked for U.S. Government
Jet Case Colored with Shades of Iran/Contra and “House of Death”
Cocaine Jet That Crashed in Mexico Part of Cowboy Government Operation, DEA Sources Claim
New Document Provides Further Evidence That Owner of Crashed Cocaine Jet Was a U.S. Government Operative
Mysterious Jet Crash Is Rare Portal Into the “Dark Alliances” of the Drug War
Email of Feb. 29, 2008 from Riad Elsolh Hamad, addressed to an Austin attorney and copied to the Texas Civil Rights Review. Posted by permission of the author--gm
We had a very unpleasant visit from the FBI and IRS agents yesterday morning and they walked out with more than 40 boxes of tax returns, forms, documents, books, flags, cds, etc.
The special agent said that they have a probable cause for money laundering, wire fraud, bank fraud, etc., and I think that all of it stems from more than 35 years of watching me.
When I applied for my citizenship in 1996 the attorney asked for my record under the FOIC and got a file bigger than the NY city yellow pages with a lot of black lines to mark the names of the informants.
The names of my children who are now adults -- Rita, a graduate of Berkeley medical school at the top of her class and an ex-Harvard graduate; my son Abdullah, who is a UT graduate with a B average in math, physics and linguistics -- are also listed.
The FBI agents spoke to my son who is ill and disabled and said that they would come again and they spoke to him without a search warrant. When the special agent in charge was asked about the probable cause, he said that the judge knows but he could not tell us.
Bottom line, I need help and was wondering if you know anyone who has time on his/her hand to help me as I am broke not because of my work for the children of Palestine and contribution to free the families from Hutto last year that cost me over $15,000 dollars in legal, airline tickets and shipping their furniture.
Looking forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your work for justice. You can see some of my work through the links below which i think fermented the current situation.
Riad Elsolh Hamad http://www.pcwf.org
Support the children of Palestine by buying Palestinian arts and crafts. Sustain the Palestinian economy and provide jobs for the men, women and farmers in Palestine to live with pride and dignity TILL WE RETURN.
John Connolly “was a criminal who had a day job as an FBI agent,” the U.S. Department of Justice said yesterday by way of characterizing the infamous ex-G-man, as it scrambled to distance itself from the wrongful-death suits wrought by his brazen treachery.
Debating the definition of “scope of employment,” DOJ attorney Thomas Bond has asked a panel of federal appeals court judges in Boston to rule that Connolly was motivated by the greed of a black heart - and not the pursuit of justice - when he buddied up to mobsters James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi and “helped (them) kill people.”
“Only one conclusion is compelled here: He’s a traitor to the FBI,” Bond insisted.
The feds are challenging the $3.1 million that U.S. District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay awarded a Quincy mother for the 1984 death of her son, John McIntyre.
Acting on a tip from Connolly that McIntyre, 32, was going to accuse them of trying to smuggle arms to the Irish Republican Army, Flemmi testified in 2006 that he and Bulger chained McIntyre to a chair and tortured, choked and shot him to death before cutting out his teeth and tongue and burying him in the basement of a South Boston home.
How the appellate judges rule will have a powerful domino effect on a half-dozen other wrongful-death actions awaiting trial. Was Connolly, 67, a loose cannon in the FBI arsenal? Or was the bureau itself culpable for murder because it allowed the rogue agent to trade McIntyre’s life to preserve Bulger and Flemmi as star informants.
State law holds public employers liable for injuries and death caused by employees acting within the scope of their job.
Attorney William Christie, defending 79-year-old Emily McIntyre’s right to reparation, told reporters he found it “disturbing” the DOJ “will admit what (Connolly) was, but not what the FBI” allowed him to do.
Convicted in 2002 of racketeering and obstruction of justice, Connolly was sentenced to nine years behind bars. He is currently awaiting trial in Miami on charges he conspired with Bulger to whack former World Jai Alai president John Callahan in 1982.
Bond said Connolly was “way off the reservation” for violating a sacred FBI rule to “never disclose informants’ identities.”
“The FBI’s job (was) not to protect Bulger and Flemmi at all costs and it (wasn’t) Connolly’s job,” Bond said.
By WILLIAM BLUM
When Andreas Papandreou assumed his ministerial duties in 1964 in the Greek government led by his father George Papandreou, he was shocked to discover an intelligence service out of control, a shadow government with powers beyond the authority of the nation's nominal leaders, a service more loyal to the CIA than to the Papandreou government.
This was a fact of life for many countries in the world during the Cold War, when the CIA could dazzle a foreign secret service with devices of technical wizardry, classes in spycraft, vital intelligence, unlimited money, and American mystique and propaganda. Many of the world's intelligence agencies have long provided the CIA with information about their own government and citizens.
The nature of much of this information has been such that if a private citizen were to pass it to a foreign power he could be charged with treason. [William Blum, Killing Hope, pages 217-8.]
Leftist Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa declared in April that Ecuador's intelligence systems were "totally infiltrated and subjugated to the CIA," and accused senior Ecuadoran military officials of sharing intelligence with Colombia, the Bush administration's top (if not only) ally in Latin America.
The previous month missiles had been fired into a camp of the Colombian FARC rebels situated in Ecuador near the Colombian border, killing about 25. One of those killed was Franklin Aisalla, an Ecuadorean operative for the group. It turned out that Ecuadorean intelligence officials had been tracking Aisalla, a fact that was not shared with the president, but apparently with Colombian forces and their American military advisers.
"I, the president of the republic, found out about these operations by reading the newspaper," a visibly indignant Correa said. "This is not something we can tolerate." He added that he planned to restructure the intelligence agencies so he would have greater direct control over them. [New York Times, April 21, 2008.]
The FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is routinely referred to in the world media as "Marxist", but that designation has not been appropriate for many years. The FARC has long been basically a criminal organization -- kidnapings for ransom, kidnapings for no apparent reason, selling protection services to businesses, trafficking in drugs, fighting the Colombian Army to be free to continue their criminal ways or to revenge their comrades' deaths.
But Washington, proceeding from its declared ideology of "If you ain't with us, you're against us; in fact, if you ain't with us you're a terrorist", has designated FARC as a terrorist group. Every stated definition of "terrorist", from the FBI to the United Nations to the US criminal code makes it plain that terrorism is essentially a political act.
This should, logically, exclude FARC from that category but, in actuality, has no effect on Washington's thinking. And now the Bush administration is threatening to add Venezuela to its list of "nations that support terrorism", following a claim by Colombia that it had captured a computer belonging to FARC after the attack on the group's campsite in Ecuador.
A file allegedly found on the alleged computer, we are told, suggests that the Venezuelan government had channeled $300 million to FARC, and that FARC had appeared interested in acquiring 110 pounds of uranium. [New York Times, March 4, 2008]
What next? Chavez had met with Osama bin Laden at the campsite?
Amongst the FARC members killed in the Colombian attack on Ecuador were several involved in negotiations to free Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate who also holds French citizenship and is gravely ill. The French government and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have been very active in trying to win Betancourt's freedom. Individuals collaborating with Chavez have twice this year escorted a total of six hostages freed by the FARC into freedom, including four former Colombian legislators.
The prestige thus acquired by Chavez has of course not made Washington ideologues happy. If Chavez should have a role in the freeing of Betancourt -- the FARC's most prominent prisoner -- his prestige would jump yet higher. The raid on the FARC camp has put an end to the Betancourt negotiations, at least for the near future.
The raid bore the fingerprints of the US military/CIA -- a Predator drone aircraft dropped "smart bombs" after pinpointing the spot by monitoring a satellite phone call between a FARC leader and Chavez. A Colombian Defense Ministry official admitted that the United States had provided his government with intelligence used in the attack, but denied that Washington had provided the weapons. The New York Times observed that "The predawn operation bears remarkable similarities to one carried out in late January by the United States in Pakistan."
So what do we have here? Washington has removed a couple of dozen terrorists (or "terrorists") from the ranks of the living without any kind of judicial process. Ingrid Betancourt continues her imprisonment, now in its sixth year, but another of Hugo Chavez's evil-commie plans has been thwarted.
And the CIA -- as with its torture renditions -- has once again demonstrated its awesome power: anyone, anywhere, anytime, anything, all laws domestic and international be damned, no lie too big.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.
He can be reached at BBlum6@aol.com
If Carmen “The Cheeseman” DiNunzio did not exist, in all his 400-pound munificence, the FBI surely would have invented him.
For a law enforcement agency in desperate need of proving it can catch a Boston gangster, instead of marrying one (see Whitey), the Cheeseman is just what these accountants - er, cops - ordered.
“Like shooting fish in a barrel,” one seasoned cop guffawed in the wake of this hapless mafioso’s latest blunder into indictment. Actually, it was a good deal less sporting than that. Nailing the Cheeseman, as he allegedly tried to bribe his way into the Big Dig, was more like shooting an elephant at 10 paces with a grenade launcher.
And this particular elephant, according to his lawyer, happens to be afflicted with sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, an overburdened heart and clogged lungs, to name just a few of his ailments.
Still, it appears that Jerry Angiulo’s obese successor was healthy enough to throw every ounce of his monstrous bulk in the face of an undercover G-man posing as a state highway inspector on the take.
For a down payment of $10,000, the Cheeseman and his two amigos planned to snare a $6 million contract to blanket the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway with 300,000 cubic feet of sand, silt and horse manure, otherwise known as loam. Genius!
“Lookit . . . I’m the Cheeseman,” DiNunzio bellowed straight into the open microphone of the G-man assuming the role of a skittish highway inspector. “You ask anybody about me. We straighten out a lot of beefs.”
Somewhere in the catacombs along Prince Street, or by the sea in Nahant, Papa Jerry had to be laughing, or crying . . . or both. A generation after the North End’s favorite underboss was shipped off to jail for shooting off his mouth in the vicinity of an open mike, his nitwit successor gets caught bragging to a stranger that he’s the real Tony Soprano.
La Cosa Nostra has become a caricature of itself. Much like the last days of the Third Reich, the Mafia, at least around here, is degenerating into a confederacy of the foolish and the infirm. It hasn’t been two years since they rolled the Cheeseman into a North Shore court for the threats he allegedly made to a flock of bookies. And now, he pops back up on the FBI’s version of YouTube - video as well as audio - up to his ears in the cheese, so to speak. What a pitiful commentary on the Mafia’s talent pool.
The most hilarious part of the Cheeseman’s latest misadventure is played by his supporting dumbbell, Andrew Marino, who seals DiNunzio’s fate by blabbing to the fed’s informant that the Cheeseman “is the guy in the North End - the head of the (bleeping) organization. That’s the guy that’s always in the news.” Not necessarily the kind of validation that a truly effective Mafia guy craves.
The informant then asks Andrew Marino: “Is he (DiNunzio) a Big Dig guy?”
“No,” Marino replies, “he’s the head of the Mafia. He’s got the Big Dig guys, the inspectors, in (his) pockets.” Mafia guys, Big Dig guys - what’s the difference?
“So, we’re covered?” the skeptical informant asks Marino.
“The Cheeseman,” Marino assures him, “nobody’s gonna get (bleeped).”
Well, it looks as if everybody in this pathetic fandango is going to get bleeped. And the Cheeseman will have to make some long-term arrangements to have his sleep apnea machine delivered to his cell. Maybe Papa Jerry can spend what free days he has left welcoming the ever-dwindling supply of true North Enders to the Cheeseman’s store.
Just when the FBI has been hit with about $120 million in civil damages for the way it crawled into bed with a far more sinister breed of local gangster talent, it has the cheap luck to stumble across a sickly Mafia elephant who sells cheese and doesn’t quite know how to get out of his own way.
Carmen DiNunzio, reputed Mafia capo, owner of Fresh Cheese in the North End and self-described “Cheeseman,” is facing a smorgasbord of charges, including these:
Defamer would like to take just a moment to salute a true American hero — a local filmmaker whose vision, dedication and utter depravity have resulted in some of the bravest and most honest films of our time. His name is Ira Isaacs; you may know him as the maker of such "shock art" (i.e. fetish porn) masterworks as Laurie's Toilet Show, Gang Bang Horse (Pony Sex Game) and Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7, and soon you may also know him as the man sent up the river in what Radar today describes as perhaps "the most extreme obscenity trial in U.S. history."
Correspondent Susannah Breslin has Isaacs' noble and only mildly revolting story via Q&A, hopefully in a disinfected room or on a phone with a condom pulled over it:
ISAACS: I was one of the first to do this. Getting actresses to participate in this art venture is not the easiest thing in the world. Picasso had problems as well. And [Marcel] Duchamp with the toilet [Urinal, a signed urinal exhibited in an art gallery]. [James Joyce's] Ulysses was up for obscenity. I felt like I'm never going to be a great musician, I'm never going to be a great oil painter. Here, I had a chance to shock a lot of people. My movies that I make, there's a lot contrast, there's a lot of social commentary. How people deal with taboos. How people see something so mundane. The contrast between feces and a beautiful girl. Good and evil. ... RADAR: Were you worried about getting busted? ISAACS: January 17 , I'm going to my office in Koreatown, and there's 20 to 25 FBI agents. They're in my office. They're in my hallway. There's these two big guys. "Are you Mr. Isaacs?" they say. "Come with me." They walk me down the hallway, into my office. There's FBI all over the place. But I'll tell you, they were very, very pleasant people. They were really nice. Those guys would rather be fighting terrorism than being the sex police. The FBI guy was as curious as you are. He asked me, "Off the record," he asked me, "How do you convince girls to do this kind of stuff?" I said, "I do it very well."
RADAR: Were you worried about getting busted?
ISAACS: January 17 , I'm going to my office in Koreatown, and there's 20 to 25 FBI agents. They're in my office. They're in my hallway. There's these two big guys. "Are you Mr. Isaacs?" they say. "Come with me." They walk me down the hallway, into my office. There's FBI all over the place. But I'll tell you, they were very, very pleasant people. They were really nice. Those guys would rather be fighting terrorism than being the sex police. The FBI guy was as curious as you are. He asked me, "Off the record," he asked me, "How do you convince girls to do this kind of stuff?" I said, "I do it very well."
Transfixed as we are by the concept of "good and evil" as represented by a dump on someone's face, we're afraid we must sit this trial out at risk of our own standards-and-practices violation and/or years of nightmares. You are in luck, though, dear reader, as indefatigable Huffington Post legal correspondent Allison Hope Weiner will be moving on to this shitty case upon the end of jury deliberations in the Anthony Pellicano trial. Good luck to Mr. Isaacs; may we never know first-hand what a true master he is.
Bob Bennett is one of the best-known attorneys in Washington, DC, a city with more lawyers per capita than any place in the United States, if not the world. Although I’ve never met Bennett, I suspect we must have passed one another in the halls at Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated the year before I did.
Bennett has had – and continues to have – a fascinating legal career in which he has represented the “who’s who” of Washington (and elsewhere) in a steady stream of high-profile media-saturated cases. Recently, he has shared highlights from his career in his new book In The Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer. For me, his memoir is more than a trip down memory lane, for he places a number of highly-political criminal prosecutions in which he lead the defense in appropriate historical perspective.
“Washington,” Bennett says, is not only a “tough” town, but also a “mean” one. He certainly makes the case for this contention with his reminiscences of his representation of two Washington attorneys and icons: Clark Clifford, a Democrat, and Caspar Weinberger, a Republican. His stories are chilling.
Defending Against the Attack on Clark Clifford: The Fall of a Democratic Icon
Clark Clifford was a Washington legend. Tall and always elegantly dressed, he was a distinguished-looking man with his premature gray hair and movie-star features. He had long been one of Washington’s most eminent attorneys, as a former White House counsel to President Truman, a personal attorney to President Kennedy, a former Secretary of Defense for President Johnson, and as a private adviser and international emissary for President Carter. Late in his career, and for the mere challenge of it, Clifford had agreed to server as chairman of the board of First American Bank, in Washington, with his law partner Robert Altman serving as president. They had made a failing bank into a great success.
After serving some nine years in this role, Clifford was eighty-five and in failing health when first New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and then Assistant U.S. Attorney General Robert Mueller (today Director of the FBI), targeted Clifford, along with Altman, as being complicit in the scandal involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was in trouble all over the world. BCCI began to implode, following charges of its having laundered drug money and engaged in other nefarious activities, and investigators soon learned that contrary to New York and federal banking laws, BCCI owned First American Bank.
Both Clifford and Altman denied being aware of this ownership relationship, but prosecutors did not believe them. Soon, the prosecutors began leaking their case to the news media and it quickly became a major scandal. How could the savvy Clark Clifford have been deceived and misled by the Arab money men behind BCCI? It did not seem possible.
When Bob Bennett was retained, he and his associates prepared a lengthy submission to show prosecutors that they were wrong – that they had no case – for neither Clifford nor Altman had in fact been aware of the BCCI ownership, nor had they violated any law. Nonetheless, a race was on between the New York District Attorney and the Department of Justice in Washington to prosecute these men. On July 30, 1992, Morgenthau and Mueller both announced their separate (but coordinated) indictments of the two men for allegedly lying to banking officials, accepting bribes, and falsifying records.
Bennett, who always reaches to be fair to his opponents, reports how these prosecutors literally did their best to kill Clifford. Because of Clifford’s failing health, he sought an early trial date, seeking to exonerate himself before he died. When, at Bennett’s request, a federal judge in Washington set the trial for October 26, 1992, the New York prosecutors set their own trial date on October 22, 1992 in New York City. As Bennett explains, normally the state defers to the federal case, and the Department of Justice insists on proceeding. But Mueller’s office “shamelessly capitulated and agreed that the New York trial could go first.” Bennett believes that the reason for the decision was that the feds knew they had no case, so they were happy to let Morgenthau proceed.
Bennett explained to the New York prosecutors that Clifford was not physically capable of traveling to and enduring a trial in New York, but the prosecutors fought him, until a New York judge sent a team of doctors and then found that, indeed, Clifford was too ill. Nonetheless, prosecutors still insisted on proceeding against Altman, whom they tried to force into pleading guilty so they could nail Clifford, but Altman refused, and went to trial. Meanwhile, Clifford went through open heart surgery, and while he survived it, Bennett says he never truly recovered.
After five months of the prosecution’s presenting evidence at trial, the case was so weak that the judge dismissed the bribery charges (the heart of their case), but the prosecutors plowed on, forcing the jury to decide. The jury’s verdict regarding Altman: Not guilty. Bennett reports that, after their verdict, “The jurors eagerly met with the press to criticize the prosecution and proclaimed that Altman was unquestionably innocent.”
Bennett does not report whether Morgenthau or Mueller ever dismissed the case they had constructed against Clifford, whose only vindication was Altman’s acquittal. He remained too ill to stand trial. Bennett says he was later asked by news people how they got it so wrong. “I told them that the story line – an icon’s fall from grace – was too good and caused them to get carried away and accept at face value all that was told to them by out-of-control prosecutors.” He adds, that while the press ultimately knew they had been misled, “this was of little consolation to Clifford,” who died on October 10, 1998, under the shadow of his fabricated disgrace.
Defending Against the Attack on Caspar Weinberger: The Fall of a Republican Icon
Caspar Weinberger was selected by President Nixon to serve as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Nixon later moved Weinberger to the White House, first as Deputy Director and then as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. In 1973, Weinberger became the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, a position in which he remained during the Ford Administration.
President Ronald Reagan selected Weinberger to be his Secretary of Defense, a post he held for over six years. As one of Reagan’s key national security advisers, however, Weinberger objected to the sale of arms to Iran. When the Iran-Contra scandal erupted, and former federal judge Lawrence Walsh was appointed Independent Counsel to investigate the sale of arms to Iran, Weinberger fully cooperated with the inquiry for some five years. Late in the investigation, however, Walsh advised a shocked Weinberger that he was now among its targets.
Weinberger hired Bob Bennett. In all the accounts that Bennett shares in his book, he goes out of his way not to personally criticize those who were his prior opponents, but there is one exception: Lawrence Walsh. For example, at one point in his account, Bennett states, “The best reason why the independent counsel law should never be brought back to life is Lawrence Walsh. Walsh’s prosecution of Weinberger was one of the greatest abuses of prosecutorial power I have ever encountered.”
Bennett backs this up with page after page describing Walsh’s unprofessional conduct. When, for example, Bennett provided Walsh with evidence of Weinberger’s innocence – such as the fact that though Walsh was claiming Weinberger had made material false statements to the Senate, the Senate committee that had heard Weinberger’s testimony disagreed – Walsh became outraged. He did not want the fact he had ignored getting in the way of his prosecution. When Bennett convinced the court to dismiss charges in the indictment, Walsh issued a new indictment – just before the election in which President George H. W. Bush would lose to Bill Clinton – suggesting that Bush was involved in the Iran-Contra matters through Weinberger. (This new charge of another purported false statement to Congress was quickly dismissed too, for it did not fall within the statute of limitations, a fact that suggested that Walsh had added it simply for political purposes, as the election approached.)
Those who have followed the Iran-Contra investigation always had good reason to suspect that the trophy Walsh truly wanted was President Reagan. Bennett confirms this suspicion, based on his direct dealing with Walsh. Walsh told Bennett that if Weinberger “would cooperate by providing evidence against President Reagan and other high-level officials of his administration, they would accept a misdemeanor plea and would support a recommendation of no jail.” Weinberger refused, because he was not guilty of anything and had no incriminating evidence against others – and because he had no interest in lying for Walsh.
As Bennett prepared for trial, after the election of Bill Clinton, he also began suggesting to friends on Capitol Hill, and to White House counsel Borden Gray, that a pardon from Bush would end it all. Over the Christmas holiday, Bush pardoned not only Weinberger, but others who had been involved in the Iran-Contra matter as well. Needless to say, Walsh was outraged, and ranted and raved about corruption at the highest levels. Bennett disagrees. Based on his knowledge, he says, Weinberger was “innocent of all the charges made against him, and I believe he would have been fully vindicated at trial.” Again, uncharacteristically mincing no words, Bennett adds, “His indictment was a gross miscarriage of justice perpetuated by an irresponsible prosecutor.” Indeed, he compares Walsh to the crazed Ahab of Moby-Dick.
While this is not a book review, I can only close by saying this book is a great read for anyone interested in the way Washington works. In addition to the matters I have discussed above, it also includes accounts of Bennett’s service as Special Counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee when investigating the Keating Five (he feels Senators Glenn and McCain did not engage in inappropriate behavior, while Senators Cranston, DeConcini and Riegle were up to their necks in improperly assisting the S & L mogul); his representation of the politically-incorrect owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Marge Schott (he even protected Marge’s dog and the team’s mascot, Schottzie 02, from the numbskulls of Major League Baseball); his handling of New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s contempt of court (Tom Brokaw visited her in jail); and, of course, his representation of President Bill Clinton during the Paula Jones litigation and Ken Starr investigations (he thinks Starr, his friend, was out of his league) – to mention only a few more of his tales well told.
The Department of Justice, which hires about 10,000 new employees a year, generally does not check the references provided by job applicants, even when they are applying for jobs in law enforcement or corrections, according to a new report from the DOJ Inspector General Office. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that the FBI and the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)—the two agencies with the most gun-toting employees—conduct no reference checks for their armed personnel.
Although no government-wide mandate to check references exists, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) encourage federal agencies to do so for every applicant as a way to verify the information provided, predict job success, and obtain information about their professional reputation and accomplishments. The Justice Department, however, requires reference checks only for new career attorney applicants, and allows its constituent agencies to set reference checking policies for other occupations.
Prominent New Jersey attorney Paul Bergrin, who is accused of using his law firm to commit crimes, including drug trafficking, prostitution and the murder of an FBI informant, is on trial in Newark federal court, Reuters reports.
Iceland's interior minister said Friday that he ordered the country's police not to cooperate with FBI agents sent to investigate WikiLeaks two years ago, offering a rare glimpse into the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation of the secret-busting site.
Ogmundur Jonasson told The Associated Press that he was upset when he found out that FBI agents had flown to the country to interview an unidentified WikiLeaks associate in August 2011.
"I, for one, was not aware that they were coming to Iceland," he said in a brief telephone interview. "When I learned about it, I demanded that Icelandic police cease all cooperation and made it clear that people interviewed or interrogated in Iceland should be interrogated by Icelandic police."
Jonasson said that Icelandic diplomats protested the FBI's trip to their U.S. counterparts.
see link for full story
Former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd found himself in unprecedented defensive mode today, telling members of the Governor’s Council he felt “very much betrayed” by the FBI’s mishandling of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and its “stonewalling” of his efforts to bring him down.
“We had no clue that the bureau in Boston was compromised,” Budd said. “I wish I was smart enough to know that the guy (Bulger) was tipped. Everywhere we turned we were countered. With frightening regularity, he was ahead of the game.”
Budd made the remarks in defense of Robert L. Ullmann, the chief of his criminal division from 1985 to 1995 and now Gov. Deval Patrick’s nominee for a Superior Court judgeship.
Ullmann, 57, at his confirmation hearing before the council, was assailed with questions about the mobster accused in the slayings of 19 men and women.
Ullmann, a Harvard graduate who has been in private practice 18 years, said, “In retrospect, we were a little naive.
“I was one of the people who was trying to do the right thing. We all should have realized the depth of the protection and the depth of the wrongdoing sooner than we did. I’m human.”
Said Ullmann, “We didn’t turn a blind eye. We tried to get answers. No one knew the depth of protection and the corruption. We did not know who committed the murders. We did not know he was an informant.”
An Independence Day Exchange
by Gary Corseri and Adam Engel / July 4th, 2013
Adam Engel: (in media res) …nobody gives a damn what authors do or do not do, outside “our crowd” of hopelessly romantic lefties…
Gary Corseri: Don’t agree with that! I don’t think we’re “hopelessly romantic lefties” and more and more Americanos are disenchanted with life here, dream of abroad-dom. Authors settling and writing about life abroad and seeing US from aerie of expatriation–could be important to spur others. It’s a venture I am considering myself within the next couple of years.
AE: Speaking of disenchantment with the odd and sundry farcical, though ultimately tragic, excesses of Empire… I just read this biography of Salinger that blew my mind. J. D. Salinger: A Life, by Kenneth Slawenski.
Of all the dozens of “war movies” I’ve seen and books I’ve read (The Crimean, American Civil War; WWI, Spanish Civil War, WWII, Korea, the omnipresent Vietnam, etc.), I have never, ever read anything so harrowing as the three chapters in this book that describe Salinger’s experience from a month before the Normandy landing to his unit being the first Allied force to liberate and enter the concentration camps eleven months later. All he wrote about — published, anyway — was the effects of the War, without ever describing, a la Mailer, battle scenes, for fear such writings be mis-interpreted as glorification of war. Truly incredible, terrifying shit!
GC: I’ve considered him one of our greats since my NYC high-school days when my best public school English teacher—the poet George Bailin–introduced his works to us. Wish he had written more… but what he did write is worth re-reading and re-reading and what author can ask for more?
AE: Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill, etc. — nothing comes remotely close to what I’ve read over these chapters covering Salinger’s war experience. This is something Coppola or Kubrick would have sacrificed their own children to put into film — or Mailer would have capitalized on for decades. It’s almost unbelievable. Of about 4000 men in Salinger’s battalion, only himself and 350 others survived.
GC: This war-driven, war-insane Empire needs to keep hearing about, reading about, vomiting over those kinds of experience!
AE: Makes me want to put that Zionazi Americanischer dumbzeit, Spielberg, in Salinger’s place.
GC: He’s definitely one of the schmucks of the Universe!
AE: That opening scene of the corn-ball patriotic Saving Private Ryan, truly captured the nightmare that was the Normandy landing — before Spielberg went back to fantasy-land.
GC: I saw part of that crapola on TV. Somehow, I missed the first (best?) part of it. Tom Hanks is another Mr. Clean who is really covered in shit! I’m anti-celebrities anyway. I think Occupy movements should protest “grand openings,” etc. “World War Z”! Give me a fuckin break!
AE: For Salinger and the 12th Infantry — his division suffered the worst casualties at Normandy, battle of the Bulge, and throughout the war– The Normandy landing was just an appetizer. What followed was four straight weeks of fox-hole-warfare, accompanied by land-mines, artillery, snipers, etc.
They got brief reprieve to shower and change their clothes for the first time in a month, then more hell-fire and damnation to liberate Paris, where Salinger met Hemingway, who was writing dispatches for Collier’s Magazine, publisher of several of Salinger’s early stories. Hemingway recognized Salinger from his photograph. This book paints Hemingway in a different light. He’s actually a decent guy, totally freaked out by what he’s seen; the arrival of a fellow writer and the chance to talk books was as welcome to him as it was to Salinger.
GC: I wrote a very good (and, to be expected!) unproduced screen-play about Hemingway. He is one of my writer-heroes!
AE: After a brief stay in Paris, Sargent Salinger was off to months and months of even worse, if worse can be imagined. Lost in the Hürtgen (or something like that) forest in the thicket of what was called the “Siegfried line” — a section of forest deliberately planted by the Nazi command at the start of the war, with 100-foot tall trees planted a few feet apart so fox-holes could not be dug, air-cover could not find soldiers to cover, and the enemy, like the “notorious” Viet Cong, was always unseen. Stuck there in the worst winter in decades, it was like Stalingrad; many died from frostbite alone. Then a brief reprieve, they thought, until they realized they were surrounded and attacked in what were the first heavy blasts of the Battle of the Bulge…
GC: As a teen, war novels, sci-fi and poetry and drama, Thoreau and Emerson were my favorite reading! I know something of the horrors of the Battle of the Bulge. (btw, one excellent, short novel was A Walk in the Sun — later a movie. There were a few. But, you’re right. Far too much glorification of the whole sordid affair!)
AE: During all this shit, Salinger was writing. Some of his best stuff yet, or ever, according to the biographer, Slawenski, who describes them well (he read them in the Princeton or University of Texas or whatever Salinger collection—as well as his only stories directly about the war and the experiences he’d had. These were never published, nor were they meant to be.).
Get this: Salinger was a non-commissioned officer in Counter-Intelligence! His task was to interrogate Nazis and collaborators among POWs and the civilian population, and to report any “subversive activity” among his fellow soldiers. The artist/soldier Salinger wrote the stories, highly critical of the Army, the War, the Machine-like consumption of soldiers as disposable parts, murder of civilians, etc., then the Intelligence agent Salinger censored/hid them, lest he be forced to arrest himself for subversion
GC: It’s been going on forever, eh? Bradley Manning, Snowden! Nothing new!
AE: They finally reach Germany proper. Salinger has to leave the regular troops to go on Intelligence missions, literally busting into houses, arresting Nazis and collaborators, then interrogating them in French or German, both of which he was fluent in.
Finally, finally, he thinks he’s outta there. Think not! He and other Counter-Intelligence operatives are sent in as “special units” to liberate POWs and interrogate guards, etc. Only these weren’t regular old POW camps, they were concentration camps. The 12th Infantry was the first Allied unit to enter Bergen-Belsen, etc. Many of the soldiers lost their shit then and there, even the Intelligence guys.
He’s then sent off to do more bust-and-interrogate work, but checks himself into a military hospital for “combat fatigue” (nervous breakdown). The last letter he wrote before he went in was to Hemingway, who was not in the fighting, but close enough to report, to his credit, the truth of the Army’s many fuck-ups, like letting thousands die in the forest over a few yards of land, and was on the verge of cracking up himself. Salinger expressed concern over Hemingway’s “state of mind,” which was not good at all – Hemingway was unable to write for years after the experience.
GC: Those experiences — and similar — must have haunted H. to the grave. In the last years of his life, H. was convinced he was being “shadowed” by the CIA, FBI, whatever. H. suspected “Intelligence” was after him because of his anti-war views, etc. Recall that he lived for years in Cuba, was friends with Fidel! (He spent many years abroad, actually, besides Cuba.) Richard Wright was another great American writer who was convinced the US government was out to get him for his sassy, truth-telling, “uppity” (one of our greatest Black writers!) ways! Wright died under mysterious circumstances in Paris. H. lost his powers to write, to concentrate, to think clearly. He thought the government might be poisoning him! (Carlos Baker and A.E. Hotchner have written well about this!) He finally blew his brains out in Idaho. I think he was 62…
AE: One doesn’t have to know an artist’s biography to know his work — it’s all implied offstage in Salinger’s work — but there’s a bit more than the “I don’t want to talk about it” kind of thing my uncles displayed after WWII; he literally could not talk about it — cause he was a spook and might have incurred a boatload of shit upon himself.
But good god! All that bullshit about his “silence” and his “arrogance” in distancing himself from his “adoring public” was exactly that—bullshit! The guy wrote not for the “Baby Boomers” and their children, but for soldiers and victims of the war; hence, his whole “spiritual journey.”
Funny — not really: a year before his death, he had to appear in public, age 90, to prevent someone from publishing a novel with “Holden Caulfield” as its protagonist. Seems his “adoring public” was angry at him for “not letting Holden go” and spectators, and members of the press, made fun of the guy for being almost totally deaf. At age 90. Turns out it wasn’t just age that was to blame: the noise of constant shelling had rendered him significantly deaf by the end of the war…
It’s interesting that while Salinger and Hemingway were literally like a balm to each other’s frazzled nerves during that surreal winter in the Hürtgen forest, apocalyptic beyond words, and they remained bonded through that experience — neither of them being able to write again for several years — Salinger did write to one of his friends that he had to distinguish Hemingway the person, who gave him shelter in his tent, which had a heat generator, after Salinger had spent a week literally sleeping under a low bush in sub-zero weather (most of the losses that month came from frost-bite and exposure) from Hemingway the persona, whom he criticized in his work and letters for glorifying war and “putting emphasis on courage as the ultimate virtue, which I don’t understand, possibly because I have none of it at all” (?!) Salinger wrote to a friend.
GC: Hemingway had problems with that “persona” throughout his life! I recall that he punched some jackass critic in the face because the guy publicly questioned his masculinity—implied that all that macho stuff was H’s way of compensating for not being really “man” enough! (Recall that the hero, Jake, of The Sun Also Rises is rendered impotent because of war injuries after WWI!) There’s a similar theme, btw, in that first-rate movie with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart: The Barefoot Contessa.
I do think Hemingway has been too handily interpreted by some of his more facile, less-thoughtful critics. He did admire courage, but not blind, idiotic, charge-the-machine-gun-nest courage. It was what we might call thoughtful courage, or what he called “grace under fire.” That’s what he admired in bullfighters, soldiers, an old guy battling a monster fish, or an old guy maintaining his dignity in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.
Somehow in war, being a “good soldier” gets tangled with being a “man,” having a big cock, whatever! I’m convinced it’s one of the ways young men and boys “still wet behind the ears” are turned into professional killers! The fear of being thought “unmanly” is worse than the fear of the enemy! That same fear motivates too much of “patriotism.” The root of that word, of course, is pater or “father.” War becomes a test of manhood, a test of one’s ability to “father” the next generation! When will we dead awaken?
AE: The initial reason for Salinger’s not daring to show the battle-scene stories to anyone was that they were hugely critical of the army and the concept of “modern warfare” in general, though sympathetic to his fellow soldiers. One stunning story, at least as the biographer recounts it, called “Ghost in a Foxhole,” entails a soldier suffering “battle fatigue” claiming to see a strange soldier in a “futuristic uniform and helmet” dodging from foxhole to foxhole. The soldier catches up with this “ghost” who explains to him that he is the soldier’s own not-yet-born son.
GS: Wow! There’s that “fathering” theme again!
AE: The soldier resolves to kill his future son, so “this can never happen again.” The scene shifts to a medical unit where medics are working on casualties of a sudden bombardment, and the soldier wanders into the camp, obviously out of his mind. “Did you kill your ‘son?’” asks another soldier, who is himself on the verge of madness. “No, he said he wanted to be here,” came the reply. Typically “explosive” Salinger ending. He literally “called” Vietnam 20 years before the Gulf of Tonkin, when the “unborn son” would have been just the right age to be “called to duty.”
In the book White Collar, C. Wright Mills intuited all this through analysis of the facts at hand: modern techno warfare is not “warfare” in the classic sense of “men using their strength and skills against other men.” It’s an insane slaughter in which the “lower orders” serve as guinea pigs for power’s latest high-tech-whirly-gigs. Total crap-shoot. Achilles is as powerless as Woody Allen. The latter might even have the advantage in that he’s smaller, and might be quicker to duck for cover and fit into some nook behind a tree or rock when a missile comes in to blow all and sundry to smithereens and turn the great shield of Achilles into a mangled lump of scrap-iron about as useless and meaningless as the bent lid of a trash-can.
GC: Pat Tillman is a good example of a modern Achilles who could not make it in modern warfare! The fact that he was done in by “friendly fire” is also telling to me! Word is that he was going to whistle-blow about the shit he saw going on there! “They” got to him the same way they got to Senator Paul Wellstone, etc.!
AE: Salinger personally vowed — through a character in another, published story — never to speak openly of what he’d seen, cause “they’ll” turn it into sentimental, romantic propaganda, “we just have to stop this from ever happening again.” That, and his Counter-Intelligence role, are part of it; the other part is his attempt, after Nine Stories was published, to destroy or have destroyed or made unavailable the 30 some-odd stories he’d published prior to the Nine, even those that had already been anthologized in “Best of the Year” and “Great Modern Story” type anthologies.
All of his work up to Franny and Zooey, including Nine Stories and The Catcher in the Rye, was an attempt to somehow “turn around” the nightmares in his head, or at least make sense of them, particularly “For Esme, With Love and Squalor.” The biographer pointed out something I’d never noticed: Holden’s refusal to let go of his dead brother was so symbolic of his and other soldiers’ refusal to let go of the dead companions left behind and try to “live” again, in some fashion, was betrayed by a “slip of the pen.” The dead brother had appeared in earlier stories under the name of Frank or something, but in the final draft of Catcher in the Rye it becomes “Allie” (Ally)…
E: No one has ever had the control, or the power to control, his own publications before or since, the way Salinger did. It was he himself who came up with the famous maroon-and-yellow cover for the paperback version of The Catcher in the Rye. Ever notice that his are the only books in the classics section, or anywhere, that are still the size and relative low price that all paperbacks used to be when the term, “pocket books” actually meant just that; as did “Everyman’s Library?”
GC: Adam, that’s one of the best reviews of a book I’ve ever read!… and you didn’t even put it in standard review form, use footnotes, annotations, etc. I regret to inform you that the New York Review of Books will never publish your review (nor get within ten yards of it!) I’m sure this news will break your heart!
AE: Well, J. D. Salinger: A Life is an excellent and timely combination of biography and close literary criticism.
GC: Pretty timely review for all the 4th of July hoopla, ey? Nice antidote to all that flag-waving, cockadoodling-do! In this Internet Age, I’d like to see more reviews written this way! Writers can bounce off each other’s ideas; it broadens the conversation!
DANIEL ELLSBERG: There were 7,000 pages of top-secret documents that demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates—I, for one—who had participated in that terrible, indecent fraud over the years in Vietnam, lying us into a hopeless war, which has, of course—and a wrongful war—which has, of course, been reproduced and is being reproduced right now and may occur again in Iran. So the history of that, I thought, might help us get out of that particular war.
Special Agent in Charge Vincent Lisi
FOX UNDERCOVER (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A top U.S. Senator is demanding answers from the FBI about what they knew about the Tsarnaev brothers and when they knew it, asking if agents had recruited either suspected Marathon bomber as informants and if the bureau had the pair under surveillance before releasing their images to the public.
The FBI issued a strongly worded denial that the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which they lead, knew the identities of the Tsarnaevs before the shootout in Watertown that ended one of their lives or that they were ever sources for the FBI.
But in a letter to the head of FBI, which was obtained exclusively by FOX Undercover, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the questions that have been on the minds of many in state and local law enforcement. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with broad oversight over the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Grassley's questions get to a nagging doubt in many minds: if the FBI had the Tsarnaev brothers on its radar before publicly identifying them, could the death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier have been prevented along with the firefight in Watertown that nearly took the life of MBTA Transit Officer Richard Donohue.
"Did the FBI have the suspects under physical surveillance at any time prior to releasing the photos to the public?" Grassley wrote in his letter to FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr. The FBI aired the photos of the then-unnamed suspects during a 5 p.m. press conference on the Thursday after the bombing, about five hours before Collier was shot and killed.
Grassley also writes that his office has learned through sources that, "In the hours leading up to the shooting of Collier and the death of the older suspect involved in the bombing, sources revealed that uniformed Cambridge Police Department officers encountered multiple teams of FBI employees conducting surveillance in the area of Central Square in Cambridge. It is unclear who the FBI was watching, but these sources allege the Cambridge Police Department, including its representation at the (Joint Terrorism Task Force), was not previously made aware of the FBI's activity in Cambridge."
Grassley asks if the surveillance was being conducted in Cambridge, and if so, were the Tsarnaevs or their associates being watched.
The Cambridge surveillance drew such pointed questions from Grassley not only because it goes to the explosive question of whether the Tsarnaevs slipped through FBI surveillance and went on their path of destruction, but also because the information about surveillance, regardless of who was the target, wasn't shared with local police.
"Continued reluctance on the part of the FBI to share information with local law enforcement, especially in the wake of the Whitey Bulger saga and your ongoing Mark Rossetti investigation, would be extremely troubling," Grassley writes. Rossetti is a made captain in the Boston mafia, a suspected murderer, who was also revealed to be a long-time FBI informant, an issue that previously drew the scrutiny of Grassley as well as U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston.
FOX Undercover has learned one explanation why there were at least some FBI surveillance teams in Cambridge: several MIT students were being looked at as suspects.
Referring back to the FBI's review of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, prompted by a tip from the Russian government, Grassley asks if the FBI tried to recruit him as a source, and if not, why not.
In a statement, the special agent in charge of the Boston office, Vincent Lisi, said the Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the FBI and denied knowing any link between the Tsarnaevs and the bombing until after the Watertown shootout.
""Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know their identities until shortly after Tamerlan Tsarnaev's death. Nor did the Joint Terrorism Task Force have the Tsarnaevs under surveillance at any time after the assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was closed in 2011," Lisi said.
That was echoed by Rick DesLauriers, the special agent in charge during the Marathon Bombing, who said in an interview with FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet that his office only learned their identities after fingerprinting Tamerlan's body after he was killed in the Watertown shootout. DesLauriers also called any suggestion that the FBI is somehow to blame for Collier's death, "irresponsible".
The FBI’s new special agent in charge of the Boston field office, which covers Maine, led the investigation into the post-Sept. 11 anthrax attacks, was stationed in Yemen after the U.S. Embassy there was bombed in 2008, and helped lead the nation’s counterterrorism efforts out of FBI headquarters in Washington.
Vincent B. Lisi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston field office – which covers Maine – says, “Sequestration is the biggest challenge.”
But for the challenges facing the nation’s premier law enforcement agency now, it’s his 3½ years of experience as a certified public accountant before he joined the bureau that may be most helpful.
“Sequestration is the biggest challenge,” said Vincent B. Lisi, who has been Boston’s special agent in charge for the past three months.
The budget-cutting agreement that requires across-the-board cuts to most federal programs will result in a $700 million cut to the FBI this year. Personnel accounts for 68 percent of its budget, fixed costs like rent for much of the remainder. Cut training, and agents aren’t as prepared as they should be to do their job, he said.
“We finally realized we’re going to do less with less,” he said, discussing the bureau’s effort to prioritize its missions to focus on the most important, though he would not say what areas might be scaled back.
Lisi introduced himself to the Maine press corps Monday at the office of U.S. Attorney for Maine Thomas E. Delahanty II in Portland along with the resident agent in charge of the Maine FBI office, Aaron Steps.
Steps has been on the job in Maine for eight months.
He previously was stationed in Pakistan and in Nairobi, Kenya, where he lived about two blocks from the Westgate Mall, which was attacked by Somalia-based al-Shabab terrorists last month.
“I would occasionally stop there. When my parents came to visit, we had dinner there,” Steps said. “I was friends with a number of the Kenyans that were working the case. I consider them friends. ... It’s very difficult not to be there when that happens.”
Steps said he did not participate in that investigation but the Portland office did have to follow up on the suggestion – later deemed erroneous – that one of the mall attackers was from Maine’s Somali population.
Steps said the need to check the Somali population for information about possible threats was unfortunate but necessary.
“I think for the vast majority of them it’s very painful that this is going on,” he said of the terrorism attacks in that country. “They understand we have to check into it. We try to keep our footprint to a minimum.”
Lisi said the need to respond to such possibilities is one reason it is so important for the FBI to maintain relationships not only with law enforcement agencies throughout the state but with other groups to facilitate communication about potential threats.
Maine’s contingent of FBI agents is relatively small, with 13 agents, not including Steps, spread between Bangor, Augusta and Portland offices, as well as four task force officers assigned to the bureau by police agencies in Maine.
One of the biggest challenges to the bureau here is geography, Steps said. It can take a full day of two Bangor agents’ time to drive to Fort Kent to knock on a door, he said.
Maine has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States, but he said the caseload is proportional to other parts of the country.
“Quite frankly, the biggest impact on the health and well-bing of the people of Maine is prescription drug abuse,” Steps said.
One initiative that is unique to Maine is FBI assistance in investigating pharmacy robberies.
Last year, Maine was hit with more than 50 pharmacy robberies, unheard of in other jurisdictions.
Delahanty, who attended Monday’s meeting, said he requested the FBI’s help in response to the wave of pharmacy robberies.
“It was really an epidemic,” he said, adding that the numbers have dropped this year.
Steps said the FBI agents in Maine also focus on white collar crime, such as financial fraud and health care fraud.
On the national level, as well as in Boston and to a lesser extent Maine, a major focus of the bureau is on counterintelligence.
Years ago, that meant looking for spies other governments may have stationed in the United States, Lisi said. Now, counterintelligence usually entails defending against and investigating cyberattacks.
The bureau’s programming experts work with defense contractors and other high-tech companies researching sensitive technology to make sure their defenses against hackers are adequate. When the FBI learns of a new cyberespionage technique, it alerts businesses that might be targets and works with researchers in academia to make sure the latest innovations are available to important private sector companies, Lisi said.
Lisi takes over for Richard DesLauriers, who was head of the Boston FBI field office during the Boston Marathon bombings and oversaw that investigation.
The Boston office covers Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, operating joint terrorism task forces in each state.
Lisi said the bureau may explore incentives to have employees retire early to speed up attrition as a way of meeting cutbacks required by sequestration.
A pending retirement in the Maine office won’t be filled, he said.
“The FBI is probably not going to hire another single person for another maybe two years,” he said.
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