Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. (AP Photo)
Charles Edwards, the acting inspector general (IG) at DHS, made that revelation in written testimony prepared for an Aug. 1 hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management.
In his remarks, Edwards added that as of July 15, the DHS OIG (Office of the Inspector General) was dealing with 1,591 open criminal cases involving DHS employees and some accomplices. Some cases date back to fiscal year 2004 (Oct. 1, 2003 thru Sept. 30, 2004) although the majority of the open investigations were initiated in the last three fiscal years. The DHS started operating in March 2003.
Once the OIG completes most of its investigative work into employee misconduct allegations, the matter is presented to a U.S. attorney’s office for prosecution. The Department of Justice (DOJ) oversees the various U.S. attorneys’ offices located across the country. A case is considered “open” by the inspector general until all judicial activity is completed.
The thousands of criminal convictions have resulted from the arrest of individuals, both employees and non-employees, associated with components of DHS. These include individuals who either conspired with a DHS employee or were linked to the crime that was being investigated by the IG. The DHS IG’s investigative work has prompted a total of 2,527 convictions of corruption and other criminal misconduct since around the time when DHS began operating.
Among the 2,527 criminal convictions as of July 15, 1,644 (about 65 percent) stem from Federal Emergency Management Agency-related investigations; 358 (about 14 percent) from those linked to the Customs and Border Protection agency; 166 (7 percent) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement-related investigations; and 133 (5 percent) from investigations linked to the Transportation Security Administration. The remaining 226 (about 9 percent) convictions are categorized as “other.”
Besides corruption-related cases, the inspector general is charged with investigating criminal allegations against department contractors, grantees, and others who receive financial assistance from DHS, such as disaster assistance beneficiaries.
The convictions of DHS employees and their co-conspirators have steadily increased since fiscal 2004, peaking at 483 in fiscal 2007. Then, convictions went down to 268 in FY 2009. Following that year, the number of convictions started to rise, reaching 359 last year. During this fiscal year, there had been 146 convictions as of July 15, 2012.
Currently, the DHS has over 225,000 employees while the department’s IG has 219 investigators. During the hearing, Edwards admitted that his office is overwhelmed by the growing number of criminal allegations against DHS employees. He told lawmakers that he has asked the Obama administration for 50 additional investigators.
The IG has transferred hundreds of cases to ICE and CBP, allowing them to investigate their own misconduct, something that opens the door for a “conflict of interest,” said Subcommittee Chairman Todd Platts (R-Pa.).
On April 19, the Center for Investigative Reporting wrote that 80 criminal employee misconduct investigations by the DHS IG’s McAllen, Texas division were being reviewed by U.S. Department of Justice and other federal officials after allegations surfaced that IG agents were “fabricating” their progress on investigating the cases. The allegations prompted a federal grand jury to get involved.
The DHS IG classifies misconduct cases into four categories: 1) corruption involving bribery, disclosure of classified information, espionage and smuggling, among other things. 2) Violations of civil rights and liberties by employees. 3) Defrauding DHS programs and financial systems. 4) Miscellaneous, including those involving child pornography, false statements, and “contact with foreign governments/nationals” among other violations that “may not be criminal in nature.”
"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998https://fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/h981013-coke.htm
Northern California pot growers bomb a car and a bus, then take over Shasta Dam in a bid to free an imprisoned comrade. It sounds like the plot to a very cheesy Grade-B thriller, but it was actually the premise for a day-long terrorist attack drill conducted by 20 state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies Wednesday.
By Michael MarizcoBorderReporter.com
I’ve been waiting a long time for this story, first hearing about it back in 2004. The Freedom of Information Act request I filed a year ago finally came in.The largest corruption sting in the history of the FBI started with a corrupt Arizona National Guard employee who told undercover FBI agents he could not only run fix test results for recruits but use his uniform and military vehicle to run cocaine for them.I’m going to play this straight, leaving the vitriol and the blame-game for others. The sources I cited for this story include a Freedom of Information Act request I filed last summer with the Office of Inspector General, and the letter U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton sent to the FBI Director in Phoenix.Both documents detail what happened in a Las Vegas hotel room five years ago, a party thrown by the FBI for a group of cocaine runners living it up big-time, a possible rape, the ensuing cover-up by the FBI and the scandal that rocked the Justice Department.The case was called Operation Lively Green. In the military, it was called Operation Desert Blue. It was the biggest corruption sting the FBI had ever run. Soldiers, airmen, cops, prison guards, anybody with a uniform and access to an official vehicle all happy to run a load of blow for what they thought was a drug cartel. It was the kind of career-making investigation federal career agents dream of. The kind that drive promotions, awards, good guy versus bad, headlines and recognition for a job well done.
It ended up turning into a fiasco, one that was silenced by Washington D.C., whom, it appears, now wishes the whole thing will just go away.In late 2001, the FBI got wind that a military recruiter, Darius Perry, claimed he could fix the results of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test for recruits.Oh yeah? What else can you do? an agent must have asked.He also told the agents that he would help run cocaine using his uniform and his military vehicle.In January, 2002, Perry and another recruiter ran 11 kilograms of FBI cocaine from Nogales to Tucson. More than 70 others, including military police from Oklahoma, a Nogales parking enforcement officer, a port inspector from the Mariposa port of entry and federal and Arizona prison guards all joined in, hungry for the chance at $1,500 a load.Three confidential informants were used by the FBI: Frank Arvizu, his brother Armando Arvizu and Hal Turner.In October 2002, the FBI had 11 targeted officials run cocaine from Arizona to Las Vegas. Frank, Armando and Hal were in on the sting.Each of the targets received a partial payment for their services from the undercover FBI agents on October 16, 2002. The rest of the money would be paid the next day.As part of the scam, the FBI had arranged for a stay in the Presidential Suite at the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas. Frank, Hal, Armando and six of the targets were in the suite at different times.Three federal prosecutors got wind of the sexual assault of a prostitute in the room. They sat down with Frank on March 18, 2004, asking him if there was anything they should know about what happened in the suite.Frank spilled the beans.Armando and two of the targets, Ronrico Allen and Derrek Curry, had gone out to some strip clubs. They picked a woman up and brought her back to the suite. She agreed to bang Armando and two of the targets for $100 each. Frank says he left to gamble downstairs in the lobby.When he returned, he saw the woman. She was bento over a chair and looked like she had passed out. Armando was naked behind the woman. Allen and Curry were naked behind him. I presume they were pulling a train on her but Frank told prosecutors he didn’t know if any of them had hooked up with the woman before he came into the room.
THE PARTY CONTINUES
Meanwhile, the party continued.
One of the targets had arranged with the chaffeur to bring some hookers to the room. Three black hookers were brought up to the suite; the girls walked up to one of the upstairs bathrooms, started hooking up with each other, then with the targets. At one point, Frank kicked down $80 so Hal, the other informant, could have a turn with one of the girls.
The party picked up.
Then the college-aged girls were brought up. One of the targets gave them some liquor that the butler had brought up to the suite. The girls took one look at the orgy going on in the Jacuzzi and left.Yet another hooker was brought up to the room; a prostitute named Sage. Sage hooked up with the targets, who paid her several hundred dollars from the money the undercover FBI agents had given them.Sage told one of the men to take the passed-out girl out of the room. The girl wouldn’t leave, Sage gets in her face, telling her if she didn’t, she’d beat her up.That girl had a cop come to the door to recover her purse. The cop took the purse and left.
HOOKERS FOR EVERYONEFrank has said he didn’t hook up with anyone. But at some point during the party, both he and Armando took out their cocks, sticking them in the ear and by the mouth of the passed-out woman. Pictures were taken.It had happened before. During the meeting with prosecutors, Frank told them how he had gone to Mexico with Hal and one of the targets; they were only there to entertain the target.March 22, 2004. The prosecutors meet with Armando and Frank. Frank tells the Feds how he had woken Hal up so he could watch the hookers getting it on in the Jacuzzi.Armando confirmed his brother’s account but told prosecutors the woman draped over the chair was not passed out.Later that day, the Feds brought Hal Turner up for questioning.Hal is careful, telling the Feds he was outside gambling in the lobby with Frank. He says when he returned, the woman was draped over a chair, naked, her butt in the air, her anus red and enlarged.He saw Armando and two targets lined up behind the woman as though they “were going back for seconds.”He says he checked her pulse to make sure she was still alive. Frank and Armando were jacking off over the woman’s body, he said.A wiretap of the Oct. 22 conversation between two of the targets, Hal Turner and Ronrico Allen, was transcribed:Hal: I about abandoned ship that night because I went over and touched that and made sure she still had a pulse. I was ready to start wipin’ my prints off of everything.”(Laughter)Allen: “I touched that bitch’s arm, her body was ice cold. I thought this bitch … “Hal: “You touched more than that.” (Laughing)March 26, 2002. The FBI provides two videotapes shot that October day in the suite. Frank demonstrates for the FBI undercover agents how one of the women was slumped over the chair. There is talk of whores, of people being “buck-naked.”The second videotape shows the FBI agents making the payments.One of the targets suggests that the passed-woman knew what was happening to her; he says she asked, “is that so wrong?” when someone said she was trying to get money.Other voices are heard on the video: “I checked to see if the bitch was breathing.”“All of you are going to jail.”“Bitch half dead.”“She should get an Oscar.”“Two men in line by the woman.”Darius Perry says: “Fuck all the whores you want.”Another male voice: “Even if they are passed out.”Another: “(Armando) gets up and bitch looks dead.”AFTERMATHAccording to the letter that Charlton wrote to FBI Director Charlene Thornton, no reference was ever made about the sexual misconduct by the men, the sodomy of the passed-out woman, the masturbating over her body, none of it, except for one interesting side-note. Apparently Darius Perry admonished the others who were present in the room for their unprofessional behavior.The FBI case agent, Tim Jacobson, never told prosecutors about the misconduct. He never told the other Feds a rape may have occurred in the hotel room.As a matter of fact, Jacobson tried to cover it up, telling an assistant U.S. Attorney there was a fight in the room and that some of the targets had rented hookers. No mention was made of the orgy, the sexual assault on the passed-out woman and most importantly, the photos of the snitches placing their cocks at the woman’s face.“Based on these facts,” Charlton wrote in his letter, “the United States Attorney’s Office does not concur in the use of Frank Arvizu, Armando Arvizu and Hal Turner in any ongoing investigations. Our office will not prosecute any additional cases involving any of these individuals until the circumstances of the October 16, 2002, incident in Las Vegas are fully investigated.”The FOIA says that one of the FBI agents in Operation Lively Green told prosecutors that he was aware of the federal laws stating that illegal behavior by snitches has to be reported. But, according to the document, “he did not give the events of 10/17/02 much thought and did not feel they were serious.”Here’s the kicker: more than 60 public officials, prison guards, cops, federal agents, U.S. Army soldiers, Air Force airmen (and women) were popped in Operation Lively Green. Sixty-seven I believe.A Justice Department official familiar with the investigation tells me, “There was no end to it. More and more people kept agreeing to run cocaine for eff-bee. The whole thing was finally shut down.”Those accused were given sweetheart deals, five years maximum for running as much as 60 kilograms of cocaine.According to sentencing guidelines, the lowest sentence for 10 pounds, 4 kilos of cocaine, is ten years. And that’s without enhancement for acting under “color of authority.”Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lacey put it best, paraphrased in the Office of Inspector General report I received, “these acts constitute criminal activity on behalf of the CW (confidential witnesses) and subjects.
AUSA Lacey believed that the subject’s defense team would have received all the information about the events in Las Vegas and feared that the DOJ and FBI could be viewed as engaging in misconduct as the defense might argue that the DOJ and FBI knew or should have known a rape of the stripper took place and the FBI and DOJ did nothing about it.”That’s what happened, faithful reader.
Under the rules of disclosure, the defense attorneys needed to have been told their clients were part of a rape investigation – if there were a rape investigation.The FBI decided to cover it up. I’m told that one of the FBI case agents told either one of the Arvizus or Turner to “dump those fucking pictures and I don’t want to know anything more about it.”The defense attorneys were told about the allegations, even shown the proof, but the proof was never given to them. Instead, sweet deals were offered up, five years, provided nobody talks.The FOIA goes on, page 20:
Special Agent XXX (the OIG blocked out the name) stated that after the debriefing, he began to hear jokes and banter from other FBI agents in reference to the CWs and subjects behavior in the early morning hours of 10.17.02. He heard that there was an orgy, that prostitutes were present, that both CWs and subjects were naked and a fight broke out and someone’s nose was broken, and that a police officer reported to the PS but took no action.He says, “Although the CWs were present, no clear allegation arose which linked the CWs involvement in the crime of prostitution or any other felony crime. … I thought these general conversations, banter, and jokes were just unsubstantiated talk.”The FBI tried to defend itself, quite cleverly too.According to the OIG report:The FBI agent saw a photo of a naked white woman sitting in a chair. He couldn’t tell if she was conscious. He never told anyone to throw out the photos. He couldn’t remember, but the snitches may have discussed a woman being passed out, a line of men behind her.He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.The OIG dropped the case, saying they did not believe the FBI agent did anything wrong, nor did the agent know the women in the room were hookers, much less that any informants had raped one of the women.
Case closed.For updates on this story, go to BorderReporter.comReach the reporter at marizco*at*borderreporter*dot*com or 520-820-8525.
Forced Leniency: The True Story of an Orgy Sponsored by the FBI A Sting Gone Wrong Investigation, Cover-up Corrupting the WeakPart 2 of 3http://borderreporter.com/2007/07/july-23-2007-the-border-report/
THE BORDER REPORT
He commented that in his thirty years as an attorney, he has never seen such egregious action; an orgy at government expense, drugs and prostitutes. — ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY JESSE FIGUEROA IN THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION
Last week, I detailed the possible sexual assault of a woman by confidential informants involved in the largest corruption sting in FBI history. This week, I’ll explain why I have to use the conditional “possible,” and not simply state what every person familiar with this case believes: The informant and the Lively Green defendants raped the woman.
The FBI used three confidential witnesses in the sting: Frank Arvizu, his brother Armando Arvizu and Hal Turner. In October 2002, the FBI had 11 targeted officials run cocaine from Arizona to Las Vegas. Frank, Armando and Hal were in on the sting.
Each of the targets received a partial payment for their services from the undercover FBI agents on October 16, 2002. The rest of the money would be paid the next day.
As part of the scam, the FBI had arranged for a stay in the Presidential Suite at the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas. Frank, Hal, Armando and six of the targets were in the suite at different times.
Three federal prosecutors got wind of the sexual assault of a prostitute in the room. They sat down with Frank on March 18, 2004, asking him if there was anything they should know about what happened in the suite.
U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton took one look at the case, the “possible” sexual assault of a passed-out woman, and slammed the case down. He contended that there was no way his office would take the case because the confidential informants were damaged and the FBI tried to cover up the case.
The corruption sting had turned into a fiasco. The Office of Inspector General was called in, the FBI opened their own investigation – and subsequently closed the case.
According to the investigation, released to BorderReporter.com under the Freedom of Information Act, this is what happened to case:
First, a brief explainer. The FOIA is a redacted copy; the names of the confidential witnesses and the FBI agents were blocked out. Typical.
However, Charlton’s letter to the FBI names two of the agents as Tim Jacobson and Robert Zelina. Because I don’t know if they were specifically involved, I have to refer to the agents in the FOIA as (The FBI agent).
Two agents documented the FBI-sponsored orgy but declined to tell the federal prosecutors that the targets and the informants had pulled a train on a woman who may have been unconscious.
According to the OIG investigation, two FBI agents were noticed for failing to report that the snitches had engaged in criminal activity. I presume it’s the same two agents.
On Aug. 31, 2004, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office, Charlene Thornton, recommended that no action be taken against the FBI agents.
Here’s the kicker, the issue at stake wasn’t the “possible” sexual assault of the woman; her case was never investigated. To this day, nobody knows what her name is. According to the Las Vegas Police Department, no assault charges were filed for Oct. 16 or 17, 2002, the day the orgy took place.
Instead, what was being argued between FBI and Charlton was a slice of law embedded in the Justice Department’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of Confidential Informants.
The law states: Whenever a Justice Department Law Enforcement Agency has reasonable grounds to believe that a Confidential Informant … has engaged in any unauthorized criminal activity, a Special Agent in Charge of the JLEA shall immediately notify the following Chief Federal Prosecutors of the CI’s criminal activity … ”
A separate section of the law requires that local prosecutors in which the crime took place also be notified.
Instead, Thornton pushed for the allegations of misconduct against the two FBI agents be buried.
The OIG determined that the two FBI agents did not have “first-hand knowledge of the events.” To break down their line of reasoning, the FBI agents were told that a rape may have occurred, they neglected to tell the prosecutors about it, but, because they didn’t witness the orgy, they weren’t at fault.
Federal prosecutor Jesse Figueroa was brought in.
“Figueroa advised he believed a prostitute was assaulted and sodomized in the suite by the confidential witnesses and the subjects. He does not believe the case can proceed. He commented that in his thirty years as an attorney, he has never seen such egregious action; an orgy at government expense, drugs and prostitutes. He decided not to prosecute the case based on the credibility of the confidential witnesses.”
OIG then brought in federal prosecutor James T. Lacey. He’s even more blunt, accusing the FBI of doing nothing about the rape.
“Lacey said that based on interviews, a girl that (one of the targets) brought to the room was “passed out” during these acts. Lacey believed that the subject’s defense team would have received all the information about the events in Las Vegas and feared that the DOJ and FBI could be viewed as engaging in misconduct as the defense might argue that the DOJ and FBI knew or should have known a rape of the stripper took place and the FBI and DOJ did nothing about it.”
One of the snitches told the OIG that the FBI agents knew about the incident since the entire group was being monitored. Two FBI agents showed up at his house two weeks later. He showed them the pictures of the orgy. The FBI agent admonished him. After they left, the snitch destroyed the photographs. He told the OIG the FBI agents never told him to dispose of the photos.
“COULD NOT SPECIFICALLY RECALL”
Another of the snitches was brought in. The FBI agent asked him if he had ever been cited or arrested by a cop during a party on Oct. 17, 2002. “(He) said he was not specifically asked by (the FBI agent) whether he paid for acts of prostitution for himself or others.”
The FBI agent was questioned.
(The FBI agent) stated that after the debriefing, he began to hear jokes and banter from other FBI agents in reference to the confidential witnesses and subjects’ behavior in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2002. He heard that there was an orgy, that prostitutes were present, that both confidential witnesses and subjects were naked and a fight broke out and someone’s nose was broken and that a police officer came but took no action.
“Although the confidential witnesses were present, no clear allegation arose which linked the confidential witnesses involvement in the crime of prostitution or any other felony crime. Since I had no direct corroboration based on my monitoring, … I thought these general conversations, banter, and jokes, were just unsubstantiated talk.”
Here’s where the FBI started playing with the information.
During a de-briefing, the FBI agent saw the photos. “He could not tell if she was unconscious. He asked them what they were and was told that they were taken at the party. (The FBI agent) did not take possession of the photographs because he did not believe they had any evidentiary value and considered them private property. (The FBI agent) never communicated to the confidential witnesses to destroy the photographs. He could not specifically recall but it was possible that the confidential witnesses may have discussed a woman being passed out and a number of guys lined up behind her.”
It wasn’t until Charlton went after the FBI that the agent realized he was being lied to by the confidential witnesses. He stated that he would have reported any criminal misconduct had he known. He also told OIG he was not derelict in the execution of the investigation.
A little pontification? Sure, why not.
One FBI agent hears banter and jokes about the passed out woman.
Here’s an example of one of these jokes from the FBI video of the aftermath:
Voices are heard on the video: “I checked to see if the bitch was breathing.”
“All of you are going to jail.”
“Bitch half dead.”
“She should get an Oscar.”
“Two men in line by the woman.”
Darius Perry says: “fook all the whores you want.”
Another male voice: “Even if they are passed out.”
Another: “(Armando) gets up and bitch looks dead.”
Funny stuff but nothing interesting. Nothing concrete here, of course.
OIG brought in the second FBI agent. His story was even better.
“To the best of (his) recollection, he ‘did not hear or learn, at the time, that the confidential witnesses or subjects paid these women to engage in sexual activities.’
“It is evident to me now that these women were prostitutes hired by the subjects, but not the confidential witnesses, according to information I’ve learned indirectly.’”
Analysis by the investigators:
“There is no disputing the fact that there were prostitutes … But the evidence does not support a finding that (the FBI agent) failed to report a possible rape or that confidential witnesses engaged in criminal activity.”
The report makes that decision off two conclusions:
The charge that the first agent failed to report criminal activity is unsubstantiated.
The second agent says he heard about the women coming up to the room but did not know they were being paid.
With no knowledge, no reasonable grounds can be established. With no reasonable grounds, no cause to ask more questions. No more questions, no investigation. No investigation, no case.
End of story.
On Oct. 16, 2002, three snitches, the Arvizu brothers and Hal Turner, and eleven targeted officials ran a load of cocaine up to Las Vegas.
To celebrate, the group ran a load of women up to the room. One of the women was draped over a chair. A group of the men formed a line behind her. They took turns sodomizing her. Others came in, they pressed their daisys against her face and against her mouth, snapping pictures.
Someone touched her arm to make sure she was still alive because “bitch half dead.”
The group makes jokes about her. Weeks later, FBI agents in the Tucson field office are still laughing and joking about it.
Nothing is done about the “possible” rape. Nobody bothers to investigate the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office turned down the largest corruption sting in FBI history because Charlton refuses to take testimony from snitches who may have participated in a gang-rape and sodomy of an unconscious woman.
He called for a full investigation.
The “full investigation” consisted of questioning five people, most who can’t seem to recall who said what. The top FBI boss in Arizona shut down the case.
Except, and there’s always more, for one more thing.
But that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. A U.S. tomorrow, I promise.
– Michel Marizco
Forced Leniency: The True Story of an Orgy Sponsored by the FBI A Sting Gone Wrong Investigation, Cover-up Corrupting the WeakPart 3 of 3http://borderreporter.com/2007/07/july-24-2007-the-border-report/
The lawyer for an Operation Lively Green defendant argued in court today that the FBI plied his client with cash, beer and sex to get him to run a load of cocaine.
The case of the latest defendant gives some pause to thought about the FBI’s motives behind the cocaine sting operation.
It’s the largest corruption sting in the history of the FBI; the agency told Congress that they were up to 99 cases now. But rather than an investigation, the sting case operated more like a peer-to-peer computer virus, spreading from one person to the next, flashing cash, setting up a drug run, then “flipping” the guilty into a snitch to co-opt yet more colleagues.
The entire sting has the air of a numbers-pump, beefing up the stats for Justice Department, or maybe a Milgram experiment, to see how far a person will go when presented with the depraved.
The formula was simple: take a group of young people, not too bright, ply them with booze and sex, then flash some cash around and see who takes the bait.Consider the case of Phillip Varona, sentenced this morning to 30 months in prison. A silvery chain manacled his ankles, his hands clasped behind him, his body shrouded in a bright orange prison jumpsuit, Varona apologized to U.S. District Court Judge Cindy Jorgenson for a growing string of crimes.
“You’re out of control,” Jorgenson said. Varona, 24, is the meter-maid of the Nogales, Ariz. Police Department, convicted on conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official. He’s a mess and, on a side note, perhaps Justice Department should be looking at the hiring standards of municipal police departments instead of busting low-end suckers.
According to his sentencing: On June 12, 2002, Varona ran ten keys of cocaine from Tucson to Phoenix, in uniform, for which he was paid $7,000. A month later, he did it again, running another ten keys from Nogales to Tucson for $8,000. Then he recruited another cop, Eddie Rosas, to run more loads. Then in June 2004, he was sentenced to probation on a domestic assault charge. To top it off, Varona is currently facing charges in superior court for possession with intent to sell 120 pounds of dope; he was arrested in February 2005 on that charge. It’s hard to be sympathetic.
Until you consider the Lively Green set-up. Defense attorney Roberto Montiel argued that Varona was 19 at the time of the set-up. He was approached by Leslie Hidalgo, 26, a private first class in the Arizona Air National Guard. One thing led to another and soon, an informant named “Frank” and another man who claimed to be Hidalgo’s uncle (he was also a snitch), joined Hidalgo and Varona in Nogales, Sonora, drinking beer and setting up the deal. (Frank, I presume, is Frank Arvizu, identified in investigative reports as the informant who led a group of guys like Varona to Las Vegas where a woman was “possibly” sexually assaulted.)A few days later, Hidalgo called Varona and – depending on whom you believe, the United States or Varona’s lawyer – she either fell for Hidalgo and started sleeping with him, or, desperate perhaps to get out of her own hole, started sleeping with him under the encouragement of the FBI, using her body to ply him when he wavered.
“I’m not trying to excuse Philip, but the bait that was used, 19 years old, young man, alcohol; Phillip took the bait and he swallowed it, hook, line and sinker,” Montiel said.
“That makes Phillip guilty but I think the government should not be involved in baiting,” Montiel said.
Jorgenson dismissed Montiel’s claim that Varona suffered a learning disability, saying, “it was probably immaturity and impulisivity.”
But, she did call on prosecutor John W. Scott of the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, to answer the charges of the trip to Mexico.
Scott, who’s been working this case ever since former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton refused to take the case because of the dirty snitches the government was using, gave an interesting interpretation.
“Mrs. Hidalgo is a private citizen and Mr. Varona is a private citizen,” Scott said. “What they did together was their business.”
The arguments are shaky all around in Operation Lively Green. The defense argues that Varona was plied with liquor, cash and warm thighs. The prosecutor argues that Varona chose for himself when he took the money.
The premises are even more shaky. The defense argues that his client suffers from a learning disability and repeatedly referred to Varona as a child. The prosecutor argues that Varona was in control of his own decisions and demonstrated complicity by pointing out that Varona picked a spot in his own police cruiser where the cocaine could be safely stashed.
But Jorgenson chose an interesting argument with which to sentence Varona.Starting at level 32 of the sentencing guidelines, she could have subtracted three because he accepted responsibility, then added one for his prior criminal history (because he still hasn’t been sentenced for the weed offense, she couldn’t take that sentencing into consideration).Under normal guidelines, Varona faced 7.25 to 9 years in prison.
But the plea agreement called for a maximum 5 years while probation recommended a little over three. The low-end sentence was given, two-and-a-half years in prison, a $15,000 fine and three years probation.Her premise was fascinating, and seemed to acknowledge heavy government intervention in a fake coke sting.
“There was no risk of circulation of the cocaine … and it occurred in 2002 and here we are in 2007,” Jorgenson said.
In the end, Jorgenson fell beautifully between what Varona and the United States wanted.
Her acceptance of the plea agreement suggests two realities were at issue in the FBI sting:1) Operation Lively Green was never a corruption issue, it was a set-up by the FBI.2) In his mind, Varona thought he was running loads of coke for a drug cartel; his immaturity and foolishness makes him corrupt.
Operation Lively Green flashed a lot of cash around. The, ummm, less brilliant, took the bait. But does it weed out corrupt public officials or simply snatch the weak?
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales once compared Lively Green to the busting of Jack Abramoff and the prosecution of former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio.
I disagree; Lively Green fell dangerously close to entrapment and suckered a lot of people prone to stupid decisions. Varona is no Abramoff.
Stay tuned for Part Four, where we look at how desperate the FBI became to build Operation Lively Green.
-- Michel Marizco
WASHINGTON — Last week, a Bangladeshi student was charged in an F.B.I. sting operation with plotting to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. A Somali-American man was convicted of sending young recruits from Minneapolis to a terrorist group in Somalia. In Libya, extremists responsible for the killing of four Americans last month in Benghazi remained at large.
Exploring the Issues Behind the 2012 Campaign
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The drumbeat of terrorism news never quite stops. And as a result, for 11 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the security colossus constructed to protect the nation from Al Qaeda and its ilk has continued to grow, propelled by public anxiety, stunning advances in surveillance technology and lavish spending — about $690 billion over a decade, by one estimate, not including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now that may be changing. The looming federal budget crunch, a sense that major attacks on the United States are unlikely and new bipartisan criticism of the sprawling counterterrorism bureaucracy may mean that the open checkbook era is nearing an end.
While the presidential candidates have clashed over security for American diplomats in Libya, their campaigns have barely mentioned domestic security. That is for a reason: fewer than one-half of 1 percent of Americans, in a Gallup poll in September, said that terrorism was the country’s most important problem.
But the next administration may face a decision: Has the time come to scale back security spending, eliminating the least productive programs? Or, with tumult in the Arab world and America still a prime target, would that be dangerous?
Many security experts believe that a retrenchment is inevitable and justified.
“After 9/11, we had to respond with everything we had, not knowing what would work best,” said Rick Nelson, a former Navy helicopter pilot who served in several counterterrorism positions and is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That’s a model we can no longer afford, financially or politically.”
Michael V. Hayden, who led both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks, agrees that the time will come for security spending to be scaled back and believes that citizens need to decide when that should happen. Personally, he would wait a while longer.
“I would stand fast for now,” said Mr. Hayden, who is an adviser to Mitt Romney.
In the view of most specialists, the danger to United States territory from Al Qaeda and its allies is far less than it was in 2001. Al Qaeda’s leaders have been relentlessly hunted, its ideology was rejected by most of the young Muslims who led the Arab revolts, and its recruits in the United States have been few. Of more than 160,000 homicides in the country since Sept. 11, 2001, just 14 were carried out by Qaeda sympathizers in the name of jihad.
Some of the credit is no doubt due to domestic security efforts, which cost $470 billion in federal money, $110 billion in state and local budgets and $110 billion in private-sector spending from 2002 to 2011, according to John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University. That money has paid for an alphabet soup of new agencies: the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Terrorist Screening Center and many others, each with a supporting cast of contractors. Old agencies like the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have bulked up, and a record 4.8 million people hold security clearances.
Any move to trim the counterterrorism bureaucracy will face daunting opposition. Some Americans will worry that cutbacks could put them at risk. Members of Congress will fear being labeled soft on terrorism. Lobbyists will fight to protect the lucrative domestic security sector.
For years, counterterrorism programs have been met mostly with cheerleading on Capitol Hill, despite billions spent on programs that turned out to be troubled or ineffective: “puffer” machines for airport screening that were warehoused, a high-tech surveillance program on the border with Mexico that was shut down, costly machines to sniff city air for biological weapons that produced too many false positives.
No previous Congressional criticism of counterterrorism programs, however, has been quite so scathing as a bipartisan Senate subcommittee report this month on more than 70 “fusion centers” nationwide, created to help federal, state and local authorities share threat information. The two-year investigation found that the centers had failed to help disrupt a single terrorist plot, even as they spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and infringed on civil liberties.
But the reaction to the report illustrated why it will be difficult to cut even marginal programs. Senior senators, the Department of Homeland Security and a half-dozen law enforcement groups rushed to criticize the report and defend the centers, which, not coincidentally, provide jobs and spending in every state.
Philip B. Heymann, a Harvard law professor and a former deputy attorney general, said that after every war there had been an adjustment that shrank the security establishment and eased wartime controls to restore the balance of power between the government and the citizenry.
“If you want the America we built over 200 years, we always have to be looking for ways to ratchet back these controls when it’s safe,” said Mr. Heymann, who is writing a book on the subject. “If we tried, we could find a number of places where we could move back toward the normal of 2000 without reducing security.”
Like other intelligence officials after 2001, Mr. Hayden was whipsawed by public wrath: first, for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, and then, a few years later, for having permitted the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects in the United States without court approval.
Perhaps, as a result, he often says that the American people need to instruct the government on where to draw the line. He told an audience at the University of Michigan last month, for instance, that while a plot on the scale of the Sept. 11 attacks was highly unlikely, smaller terrorist strikes, like the shootings by an Army psychiatrist at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009, could not always be stopped.
“I can actually work to make this less likely than it is today,” Mr. Hayden said. “But the question I have for you is: What of your privacy, what of your convenience, what of your commerce do you want to give up?”
A big problem for Mr. Hayden’s formula is government secrecy, which makes it tough for any citizen to assess counterterrorism programs, their value and their intrusion on people’s privacy. Ubiquitous new technology has made it far easier for agencies to keep watch on Americans, using cellphones that track location, Internet monitoring, video surveillance cameras, facial recognition software and license plate readers. And the government increasingly taps into the huge amounts of data that companies gather.
“I think the greatest threat to privacy these days is the enormous amount of data in the hands of private companies that could be misused — either by the government or by companies,” said John Villasenor, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies the social impact of technology. “Today almost everything we do is recorded by default.”
Consider the counterterrorism databases that the F.B.I. has built, largely in secret, with names like Investigative Data Warehouse and Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force Data Mart. One public glimpse — a heavily redacted 2006 list of materials in the Data Mart obtained by Wired magazine under the Freedom of Information Act — suggests the sweep of information being gathered: sprawling data collections from dozens of government agencies, on subjects like suspicious bank transactions and lost passports; voluminous records from commercial data collectors like Acxiom, ChoicePoint and Accurint (which alone accounted for 175 million entries); even hotel guest records.
An F.B.I. spokesman, Christopher M. Allen, declined to provide a current list of data in the system. But he said F.B.I. rules gave “greater overall protections for privacy than the law requires” and were strictly enforced by bureau lawyers.
Such official assurances do not comfort civil libertarians. Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington watchdog group, said that the easing of government incursions on privacy and rights that traditionally followed a war may not come this time, because the technology-driven “architecture of surveillance and security” remained in place.
“We’re still left with this largely unaccountable infrastructure,” Mr. Rotenberg said. “As long as we don’t begin to dismantle that, I’m not sure we will ever move past 9/11.”
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”
The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.
“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”
That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism. Targeting lists that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus. The rosters expand and contract with the pace of drone strikes but never go to zero.
Meanwhile, a significant milestone looms: The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Obama administration has touted its successes against the terrorist network, including the death of Osama bin Laden, as signature achievements that argue for President Obama’s reelection. The administration has taken tentative steps toward greater transparency, formally acknowledging for the first time the United States’ use of armed drones.
Less visible is the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war. Spokesmen for the White House, the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA and other agencies declined to comment on the matrix or other counterterrorism programs.
Privately, officials acknowledge that the development of the matrix is part of a series of moves, in Washington and overseas, to embed counterterrorism tools into U.S. policy for the long haul.
White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.
CIA Director David H. Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, U.S. officials said. The proposal, which would need White House approval, reflects the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary force, and makes clear that it does not intend to dismantle its drone program and return to its pre-Sept. 11 focus on gathering intelligence.
The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which carried out the raid that killed bin Laden, has moved commando teams into suspected terrorist hotbeds in Africa. A rugged U.S. outpost in Djibouti has been transformed into a launching pad for counterterrorism operations across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
JSOC also has established a secret targeting center across the Potomac River from Washington, current and former U.S. officials said. The elite command’s targeting cells have traditionally been located near the front lines of its missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But JSOC created a “national capital region” task force that is a 15-minute commute from the White House so it could be more directly involved in deliberations about al-Qaeda lists.
The developments were described by current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
These counterterrorism components have been affixed to a legal foundation for targeted killing that the Obama administration has discussed more openly over the past year. In a series of speeches, administration officials have cited legal bases, including the congressional authorization to use military force granted after the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as the nation’s right to defend itself.
Critics contend that those justifications have become more tenuous as the drone campaign has expanded far beyond the core group of al-Qaeda operatives behind the strikes on New York and Washington. Critics note that the administration still doesn’t confirm the CIA’s involvement or the identities of those who are killed. Certain strikes are now under legal challenge, including the killings last year in Yemen of U.S.-born al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son.
Counterterrorism experts said the reliance on targeted killing is self-perpetuating, yielding undeniable short-term results that may obscure long-term costs.
“The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser. “You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.”
An evolving database
The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including acknowledged U.S. military patrols over conflict zones in Afghanistan and Libya, and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran.
Strikes against al-Qaeda, however, are carried out under secret lethal programs involving the CIA and JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC, under former director Michael Leiter, to augment those organizations’ separate but overlapping kill lists, officials said.
The result is a single, continually evolving database in which biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations are all catalogued. So are strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols.
Obama’s decision to shutter the CIA’s secret prisons ended a program that had become a source of international scorn, but it also complicated the pursuit of terrorists. Unless a suspect surfaced in the sights of a drone in Pakistan or Yemen, the United States had to scramble to figure out what to do.
“We had a disposition problem,” said a former U.S. counterterrorism official involved in developing the matrix.
The database is meant to map out contingencies, creating an operational menu that spells out each agency’s role in case a suspect surfaces in an unexpected spot. “If he’s in Saudi Arabia, pick up with the Saudis,” the former official said. “If traveling overseas to al-Shabaab [in Somalia] we can pick him up by ship. If in Yemen, kill or have the Yemenis pick him up.”
Officials declined to disclose the identities of suspects on the matrix. They pointed, however, to the capture last year of alleged al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame off the coast of Yemen. Warsame was held for two months aboard a U.S. ship before being transferred to the custody of the Justice Department and charged in federal court in New York.
“Warsame was a classic case of ‘What are we going to do with him?’ ” the former counterterrorism official said. In such cases, the matrix lays out plans, including which U.S. naval vessels are in the vicinity and which charges the Justice Department should prepare.
“Clearly, there were people in Yemen that we had on the matrix,” as well as others in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the former counterterrorism official said. The matrix was a way to be ready if they moved. “How do we deal with these guys in transit? You weren’t going to fire a drone if they were moving through Turkey or Iran.”
Officials described the matrix as a database in development, although its status is unclear. Some said it has not been implemented because it is too cumbersome. Others, including officials from the White House, Congress and intelligence agencies, described it as a blueprint that could help the United States adapt to al-Qaeda’s morphing structure and its efforts to exploit turmoil across North Africa and the Middle East.
A year after Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared the core of al-Qaeda near strategic defeat, officials see an array of emerging threats beyond Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — the three countries where almost all U.S. drone strikes have occurred.
The Arab spring has upended U.S. counterterrorism partnerships in countries including Egypt where U.S. officials fear al-Qaeda could establish new roots. The network’s affiliate in North Africa, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has seized territory in northern Mali and acquired weapons that were smuggled out of Libya.
“Egypt worries me to no end,” a high-ranking administration official said. “Look at Libya, Algeria and Mali and then across the Sahel. You’re talking about such wide expanses of territory, with open borders and military, security and intelligence capabilities that are basically nonexistent.”
Streamlining targeted killing
The creation of the matrix and the institutionalization of kill/capture lists reflect a shift that is as psychological as it is strategic.
Before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States recoiled at the idea of targeted killing. The Sept. 11 commission recounted how the Clinton administration had passed on a series of opportunities to target bin Laden in the years before the attacks — before armed drones existed. President Bill Clinton approved a set of cruise-missile strikes in 1998 after al-Qaeda bombed embassies in East Africa, but after extensive deliberation, and the group’s leader escaped harm.
Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.
This year, the White House scrapped a system in which the Pentagon and the National Security Council had overlapping roles in scrutinizing the names being added to U.S. target lists.
Now the system functions like a funnel, starting with input from half a dozen agencies and narrowing through layers of review until proposed revisions are laid on Brennan’s desk, and subsequently presented to the president.
Video-conference calls that were previously convened by Adm. Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been discontinued. Officials said Brennan thought the process shouldn’t be run by those who pull the trigger on strikes.
“What changed is rather than the chairman doing that, John chairs the meeting,” said Leiter, the former head of the NCTC.
The administration has also elevated the role of the NCTC, which was conceived as a clearinghouse for threat data and has no operational capability. Under Brennan, who served as its founding director, the center has emerged as a targeting hub.
Other entities have far more resources focused on al-Qaeda. The CIA, JSOC and U.S. Central Command have hundreds of analysts devoted to the terrorist network’s franchise in Yemen, while the NCTC has fewer than two dozen. But the center controls a key function.
“It is the keeper of the criteria,” a former U.S. counterterrorism official said, meaning that it is in charge of culling names from al-Qaeda databases for targeting lists based on criteria dictated by the White House.
The criteria are classified but center on obvious questions: Who are the operational leaders? Who are the key facilitators? A typical White House request will direct the NCTC to generate a list of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen involved in carrying out or plotting attacks against U.S. personnel in Sanaa.
The lists are reviewed at regular three-month intervals during meetings at the NCTC headquarters that involve analysts from other organizations, including the CIA, the State Department and JSOC. Officials stress that these sessions don’t equate to approval for additions to kill lists, an authority that rests exclusively with the White House.
With no objections — and officials said those have been rare — names are submitted to a panel of National Security Council officials that is chaired by Brennan and includes the deputy directors of the CIA and the FBI, as well as top officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the NCTC.
Obama approves the criteria for lists and signs off on drone strikes outside Pakistan, where decisions on when to fire are made by the director of the CIA. But aside from Obama’s presence at “Terror Tuesday” meetings — which generally are devoted to discussing terrorism threats and trends rather than approving targets — the president’s involvement is more indirect.
“The president would never come to a deputies meeting,” a senior administration official said, although participants recalled cases in which Brennan stepped out of the situation room to get Obama’s direction on questions the group couldn’t resolve.
The review process is compressed but not skipped when the CIA or JSOC has compelling intelligence and a narrow window in which to strike, officials said. The approach also applies to the development of criteria for “signature strikes,” which allow the CIA and JSOC to hit targets based on patterns of activity — packing a vehicle with explosives, for example — even when the identities of those who would be killed is unclear.
A model approach
For an administration that is the first to embrace targeted killing on a wide scale, officials seem confident that they have devised an approach that is so bureaucratically, legally and morally sound that future administrations will follow suit.
During Monday’s presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney made it clear that he would continue the drone campaign. “We can’t kill our way out of this,” he said, but added later that Obama was “right to up the usage” of drone strikes and that he would do the same.
As Obama nears the end of his term, officials said the kill list in Pakistan has slipped to fewer than 10 al-Qaeda targets, down from as many as two dozen. The agency now aims many of its Predator strikes at the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
In Yemen, the number of militants on the list has ranged from 10 to 15, officials said, and is not likely to slip into the single digits anytime soon, even though there have been 36 U.S. airstrikes this year.
The number of targets on the lists isn’t fixed, officials said, but fluctuates based on adjustments to criteria. Officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones’ cross hairs.
“Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official involved in the process until earlier this year. “But it doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.”
In focusing on bureaucratic refinements, the administration has largely avoided confronting more fundamental questions about the lists. Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent. So are apparent alternatives.
“When you rely on a particular tactic, it starts to become the core of your strategy — you see the puff of smoke, and he’s gone,” said Paul Pillar, a former deputy director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center. “When we institutionalize certain things, including targeted killing, it does cross a threshold that makes it harder to cross back.”
For a decade, the dimensions of the drone campaign have been driven by short-term objectives: the degradation of al-Qaeda and the prevention of a follow-on, large-scale attack on American soil.
Side effects are more difficult to measure — including the extent to which strikes breed more enemies of the United States — but could be more consequential if the campaign continues for 10 more years.
“We are looking at something that is potentially indefinite,” Pillar said. “We have to pay particular attention, maybe more than we collectively have so far, to the longer-term pros and cons to the methods we use.”
Obama administration officials at times have sought to trigger debate over how long the nation might employ the kill lists. But officials said the discussions became dead ends.
In one instance, Mullen, the former Joint Chiefs chairman, returned from Pakistan and recounted a heated confrontation with his counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Mullen told White House and counterterrorism officials that the Pakistani military chief had demanded an answer to a seemingly reasonable question: After hundreds of drone strikes, how could the United States possibly still be working its way through a “top 20” list?
The issue resurfaced after the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden. Seeking to repair a rift with Pakistan, Panetta, the CIA director, told Kayani and others that the United States had only a handful of targets left and would be able to wind down the drone campaign.
A senior aide to Panetta disputed this account, and said Panetta mentioned the shrinking target list during his trip to Islamabad but didn’t raise the prospect that drone strikes would end. Two former U.S. officials said the White House told Panetta to avoid even hinting at commitments the United States was not prepared to keep.
“We didn’t want to get into the business of limitless lists,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who spent years overseeing the lists. “There is this apparatus created to deal with counterterrorism. It’s still useful. The question is: When will it stop being useful? I don’t know.”
Karen DeYoung, Craig Whitlock and Julie Tate contributed to this report.
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The Permanent War
This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing.
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CIA veteran reshapes counterterrorism policy
Video: Over the past few years, the Obama administration has institutionalized the use of armed drones and developed a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.
This is the second of three articles.
In his windowless White House office, presidential counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is compiling the rules for a war the Obama administration believes will far outlast its own time in office, whether that is just a few more months or four more years.
The “playbook,” as Brennan calls it, will lay out the administration’s evolving procedures for the targeted killings that have come to define its fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It will cover the selection and approval of targets from the “disposition matrix,” the designation of who should pull the trigger when a killing is warranted, and the legal authorities the administration thinks sanction its actions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond.
“What we’re trying to do right now is to have a set of standards, a set of criteria, and have a decision-making process that will govern our counterterrorism actions — we’re talking about direct action, lethal action — so that irrespective of the venue where they’re taking place, we have a high confidence that they’re being done for the right reasons in the right way,” Brennan said in a lengthy interview at the end of August.
A burly 25-year CIA veteran with a stern public demeanor, Brennan is the principal architect of a policy that has transformed counterterrorism from a conventional fight centered in Afghanistan to a high-tech global effort to track down and eliminate perceived enemies one by one.
What was once a disparate collection of tactics — drone strikes by the CIA and the military, overhead surveillance, deployment of small Special Forces ground units at far-flung bases, and distribution of military and economic aid to threatened governments — has become a White House-centered strategy with Brennan at its core.
Four years ago, Brennan felt compelled to withdraw from consideration as President Obama’s first CIA director because of what he regarded as unfair criticism of his role in counterterrorism practices as an intelligence official during the George W. Bush administration. Instead, he stepped into a job in the Obama administration with greater responsibility and influence.
Brennan is leading efforts to curtail the CIA’s primary responsibility for targeted killings. Over opposition from the agency, he has argued that it should focus on intelligence activities and leave lethal action to its more traditional home in the military, where the law requires greater transparency. Still, during Brennan’s tenure, the CIA has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and opened a new base for armed drones in the Arabian Peninsula.
Although he insists that all agencies have the opportunity to weigh in on decisions, making differing perspectives available to the Oval Office, Brennan wields enormous power in shaping decisions on “kill” lists and the allocation of armed drones, the war’s signature weapon.
When operations are proposed in Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere, it is Brennan alone who takes the recommendations to Obama for a final sign-off.
As the war against al-Qaeda and related groups moves to new locations and new threats, Brennan and other senior officials describe the playbook as an effort to constrain the deployment of drones by future administrations as much as it provides a framework for their expanded use in what has become the United States’ permanent war.
“This needs to be sustainable,” one senior administration official said, “and we need to think of it in ways that contemplate other people sitting in all the chairs around the table.”
A critical player
There is widespread agreement that Obama and Brennan, one of the president’s most trusted aides, are like-minded on counterterrorism policy.
“Ever since the first couple of months, I felt there was a real similarity of views that gave me a sense of comfort,” Brennan said. “I don’t think we’ve had a disagreement.”
But the concentration of power in one person, who is unelected and unconfirmed by Congress, does not sit well with critics.
To many in the international legal community and among human rights and civil liberties activists, Brennan runs a policy so secret that it is impossible for outsiders to judge whether it complies with the laws of war or U.S. values — or even determine the total number of people killed.
“Brennan says the administration is committed to ‘greater transparency,’ ” Human Rights Watch said in response to a speech he gave in May about drones. But despite “administration assertions that ‘innocent civilians’ have not been injured or killed, except in the ‘rarest of circumstances,’ there has been no clear accounting of civilian loss or opportunity to meaningfully examine the administration’s assertions.”
Although outsiders have criticized the policy itself, some inside the administration take issue with how Brennan has run it. One former senior counterterrorism official described Brennan as the “single point of failure” in the strategy, saying he controls too much and delegates too little.
A former top Defense Department official sounded a similar note. “He holds his cards incredibly close,” he said. “If I ask for the right one to be seen, he’ll show it to me. But he’s not going to show me everything he’s got in his hand.”
Michael E. Leiter, who headed the National Counterterrorism Center until mid-2011, described Brennan as a forceful leader and “a critical player in getting this president comfortable with the tools of the trade.”
Leiter said that he and Brennan “disagreed not infrequently” on fleeting issues, including interpretations of a piece of intelligence or how to respond to a specific threat. But there was a more significant issue: Leiter said Brennan was less focused on root causes of radicalization, in part because of how Brennan and the White House defined his job.
Leiter was one of the few people who allowed his name to be used among the nearly dozen current and former senior national security officials interviewed for this article. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity under restrictions imposed by the administration or because they were not authorized to discuss certain issues.
For each of Brennan’s critics, there are many associates who use the words “moral compass” to describe his role in the White House. It is Brennan, they say, who questions the justification for each drone attack, who often dials back what he considers excessive zeal by the CIA and the military, and who stands up for diplomatic and economic assistance components in the overall strategy.
Brennan’s bedrock belief in a “just war,” they said, is tempered by his deep knowledge of the Middle East, Islam and the CIA, and the critical thinking forged during a classic Jesuit education.
Some White House aides describe him as a nearly priest-like presence in their midst, with a moral depth leavened by a dry Irish wit.
One CIA colleague, former general counsel John Rizzo, recalled his rectitude surfacing in unexpected ways. Brennan once questioned Rizzo’s use of the “BCC” function in the agency’s e-mail system to send a blind copy of a message to a third party without the primary recipient’s knowledge.
“He wasn’t joking,” Rizzo said. “He regarded that as underhanded.”
Brennan, 57, was born in the gritty New Jersey town of North Bergen, across the Hudson River from Midtown Manhattan. His Irish-immigrant parents, now in their early 90s, were strict and devout Catholics, traits his brother Tom said Brennan embodied from an early age. “It was almost like I had two fathers,” Tom Brennan said.
John Brennan’s formative experiences at Fordham University, where he earned a degree in political science, included a summer in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, and a junior year at the American University in Cairo, where he studied Arabic and the region that would dominate his intelligence career and greatly influence his White House tenure.
In 1980, soon after receiving a master’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin, Brennan answered a CIA recruitment ad in a newspaper. By the middle of the decade, he had spent two years in Saudi Arabia and was among the agency’s leading Middle Eastern analysts.
“He was probably the hardest-working human being I ever encountered,” said a former senior CIA official who worked for Brennan on the Middle East desk. Brennan, he said, was regarded as insightful, even imaginative, but had a seriousness that set him apart.
In 1999, after a second tour in Saudi Arabia as CIA station chief, he returned to headquarters as chief of staff for then-Director George J. Tenet. In 2001, he became deputy executive director, just months before a team of al-Qaeda operatives — most of them from Saudi Arabia — used four hijacked U.S. airliners to kill nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11.
‘I . . . do what I think is right’
Brennan’s belief in his competence and probity has sometimes led to political blind spots. Tenet tapped him in 2003 to build the new CIA-based Terrorist Threat Integration Center to bridge pre-Sept. 11 intelligence gaps. But Brennan was bypassed by the Bush administration a year later for two key jobs — head of the National Counterterrorism Center and deputy to the new director of national intelligence — largely because of his criticism of the Iraq war.
As a private citizen after leaving government, Brennan spoke publicly about counterterrorism controversies of the day. He defended the CIA’s rendition of suspected terrorists as “an absolutely vital tool” but described waterboarding as within “the classic definition of torture.” Brennan also criticized the military as moving too far into traditional intelligence spheres.
His career in government appeared to be over until he was invited in late 2007 to join the nascent presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Although Obama and Brennan did not meet until after the election, their first conversation during the transition revealed profound harmony on issues of intelligence and what the president-elect called the “war against al-Qaeda.”
But when Brennan’s name circulated as Obama’s choice to head the CIA, he again came under political fire — this time from liberals who accused him of complicity in the agency’s use of brutal interrogation measures under Bush. Spooked by the criticism, Obama quickly backtracked and Brennan withdrew.
“It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration such as preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding,” he wrote in an angry withdrawal letter released to the media.
Several former intelligence colleagues said that, although Brennan had criticized the CIA interrogation methods after he left the government, they could not recall him doing so as a senior executive at the agency.
Brennan was given responsibility in the White House for counterterrorism and homeland security, a position that required no Senate confirmation and had no well-defined duties. At the outset, colleagues said they wondered what his job would be.
But to a young administration new to the secret details of national security threats and responsibilities, Brennan was a godsend.
And for the man passed over for other posts, it was vindication. “I’ve been crucified by the left and the right, equally so,” and rejected by the Bush administration “because I was not seen as someone who was a team player,” Brennan said in the interview.
“I’m probably not a team player here, either,” he said of the Obama administration. “I tend to do what I think is right. But I find much more comfort, I guess, in the views and values of this president.”
Brennan and others on the inside found that Obama, hailed as a peacemaker by the left and criticized by the right as a naive pacifist, was willing to move far more aggressively than Bush against perceived extremists.
Yemen is a ‘model’
From the outset, Brennan expressed concern about the spread of al-Qaeda beyond South Asia, particularly to Yemen, according to administration officials involved in the early talks.
U.S. counterterrorism policy had long been concentrated on Pakistan, where the Bush administration had launched sporadic CIA drone attacks against senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Within two years, Obama had more than tripled the number of strikes in Pakistan, from 36 in 2008 to 122 in 2010, according to the New America Foundation.
Eventually, Obama and Brennan decided the program was getting out of hand. High-value targets were becoming elusive, accusations of civilian deaths were rising, and strikes were increasingly directed toward what the angry Pakistanis called mere “foot soldiers.”
But with Pakistan’s adamant refusal to allow U.S. military operations on its soil, taking what was considered a highly successful program out of CIA hands was viewed as counterproductive and too complicated. Although CIA strikes in other countries and military strikes outside Afghanistan require Obama’s approval, the agency has standing permission to attack targets on an approved list in Pakistan without asking the White House.
Although the administration has “wrestled with” the Pakistan program, it was always considered an initiative of the previous administration, a senior official said. In Yemen, the Obama team began to build its own counterterrorism architecture.
The turning point came on Christmas Day in 2009, when a Nigerian trained by Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group, penetrated post-Sept. 11 defenses and nearly detonated a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound airliner.
In the wake of the failed attack, Brennan “got more into tactical issues,” said Leiter, the former NCTC head. “He dug into more operational stuff than he had before.”
Brennan made frequent visits to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, its closest neighbor and the dominant regional power. He used his longtime contacts in the region to cement a joint U.S.-Saudi policy that would ultimately — with the help of Yemen’s Arab Spring revolt — bring a more cooperative government to power. He often spoke of the need to address “upstream” problems of poverty and poor governance that led to “downstream” radicalization, and pushed for economic aid to buttress a growing military and intelligence presence.
Yemen quickly became the place where the United States would “get ahead of the curve” on terrorism that had become so difficult to round in Pakistan, one official said. As intelligence and military training programs were expanded, the military attacked AQAP targets in Yemen and neighboring Somalia using both fixed-wing aircraft and drones launched from a base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
Despite Brennan’s professed dismay at the transformation of the CIA into a paramilitary entity with killing authority, the agency was authorized to operate its own armed aircraft out of a new base in the Arabian Peninsula.
Beginning in 2011, discussions on targeting, strikes and intelligence that had been coordinated by a committee set up by Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were gradually drawn into the White House under Brennan, who, according to several accounts, struggled to pare back increasingly expansive target lists in Yemen. At one meeting last year, one senior official said, Obama weighed in to warn that Yemen was not Afghanistan, and that “we are not going to war in Yemen.”
Today, Brennan said, “there are aspects of the Yemen program that I think are a true model of what I think the U.S. counterterrorism community should be doing” as it tracks the spread of al-Qaeda allies across Northern Africa.
As targets move to different locations, and new threats “to U.S. interests and to U.S. persons and property” are identified in Africa and elsewhere, Brennan described a step-by-step program of escalation. “First and foremost, I would want to work through local authorities and see whether or not we can provide them the intelligence, and maybe even give them some enhanced capability, to take action to bring that person to justice,” he said.
For those governments that are “unwilling or unable” to act, he said, “then we have an obligation as a government to protect our people, and if we need then to take action ourselves . . . we look at what those options are as well.”
In late August, Brennan said he saw no need “to go forward with some kind of kinetic action in places like Mali,” where al-Qaeda allies have seized control of a broad swath of territory. Since then, Brennan and other officials have begun to compare the situation in Mali to Somalia, where drone and other air attacks have supplemented a U.S.-backed African military force.
An opaque process
Where Obama and Brennan envision a standardized counterterrorism program bound by domestic and international law, some others see a secretive killing machine of questionable legality and limitless expansion.
Many civil libertarians and human rights experts disdain claims by Brennan and others that the drone program has become increasingly transparent, noting that the administration has yet to provide even minimal details about targeting decisions or to take responsibility for the vast majority of attacks.
“For more than two years, senior officials have been making claims about the program both on the record and off. They’ve claimed that the program is effective, lawful and closely supervised,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said last month in appealing repeated court refusals to force the administration to release more information.
Some critics have described it as immoral, rejecting the administration’s claims that few civilians have been among the nearly 3,000 people estimated to have been killed in drone attacks. There is ample evidence in Pakistan that the more than 300 strikes launched under Obama have helped turn the vast majority of the population vehemently against the United States.
None of the United States’ chief allies has publicly supported the targeted killings; many of them privately question the administration’s claim that it comports with international law and worry about the precedent it sets for others who inevitably will acquire the same technology.
To the extent that it aspires to make the program’s standards and processes more visible, the playbook has been a source of friction inside the administration. “Other than the State Department, there are not a lot of advocates for transparency,” one official said. Some officials expressed concern that the playbook has become a “default” option for counterterrorism.
The CIA, which declined to comment for this article, is said to oppose codifying procedures that might lock it into roles it cannot expand or maneuver around in the future. Directors at most national security agencies agree on targeting rules that are already in place, an official close to Brennan said. But “when it’s written down on paper, institutions may look at it in a different way.”
The CIA, which is preparing a proposal to increase its drone fleet, considers Brennan “a rein, a constrainer. He is using his intimate knowledge of intelligence and the process to pick apart their arguments that might be expansionary,” a senior official outside the White House said.
Two administration officials said that CIA drones were responsible for two of the most controversial attacks in Yemen in 2011 — one that killed American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and a second a few days later that killed his 16-year-old son, also an American citizen. One of the officials called the second attack “an outrageous mistake. . . . They were going after the guy sitting next to him.”
Both operations remain secret and unacknowledged, because of what officials said were covert-action rules that tied their hands when it came to providing information.
Some intelligence officials said Brennan has made little substantive effort to shift more responsibility to the military. But Brennan and others described a future in which the CIA is eased out of the clandestine-killing business, and said the process will become more transparent under Defense Department oversight and disclosure rules.
“Deniable missions” are not the military norm, one official said.
Said Brennan: “I think the president always needs the ability to do things under his chief executive powers and authorities, to include covert action.” But, he added, “I think the rule should be that if we’re going to take actions overseas that result in the deaths of people, the United States should take responsibility for that.”
One official said that “for a guy whose reputation is focused on how tough he is on counterterrorism,” Brennan is “more focused than anybody in the government on the legal, ethical and transparency questions associated with all this.” By drawing so much decision-making directly into his own office, said another, he has “forced a much better process at the CIA and the Defense Department.”
Even if Obama is reelected, Brennan may not stay for another term. That means someone else is likely to be interpreting his playbook.
“Do I want this system to last forever?” a senior official said. “No. Do I think it’s the best system for now? Yes.”
“What is scary,” he concluded, “is the apparatus set up without John to run it.”
Greg Miller and Julie Tate contributed to this report.
This is the third of three articles.
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti — Around the clock, about 16 times a day, drones take off or land at a U.S. military base here, the combat hub for the Obama administration’s counterterrorism wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
Some of the unmanned aircraft are bound for Somalia, the collapsed state whose border lies just 10 miles to the southeast. Most of the armed drones, however, veer north across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, another unstable country where they are being used in an increasingly deadly war with an al-Qaeda franchise that has targeted the United States.
Camp Lemonnier, a sun-baked Third World outpost established by the French Foreign Legion, began as a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines looking for a foothold in the region a decade ago. Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed it into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone, a model for fighting a new generation of terrorist groups.
The Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the legal and operational details of its targeted-killing program. Behind closed doors, painstaking debates precede each decision to place an individual in the cross hairs of the United States’ perpetual war against al-Qaeda and its allies.
Increasingly, the orders to find, track or kill those people are delivered to Camp Lemonnier. Virtually the entire 500-acre camp is dedicated to counterterrorism, making it the only installation of its kind in the Pentagon’s global network of bases.
Secrecy blankets most of the camp’s activities. The U.S. military rejected requests from The Washington Post to tour Lemonnier last month. Officials cited “operational security concerns,” although they have permitted journalists to visit in the past.
After a Post reporter showed up in Djibouti uninvited, the camp’s highest-ranking commander consented to an interview — on the condition that it take place away from the base, at Djibouti's lone luxury hotel. The commander, Army Maj. Gen. Ralph O. Baker, answered some general queries but declined to comment on drone operations or missions related to Somalia or Yemen.
Despite the secrecy, thousands of pages of military records obtained by The Post — including construction blueprints, drone accident reports and internal planning memos — open a revealing window into Camp Lemonnier. None of the documents is classified and many were acquired via public-records requests.
Taken together, the previously undisclosed documents show how the Djibouti-based drone wars sharply escalated early last year after eight Predators arrived at Lemonnier. The records also chronicle the Pentagon’s ambitious plan to further intensify drone operations here in the coming months.
The documents point to the central role played by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which President Obama has repeatedly relied on to execute the nation’s most sensitive counterterrorism missions.
About 300 Special Operations personnel plan raids and coordinate drone flights from inside a high-security compound at Lemonnier that is dotted with satellite dishes and ringed by concertina wire. Most of the commandos work incognito, concealing their names even from conventional troops on the base.
Other counterterrorism work at Lemonnier is more overt. All told, about 3,200 U.S. troops, civilians and contractors are assigned to the camp, where they train foreign militaries, gather intelligence and dole out humanitarian aid across East Africa as part of a campaign to prevent extremists from taking root.
In Washington, the Obama administration has taken a series of steps to sustain the drone campaign for another decade, developing an elaborate new targeting database, called the “disposition matrix,” and a classified “playbook” to spell out how decisions on targeted killing are made.
Djibouti is the clearest example of how the United States is laying the groundwork to carry out these operations overseas. For the past decade, the Pentagon has labeled Lemonnier an “expeditionary,” or temporary, camp. But it is now hardening into the U.S. military’s first permanent drone war base.
In August, the Defense Department delivered a master plan to Congress detailing how the camp will be used over the next quarter-century. About $1.4 billion in construction projects are on the drawing board, including a huge new compound that could house up to 1,100 Special Operations forces, more than triple the current number.
Drones will continue to be in the forefront. In response to written questions from The Post, the U.S. military confirmed publicly for the first time the presence of remotely piloted aircraft — military parlance for drones — at Camp Lemonnier and said they support “a wide variety of regional security missions.”
Intelligence collected from drone and other surveillance missions “is used to develop a full picture of the activities of violent extremist organizations and other activities of interest,” Africa Command, the arm of the U.S. military that oversees the camp, said in a statement. “However, operational security considerations prevent us from commenting on specific missions.”
For nearly a decade, the United States flew drones from Lemonnier only rarely, starting with a 2002 strike in Yemen that killed a suspected ringleader of the attack on the USS Cole.
That swiftly changed in 2010, however, after al-Qaeda’s network in Yemen attempted to bomb two U.S.-bound airliners and jihadists in Somalia separately consolidated their hold on that country. Late that year, records show, the Pentagon dispatched eight unmanned MQ-1B Predator aircraft to Djibouti and turned Lemonnier into a full-time drone base.
The impact was apparent months later: JSOC drones from Djibouti and CIA Predators from a secret base on the Arabian Peninsula converged over Yemen and killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric and prominent al-Qaeda member.
Today, Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa, created to combat a new generation of terrorist groups across the continent, from Mali to Libya to the Central African Republic. The U.S. military also flies drones from small civilian airports in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, but those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti.
Lemonnier also has become a hub for conventional aircraft. In October 2011, the military boosted the airpower at the base by deploying a squadron of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets, which can fly faster and carry more munitions than Predators.
In its written responses, Africa Command confirmed the warplanes’ presence but declined to answer questions about their mission. Two former U.S. defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the F-15s are flying combat sorties over Yemen, an undeclared development in the growing war against al-Qaeda forces there.
The drones and other military aircraft have crowded the skies over the Horn of Africa so much that the risk of an aviation disaster has soared.
Since January 2011, Air Force records show, five Predators armed with Hellfire missiles crashed after taking off from Lemonnier, including one drone that plummeted to the ground in a residential area of Djibouti City. No injuries were reported but four of the drones were destroyed.
Predator drones in particular are more prone to mishaps than manned aircraft, Air Force statistics show. But the accidents rarely draw public attention because there are no pilots or passengers.
As the pace of drone operations has intensified in Djibouti, Air Force mechanics have reported mysterious incidents in which the airborne robots went haywire.
In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem.
“After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,” an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript. “Right now, I still think the software is not good.”
Djibouti is an impoverished former French colony with fewer than 1 million people, scarce natural resources and miserably hot weather.
But as far as the U.S. military is concerned, the country's strategic value is unparalleled. Sandwiched between East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Camp Lemonnier enables U.S. aircraft to reach hot spots such as Yemen or Somalia in minutes. Djibouti’s port also offers easy access to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
“This is not an outpost in the middle of nowhere that is of marginal interest,” said Amanda J. Dory, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Africa. “This is a very important location in terms of U.S. interests, in terms of freedom of navigation, when it comes to power projection.”
The U.S. military pays $38 million a year to lease Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian government. The base rolls across flat, sandy terrain on the edge of Djibouti City, a somnolent capital with eerily empty streets. During the day, many people stay indoors to avoid the heat and to chew khat, a mildly intoxicating plant that is popular in the region.
Hemmed in by the sea and residential areas, Camp Lemonnier’s primary shortcoming is that it has no space to expand. It is forced to share a single runway with Djibouti’s only international airport, as well as an adjoining French military base and the tiny Djiboutian armed forces.
Passengers arriving on commercial flights — there are about eight per day — can occasionally spy a Predator drone preparing for a mission. In between flights, the unmanned aircraft park under portable, fabric-covered hangars to shield them from the wind and curious eyes.
Behind the perimeter fence, construction crews are rebuilding the base to better accommodate the influx of drones. Glimpses of the secret operations can be found in an assortment of little-noticed Pentagon memoranda submitted to Congress.
Last month, for example, the Defense Department awarded a $62 million contract to build an airport taxiway extension to handle increased drone traffic at Lemonnier, an ammunition storage site and a combat-loading area for bombs and missiles.
In an Aug. 20 letter to Congress explaining the emergency contract, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said that 16 drones and four fighter jets take off or land at the Djibouti airfield each day, on average. Those operations are expected to increase, he added, without giving details.
In a separate letter to Congress, Carter said Camp Lemonnier is running out of space to park its drones, which he referred to as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), and other planes. “The recent addition of fighters and RPAs has exacerbated the situation, causing mission delays,” he said.
Carter’s letters revealed that the drones and fighter aircraft at the base support three classified military operations, code-named Copper Dune, Jupiter Garret and Octave Shield.
Copper Dune is the name of the military’s counterterrorism operations in Yemen. Africa Command said it could not provide information about Jupiter Garret and Octave Shield, citing secrecy restrictions. The code names are unclassified.
The military often assigns similar names to related missions. Octave Fusion was the code name for a Navy SEAL-led operation in Somalia that rescued an American and a Danish hostage on Jan. 24.
Another window into the Djibouti drone operations can be found in U.S. Air Force safety records.
Whenever a military aircraft is involved in a mishap, the Air Force appoints an Accident Investigation Board to determine the cause. Although the reports focus on technical questions, supplementary documents make it possible to re-create a narrative of what happened in the hours leading up to a crash.
Air Force officers investigating the crash of a Predator on May 17, 2011, found that things started to go awry at Camp Lemonnier late that night when a man known as Frog emerged from the Special Operations compound.
The camp’s main power supply had failed and the phone lines were down. So Frog walked over to the flight line to deliver some important news to the Predator ground crew on duty, according to the investigators’ files, which were obtained by The Post as part of a public-records request.
“Frog” was the alias chosen by a major assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command. At Lemonnier, he belonged to a special collection of Navy SEALs, Delta Force soldiers, Air Force commandos and Marines known simply as “the task force.”
JSOC commandos spend their days and nights inside their compound as they plot raids against terrorist camps and pirate hideouts. Everybody on the base is aware of what they do, but the topic is taboo. “I can’t acknowledge the task force,” said Baker, the Army general and highest-ranking commander at Lemonnier.
Frog coordinated Predator hunts. He did not reveal his real name to anyone without a need to know, not even the ground-crew supervisors and operators and mechanics who cared for the Predators. The only contact came when Frog or his friends occasionally called from their compound to say it was time to ready a drone for takeoff or to prepare for a landing.
Information about each Predator mission was kept so tightly compartmentalized that the ground crews were ignorant of the drones’ targets and destinations. All they knew was that most of their Predators eventually came back, usually 20 or 22 hours later, earlier if something went awry.
On this particular night, Frog informed the crew that his Predator was returning unexpectedly, 17 hours into the flight, because of a slow oil leak.
It was not an emergency. But as the drone descended toward Djibouti City it entered a low-hanging cloud that obscured its camera sensor. Making matters worse, the GPS malfunctioned and gave incorrect altitude readings.
The crew operating the drone was flying blind. It guided the Predator on a “dangerously low glidepath,” Air Force investigators concluded, and crashed the remote-controlled plane 2.7 miles short of the runway.
The site was in a residential area and fire trucks rushed to the scene. The drone had crashed in a vacant lot and its single Hellfire missile had not detonated.
The Predator splintered apart and was a total loss. With a $3 million price tag, it had cost less than one-tenth the price of an F-15 Strike Eagle.
But in terms of spilling secrets, the damage was severe. Word spread quickly about the mysterious insect-shaped plane that had dropped from the sky. Hundreds of Djiboutians gathered and gawked at the wreckage for hours until the U.S. military arrived to retrieve the pieces.
One secret that survived, however, was Frog’s identity. The official Air Force panel assigned to investigate the Predator accident couldn’t determine his real name, much less track him down for questioning.
“Who is Frog?” one investigator demanded weeks later while interrogating a ground crew member, according to a transcript. “I’m sorry, I was just getting more explanation as to who Frog — is that a person? Or is that like a position?”
The crew member explained that Frog was a liaison officer from the task force. “He’s a Pred guy,” he shrugged. “I actually don’t know his last name.”
The accident triggered alarms at the upper echelons of the Air Force because it was the fourth drone in four months from Camp Lemonnier to crash.
Ten days earlier, on May 7, 2011, a drone carrying a Hellfire missile had an electrical malfunction shortly after it entered Yemeni airspace, according to an Air Force investigative report. The Predator turned back toward Djibouti. About one mile offshore, it rolled uncontrollably to the right, then back to the left before flipping belly up and hurtling into the sea.
“I’ve never seen a Predator do that before in my life, except in videos of other crashes,” a sensor operator from the ground crew told investigators, according to a transcript. “I’m just glad we landed it in the ocean and not someplace else.”
Flying every sortie
The remote-control drones in Djibouti are flown, via satellite link, by pilots 8,000 miles away in the United States, sitting at consoles in air-conditioned quarters at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.
At Camp Lemonnier, conditions are much less pleasant for the Air Force ground crews that launch, recover and fix the drones.
In late 2010, after military cargo planes transported the fleet of eight Predators to Djibouti, airmen from the 60th Air Force Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron unpacked the drones from their crates and assembled them.
Soon after, without warning, a microburst storm with 80-mph winds struck the camp.
The 87-member squadron scrambled to secure the Predators and other exposed aircraft. They managed to save more than half of the “high-value, Remotely Piloted Aircraft assets from destruction, and most importantly, prevented injury and any loss of life,” according to a brief account published in Combat Edge, an Air Force safety magazine.
Even normal weather conditions could be brutal, with summertime temperatures reaching 120 degrees on top of 80 percent humidity.
“Our war reserve air conditioners literally short-circuited in the vain attempt to cool the tents in which we worked,” recalled Lt. Col. Thomas McCurley, the squadron commander. “Our small group of security forces personnel guarded the compound, flight line and other allied assets at posts exposed to the elements with no air conditioning at all.”
McCurley’s rare public account of the squadron’s activities came in June, when the Air Force awarded him a Bronze Star. At the ceremony, he avoided any explicit mention of the Predators or Camp Lemonnier. But his narrative matched what is known about the squadron’s deployment to Djibouti.
“Our greatest accomplishment was that we flew every single sortie the Air Force asked us to fly, despite the challenges we encountered,” he said. “We were an integral part in taking down some very important targets, which means a lot to me.”
He did not mention it, but the unit had gotten into the spirit of its mission by designing a uniform patch emblazoned with a skull, crossbones and a suitable nickname: “East Africa Air Pirates.”
The Air Force denied a request from The Post to interview McCurley.
The frequency of U.S. military flights from Djibouti has soared, overwhelming air-traffic controllers and making the skies more dangerous.
The number of takeoffs and landings each month has more than doubled, reaching a peak of 1,666 in July compared with a monthly average of 768 two years ago, according to air-traffic statistics disclosed in Defense Department contracting documents.
Drones now account for about 30 percent of daily U.S. military flight operations at Lemonnier, according to a Post analysis.
The increased activity has meant more mishaps. Last year, drones were involved in “a string of near mid-air collisions” with NATO planes off the Horn of Africa, according to a brief safety alert published in Combat Edge magazine.
Drones also pose an aviation risk next door in Somalia. Over the past year, remote-controlled aircraft have plunged into a refugee camp, flown perilously close to a fuel dump and almost collided with a large passenger plane over Mogadishu, the capital, according to a United Nations report.
Manned planes are crashing, too. An Air Force U-28A surveillance plane crashed five miles from Camp Lemonnier while returning from a secret mission on Feb. 18, killing the four-person crew. An Air Force investigation attributed the accident to “unrecognized spatial disorientation” on the part of the crew, which ignored sensor warnings that it was flying too close to the ground.
Baker, the two-star commander at Lemonnier, played down the crashes and near-misses. He said safety had improved since he arrived in Djibouti in May.
“We’ve dramatically reduced any incidents of concern, certainly since I’ve been here,” he said.
Last month, the Defense Department awarded a $7 million contract to retrain beleaguered air-traffic controllers at Ambouli International Airport and improve their English skills.
The Djiboutian controllers handle all civilian and U.S. military aircraft. But they are “undermanned” and “over tasked due to the recent rapid increase in U.S. military flights,” according to the contract. It also states that the controllers and the airport are not in compliance with international aviation standards.
Resolving those deficiencies may not be sufficient. Records show the U.S. military is also scrambling for an alternative place for its planes to land in an emergency.
Last month, it awarded a contract to install portable lighting at the only backup site available: a tiny, makeshift airstrip in the Djiboutian desert, several miles from Lemonnier.
February 1, 2011 in News
Indiana State Trooper Chris Pestow has a .357 Magnum held to his head by another officer from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Pestow posted the photo to his Facebook page and described how the two had been drinking "a lot of beer" that night.
An unusual 2009 bulletin produced by the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center warns members of the law enforcement community not to engage in “questionable” online activities, particularly through social media such as Facebook and MySpace. Using several examples of law enforcement officers showing “poor judgment” in their online postings, the For Official Use Only bulletin titled “The Perils of Social Networking” demonstrates how the inconsiderate and sometimes disturbing posts of police officers have been used in the past for “witness impeachment” in legal proceedings by attacking the officer’s credibility. These activities have sometimes led to the acquittal of suspects in what are described as “slam-dunk” cases.
One particularly noteworthy case involved an officer with the New York Police Department whose postings on Facebook and MySpace led to the acquittal of a suspect who was an ex-convict and had been found in possession of a firearm. The officer’s online postings included a number of comments about police conduct in internet videos. For example, one comment read “If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him.” In another he added, “If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money’s worth ’cause now he’s going to get disciplined for a relatively light punch.” One comment discussed how the officer had just finished watching the 2001 film Training Day to “brush up on ‘proper police procedure.’”
Another case discussed in the bulletin involved an Indiana State Trooper who posted on his Facebook page that he was a “garbage man, because I pick up trash for a living.” He later added that “these people should have died when they were young anyway, I’m just doing them a favor.” The same officer also posted an off-duty picture to his Facebook page showing another police officer holding a gun to his head. According to the bulletin, “Both officers had been consuming alcohol, which the officer personally validated when he posted that they were ‘drinking lots of beer’ that day.”
The bulletin concludes by asking that officers “think through the significance and possible consequences of all postings before you hit the ENTER Button, and preserve them on a digital server for all of eternity.” The bulletin’s references indicate that under Brady v. Maryland (1963) “evidence affecting the credibility of the police officer as a witness may be exculpatory evidence and shall be given to the defense. Indeed, evidence that the officer has had in his personnel file that displays a sustained finding of untruthfulness is exculpatory to the defense.” Another case, Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco (2008) also states that “exculpatory evidence cannot be kept out of the hands of the defense just because the prosecutor does not have it . . .”
Tags: facebook, NYPD 1 Comment »
by Megan Geuss - Nov 10 2012, 7:38pm PST
The extramarital affair between CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell was exposed as the result of FBI e-mail monitoring of Broadwell after she sent "threatening and harassing" messages to another woman. The Washington Post reports that the months-long investigation's discovery of explicit, sexually charged emails from Petraeus' personal e-mail account to Broadwell led directly to Petraeus' resignation.
The unnamed woman, which the Washington Post says did not work at the CIA and was not Petraeus' wife, had asked the FBI to look into the threatening e-mails from Broadwell. FBI investigators then used the bureau's electronic monitoring capability, (as described in depth in Ars' analysis of the FBI's electronic monitoring of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan), to intercept emails to and from Broadwell's account.
During the course of the investigation, federal agents monitoring Broadwell's e-mails found messages coming from Petraeus' personal Gmail account, and were concerned that his account had been hacked, "leading to concerns about potential national security breaches," according to officials interviewed by the Post. But after collecting more evidence, the FBI realized it had uncovered an affair between Petraeus and Broadwell. The agency later decided that Broadwell's e-mails to the unnamed woman were "'threatening and harassing' but not specific enough to warrant criminal charges."
Doris Kearns Goodwin, left, Paula Broadwell, right, Harvard Center for Public Leadership, April 23, 2009. David Petraeus was featured speaker. Broadwell met Petraeus in 2006, when she was a graduate student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
David Petraeus, left, Jill Kelley, right, at CENTCOM party.
11 November 2012
Paula (Dean) Kranz (Broadwell)
18 May 1999. Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Today I bumped into Matt Passante, D4, who happened to be an escort officer for a VIP attending a briefing I gave on the Hunter UAV. He's been at Fort Huachuca for 3 weeks and is working in the Directorate of Combat Development. I just spoke with him in passing, but he's doing well. I also received an e-mail from Paula Kranz, A2. Paula and I were platoon leaders together in B/102d MI Bn in Korea, where she, being a natural leader, did a fantastic job and represented '95 well. She sent me her new e-mail address (you can click on her name to write her) and her phone numbers, which I'd be happy to share on request.
5 October 1999. Savannah, Georgia. Devon Blake (Morris), G2 sends news from her home station at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. On December 5, 1998 Devon married Tim Blake, a real civilian, no less! In attendance as bridesmaids was Paula Kranz, A2, Sarah Ross, D3 and Abi Thompson, F4, who you should be able to pick out in the wedding photo below. Devon's currently on deployment to Bosnia as an augmentee to 10th Mountain Division, Task Force 2-15 Field Artillery Regiment. Devon also sends other great photos--one from her promotion to Captain on July 1 and another of her surrounded by children in Bosnia.
A sends from Smugmug source.
David Petraeus, Jill Kelley at CENTCOM Party
David Petraeus, left, Jill Kelley, right.
David Petraeus, center, Jill Kelley, right. (Hi-rez)
The emails that Jill Kelley showed an FBI friend near the start of last summer were not jealous lover warnings like “stay away from my man,” a knowledgeable source tells The Daily Beast.
This July 13, 2011, photo made available on the International Security Assistance Force's Flickr website shows the former Commander of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Gen. Davis Petraeus, left, shaking hands with Paula Broadwell, co-author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." (ISAF / AP Photo)
The messages were instead what the source terms “kind of cat-fight stuff.”
“More like, ‘Who do you think you are? … You parade around the base … You need to take it down a notch,’” according to the source, who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.
The base described is MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, where Kelley serves as an unpaid “social liaison.” The source reports that the emails did make one reference to Gen. David Petraeus, but it was oblique and offered no manifest suggestion of a personal relationship or even that he was central to the sender’s spite.
Kelley herself seemed mystified as to what was behind the emails, much less who sent them.
“I don’t know who this person is and I don’t want to keep getting them,” she told the FBI, as recounted by the source.
When the FBI friend showed the emails to the cyber squad in the Tampa field office, her fellow agents noted that the absence of any overt threats.
“No, ‘I’ll kill you’ or ‘I'll burn your house down,’” the source says. “It doesn’t seem really that bad.”
The squad was not even sure the case was worth pursuing, the source says.
“What does this mean? There’s no threat there. This is against the law?” the agents asked themselves by the source’s account.
At most the messages were harassing. The cyber squad had to consult the statute books in its effort to determine whether there was adequate legal cause to open a case.
“It was a close call,” the source says.
What tipped it may have been Kelley’s friendship with the agent. The squad opened a case, though with no expectation it would turn into anything significant.
“They weren’t seeing this as the crime of the century,” the source says.
And certainly nobody was looking to do anything that might cause a huge fuss and maybe get them bounced from Tampa. The field office there is a $35 million palace with a second-floor fitness center whose plate-glass windows overlook Tampa Bay, and an eating area that includes an outdoor, screened-in extension for fed al fresco. The closest agents get to that in, say, cold and grimy New York is eating in their cars.
The agents soon determined that the emails were coming from Paula Broadwell. They then would have had to consult with the U.S. Attorney’s office in order to secure a search warrant enabling them to go into Broadwell’s email.
“I was with Ganrl Patrais? He came to my haws.”
They apparently did so and are said to have found a number of nonclassified documents that seemed to have originated with Petraeus but had not been sent by an account bearing his name. And yet they did not seem to have been forwarded from anywhere.
The agents then determined that Broadwell and Petraeus had been communicating with each other via private email accounts. As the Associated Press reported on Monday, the pair would save unsent messages in their inboxes, and then log into each other's account to read them.
“She really knows him,” the agents told themselves, by the source’s account.
The question then was the nature of the connection.
“What it was and most importantly what it wasn’t,” the source says.
Some of the steamier messages made clear that it was an affair. The besotted Broadwell may have viewed the curvaceous Kelley as a threat. Broadwell may be able to run a six-minute mile with Petraeus, but Kelley looks like a woman who lets the guys do all the running—and in her direction.
Maybe Broadwell chanced to encounter Kelley on some occasion and felt snubbed. Or Broadwell could have just seen online photos of Petraeus and his wife visiting the mansion that Kelley shares with her doctor husband and three young children. Kelley likely assisted her 7-year-old daughter, Caroline, in posting an online photo album that includes a picture of the girl and her two sisters with Petraeus.
“I was with Ganrl Patrais?’ the girl’s handwritten caption reads. “He came to my haws.”
For Kelley to help post this if she were having an affair with the general would border on the pathological. Bad enough that the news of Kelley’s involvement in setting the case in motion broke just in time for reporters to swarm the house during Caroline’s seventh birthday party there, complete with bouncy castle.
Broadwell is herself married to a doctor and has two young children. Maybe the parallels were part of what set her off. Her father told the New York Daily News that there is “a lot more here than meets the eye,” though he declined say what that might be.
Whatever transpired, the FBI agents found no indication that it constituted a crime or a threat to national security. They confirmed this when they interviewed Broadwell and then Petraeus. They are both said to have been forthcoming and consistent, even telling the agents more than they already knew.
Petraeus seems to have been the first guy in memory not to lie about sex. And a good thing too, because lying to a federal agent is a crime. Martha Stewart found that out the hard way.
By that point, FBI headquarters almost certainly had been notified. One former agent with extensive experience estimates that it would have taken no more than 24 hours for word to get to Director Robert Mueller. A case that might never have been if the agents in Tampa had heeded their initial misgivings now presented the head of the FBI with a predicament in which there were no happy options.
In all electronic surveillance, including emails, the FBI is legally compelled to adhere to the principle of “minimization,” limiting the invasion of privacy as much as possible to what is specifically warranted. This applies even when a case involves the worst kinds of criminals.
Agents are required to abstain from even listening to such purely personal conversations as mushy talk between a mob killer and his mistress. Minimization in these instances may have saved lives, as Mafia wives are notably more liable to express their fury physically than, say, military spouses. The wife of one Gambino crime-family boss sent an email concerning her philandering husband that was unquestionably a death threat. She then followed it with an apology.
“I am sorry I misspelled ‘arsenic.’”
As the Tampa case did not involve a crime or a threat to national security, one might have expected the spirit of minimization to lead the FBI to keep any personal revelations within the bureau and not say anything to anybody.
Perhaps Mueller was worried that if it leaked out somehow he might be accused of being like the FBI’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, who relished collecting dirt. Hoover was not shy about using it to blackmail even the president. Mueller might even have been accused to being party to a plot to muzzle Petraeus regarding the mess in Benghazi.
Mueller chose to refer the matter to Petraeus’s titular superior, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. The justification was that Petraeus was the head of an organization where such personal entanglements are considered a threat to security by making an agent a target for blackmail. No Bond girls for our spies. Mark it as an added twist that Skyfall opened in the midst of all this.
The CIA double-no code aside, nobody could possibly believe that Petraeus would allow himself to be blackmailed into betraying the nation over an affair. But the principle of the boss adhering to the rules remained. And Clapper is said to have urged Petraeus to resign on his own terms rather than await the jackals.
Petraeus dutifully went to the White House to tender his resignation. Never mind that the Oval Office has witnessed much philandering over the decades with nobody having to resign. Never mind that Bill Clinton remains living proof of the silliness of modern puritanism. Our present president is by every indication a faithful husband, but he needed Clinton’s help to get reelected.
The fact that the resignation came immediately after the election, even though the case is said to have begun back in late May or the beginning of June, has made more than a few people wonder about the timing.
Whatever the truth in this regard, it remains pitifully ironic that Petraeus could come to such grief over a little sex under a desk in a war zone where thousands of people were and are earnestly seeking to blow other people to bloody bits. Shoot but don’t schtup?
And just because Broadwell performed the literary equivalent of sex under a desk does not mean that any actual sex is anybody’s business.
By the long-honored principle of minimization, the members of Congress who are demanding to know why they were not told earlier about Petraeus’s affair with his biographer should be asking another question.
They should instead be demanding to know why anybody outside the FBI was told anything at all.
Getty Images (3); AP Photo (bottom, right)
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UPDATE: Despite being initially described as a raid by multiple sources, the FBI is now saying that the search of Paula Broadwell’s home is “consensual” and part of concluding its probe into the alleged mistress of former CIA director David Petraeus, according to CNBC and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Pete Williams.
CNBC✔@CNBC FBI agents are at the home of Paula Broadwell in Charlotte; law enforcement official says it's a consensual search, not a raid - NBC 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
FBI agents are at the home of Paula Broadwell in Charlotte; law enforcement official says it's a consensual search, not a raid - NBC
Andrea Mitchell✔@mitchellreports FBI now in Charlotte searching Paula Broadwell home says @PeteWilliamsNBC FBI says it is "consensual" not a raid part of wrapping up probe 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
FBI now in Charlotte searching Paula Broadwell home says @PeteWilliamsNBC FBI says it is "consensual" not a raid part of wrapping up probe
A spokeswoman for the FBI has confirmed agents went to Broadwell’s home in Charlotte on Monday night. However, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch declined to say what the agents were doing there.
FBI agents appeared at Broadwell’s home carrying the kinds of cardboard boxes often used for evidence gathering during a search. They walked through the open garage of Broadwell’s house and knocked at a side door before entering the home. One person was taking photographs of the house and its garage as members of the news media watched.
Petraeus resigned his CIA post last week after acknowledging an extramarital affair.
(Related: Bizarre Twist: Key FBI Agent on Case Actually Sent ‘Shirtless Photos’ to Petraeus Friend)
FBI agents search Paula Broadwell’s home in North Carolina (WCNC-TV)
WCNC reporter Dianne Gallagher also addressed the FBI’s assertion that the search is “consensual” and not a “raid” after she initially described it as such.
“…technically not a raid bc FBI was given consent by attorney. Semantics, but still,” she tweeted.
Michael V. Wall @MiWall81 13 Nov 12 @DianneG @wcnc nice slip, you said raid, and then search, and it wasn't a slip because it was a raid…!
@DianneG @wcnc nice slip, you said raid, and then search, and it wasn't a slip because it was a raid…!
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG @MiWall81 technically not a raid bc FBI was given consent by attorney. Semantics, but still... 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
@MiWall81 technically not a raid bc FBI was given consent by attorney. Semantics, but still...
As of 11:30 p.m. EST, “just under a dozen” FBI agents were still in the house, a single room lit up.
WCNC-TV has the latest details on this story:
Roughly 10 FBI agents wrapped up their search at around 1 a.m. EST. The agents removed two computers and 5-7 boxes of evidence following the nearly five hour search, Gallagher later reported.
In addition to the latest details on the property search, WCNC-TV also aired a portion of an exclusive interview with Broadwell earlier this year.
“Truly some of the tenants of General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency strategy applied to home or work or corporations. Be the first with truth, live our values—and I try to show that in the book,” Broadwell said in the interview.
See TheBlaze’s initial story below.
FBI agents on Monday night raided the home of Paula Broadwell, the alleged mistress of former CIA director David Petraeus, WCNC reporter Dianne Gallagher reported via her official Twitter account.
Gallagher said “two men with briefcases just showed up to the Broadwell home… ran inside.” The reporter also said later “dozens of people” showed up to the North Carolina home, carrying bags and boxes inside, possibly to gather evidence.
The FBI confirmed to WBTV in Charlotte that the agents inside Broadwell’s home were with the agency. However, FBI officials would not reveal what they were looking for.
“FBI agents have been inside Paula Broadwell’s Dilworth home for about an hour now. About a dozen there, with bags/boxes, taking pics,” Gallagher posted on Twitter.
She estimated the first two agents arriving at 8:40 p.m. EST. And as of 10:40 p.m. EST, the agents, which had since multiplied, were reportedly still inside presumably collecting evidence of some sort.
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG BREAKING: Confirmed the agents at Paula Broadwells home are with FBI. Brought bags & boxes, taking photos @wcnc pic.twitter.com/nXZ5u4Ke 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
BREAKING: Confirmed the agents at Paula Broadwells home are with FBI. Brought bags & boxes, taking photos @wcnc pic.twitter.com/nXZ5u4Ke
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG Roughly a dozen FBI agents inside Paula Broadwell's home now. Her neighbours say she's been emailing from 'undisclosed location' w/ family 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Roughly a dozen FBI agents inside Paula Broadwell's home now. Her neighbours say she's been emailing from 'undisclosed location' w/ family
Logan Stewart @lbstewart 13 Nov 12 @ReidBennett agreed.
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG @lbstewart @ReidBennett the FBI is here... I think there might be more than sex involved now... 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
@lbstewart @ReidBennett the FBI is here... I think there might be more than sex involved now...
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG FBI agents have been looking inside cabinets & snapping photos in carport of Paula Broadwell's Charlotte home. @wcnc 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
FBI agents have been looking inside cabinets & snapping photos in carport of Paula Broadwell's Charlotte home. @wcnc
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG FBI agents have been inside Paula Broadwell's Dilworth home for about an hour now. About a dozen there, with bags/boxes, taking pics @wcnc 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
FBI agents have been inside Paula Broadwell's Dilworth home for about an hour now. About a dozen there, with bags/boxes, taking pics @wcnc
Dianne Gallagher @DianneG We were here when the first agents showed up at Paula Broadwell home, not leaving until they come out. I'm live at 11 @wcnc with the video 13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
We were here when the first agents showed up at Paula Broadwell home, not leaving until they come out. I'm live at 11 @wcnc with the video
Meanwhile, the media “gaggle” continued to grow outside the Broadwell home Monday night:
Petraeus resigned from his position as CIA director on Friday.
The FBI discovered the affair after Broadwell reportedly sent harassing emails to a female family friend of Petraeus.
FBI agents contacted Petraeus, and he was told that sensitive, possibly classified documents related to Afghanistan were found on her computer. He assured investigators they did not come from him, and he mused to his associates that they were probably given to her on her reporting trips to Afghanistan by commanders she visited in the field there. The FBI concluded there was no security breach.
This is a breaking story and updates will be added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paula Broadwell (FILE)
The federal agent who launched the probe that eventually led to David Petraeus’ resignation as director of the CIA was taken off the case indefinitely over the summer after his superiors became concerned that he may be personally involved in the case, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing “officials familiar with the probe.”
The unidentified FBI agent still passed along his concerns to a member of Congress even after he was barred from taking part in the investigation, afraid that the case would be covered up.
(Related: FBI Conducts ‘Consensual’ Search at Home of Petraeus’ Alleged Mistress Paula Broadwell)
And while the FBI was looking into a number of harassing emails from Petraeus’ alleged mistress Paula Broadwell to a family friend of the former four-star general and delving into the head of the CIA’s personal life, the federal agency was also forced to deal with allegations of inappropriate conduct by one of its own agents. The agent in question allegedly sent “shirtless photos” of himself to a woman involved in the case before the investigation began, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, is investigating the agent, officials familiar with the case said.
FBI officials declined to identify the agent, so he couldn’t be reached to give his side of the story. The agent is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, according to two officials familiar with the matter.The revelations address how the investigation first began and ultimately led to Mr. Petraeus’s downfall as director of the CIA. The new developments also raise questions about the role played by the FBI and the adequacy of notification to administration and congressional leaders about the scandal.The FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley, a volunteer who organizes social events for military personnel in the Tampa area, complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, according to the officials.
FBI officials declined to identify the agent, so he couldn’t be reached to give his side of the story. The agent is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, according to two officials familiar with the matter.
The revelations address how the investigation first began and ultimately led to Mr. Petraeus’s downfall as director of the CIA. The new developments also raise questions about the role played by the FBI and the adequacy of notification to administration and congressional leaders about the scandal.
The FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley, a volunteer who organizes social events for military personnel in the Tampa area, complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.
However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, according to the officials.
One possible explanation is emotional involvement with Kelley. The agent apparently sent shirtless photos to Kelley before the initial email investigation ever began, however, FBI officials didn’t immediately discover them. Once they did, he was ordered to remove himself from the case, even though he never had a formal role in the investigation, according to officials.
More from WSJ.com:
This is when the agent contacted Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.) because he was reportedly afraid the matter was going to be “swept under the rug,” according to the report. The information was then passed along to “top congressional officials” who ultimately contacted FBI headquarters in Washington.
The FBI agent who contacted Reichert was the same one who first received the allegations from Tampa socialite Jill Kelley that she was receiving threatening emails, a federal law enforcement official said Monday night. FBI agents eventually traced the alleged harassment emails warning Kelley to stay away from Petraeus to Broadwell.
Petraeus has told associates his relationship with Kelley was platonic, though Broadwell apparently saw her as a romantic rival. Kelley served as a sort of social ambassador for U.S. Central Command, hosting parties for the general when Petraeus was commander there from 2008-2010.
As the WSJ points out, the emails allegedly sent by Broadwell via an anonymous account took a minor cyber harassment investigation and turned it into a full blown national security investigation.
One of the emails asked Kelley’s husband if he was aware that his wife had touched “him,” later discovered to be Petraeus, under the table provocatively.
Jill Kelley leaves her home Monday, Nov 12, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who allegedly received harassing emails from Gen. David Petraeus’ paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military’s Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (Credit: AP)
An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the Virginia congressman first heard about CIA Director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair on Saturday, Oct. 27, from an FBI source he didn’t know.
Communications director Rory Cooper told The Associated Press Monday that Cantor notified the FBI’s chief of staff of the conversation, but did not tell anyone else because he did not know whether the information from an unknown source was credible. Petraeus resigned last week as the nation’s top spy because of the affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
The Cantor spokesman said the Oct. 27 conversation was arranged by Rep. Reichert.
Congress will now investigate why the FBI didn’t notify lawmakers of its investigation.
But by late October, the FBI had concluded there was no national security breach and was only pursuing a criminal investigation of the harassing emails and whether Petraeus had played any role in them, according to two federal law enforcement officials. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing controversy on the record.
In response to criticism from members of Congress that they should have been told about the matter earlier, one of the officials pointed out that long-standing Justice Department policy and practice is not to share information from an ongoing criminal investigation with anyone outside the department, including the White House and Congress.
For a matter to fall in the category of notifying the Hill, national security must be involved. Given the absence of a security breach, it was appropriate not to notify Congress or the White House, this law enforcement official said.
Video: Post local editor Vernon Loeb, who ghostwrote Paula Broadwell’s David Petraeus biography, offers his impressions of Broadwell and thoughts on the scandal.
My wife says I’m the most clueless person in America.
I never anticipated the extramarital affair between David H. Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, the woman I’d worked with for 16 months on a book about Petraeus’s year commanding the war in Afghanistan. On rare occasions, her good looks and close access would prompt a colleague to raise an eyebrow about their relationship, but I never took it seriously.
I certainly wasn’t alone. The unusually close relationship between subject and biographer was no secret by the time President Obama nominated Petraeus as CIA director in the summer of 2011 following his command year in Kabul. America’s most famous and heralded general had granted Broadwell extraordinary access for her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” Nor has Broadwell done anything to hide this access or her great admiration of Petraeus since the book was published in January, describing him in terms that are, well, effusive.
So when the news broke Friday that Petraeus was resigning in disgrace because of an adulterous affair, I was dumbfounded. “Could it be Paula?” my friends and colleagues asked immediately. Even then, I said I would give her the benefit of the doubt — until the doubt evaporated a few hours later.
I came by my ringside seat on this epic Washington scandal innocently enough: In July 2010, I got a call from my agent, Scott Moyers in New York, who wanted to know whether I was interested in ghostwriting a war book about Petraeus, who had just been named commander in Afghanistan. I’d just finished ghostwriting a CIA memoir that Scott had represented.
He described his other client, with whom I’d be working, as a woman who had unique access to Petraeus. She was, in Moyers’s telling, a dynamo — a West Point graduate who’d worked in counterterrorism after Sept. 11 and was pursuing a PhD at King’s College in London. It sounded like an incredible opportunity.
As Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post, I had briefly embedded with the 101st Airborne Division under Petraeus’s command in northern Iraq in the fall of 2003, and found the general — and what he’d accomplished — impressive and inspiring. Mosul, and much of his sector in the north, were largely pacified, and Petraeus granted me unfettered access to his command headquarters and his battalion commanders. We even went running together around one of Saddam’s demi-palaces in Mosul, where his command was bivouacked.
The fact that I was a runner seemed to Moyers to make me the perfect fit for the job. He joked, when he was introducing me to Broadwell, that I was the only ghostwriter who could run with Petraeus — and with Broadwell. Both were ultra-competitive distance runners who prided themselves on speed, and both could do hundreds of push-ups.
I flew to Charlotte and spent an afternoon sifting through an impressive pile of e-mails and documents on Broadwell’s dining room table that she had already compiled as part of a PhD thesis she was writing on Petraeus and his approach to leadership, which he had agreed to help her with after they met at Harvard a few years earlier.
What was she like? Professional, relaxed and clearly excited about the material she had for me in her big, comfortable house in a stately North Carolina neighborhood. She spoke with great affection about her husband, a surgical radiologist whom she’d met in the military, and her two young sons, whom she clearly adores.
We began our work as Petraeus was assuming command of a faltering war effort. Broadwell began reporting, relying on extensive military contacts, among them numerous members of Petraeus’s inner circle. She made her first of four or five lengthy reporting trips to Afghanistan in the late summer of 2010, somehow managing to juggle her responsibilities as a mother of two small boys with trips to a war zone.
As someone who has found himself closer than I ever wanted to be to incoming fire, I was impressed by her energy and commitment to the book. My role was far less dramatic: I sat in my basement in Maryland and wrote what was virtually a real-time narrative fashioned from the torrent of e-mails, documents and interview transcripts Broadwell sent my way.
From the outset, the editors at Penguin Press were quite clear about what they wanted: a book on the rigors of command told from an inside point of view. The ultimate narrative tracked what turned out to be a year in command for Petraeus. The book is not a traditional biography, although it does contain a series of biographical digressions about him. I had no say over the book’s ultimate take on Petraeus, which some have found excessively laudatory. Broadwell was free to make whatever revision or modifications she desired to the text, and did so liberally. To my mind, in any event, the book remains a valuable chronicle of his year in command and makes clear that the war wasn’t going all that well.
Before Broadwell’s first trip to Afghanistan, I wondered whether she really had the kind of access necessary to deliver the book we’d promised. But she wore down whatever resistance Petraeus may have had to the project, which he never agreed to make an authorized biography.
By the time of Broadwell’s last reporting trip to Afghanistan, her access was exclusive: She flew out of Kabul on Petraeus’s jet after an emotional change-of-command ceremony and accompanied him during a barnstorming tour he made of European capitals on his way back to Washington.
I always thought that Broadwell’s motives were pure, and I always wondered why Petraeus was granting her the access that he did. The two must have seen a lot of themselves in each other — they shared the West Point bond, an addiction to physical fitness and running and an uber-optimistic, never-say-die outlook on life.
Broadwell clearly admired Petraeus as a leader and a military officer. That her dissertation, and ultimately the book, had grown out of a mentoring relationship with Petraeus is something I still take at face value. I never thought they were having an affair — and I still have no idea when the affair actually began. I sent Broadwell an e-mail Monday, letting her know that I was writing this piece and welcoming any comment she chose to make. I have yet to hear back from her.
I always wondered how Petraeus justified his relationship with her to his command staff in Afghanistan. Surely, eyebrows were raised, given the access she received. Female colleagues of mine weren’t shy in remarking about Broadwell’s good looks and her affinity for flashy, cocktail party attire even at staid national security conferences.
Was something going on with Petraeus? I always said I didn’t think so.
I assumed, given how public their semi-official relationship was, that he would never engage in any risky behavior. He’d always preached to his protégés that character was what you did when no one was watching. And he would always hasten to add, from his most public of perches, that “someone is always watching.”
There was no protégémore ardent than Broadwell.
To see both of them fall in such tragic fashion brought to mind a comment by Nick Carraway, the character in “The Great Gatsby,” who says early on in the novel:
“I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.”
The only contact I had with Petraeus during my work on the book came in 2011 during one of his trips back to Washington while he was still in command of the war. He invited me to go running with him along the Potomac in a gesture that was vintage Petraeus.
No one cultivated e-mail relationships with journalists better than he did; no one could be more personable on a kind of superficial level that nonetheless made people feel good about their interaction with him.
So one morning, at the appointed hour, I showed up at Fort Myer and was met by an aide. He took me to the general’s stately home on the base. Two or three black sport-utility vehicles waited out front, along with a dozen or so aides, junior officers, NCOs, even a security guard from the CIA, since Petraeus had already been nominated to take over the agency.
We drove six miles out along the Potomac, were dropped off, and ran back along the dirt tow path. The commander of the war in Afghanistan and I ran side by side, talking about great world events. I could scarcely believe I suddenly had this kind of access.
Just as I now can scarcely believe where that kind of access led Broadwell, and Petraeus.
Jill Kelley, 37, (right) is believed to be the 'mystery woman' who blew the lid off former CIA Director David Petraeus’ career-ending affair. She is seen here with Petraeus' wife Holly Petraeus (left) and her husband Scott Kelley at a party.
The mystery woman who blew the lid off former CIA Director David Petraeus’ career-ending affair is also tied to the military — a sexy social liaison for an Air Force base in Tampa who says she and the ex-general are just “friends.” Jill Kelley, 37, a married mother of three from the Gulf Coast city, alerted the FBI several months ago after receiving emails from Petraeus’ alleged mistress, biographer Paula Broadwell, warning the stunning Tampa socialite to “stay away from” the spymaster, according to sources with knowledge of the messages.
POLS WANT TO KNOW WHY THEY WERE LEFT IN THE DARK ABOUT PETREAUS SCANDAL
The raven-haired Kelley, who has an unpaid position as a social planner for MacDill Air Force Base, insisted in a statement Sunday her relationship with the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director was platonic, dating to when Petraeus ran the U.S. Central Command from the base. “We and our family have been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years,” Kelley said. “We respect his family’s privacy and want the same for us and our three children.”
TWO FAMILIES SHATTERED: CIA DIRECTOR DAVID PETRAEUS' ACCUSED MISTRESS HAS 'IDYLLIC FAMILY'
BEFORE AFAIR WENT PUBLIC, PETRAEUS' MISTRESS SAID GENERAL HAD 'NO DIRTY SECRETS'
But Broadwell’s father said Sunday his daughter is the victim of character assassination and implied the bombshell story is just a smoke screen for something bigger. “This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out,” Broadwell’s dad, Paul Krantz, told the Daily News outside his home in Bismarck, N.D. “There is a lot more that is going to come out,” said Krantz, claiming he was not allowed to elaborate. “You wait and see. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye.” He said he supports his daughter “100%.”
PETRAEUS AFFAIR: TIMELINE ON PAULA BROADWELL AND THE GENERAL'S PHYSICAL SPECIAL OPS
“I stand by my daughter. She is an exceptional person,” Krantz told The News, adding that Broadwell, a West Point grad, and her family were “doing well, considering.” Kelley has not spoken publicly about the scandal. She and her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, were busy Sunday entertaining guests at a birthday party for one of their daughters at their colonial-style mansion overlooking Tampa’s Hillsborough Bay.
In an exclusive photo obtained by The News, the Kelleys appeared worried while speaking with Vice Adm. Robert Harward, deputy commander of the Central Command, who showed up at the party in his white dress uniform. Jill Kelley was raised in Philadelphia, where her family settled in the mid-1970s and opened a Middle Eastern restaurant after immigrating from Lebanon. Her father, John Khawam, was a renowned organist in Lebanon.
A close friend of Petraeus told ABC News that Kelley saw the general often, but their relationship was innocent. “It is very clear there was nothing going on other than friendship between Kelley and Petraeus,” the friend said. In 2010, Kelley and her husband, a surgeon at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, invited Petraeus and his wife of 38 years, Holly, to be their guests at a party for the Gasparilla parade, an annual pirate-themed festival in Tampa. At the time, Petraeus ran the Central Command from MacDill.
Kelley’s 7-year-old daughter, Caroline, even posted a family photo album online that she dedicated to her parents and included family photos — one of her and her sisters posing with Petraeus. “I was with Gen. Petraeus. He came to my house,” Caroline wrote. Broadwell’s extended family members were completely caught off guard by the news of Petraeus’ shocking resignation, which broke Friday. “They didn’t find out about the affair until they saw it on the news Friday night,” the grandmother of Broadwell’s husband, Scott, told The News. “Everyone’s reaction was shock. We were all shell-shocked.”
The grandmother, who would only give her first name, Sylvia, described Paula Broadwell as “intelligent and really smart.” “She’s too smart for that,” said Sylvia, adding that her grandson is “a wonderful father to those two young kids.” She said Scott Broadwell’s parents in Sanibel, Fla., “felt like the rug was pulled out from under them.” “It’s a sad situation,” the grandmother said. Petraeus began seeing Paula Broadwell, a writer with a military background, on the side in 2011, several months after he retired from the military, but ended the romance about four months ago, sources told ABC News.
BuzzFeed, citing sources, said he took her on a government-funded trip to Paris in July 2011.
Russell Broadwell, Scott’s father, confirmed to The News that he, too, was astonished by the news he first heard on TV Friday.
Asked if he has spoken to his son, Broadwell said, “Of course, he’s my son.” He refused to further comment. Paula Broadwell, 40 (above), wrote the biography “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” She has yet to publicly comment on the scandal that has rocked Washington and the U.S. security community. A source told The Wall Street Journal that Broadwell, who lives in North Carolina, became jealous when she suspected Kelley was in a romantic relationship with Petraeus.
Kelley’s twin sister, Natalie Khawam, is a lawyer who represents whistleblowers, but there was no indication Sunday that she was representing her sister. The FBI probe into the menacing emails uncovered other exchanges between Broadwell and Petraeus’ personal email account that made clear their relationship had gone beyond professional limits, including one that talked about “sex under a desk.” The scandal is spreading beyond the participants into the political arena. Several top lawmakers are demanding more information about what the FBI, the CIA and President Obama knew — and when they knew it. Obama accepted the 60-year-old Petraeus’ resignation Friday, a mere three days after his reelection.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) confirmed Sunday he first learned of the affair several months ago from a friend who knows Kelley. Reichert told House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who put Kelley in touch with FBI Director Robert Mueller. Cantor’s staff didn’t immediately tell the House Intelligence Committee or other House leaders because they didn’t know whether the information was credible, Fox News reported. Retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan, Petraeus’ former spokesman, said the general is kicking himself for his atrocious lack of judgment. “He hugely regrets what happened,” Boylan told ABC News. “He pretty much threw away the best job he ever had and put his family through something just too hard to describe.” email@example.com
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WASHINGTON—A federal agent who launched the investigation that ultimately led to the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors' concerns that he was personally involved in the case, according to officials familiar with the probe.
After being blocked from the case, the agent continued to press the matter, relaying his concerns to a member of Congress, the officials said.
New details about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the case suggest that even as the bureau delved into Mr. Petraeus's personal life, the agency had to address conduct by its own agent—who allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman involved in the case prior to the investigation.
A State Department official's complaints about email stalking launched the months-long criminal inquiry that led to a woman romantically linked to former Gen. David Petraeus and to his abrupt resignation Friday as CIA chief. Photo: REUTERS.
Paula Broadwell, at the center of the Petraeus case, poses with her biography of the former CIA Chief in January.
Jill Kelley leaves her house Monday.
FBI officials declined to identify the agent, so he couldn't be reached to give his side of the story. The agent is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, according to two officials familiar with the matter.
The revelations address how the investigation first began and ultimately led to Mr. Petraeus's downfall as director of the CIA. The new developments also raise questions about the role played by the FBI and the adequacy of notification to administration and congressional leaders about the scandal.
One official said the agent in question sent shirtless photos to Ms. Kelley well before the email investigation began, and FBI officials only became aware of them some time later. Eventually, supervisors told the agent he was to have nothing to do with the case, though he never had a formal role in the investigation, the official said.
Top Commander in Afghanistan Investigated
The agent, after being barred from the case, contacted a member of Congress, Washington Republican David Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials said. That information was relayed to top congressional officials, who notified FBI headquarters in Washington.
By that point, FBI agents had determined the harassing emails had been sent by Paula Broadwell, who had written a biography of Mr. Petraeus's military command.
Investigators had also determined that Ms. Broadwell had been having an affair with Mr. Petraeus, and that the emails suggested Ms. Broadwell was suspicious of Ms. Kelley's attention to Mr. Petraeus, officials said.
The accusatory emails, according to officials, were sent anonymously to an account shared by Ms. Kelley and her husband. Ms. Broadwell allegedly used a variety of email addresses to send the harassing messages to Ms. Kelley, officials said.
One asked if Ms. Kelley's husband was aware of her actions, according to officials. In another, the anonymous writer claimed to have watched Ms. Kelley touching "him'' provocatively underneath a table, the officials said.
The message was referring to Mr. Petraeus, but that wasn't clear at the time, officials said. A lawyer for Ms. Kelley didn't respond to messages Monday seeking comment on the anonymous emails or on the alleged emails from the FBI agent. A lawyer for Ms. Broadwell also didn't respond. Neither woman has replied to requests to speak about the matter.
By then, what began as a relatively simple cyberstalking case had ballooned into a national security investigation. Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell, both of them married, had set up private Gmail accounts to contact each other, according to several officials familiar with the investigation. The FBI at one point was concerned the CIA director's email had been accessed by outsiders.
After agents interviewed Ms. Broadwell, she let them examine her computer, where they found copies of classified documents, according to the officials. Both Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell denied that he had given her the documents, and FBI officials eventually concluded they had no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Even as the probe of the relationship between Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell intensified in late summer and early fall, authorities were able to eventually rule out a security breach, though intelligence officials became concerned Mr. Petraeus had left himself exposed to possible blackmail, according to officials.
On Monday night, reporters watching Ms. Broadwell's home in Charlotte, N.C., saw federal agents conduct what appeared to be a search. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed agents were at the home but declined to say what they were doing.
A day after the Nov. 6 election, intelligence officials presented their findings to the White House. Mr. Petraeus met with White House officials last Thursday and announced his resignation the following day.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus needed to resign over the affair, and some have argued that the FBI should have alerted both the White House and Congress much earlier to the potential security implications surrounding Mr. Petraeus.
In a separate twist in the tangled matter of Mr. Petraeus's resignation, the CIA disputed a theory advanced by Ms. Broadwell that insurgents may have attacked the U.S. consulate and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 in a bid to free militants being held there by the agency. Ms. Broadwell suggested that rationale for the consulate attack in an address at the University of Denver on Oct. 26.
"I don't know if a lot of you had heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back," she said then. "It's still being vetted."
A CIA spokesman said there were no militant prisoners there, noting that President Barack Obama ended CIA authority to hold detainees in 2009. "Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless," said the spokesperson.
Some critics pointed to Ms. Broadwell's remarks in Denver as an indication that she may have been passing on classified information, leading to speculation that Mr. Petraeus may have been the source. Based on descriptions by U.S. officials, the romantic relationship had ended by then.
In addition, the source of her comment may not have been intelligence information, but news reports. Earlier in her address, she cited findings of a report that day by Fox News. Immediately after, she mentioned the possibility that the CIA had held militants at the site, which the Fox report also mentioned.
The Sept. 11 consulate attack resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. One person briefed on U.S. intelligence said that reports focused on two main motives for the attack: inspiration from the violent protest that day at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and the exhortation of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to avenge the death of his second in command. The possibility of attackers trying to free detainees never came up, this person said.
This week, lawmakers are slated to receive a series of closed-door briefings on both Benghazi and the FBI investigation that turned up the affair between Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has one such briefing on Benghazi scheduled Tuesday. On Wednesday, leaders of the House intelligence committee—Rep. Michael Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the panel and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat—will be briefed by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and acting CIA director Michael Morell.
Senate intelligence committee staffers are working to schedule similar briefings. On Thursday, both the House and Senate intelligence committees were already slated to receive testimony on Benghazi from top intelligence and law-enforcement officials. The investigation that uncovered the affair is now expected to also be a central issue at those hearings, which won't be public.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who chairs the Senate intelligence committee complained Sunday that she and her colleagues should have been told of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair when the FBI discovered it because of national-security concerns.
Write to Devlin Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org, Evan Perez at email@example.com and Siobhan Gorman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Broadwell, second left, watches as General David Petraeus, right, and his wife Holly, third left, arrive for a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Petraeus' nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency
All eyes were on General Petraeus as he arrived for a Senate Select Intelligence Committee meeting in June last year.
But nobody was looking at him quite so intensely, or adoringly, as his biographer Paula Broadwell in this extraordinary picture.
RELATED: FURY OF THE GENERAL'S WIFE
Petraeus' wife Holly was just feet away from Broadwell, 40, who began an affair with the general two months after he became CIA director last year.
As this picture shows, Broadwell appeared locked on to her target like a Smart bomb, despite the strong risk of collateral damage that might be caused by having an extra-marital relationship with the nation's spy chief.
Petraeus, 60, who resigned last Friday, and his family are said to be devastated over the affair. As are Broadwell's husband and children.
Holly "is not exactly pleased right now," according Steve Boylan, a friend and former Petraeus spokesman who spoke to the general over the weekend.
Doubtless claims of 'sex under a desk' and Broadwell calling Petraeus 'Peaches' in intimate emails will have done nothing to improve the humour of the general's wife of 37 years.
Pentagon investigates 'inappropriate communications' between General John Allen and Jill Kelley
Wednesday 14 November 2012
Isn't the one thing lacking from the Paul Broadwell, David Petraeus, Jill Kelley sex scandal... sex?
Petraeus scandal: 'I never imagined they were having an affair. I was dumbfounded'
Senator Kerry emerges as defence frontrunner
Editorial: Carry on up the Khyber
Threatening emails sparked Petraeus probe
The sex scandal that has already cost David Petraeus his job as Director of the CIA widened yesterday with confirmation that the Pentagon is investigating "inappropriate communications" between General John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, and a woman involved in the case.
The FBI said it had notified the Pentagon on Sunday that General Allen was the source of between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of documents sent, mostly by email, to 37-year-old Jill Kelley, who already has an important supporting role in the slowly unfolding Petraeus drama.
It was Ms Kelley, a volunteer "social organiser" for top brass at the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, who started the chain of events that led to General Petraeus's resignation on Friday when she told the FBI during the summer of threatening emails she had been receiving from an unidentified source. It turned out they were coming from Paula Broadwell, a biographer of General Petraeus with whom he had been having an affair.
The exact nature of the material sent by General Allen to Ms Kelley from 2010 until recently was not known last night, and sources close to him insisted that his relationship with her was platonic. A Defence Department official said there was concern over "potentially inappropriate" information in the missives – but another official told the Associated Press that the "flirtatious" language merely amounted to terms such as "sweetheart" and "dear" and had been blown out of proportion, containing no classified information.
While General Allen still had his post last night, Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary, asked President Barack Obama to withdraw the nomination of General Allen as the next commander of US European Command. However, Mr Obama appeared to offer political backing to the latest man caught in the scandal, with a White House spokesman saying the resident "thinks very highly of General Allen and his service to his country, as well as the job he has done in Afghanistan".
Returning from the election recess to Capitol Hill yesterday, members of Congress barely knew what to make of a scandal which may turn out to have serious national se- curity implications. "It's really a Greek tragedy," Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said. "This has the elements of a Hollywood movie."
After months of a presidential election that saw nary a jot of nefarious doings, the gods of scandal unleashed a tawdry tale involving two of the country's most revered military figures. Indeed some saw presidential potential in General Petraeus.
At its simplest, it centres on Ms Broadwell, who first came to know General Petraeus as the author of his biography. As she gained more access to him, so a sexual affair blossomed. The FBI stumbled on their extramarital entanglement when it discovered that Ms Broadwell had been the source of the emails to Ms Kelley, apparently of a "back-off-my-guy" nature. The FBI became involved when agents realised they contained sensitive information about the CIA director's whereabouts, according to reports last night.
General Petraeus has acknowledged the affair, which he said began after he became CIA director in 2010 and was no longer a serving general. An adulterous affair is a crime under US military law, which also explains the stakes for General Allen should evidence of a sexual affair between him and Ms Kelley surface.
The FBI is not done yet with the Broadwell connection. On Monday, agents went to her North Carolina home and left with boxes of documents and her computer, suggesting the agency wants to be certain that no classified material passed between the former CIA director and the married Ms Broadwell.
The Pentagon clearly will be looking to ensure the same is true of the extensive Allen-Kelley chronicles. Meanwhile, new details emerged almost hourly. We have learnt, for instance, that the FBI agent who first responded to the request for help from Ms Kelley was swiftly taken off the case because he had been emailing her shirtless pictures of himself. The New York Post reported that both General Petraeus and General Allen had intervened in an especially nasty child custody case on behalf of Ms Kelley's twin sister.
While Ms Broadwell seized the headlines at the start of the scandal, Ms Kelley's relationship with Messrs Petraeus and Allen is now getting more urgent attention.
Theirs was a triangle that seemingly began when General Petraeus led Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, near the home of Ms Kelley, who is married, prior to taking the Afghanistan command. General Allen was his deputy at MacDill.
The scandal has widening political ramifications. Leaders on Capitol Hill are asking why it took the FBI until the weekend to make public what they had known about General Petraeus and Ms Broadwell since the summer.
The White House learnt of it on election day. It upends Mr Obama's reshuffle of his cabinet and his top military commanders. And it comes just as General Allen was detailing a final blueprint for drawing down force numbers in Afghanistan.
As the scandal engulfs Washington, the inevitable effect will also be to undermine America's credibility as the world's military leader in Afghanistan and Nato. Lurking also are questions about the CIA and the 11 September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including the US ambassador to Libya.
Many on Capitol Hill are demanding that General Petraeus testify at forthcoming hearings on the tragedy, where he will be grilled on why he told Congress members after the attacks that it had erupted spontaneously from a riot outside the consulate, when the evidence has since suggested he already knew it had been conducted by militants.
Jill Kelley: Party host
Together with her surgeon husband Scott, Jill Kelley, pictured, was a self-appointed social ambassador for servicemen stationed at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, home to the US Central Command. Described as a patriotic woman who threw her energies first into political fundraising before turning her support to the armed forces, she became friends with General Petraeus and General Allen. She hosted lavish parties for military personnel – which apparently contributed to huge credit card debts that led to the couple being sued by their banks. Guests enjoyed champagne and cigars while listening to music performed by string quartets, according to reports in the US media.
Friends have reportedly insisted that her relationship with General Petraeus was purely platonic. So far, all she and her husband have said publicly about their involvement in the scandal came in a modest statement issued on Sunday. "We and our family have been friends with General Petraeus and his family for over five years," it read. "We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children."
The CIA Director
One of the US military's most decorated officers, David Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA last week after admitting to an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell
John Allen replaced Petraeus as head of US forces in Afghanistan and was due to be named Commander of US European Command. He is under pressure for sending 'flirtatious' emails to Jill Kelley
FBI agents were tipped off about the affair between Petraeus and Ms Broadwell after Jill Kelley received 'abusive' emails from the biographer. She is a liaison officer and socialite from Tampa
There has been no word from Paula Broadwell, a married academic, since new of her affair with Petraeus broke. Colleagues were amazed at the amount of access she had to the former CIA boss
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON | Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:19pm EST
(Reuters) - Anonymous harassing emails that Tampa socialite Jill Kelley turned over to the FBI contained information about the movements of CIA Director David Petraeus which was not publicly available, a law enforcement source told Reuters.
The fact that the emails' author - later determined to be Petraeus' mistress Paula Broadwell - knew confidential information about the CIA chief's activities was one of the main reasons the FBI felt compelled to launch an in-depth investigation into their origin and motivation, the source said.
The emails, which a second law enforcement source said included warnings to Kelley, a family friend of Petraeus, that the writer knew "what you were doing," were sent to Kelley by a sender who used several fake email addresses.
Disturbed that the anonymous emailer had confidential information about Petraeus' whereabouts, the FBI obtained an administrative subpoena empowering them to examine the email accounts from which the messages were sent to discover the sender's identity, one of the sources said.
Armed with the subpoena, investigators learned that the harassing messages were sent to Kelley by Broadwell, who had written a Petraeus biography. Upon further investigation of Broadwell and her email accounts, investigators discovered additional emails implicating the CIA director and Broadwell in an extra-marital affair, the two sources said.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss law enforcement investigations.
Petraeus announced on Friday he was resigning and acknowledged an affair. The scandal this week expanded to include Marine General John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, whose separate communications with Kelley are now under investigation.
Attempts to reach Broadwell have been unsuccessful, and Petraeus has made no public comment since he resigned.
The law enforcement sources said that as the investigation proceeded, officials sought to determine whether any law or national security regulation had been broken. After interviews were conducted with Broadwell and Petraeus before the U.S. presidential election, investigators tentatively determined that they had no reason to believe Petraeus had broken any law.
The FBI's office in Charlotte, North Carolina, confirmed that on Monday FBI agents visited Broadwell's house, conducting what a law enforcement source described as a search for which Broadwell had granted her consent. Some national security officials have expressed concern, based on Broadwell's public statements and some news reports, that Broadwell may have had access to classified information.
One of the law enforcement sources said that despite the search of Broadwell's house, at this point it still appeared most likely the FBI's investigation related to Broadwell would be closed without criminal charges.
(Editing by Warren Strobel and Jackie Frank)
10 December 2012
Subject: UN WSA Africa resources rape and weapon trafficking neo-Nazi
Primary Name: Authur James Dicken
Aliases: AJ Dicken, Arthur James Dicken Jr.
Aurthur James Dicken, a white supremist and convicted felon, carries a full United Nations WSA IGO diplomatic passport and makes claims to be both a retired SEAL as well as current CIA operative. He claims to have worked at Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone and that he planned that operation with the EO founders.
Dicken has been observed handling weapons that are possibly illegal for felons. (See photos and video captures below). Videos found online indicate he has handled pistols, AR-15s, and even a Barrett .50 calibre rifle.
Dicken is the chief of security and is named as the sole provider of security and logistics for all 28 sovereign nations of WSA (wsaigo.org), part of the United Nations Millenium Goals for 2015/2025. You can see him making presentations during the WSA Burundi meeting back in September 2012.
The diplomatic passport which Dicken carries, along with various forged documents, have been reported to be used in attempts to create international bank accounts and conceal funds.
A (front?) company named "Curtis Whitney Holdings" (aka "CW Holdings") is known to have provided backing to Dicken with resources and access to partners for resource exploitation in Africa, specifically gold, diamonds, and uranium are primary resources.
Dicken spent at least two weeks in October, 2012 in Burundi, Africa meeting with defense ministers there. See Dicken dressed in tan in photo #4.
Per photographic evidence (Photo #5), it appears that Alian Lemiux, president of the WSA IGO may have first-hand contact with Dicken. The diplomatic passport issuance suggests Dicken has further contacts and alliances within the umbrella of the United Nations.
Don Shipley is not too happy that this is a fake SEAL either:
From the WSA IGO itself there is further info:
In May 2009 the Inspector General of the Justice Department found that 35% of the nominations to the Department of Homeland Security’s Terror Watch Lists were outdated, many people were not removed in a timely manner, and tens of thousands of names were placed on the list without predicate. A September 2009 report by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security found that the process for clearing innocent travelers from the list is a complete mess. Although significant, both reports failed to mention their findings on the number of names of already-dead US citizens who seem to be stuck there permanently.
That the stars of America's national security establishment are being devoured by out-of-control surveillance is a form of sweet justice
Glenn Greenwald: Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has lost the imperative to be a check to power
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