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Former FBI agent says NFL lead investigator shouldn't be heading domestic violence probes


Sep 19, 2014

A San Diego woman says the NFL's lead investigator is the last man who should be heading the domestic violence investigations.

On police dashcam video from 2006 in Austin, Texas, a string of drunken curses can be heard as Dree Ann Cellemme is cuffed and later ticketed for public intoxication during a night that remains a blur.

For the off-duty FBI agent, this happened less than a year after a drunken episode at an FBI holiday party.

Team 10 investigator Michael Chen asked, "When you look at that video, what do you see?"

"I see someone who was clearly having an emotional breakdown and in need of alcohol counseling and intervention," said Cellemme.

Days later, she sought treatment and remains sober to this day.

She says her FBI career did not fare as well because of something she cannot remember yelling at officers in Austin.

"I'm going to tell everyone you raped me," yelled Cellemme out the window that night as she was cuffed in a patrol car.

She was put on indefinite suspension without pay – which lasted a year – before she was fired.

Cellemme showed Team 10 an email revealing the man making the decisions was the FBI's then-assistant HR director John Raucci.

"It's the old adage: boys will be boys, but girls always need to act like ladies, and at that moment, I didn't fit the image of what a lady was supposed to look like," said Cellemme.

She filed a federal complaint, and in a just-released decision, a judge concluded her indefinite suspension was discriminatory and based on her sex.

In Cellemme's legal arguments, she had pointed out numerous cases of male agents involved with DUIs and serious alcohol offenses getting short suspensions and keeping their jobs.

"In one case, an agent was stopped in a vehicle with three prostitutes while he was intoxicated, and he only received a 17-day suspension after accusing police of stealing his money – even filing a complaint," said Cellemme.

Years later, Raucci is now with the NFL, heading their investigations and likely including the domestic violence probes.

"I don't think he's the right man for the job," said Cellemme.

She believes he is biased against women and should not be the one looking into their accusations.

"You can't have someone with those prejudices investigating these sensitive issues," said Cellemme.

Cellemme will receive damages, but a judge said the FBI did not have to reinstate her. In the ruling from an administrative law judge, it was determined the termination was not discrimination because the male agents that were given leniency in their cases had seniority, a viable factor in weighing job status.
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Twilight in the Box
The suicide statistics, squalor & recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will

Shruti Ravindran is a freelance journalist, writing about science, health and the environment. Her work has appeared in Scientific American & The Verge, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Heavy-set, with a soft-jowled face, King has a distinctly ursine air about him. We first meet at a Wendy’s in downtown Brooklyn, his teddy-bearishness rounded out by a plushy layer of cocoa-coloured velour tracksuit with a matching hoodie, T-shirt, and beanie hat. He is a garrulous, flirty raconteur. He leans in close over the small white plastic table in the corner and shares, in a gravelly voice, his penchant for Dominican women (‘I’ll take one as my next wife’), his distaste for Indian shop-owners (‘They look at you like you in a zoo. Or the bottom of they shoe’), and his love for his two-year-old grandbaby Vanny. But when he talks about his three-decade long ‘bid’ in various upstate correctional facilities, punctuated by periods of isolation in ‘the Box’ – a solitary confinement cell – he gets quieter, and stares away, distracted and angry.

‘I was in the Box a number of times,’ he says, ‘for dirty urine – when they find weed in your urine – and for arguing with the police over dumb shit. I was never there for stabbin’ or nothin’.’ He produces a long, thin Chick-O-Stick from his pocket and begins to chew on the bright orange flesh. ‘I seen some people, they go into the Box with 30 days, and they in that motherfucker for three years because they went off on a police officer; took some shit or piss and slung it on ’em because they had nothin’ better to do. Once they been there a minute, that’s when they start to see shit, harm themselves, harm others. I wasn’t in there banging my head on the wall, screaming and carrying on. I was chillin’, readin’, I ain’t bother no people.’
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In the summer of 2007, King spent 75 days in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) of Fishkill Correctional Facility, a 19th-century asylum-turned-prison in Dutchess County in upstate New York. ‘Some rat told a correctional officer I was selling weed,’ he recalls. ‘So they gave me a Tier 3 ticket [a disciplinary hearing for violating prison rules], and 75 days in the Box.’ He found himself inside a 7ft x 10ft concrete cell with a small bed and toilet. It had a solid metal door with a small window made of hard plastic, out of which he could see a catwalk. A few times a day he saw correctional officers walking past, and once a day, a nurse dispensing medication.

Every morning, for an hour’s recreation, a door at the back opened out on to a ‘recreation cage’: a slightly bigger Box with a tiny, barred window. King wasn’t enamoured of the view: ‘A highway, some grass and trees, and sea gulls flyin’, shittin’ all over the place, eatin’ garbage that other inmates threw out.’ He had been in the Box a couple of times before, but these 75 days were the longest he’d ever been stuck there. After a few days, he found himself double-bunked – penned in with another inmate.

Nobody liked being double-bunked. It felt like being in a cash-strapped zoo, caged in with a restive animal that might turn on you unprovoked. ‘You could get beat up by your bunkmate, or by the police,’ says King. ‘Anything can happen. You ain’t got no wins in there.’

King’s first cellmate was a young Blood (affiliated with the street-gang founded in Rikers Island prison in 1993), who tried to intimidate him and order him around. Then came an ‘ugly-ass motherfucker’ whom King could barely resist throttling after he caught him ‘sneak-thieving’ – rifling his bag for stamps, jealously hoarded prison-currency, in the dead of night. King had no visitors, no classes, no yard-time smoking weed with his friends. The hours stretched on, with a corroding undertow of tension. It was like hanging around in a kennel-sized doctor’s waiting room for an appointment that never came. Worse, he was deprived of the small income he made outside from dealing marijuana and salami smuggled from the kosher kitchen, and his twice-weekly treat of cigarettes, condiments and canned fish from the commissary. All he had was Box food – ‘nasty chicken-soup slop’ – and the relentless, maddening soundtrack of ‘people buggin’ out’.

‘All day, every day in the Box,’ he recalls, staring down at the table, ‘people go off. They yell, they scream, they talk to they-self. They cuss the police out, call them all types of names: “Cracker!” “Incest baby!” At two or three in the morning, somebody starts screaming “Aaaaaa!” You don’t do nothin’, you shake your head sayin’, “Another one”.’

He longed for some communication from the outside world. Every day, during his first month, he wrote increasingly torrid letters to a young woman named Mercedes, whom he addressed as Babygirl. ‘She lived in New York,’ he says. ‘She worked in the corporate world, in one of those big-ass buildings downtown.’ He was pleased to receive her replies several times a week, even though he had to write them himself. ‘I sent them out without a stamp so they’d come back,’ he says. ‘It was make-believe. To have something to do.’

King has been out of prison for four years. But he’s travelling within a lonely Box wherever he goes. ‘I still don’t meet people. I’m alone,’ he says. ‘I got my back to the door when I take the train. I can’t have anyone behind me. I hate being in crowds. That’s why in four years I ain’t gone to see that ball drop [in Times Square on New Year’s Eve]. Fuck that ball! I see that shit on TV.’

He struggles with paranoid fears – of being cut in the face by an assailant, of a policeman spotting him and deciding, for some occult reason, to beat him up. The first year o
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Blurry Street by Thomas Hawk
Documents in ACLU Case Reveal More Detail on FBI Attempt to Cover Up Stingray Technology

Stingray tracking devices
By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:46am

What is used by dozens of local law enforcement agencies around the country, featured in numerous news stories, and discussed in court, yet treated by the FBI like it is top secret? That would be "Stingray" cell phone surveillance gear, of course.

This week, MuckRock released a mostly redacted copy of the nondisclosure agreement that the FBI makes local police departments sign before they are permitted to buy a Stingray from the Florida-based Harris Corporation. We have seen the FBI pressure local law enforcement agencies to withhold basic information about purchase and use of Stingrays before, but now we have greater insight into how it does so.

According to the agreement, released by the Tacoma, Washington, Police Department, the Harris Corporation notifies the FBI whenever a local police department wants to buy a Stingray, and then the FBI requires the local agency to sign a lengthy nondisclosure agreement before buying the device. The FBI's role in the process is a condition of the Federal Communication Commission's equipment authorization issued to the Harris Corporation.

The result is that members of the public, judges, and defense attorneys are denied basic information about local cops' use of invasive surveillance gear that can sweep up sensitive location data about hundreds of peoples' cell phones. For example, when we sought information about Stingrays from the Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff's Office, they cited a non-disclosure agreement with a "federal agency" as a basis for withholding all records. When the ACLU of Arizona sued the Tucson Police Department for Stingray records, an FBI agent submitted a declaration invoking the FBI nondisclosure agreement as a reason to keep information secret.

In fact, the FBI agent's declaration in the Arizona case quotes extensively from the nondisclosure agreement, thus filling in some of the text blacked out in the Tacoma document. The Tacoma Police Department can't redact text from an FBI document that the FBI has already disclosed in court proceedings.

According to the Arizona declaration, the nondisclosure agreement states that:

Disclosing the existence of and the capabilities provided by [cell site simulator equipment] to the public would reveal sensitive technological capabilities possessed by the law enforcement community and may allow individuals who are the subject of investigation…to employ countermeasures to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Therefore, "any information" about Stingrays "shall be protected from potential compromise by precluding disclosure…to the public."

Extensive information about Stingray devices and other forms of cell phone tracking is already in the public domain. Withholding basic data about how Stingrays are used, what rules govern their use, how the privacy of innocent bystanders is protected, and whether police are getting probable cause warrants from judges doesn't keep us any safer. It only functions to subvert our right to keep tabs on what our government is up to. This kind of secrecy allows the government to keep constitutional violations hidden in the shadows.

In the midst of the government's excessive secrecy, the ACLU continues to push for transparency and reform. On Monday, the ACLU of Florida filed a motion to unseal applications submitted by the Sarasota Police Department seeking court orders authorizing Stingray use, as well as the resulting orders. Those records had originally been taken from the court by the police and kept in the police station—an unusual and illegal practice—and then, incredibly, spirited away by the U.S. Marshals Service when the ACLU filed a public records request. A judge subsequently instructed the government to deposit sealed copies of the applications and orders back with the court. We are asking for them to be made public.

And in Texas, the ACLU's Chris Soghoian testified at the state legislature about Stingrays and other police surveillance tactics, prompting one local paper to dig into the Houston Police Department's purchase of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of Stingray equipment.

As demonstrated by our interactive map of police Stingray purchases across the country, more information about Stingray surveillance is becoming public by the week. Yet, the FBI and local police departments keep trying to hide the ball. The public deserves to know whether the police are violating the Constitution. Secrecy agreements with federal agencies shouldn't be used to circumvent open records laws, or hide facts that are already in the news.
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L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter injury claims rise
L.A. paid $197 million over five years for injury leaves
A look at the injury leave of police and firefighters in L.A.

Law EnforcementPublic OfficialsLos Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles Fire Department
In L.A., 19% of police and firefighters took at least one injury leave last year, a higher rate than elsewhere
City leaders across California say the design of the injured-on-duty program for safety workers invites abuse
An injury-leave program for L.A. police and firefighters cost taxpayers $328 million over the last five years

Los Angeles Fire Capt. Daniel Costa liked to go all out on the racquetball court at the LAX fire station. A fellow firefighter described him as a "very competitive" player who "likes to win."

Costa seemed in fine form after five spirited games in the fall of 2011. So his supervisor was skeptical when Costa, then 53, said he'd hurt his knee on the court and needed time off, according to a report by investigators for the city attorney's office.

Costa was out on injury leave for a year, collecting his full salary, tax-free.
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US Gov. Software Creates 'Fake People' on Social Networks to Promote Propoganda

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The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage "fake people" on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues.

The contract calls for the development of "Persona Management Software" which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.
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Armored vehicle designed for war is out of place in suburban department
The Hamburg Police Department's MRAP, shown here with Lt. James J. Koch, spends most of its time parked at the Public Works garage. (Buffalo News file photo)

The Hamburg Police Department's MRAP, shown here with Lt. James J. Koch, spends most of its time parked at the Public Works garage. (Buffalo News file photo)

on September 29, 2014 - 5:11 PM

It can’t be easy for a local police department to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when it’s coming in the form of a $658,000 military machine from the Defense Department.

The Hamburg Police Department became the recipient of a “mine-resistant, ambush-protected” vehicle, or MRAP, that would be the envy of the law enforcement neighborhood. But was it the right piece of equipment to give a town of about 57,000?

No one is questioning the need to keep law enforcement personnel and the public safe. But the need for putting a 35,000-pound piece of military hardware in a suburban town is at least debatable.

For the most part, Hamburg’s monster machine spends its days in a cinder block garage at the town’s Public Works Department. As reported in The News, it is kept company by potted petunias.

This can’t be the best way to dispose of Defense Department leftovers. But more and more local police departments have been getting military-grade weapons and other equipment under the department’s “1033” program.

Over the last four years police departments in Erie County have collected what seems to be a rather modest share of such surplus equipment, at least compared to other communities. At $658,000, Hamburg’s MRAP accounted for two-thirds of the $973,000 in surplus equipment distributed in Erie County. Overall, county agencies have received 4 percent of the $25 million in military goods distributed to police departments across New York State since 2006, running the gamut from such everyday police items as handcuffs to the large machines one might expect on a battleground.

Hamburg’s MRAP hasn’t seen much action. It was used once in Hamburg to serve a search warrant, which would not seem to require the use of a military vehicle. It has also been put to use by other suburban police agencies on four occasions to serve warrants and deal with a barricaded shooter.

The MRAP was a steal, costing about $2,000 for modifications and gas for the 6 mpg drive to Hamburg. While that doesn’t take into account the cost to train officers on the machine, financially the MRAP appears to have been a bargain. But to do what?

The FBI has its own armored vehicle, a prototype MRAP. The president of the committee of 10 local SWAT teams in the city and suburbs thinks the region could use another based in the Northtowns.

The issue of military vehicles being deployed by local police agencies has been a hot topic lately, since images hit social and traditional media of an armed-to-the-teeth local force confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo. Those were supposed to be peaceful protests but tension grew with the appearance of police armed for battle.
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Guns stolen from FBI agent's car in Union Co.


October 2, 2014

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Two guns belonging to the FBI were stolen from an agent's car in a Union County neighborhood.

It happened Monday between midnight and 8 a.m. in the Hunter Oaks neighborhood off Rea Road.

One Remington 870 shotgun, one Colt M-4LE rifle and olive color body armor with FBI patches were taken. The agent stored them in a locked trunk in black canvas bags.

The FBI is working with the Union County Sheriff's Office to find the weapons and suspects.

The agent is part of a special response team, who is required to respond to events around the clock. He was authorized to store the weapons in his vehicle. Special Agent John Strong says the FBI will review procedures. This is the third incident of its kind in a little over a year.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Lawsuit: TSA Agents Unscrewed Urn, Spilled Deceased Mother's Ashes In Cleveland Man's Suitcase
Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 6:02 PM

TSA_badge. Cleveland man packed up an urn with his mother's cremated remains and headed to Puerto Rico to spread her ashes as she had requested. But when he arrived and unzipped his bag, he discovered a TSA inspection notice and his mother's ashes spilled all over his suitcase.

The horrific incident is documented in a lawsuit filed in Cleveland's federal court today, where Shannon Thomas is suing the Transportation Security Administration and unnamed TSA agents for what happened.

The incident occurred nearly two years ago when Thomas packed his bag with a "very heavy and sturdy" urn with a tightly screwed on top that held held his mother's ashes, and padded it in his bag "with his clothing to attempt to protect it." He checked it at Cleveland Hopkins, got a connecting flight in Washington D.C., and arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The plan was to "spread his mother's remains in the Caribbean Sea, as she had requested prior to passing away."

In San Juan, he noticed the TSA had inspect
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National Security
Justice Dept. will review practice of creating fake Facebook profiles

The Justice Department will review federal law-enforcement use of fake Facebook pages in investigations.
By October 7 2014

The Justice Department said Tuesday that it will review federal law enforcement practices in light of an incident in which a federal agent used a woman’s photographs and other personal information to create a fake Facebook account as part of a drug investigation.

The woman, Sondra Arquiett of Watertown, N.Y., alleges in a lawsuit that police seized photos and other information from her cellphone after she was arrested in 2010 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

A judge sentenced Arquiett, who then went by the name Sondra Prince, to probation. While she was waiting to be sentenced, however, an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration created a fake Facebook account in her name as a way to identify other suspects in an alleged drug ring, according to her complaint.

“The allegations in this case are shocking,” said Mariko Hirose, staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This case illustrates the importance of digital privacy and identity, and the possibility of abuse when law enforcement is able to access the trove of personal information that we store in our devices.”

The fake Facebook page had several photos of Arquiett, including one of her on the hood of a BMW and one showing her in a bra and underwear. The DEA agent, Timothy Sinnigen, also posted photographs of her son and a niece, both minors.

“Ms. Arquiett never intended for any of the pictures on her phone to be displayed publicly, let alone on Facebook, which has more than 800 million active users,” wrote Kimberly Zimmer, one of Arquiett’s attorneys. “More disturbing than the fact that the DEA Agents posted a picture of her in her underwear and bra is the fact that the DEA agents posted a picture of her young son and young niece in connection with that Facebook account, which the DEA agents later claim was used . . . to have contact with individuals involved in narcotics distribution.”

In court papers, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian acknowledged that Sinnigen created the fake page, posed as Arquiett and posted photographs from her phone. He also said that the agent used the account to send a “friend request” to a wanted fugitive.

But Hartunian defended the agent’s impersonation of Arquiett. He said that while Arquiett did not give express permission for the use of photographs contained on her phone for an undercover Facebook page, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in . . . ongoing criminal investigations.”

Details of the complaint, filed in the Northern District of New York, were first reported by the online news site BuzzFeed.

Law enforcement officials declined to say whether the incident involving Arquiett was isolated or ran counter to federal ­law enforcement policy. Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said officials would review the incident and the practice of creating fake online profiles.

A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on the case but said that Arquiett’s fake profile has been removed from the site because it violates the com­pany’s “community standards,” which include a provision that says that claiming to be another person or creating multiple accounts violates Facebook terms. The company asks Facebook users, including law enforcement officials, to use their authentic identities.

“On Facebook people connect using their real names and identities,” the policy says. “We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent. Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.”

An attorney for Arquiett declined to comment. In her complaint, Arquiett said that she suffered “fear and great emotional distress” and was put in danger because Sinnigen’s Facebook page made some people think that she was willfully cooperating in Sinnigen’s drug investigation.
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Aides knew of possible White House link to Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal

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October 8 at 11:40 PM
As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved.

But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.

The information that the Secret Service shared with the White House included hotel records and firsthand accounts — the same types of evidence the agency and military relied on to determine who in their ranks was involved.

The Secret Service shared its findings twice in the weeks after the scandal with top White House officials, including then-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. Each time, she and other presidential aides conducted an interview with the advance-team member and concluded that he had done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, the new details also show that a separate set of investigators in the inspector general’s office of the Department of Homeland Security — tasked by a Senate committee with digging more deeply into misconduct on the trip — found additional evidence from records and eyewitnesses who had accompanied the team member in Colombia.

On April 23, 2012, then White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, citing an internal review, said "there's no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior" in Cartagena, Colombia. (The Washington Post via Whitehouse.gov)
The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

Nieland added that his superiors told him “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

Edwards told Senate staffers that any changes to the report were part of the normal editing process and that he sought to keep the focus of his investigation on DHS employees, according to statements he made to Senate staffers that are part of the public record.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday that President Obama and his advisers did not interfere with the inspector general’s investigation. “As was reported more than two years ago, the White House conducted an internal review that did not identify any inappropriate behavior on the part of the White House advance team,” Schultz said. He cited a Senate report on the inspector general’s office from this April that said an inquiry was unable to verify Nieland’s contention that he was ordered to change the IG report over political concerns.

Whether the White House volunteer, Jonathan Dach, was involved in wrongdoing in Cartagena, Colombia, remains unclear. Dach, then a 25-year-old Yale University law student, declined to be interviewed, but through his attorney he denied hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his hotel room. Dach has long made the same denials to White House officials.

Dach this year started working full time in the Obama administration on a federal contract as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department.

The night bullets hit the White House — and the Secret Service didn’t know VIEW GRAPHIC
Dach’s father, Leslie Dach, is a prominent Democratic donor who gave $23,900 to the party in 2008 to help elect Obama. In his previous job as a top lobbyist for Wal-Mart, he partnered with the White House on high-profile projects, including Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.

He, too, joined the Obama administration this year. In July, he was named a senior counselor with the Department of Health and Human Services, where part of his responsibilities include handling the next phase of the Affordable Care Act.

Richard A. Sauber, who represents both Dachs, said that Jonathan Dach denies any involvement in the prostitution scandal and that no one in his family intervened with White House officials or federal investigators.

“The underlying allegations about any inappropriate conduct by Jonathan Dach in Cartagena are utterly and completely false,” Sauber said. “In addition, neither he nor anyone acting on his behalf ever contacted the DHS IG’s office about its report.”

Nevertheless, the question of whether the prostitution scandal reached into the White House had consequences beyond the West Wing.

Within the inspector general’s office, investigators and their bosses fought heatedly with each other over whether to pursue White House team members’ possible involvement. Office staffers who raised questions about a White House role said they were put on administrative leave as a punishment for doing so. Later, Edwards, the acting inspector general, resigned amid allegations of misconduct stemming in part from the dispute.

Also, the way the White House handled the scandal remains a sore point among rank-and-file members of the Secret Service more than two years later.

Former and current Secret Service agents said they are angry at the White House’s public insistence that none of its team members were involved and its private decision to not fully investigate one of its own — while their colleagues had their careers ruined or hampered.

Ten members of the Secret Service — ranging from younger, lower-level officers assigned to rope-line security to seasoned members of a counterassault team — lost their jobs because of their actions in Cartagena. The agents were told that they jeopardized national security by drinking excessively and having contact with foreign nationals.

They were treated “radically differently by different parts of the same executive branch,” said Larry Berger, a lawyer who represented many of the agents, who were union members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Given the renewed focus on the Secret Service after recent reports of a series of security lapses, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wrote to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough last week voicing concerns that “steps were taken by the Administration to cover-up or deflect” White House involvement in the scandal. Chaffetz wrote that it remains unclear how the White House concluded that one of its team members was not involved, and he has requested records of Ruemmler’s review.

Dach’s role in Cartagena was far different from that of Secret Service agents who were responsible for the president’s safety. He was a volunteer who helped coordinate drivers for the White House travel office. He was paid a per diem, not a salary, and was reimbursed for expenses.

Dach and his fellow volunteers underwent background checks, according to a former administration official. That person said that on trips, team members are familiar with the president’s general itinerary in advance of his arrival but not the most sensitive information about his movements.

Travel volunteers, who are often recommended for the position by White House staffers, are repeatedly reminded that they are “mini-ambassadors” for the U.S. government and that their conduct reflects on the president and first lady, the former official said.

Administration officials interviewed by The Post earlier this year said there was no reason to investigate Dach beyond interviews with him and his fellow White House team members and a review of their expense accounts, because he was not a government employee and because prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, including Cartagena.

One senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said Ruemmler believed it would be a “real scandal” if she had sent “a team of people to Colombia to investigate a volunteer over something that’s not a criminal act. . . . That would be insane.”

Ruemmler, now a private-practice lawyer who is under White House consideration to replace the departing attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., did not respond to requests for comment.

‘No credible information’
The prostitution scandal erupted on April 14, 2012, the day Obama arrived in the coastal city of Cartagena. News that Secret Service agents had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms instantly overshadowed a summit that White House officials had hoped would focus on building economic ties with Latin America.

Obama initially described the agents involved as “a couple of knuckleheads” and told reporters at the time that his attitude about the behavior of the Secret Service is “no different than what I expect out of my delegation that’s sitting here.”

“We’re representing the people of the United States,” he said, “and when we travel to another country I expect us to observe the highest standards, because we’re not just representing ourselves.”

The Secret Service first provided evidence pointing to Dach’s potential involvement in the scandal less than a week later, on April 20.

The information, which then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan gave to Ruemmler, was not detailed. It said Secret Service investigators had evidence indicating Dach registered a prostitute into his room at the Hilton Cartagena Hotel shortly after midnight on April 4. He also conveyed that Secret Service agents on the ground had information suggesting the same.

The senior administration official said the White House’s position at the time was that the information amounted to little more than “rumor.”

Also on April 20, a Friday, reporters asked press secretary Jay Carney whether White House staffers had been involved. He said his information was that the incident did not “involve anything but the agents and the military personnel.”

White House lawyers in Ruemmler’s office spent that weekend interviewing all of the travel-office advance-team members who had been in Cartagena, including Dach.

Dach denied any wrongdoing, according to the administration official. Fellow White House team members said he had gone to dinner with them on April 3 — the night they arrived in town to prepare for Obama’s visit — and accompanied them back to the Hilton in a staff van. None reported witnessing any misbehavior, the senior administration official said.

The lawyers determined that there was “no credible information” to implicate Dach or anyone else from the White House at that time, the official said.

A Dach family spokeswoman, Amy Weiss, said Wednesday night that Dach returned to the Hilton at approximately 10:48 pm on April 3 after dinner that evening with other team members. He texted a friend from his room that he was “exhausted,” she said; by that time, he had been awake and traveling for 23 hours.

The weekend inquiry conducted by White House officials was less extensive than those undertaken by Secret Service and Pentagon officials, according to several government officials familiar with the probes. Those agencies had devoted considerable resources to their investigations, conducting extensive interviews and sending teams to Colombia for more than two weeks to track down and interview prostitutes and hotel staff members.

The Secret Service also administered multiple polygraph tests to each of the agents, asking whether they had brought prostitutes to their rooms and paid for services, according to several agents and federal records.

The following Monday, in response to questions from reporters, Carney said that “there have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff.”

Carney added that, “out of due diligence, the White House counsel’s office has conducted a review of the White House advance team and . . . came to the conclusion that there’s no indication that any member of the White House advance team engaged in any improper conduct or behavior.”

About three weeks later, on May 11, the Secret Service again contacted the White House, this time with more detailed evidence pointing to Dach’s involvement, according to the senior administration official.

Sullivan informed Ruemmler that agency investigators had obtained copies of the Hilton hotel records, which listed Dach’s room number and showed an additional overnight guest had been registered to his room on April 4. The information was now based on investigators’ interviews with the hotel’s director of business development, front-desk manager and security chief, who explained how guests must personally register their overnight visitors and how they determined that U.S. personnel had done so.

Many hotels in Colombia, for security reasons, maintain detailed records of additional overnight visitors. At the Hilton, prostitutes are required to show identification to ensure they are not underage. That identification is photocopied by the hotel and stored with the records of the guest staying in the room.

The Post reviewed copies of the hotel logs for Dach’s stay, which showed that a woman was registered to Dach’s room at 12:02 a.m. April 4 and included an attached photocopy of a woman’s ID card. Through his attorney, Dach declined to discuss these details as well.

Hotel staff members in Cartagena told federal investigators that they had determined Dach was one of three guests at the Hilton who had additional overnight guests registered to their rooms, federal records reviewed by The Post show. The other two were a military staffer stationed at the White House and another Secret Service agent.

The records reviewed by The Post list three names — one of which is redacted and identified only as a White House travel-team member. Two government officials who have seen an unredacted version separately confirmed that Dach is the travel-team member listed.

The room number provided next to the redacted name, 513, matches the one listed for Dach on a bill and hotel registration records that administration officials shared with The Post.

The new information did not change the White House’s position.

Most Secret Service agents implicated in the scandal were staying at a different place, the Hotel Caribe. The White House learned from the Secret Service of a case of mistaken identity at the Caribe, in which one Secret Service agent was erroneously accused of bringing a prostitute to his room.

White House lawyers learned about the mix-up and cited it as a reason to question the evidence provided by the Secret Service.

Dach “gave responses that were not in any way indicative that he did in fact have an overnight guest,” the senior administration official said. “We concluded he was being truthful.”

Senate inquiry
Questions about Dach’s involvement in the scandal did not end there. Concerned that the primary investigation into the incident by the Secret Service was not thorough enough, a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in late May 2012 asked the DHS inspector general’s office to conduct its own investigation.

IG investigators reviewed information that pointed to Dach. An agent said he saw Dach with a woman he believed was a prostitute, and another had information after reviewing records that showed he had registered a woman into his room.

Nieland’s team also found that hotel officials had waived a fee normally charged to guests staying overnight. Hilton Worldwide officials in Virginia said their records showed Dach “was not charged for additional guest as a benefit of Hilton Honor Member.”

Weiss, the Dach family spokeswoman, said Wednesday night that the Hilton in Cartagena told Dach it has no records in Dach’s file indicating that he sought to waive any overnight guest fee.

Nieland’s team also collected research showing that the name of the woman in the Hilton records registered to Dach’s room matched that of a woman advertising herself on the Internet as a prostitute. The woman had posted photos of herself in undergarments in front of “Summit of the Americas” signs in Cartagena at the time of the trip, according to federal records and people familiar with the probe.

The Post sent two reporters to Cartagena but were unable to locate the woman.

Nieland later told Senate staffers that his superiors demanded that he remove from an official report references to the evidence pointing to the White House team member.

Nieland said the instructions came less than 24 hours after his superiors said Edwards had briefed then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the potential involvement of the White House team member, according to documents reviewed by The Post.

A spokesman for Napolitano told The Post that she never “ordered that anything be deleted in the inspector general’s report or asked for a delay,” but he declined to describe her conversations at the time with the inspector general.

Edwards was getting other complaints about the actions of his investigators, according to two people familiar with Edwards’s private testimony to the Senate committee. Two senior staffers to then-Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), who was the chairman of the committee, told Edwards he was not the inspector general of the White House and should avoid scrutinizing the White House in his report, according to the two people.

Nieland and two other members of the office fought or questioned alterations to the report. All three were later put on administrative leave for what they believed was their questioning of the changes.

Their superiors, including Edwards, said the discipline was unrelated to their complaints about the alterations.

The Office of Special Counsel, where one of the staff members resisting the changes filed a formal complaint against Edwards, issued a letter saying that there was convincing evidence that the action against him was retaliatory. Nieland was later suspended for an unrelated personnel matter, but he believed the move was retaliation for the questions he had raised the previous year. Senate investigators said they were unable to substantiate whether the third investigator was a victim of retaliation.

The strife within the inspector general’s office grew so severe that it was scrutinized by the Senate committee as part of a broader inquiry into Edwards’s conduct.

The Senate report noted conflicting accounts of Nieland’s role in the Secret Service investigation. Nieland’s superiors said Nieland told them he did not suspect a “cover-up” in their alterations. But Nieland later said to Senate investigators that he told his bosses that they were “sitting on information that could influence an election.”

Edwards, who later stepped down, disputed Nieland’s claims as part of the inquiry, telling Senate investigators the alterations were part of the ordinary editing process.

The Senate report said committee staffers could not determine whether politics or outside pressure were factors in the changes Edwards’s deputies ordered in the report. They noted that Edwards declined to provide the committee with any of his internal correspondence about the Secret Service investigation. The Senate report did conclude that Edwards had altered investigations at the beh
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Sat Oct 11, 2014 3:17 pm

LAPD deployed 'ghost cars' to meet staffing standards, report finds

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http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-lapd ... story.html

LAPD officers patrol skid row in downtown L.A. in July; a new report by the LAPD inspector general has found the department falsified records to make it appear that it was meeting staffing standards for officers on street patrol. (
Law EnforcementUnionsLos Angeles Police Department
Inspector general finds that the LAPD faked records to make it look like enough patrol officers were on duty
'This has been going on for years,' Officer Mark Cronin says of the LAPD's use of 'ghost cars' in records
LAPD inspector general says police officials have responded swiftly to report documenting use of 'ghost cars'
Los Angeles police deliberately falsified records to make it appear that officers were patrolling city streets when they were not, an investigation by the LAPD's independent watchdog has found.

The deception occurred in at least five of the department's 21 patrol divisions, according to the Police Commission's inspector general, who released a report Friday on the "ghost car" phenomenon. Officers working desk jobs, handing out equipment in stations or performing other duties were logged into squad car computers to make it appear they were on patrol.

The findings bolstered allegations union officials have made in recent months that patrol commanders around the city were using the scheme to mask the fact that they did not have enough officers on patrol to meet staffing levels set by department brass.

There is this intentional misperception being put out there that there are more officers on the street than are actually there.
- Officer Mark Cronin, a director in the Police Protective League
"This has been going on for years," said veteran Officer Mark Cronin, a director in the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file cops. "It is more prevalent in some areas, but it's happening throughout the city… There is this intentional misperception being put out there that there are more officers on the street than are actually there."

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith declined to comment on the findings, citing a meeting Tuesday during which the commission will review the report.

The findings underscore long-running struggles within the department to keep a sufficient portion of the roughly 9,900 officers assigned to traditional patrol duties, while also filling the many specialty units and administrative jobs at the department. With nearly 4 million people in a city that sprawls over more than 500 square miles, the LAPD is widely viewed as significantly undersized.

lRelated L.A.'s long-declining violent crime total on pace to rise this year
L.A.'s long-declining violent crime total on pace to rise this year
Alex Bustamante, the inspector general, wrote in his report that the practice of manipulating patrol statistics "occurred during multiple shifts at different times of day, involved officers of differing ranks, and was carried out differently depending on who was involved and where they were assigned."

The department's Office of Operations, which oversees patrol deployments, relies on a computer program to analyze various factors and to determine the workload in each division at various times during the day. The program calculates how many patrol cars are needed to allow officers to respond to emergency calls within seven minutes — the department's long-established standard, Bustamante wrote.

Related: Lack of LAPD civilian staff keeping officers off streets, officials say
Related: Lack of LAPD civilian staff keeping officers off streets, officials say
Soumya Karlamangla
To keep tabs on the deployment levels, department officials require station supervisors to document in a computer database what assignment each officer was given on every shift. And twice every day — at noon and 10 p.m. — a snapshot of deployment statistics for each division and the department's four bureaus is sent by email to senior officials.

The patrol staffing levels are closely monitored and captains who run each division are held accountable if they fall short, Bustamante wrote.

AT 11:47 AM OCTOBER 11, 2014
Department officials have always tried to keep secret the number of officers on duty in the city at any given moment and how many of them are assigned to regular patrol work. The Times reviewed one of the department's daily deployment snapshots from October last year that showed that 190 patrol cars, each with two officers, were in use throughout the entire city at the time. In addition, 43 single-officer cars were on the streets, according to the record — indicating that about 420 officers were assigned to patrol at the time of the snapshot. Roughly another 220 officers were working non-patrol assignments such as gang details, the record shows.

Bustamante opened his investigation after hearing reports from officers of how the ghost car scheme was used to make it appear as if divisions were meeting the deployment requirements.

Despite evidence that the problem was more widespread, Bustamante focused on deployments in two divisions, which were not named in the report, during March last year. The report did not specify how often patrol figures were inflated or by how much, but documented several examples of how ghost cars were used.

Times Investigation
Related: LAPD misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes as minor offenses
Related: LAPD misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes as minor offenses
Ben Poston, Joel Rubin
In one typical case, an officer assigned to assist detectives logged in to a patrol car's computer but remained at the police station for the entire shift working on investigations, Bustamante found. To make sure dispatchers did not try to send the officer to a help call, the officer radioed in to the dispatch center to make it appear he or she was already on a call, according to the report.

The report did not identify who in each of the divisions' chain of command ordered the numbers to be fabricated.

Cronin described an "intense pressure" that captains feel to meet the staffing requirements and to not run afoul of Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, who runs the Office of Operations, and other top officials. That pressure, Cronin said, "trickles down" to the sergeants and lieutenants who handle patrol deployments.

Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission, acknowledged the pressure to meet the staffing levels, but said it could not excuse efforts to intentionally skew the deployment numbers.

Soboroff praised department leaders responding "strongly, without reservation" to the report's findings. Bustamante, too, noted in his report that senior officials responded swiftly.

The report highlighted an email from Paysinger, in which he instructed his senior staff to "be very clear that employing this type of feigned deployment practice is NOT permissible. If such a strategy is currently being utilized on any watch or in a specialized unit in your bureau, you shall cause it to be terminated immediately."

In July, when Cronin and other union officials first made public allegations about the use of ghost cars, the department opened an internal investigation in an effort to determine where in the department the practice was being used and who wa

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Probe of silencers leads to web of Pentagon secrets

By Craig Whitlock October 12 at 7:30 PM
The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence.

Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers.

The exact purpose of the silencers remains hazy, but court filings and pretrial testimony suggest they were part of a top-secret operation that would help arm guerrillas or commandos overseas.

The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration, according to charging documents. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel.

Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture.

Much of the documentation in the investigation has been filed under seal on national security grounds. According to the records that have been made public, the crux of the case is whether the silencers were properly purchased for an authorized secret mission or were assembled for a rogue operation.

A former senior Navy official familiar with the investigation described directorate officials as “wanna-be spook-cops.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the case is still unfolding, he added, “I know it sounds goofy, but it was like they were building their own mini law enforcement and intelligence agency.”

The directorate is a civilian-run office that is supposed to provide back-office support and oversight for Navy and Marine intelligence operations. But some of its activities have fallen into a gray area, crossing into more active involvement with secret missions, according to a former senior Defense Department official familiar with the directorate’s work.

“By design, that office is supposed to do a little more than policy and programmatic oversight,” the former defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much of the directorate’s work is classified. “But something happened and it lost its way. It became a case of the fox guarding the henhouse, and I suspect deeper issues might be in play.”

Navy officials declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation and prosecution. “The Department of the Navy has fully cooperated with law enforcement since this investigation was initiated . . . and will continue to fully cooperate,” Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said.

Missing evidence
Prosecutors have said that the silencers were acquired for a “special access program,” or a highly secretive military operation. A contracting document filed with the court stated that the silencers were needed to support a program code-named UPSTAIRS but gave no other details.

According to court papers filed by prosecutors, one directorate official told an unnamed witness that the silencers were intended for Navy SEAL Team 6, the elite commando unit that killed Osama bin Laden.

But representatives for SEAL Team 6 told federal investigators they had not ordered the silencers and did not know anything about them, according to the court papers.

Sorting out the truth has been made more difficult by the elimination of potential evidence.

At one pretrial hearing, a defense attorney for the auto mechanic, Mark S. Landersman of Temecula, Calif., accused the Navy of impeding the investigation by destroying a secret stash of automatic rifles that the silencers were designed to fit. Prosecutors immediately objected to further discussion in open court, calling it a classified matter.

The destroyed weapons were part of a stockpile of about 1,600 AK-47-style rifles that the U.S. military had collected overseas and stored in a warehouse in Pennsylvania, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

If the foreign-made weapons were equipped with unmarked silencers, the source said, the weapons could have been used by U.S. or foreign forces for special operations in other countries without any risk that they would be traced back to the United States.

A different source, a current senior Navy official, confirmed that an arsenal of AK-47-style rifles in a warehouse in Mechanicsburg, Pa., had been destroyed within the past year. But that official suggested the issue was a smokescreen, saying the weapons were being kept for a different purpose and that no program had existed to equip them with silencers.

In a separate move that eliminated more potential evidence, Navy security officers incinerated documents last year that they had seized from the directorate’s offices in the Pentagon, according to court records and testimony.

Two Navy security officers have testified that they stuffed the papers into burn bags and destroyed them on Nov. 15, 2013 — three days after The Washington Post published a front-page article about the unfolding federal investigation into the silencers.

One of the security officers said it did not occur to her that the documents should be preserved, despite Navy policies prohibiting the destruction of records that could be relevant to lawsuits or criminal investigations.

The officer, Francine Cox, acknowledged that she was aware the Navy directorate was under scrutiny and that she had read the Post article shortly before burning the documents. But she said she did not think the papers were important.

“I didn’t think the information we had was pertinent,” Cox testified at a pretrial hearing in July. “If you don’t tell me to hold onto something, I don’t have to hold onto it.”

Lee M. Hall, a Navy intelligence official who is charged with illegally purchasing the silencers and whose trial is scheduled to begin this month, argued that the burned material was crucial to his defense. He said the documents included handwritten notes and other papers showing the undersecretary of the Navy at the time had authorized the project.

“My notes would show I acted in good faith,” Hall testified at the July hearing.

Stuart Sears, an attorney for Hall, declined to comment.

District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema rejected a bid by Hall’s attorneys to dismiss the charges against him but was incredulous that the Navy had destroyed the documents.

“I don’t find any nefarious evidence, or evidence of bad intent, but it sure does look to the court like negligence,” she said.

On other occasions over the past year, Brinkema has questioned whether prosecutors were fully aware of what the Navy directorate was up to and whether they really wanted to expose its activities by taking the case to trial.

“We’re getting deeper and deeper into a morass,” she said at a hearing in March. “One of the things the government always has to think about is the cost-benefit analysis. At the end of the day, is this particular criminal prosecution worth the risk of having to disclose or reveal very sensitive information?”

An investigation snowballs
Suspicions about the Navy directorate surfaced in January 2013 when one of its officials appeared at a Defense Intelligence Agency office in Arlington and asked for a badge that would allow him to carry weapons on military property, according to statements made by prosecutors during pretrial hearings.

The directorate official, Tedd Shellenbarger, flashed a set of credentials stamped with the letters LEO — an acronym for “law enforcement officer” — even though his office dealt primarily with policy matters and lacked law enforcement powers, the former senior Navy official said.

Shellenbarger’s request prompt­ed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to obtain a warrant to search the directorate’s offices at the Pentagon. Agents found badge materials and other documentation that led them to broaden their investigation, according to the former senior Navy official.

Shellenbarger and three other directorate officials were placed on leave, according to court records. Shellenbarger has not been charged and has since returned to work for the Navy. His attorney, David Deitch, indicated he might be called as a witness at Hall’s trial.
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Video of an HPD Officer allegedly assaulting people in a game room

Oct 15, 2014 12:25 AM -

The video is clear. And now a key piece of evidence in an FBI investigation into a case of police brutality.

It was taken several weeks ago at a Honolulu game room, near Kapiolani Boulevard and Pensacola Street.

Police sources tell me Officer Vincent Morre punched one man sitting on a stool, and then kicked another man to the face before throwing a chair at him.

You can see on the video, neither man is resisting.

Officer Morre also appears to shove a woman near the door as he leaves.

That day, Morre and two others went to serve a warrant. They didn't find who they were looking for.

Morre is a 9-year veteran of the force. He is a member of the department's Crime Reduction Unit.

Morre is now on desk duty, his police powers have been removed while the federal investigation continues. His attorney spoke exclusively to Hawaii News Now about the case saying his client has not been arrested or charged and has not been contacted by the feds.

The other two men with Officer Morre that night are now under investigation by Internal Affairs. One, a long time reserve police officer, the other, a younge
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Decision on LAPD detective's discipline poses major test for Beck
Charlie Beck
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, left, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, drew controversy for deciding to suspend rather than fire Officer Shaun Hillmann over racist remarks. (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times)
By Kate Mather, Richard Winton contact the reporters
CrimeLaw EnforcementRacismLos Angeles Police Department
Frank Lyga described shooting a fellow officer, saying 'I could have killed a whole truckload of them'
Frank Lyga described attorney Carl Douglas as an 'ewok'
Frank Lyga's supporters say that he is genuinely remorseful

The veteran Los Angeles police detective took the floor at a training class for fellow officers and let loose an expletive-laden rant.

Frank Lyga claimed that he drove his Jeep in the carpool lane at 100 mph, called a prominent black civil rights attorney an "ewok," quipped that a female LAPD captain had been "swapped around a bunch of times" and described a lieutenant as a "moron."

Then he recalled his fatal 1997 shooting of a fellow officer, an incident that sparked racial tensions within the department because Lyga is white and the slain officer was black.

"I could have killed a whole truckload of them, and I would have been happy doing it," Lyga recounted telling an attorney representing the officer's family.
I could have killed a whole truckload of them, and I would have been happy doing it. - LAPD Det. Frank Lyga, on shooting a fellow officer

Nearly a year after Lyga gave his controversial training lecture, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck must choose whether to follow a disciplinary panel's recommendation issued this week to fire the detective or reduce his punishment and let him keep his job.

The decision presents the chief with one of his biggest tests since his August reappointment to a second five-year term and is likely to reignite criticism of how he handles officers' discipline. Beck has clashed with his civilian bosses and rank-and-file officers on the issue, with some accusing him of being inconsistent.

On Friday, black civil rights advocates called on Beck to fire Lyga, saying that the narcotics detective's comments were racist and sexist and should not be tolerated. Meanwhile, Lyga's supporters say that he is genuinely remorseful, and note that Beck recently rejected another disciplinary panel's recommendations to fire a well-connected officer who was caught uttering a racial slur.
lRelated LAPD disciplinary panel says controversial officer should be fired

L.A. Now
LAPD disciplinary panel says controversial officer should be fired

See all related

"This is a police chief's nightmare," said Merrick Bobb, a policing oversight expert.

Lyga's comments, he said, were particularly troubling because they were made in a teaching setting, where he was presented as a role model to fellow officers.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who heads the South Los Angeles-based Community Coalition, said he hopes that Beck quickly adopts the board's recommendations to fire Lyga. A lesser punishment, Harris-Dawson said, would threaten community relations that the LAPD has sought to improve in the last decade.

"The community isn't likely to accept anything less," he said.

Lyga, 57, has said he was deeply sorry for his remarks. His attorney said the detective read a statement to the three-person board of rights that heard the case, saying that his comments "were very wrong" and "hurtful to many people as well as the department."
Related story: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in the hot seat over horse deal
Related story: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in the hot seat over horse deal
Joel Rubin

"I have no excuse for what I did," he said, according to the statement, which the lawyer provided The Times. "The fact that I allowed myself to lose control will stay with me for the rest of my life."

After the disciplinary panel's recommendations are forwarded to Beck, he has 10 days to make his own decision on what punishment the officer will face, a department spokesman said. The chief then has five days to notify the Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Beck was out of town Friday. Smith declined to comment on Lyga's case, saying that matters of officers' discipline are confidential under state law.

@yourinnerghost Bratton did some good work back east in also in Los Angeles, but I would not put him on a pedestal quite yet. IMHO, the reason he did so well at NYPD the first time around is because prior to him, there was no accountability in the department (with the upper commanders) in...

11:28 AM October 18, 2014
Beck was blasted earlier this year over his decision to suspend instead of fire Officer Shaun Hillmann, who was caught on tape uttering a racial slur outside a Norco bar and later denied it to his supervisors. Critics accused the chief of giving Hillman favorable treatment because the officer's father and uncle worked for the department.

Lyga's remarks were recorded by someone attending the Nov. 15 training session, wh
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LAPD officer accused of faking military documents to get paid leave
By Richard Winton contact the reporter
CrimeTheftLos Angeles Police DepartmentArmy National Guard
LAPD officer arrested on suspicion of stealing public funds and using fake military documents for leave
LAPD veteran suspected of using fake military documents to get paid time off is charged with theft
LAPD officer accused of stealing $5,400 with fake military leave documents.

A veteran Los Angeles Police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges of stealing public funds related to allegedly submitting fictitous military leave documents on several occasions.

Christine Bulicz, a 15-year LAPD officer and a California Army National Guard member, is alleged to have submitted fake military documents that allowed her to take more than $5,400 worth of paid time off from the department, which she was not entitled otherwise, an LAPD news release said.

L.A. County prosecutors charged Bulicz on Monday with felony grand theft and attempted grand theft after an LAPD investigation, according to a district attorney's spokeswoman.

Bulicz was taken into custody Tuesday at police headquarters by LAPD detectives, according to the LAPD news release. She was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
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https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/10/t ... s-reissued

Two Reports About FBI's Use of National Security Letters Reissued
Even the reports that are supposed to provide transparency about the FBI's use of national security lettters (NSLs) are secret—or at least a couple dozen pages of them are. NSLs are nonjudicial orders that allow the FBI to obtain information from companies, without a warrant, about their customers’ use of services. They almost always contain a gag order, which prohibits recipients from even saying they've received the request.

Two Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports reviewing the FBI's use of NSLs from 2007 and 2008 were reissued earlier this week after having portions declassified. You can see the newly released versions of the 2007 report here and the 2008 report here.

Charlie Savage at the New York Times has reviewed and listed the changes. Some of them make sense. For example, one portion of the 2007 report masked references to a "Virginia Jihad network," which might have been redacted because of an ongoing investigation. But some of the previously classified portions are less explicable, such as the classification of the percentage of requests done under particular statutes. It's unclear what purpose keeping that number secret serves. What is clear is that excessive classification and redaction continue to get in the way of much-needed transparency around NSLs.
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Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh heading to trial
Commentary by Joe Iosbaker | November 1, 2014

Rasmea Odeh with Steven Salaita at University of Chicago. (FightBack!News/Staff)
Chicago, IL - Rasmea Odeh, the well-known activist in the Palestinian community of Chicago and target of persecution by the U.S. government, goes on trial Nov. 4.

Charged with immigration fraud, the case against her is based on the grounds that, in her application for citizenship ten years ago, she didn’t mention that she was arrested in Palestine 45 years ago. Her arrest was at the hands of the Israeli defense forces, which had illegally seized Palestinian territory. She was raped and tortured by her captors, and forced to sign a confession to stop the abuse. Then an Israeli military court found her guilty without due process and gave her a life sentence. She was released after ten years in a prisoner exchange.

Why does the Department of Justice uphold decisions made by Israel’s military court? The U.S. has a history of condemning military courts in other countries. And when President Obama recently spoke at the U.N., he lectured other world leaders that it was unacceptable today to occupy another nation’s land. Why doesn’t that apply to Israel’s occupation of Palestine?

U.S. backing of Israeli occupation

The U.S. government has always spoken out of both sides of its mouth. U.S. presidents tell the Palestinians they deserve their own state, but refuse to stop Israel’s thousands of illegal settlements in Palestinian areas. The Obama administration warns against countries that defy the ‘international community,’ but has vetoed almost every single United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

There’s no denying what is happening: Israel serves the interests of the U.S. elites in the Middle East. The Israeli regime couldn’t exist without the $3 billion a year in military aid it receives from the U.S. It serves the Pentagon as a landlocked aircraft carrier. The aid - and the unjust occupation of Palestine – are the price the U.S. is willing to pay to hold down the Arab and other peoples of the Middle East.

Standing with Israel is a constant refrain from every politician in Washington. For Rasmea Odeh, this means that U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade’s office accepts the stance of the kangaroo court in Israel that convicted her.

Defeat of Judge Borman

The first judge assigned to hear her case was Paul Borman. Borman had many ties to Israel, having helped raise millions to support the apartheid government there. A campaign by the Rasmea Defense Committee called for Borman to recuse himself. At first refusing, he gave in when it was exposed that his family had partial ownership of the grocery store that was the target of the bombing that Rasmea was forced to confess to. This was a huge embarrassment for the federal court, which always denies that decisions are affected one way or the other by politics.

Borman’s recusal was a victory which rallied the spirits of Rasmea and her many supporters. It proved to the movement for justice for Rasmea and for Palestine that if we fight, we can win. It shows us that a great legal defense is required, but so is a group of supporters packing the courtroom each time Rasmea is there.

Judge Gershwin Drain

On Oct. 2, Rasmea appeared before the new judge, Gershwin Drain, where attorneys presented numerous motions. The first decision by Drain was not good. Attorney Michael Deutsch argued that the charges against Rasmea should be dismissed, showing how the case against her began with the illegal investigation of the group of 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists who were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in 2010. Drain agreed with the prosecution’s counter-argument, that the defense hadn’t proven its case.

Tom Burke of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) commented, “The U.S. government doesn’t want to admit its own crimes. It’s a fact that hundreds of Arabs and Muslims have been targeted by successive administrations only for being Arab or Muslim, or for loving their own people. The raids and subpoenas of the anti-war and international solidarity activists in 2010 were violations of our First Amendment rights.”

Although that decision went against Odeh, Hatem Abudayyeh of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) said, “Rasmea, her lawyers and her supporters sent a message to the court that there is a pattern of the Department of Justice abusing those involved in Palestine support work.”

Latest twist: Attack on our right to fight back

In early October, Prosecutor Jonathan Tukel launched an attack on the Rasmea Defense Committee and Hatem Abudayyeh. Tukel accused Rasmea’s supporters of jury tampering. He alleged that the rallies involving members of the Palestinian community and anti-war activists are “almost certainly criminal.” Tukel is asking for an “anonymous jury” - keeping the names of the jury secret from the public and from Rasmea’s defense attorneys. Tukel used an anonymous jury for the trial of the Underwear Bomber in 2009. The meaning of his motion could not be more clear: Odeh and her supporters are dangerous to the members of the jury.

This would be laughable if the impact wasn’t so terrible. In fact, this is an effort by the prosecution to tamper with the jury. Making jurors and prospective jurors operate in secret makes them think that they are in danger.

There is nothing violent in the efforts of her defense campaign. The only violence that impacts this trial is the inhumane brutality with which the Israeli military treated Odeh in 1969. With each passing day, more people and organizations that support civil liberties are adding their voices to oppose this latest move.

‘I believe that we will win’

This attack by the office of U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade points to one other thing: the movement that supports Rasmea is putting Israel on trial. Especially after the international outcry that responded to the massacres in Gaza this summer, Israel is seen worldwide as the brutal, apartheid regime that it is. Most people hear the ring of truth when they are told that Rasmea was viciously abused at the hands of Israel.

On Oct. 2, in front of the court house in Detroit, Muhammad Sankari of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network led Rasmea’s friends and neighbors in chanting, “I believe we will win.” One of the Palestinian women supporters raised her voice louder and said, “I believe we are winning.” It appears that McQuade and Tukel fear that to be true, and are acting to put an end to the trial in the court of public opinion, and are attempting to rig the outcome of the legal proceeding as well. The rising movement of support for Palestine – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign, the efforts for an arms embargo to stop companies like Boeing that provide the killing tools to Israel, the campus movement to defend critics of Israel like Professor Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois and the massive marches like those in Chicago that mobilized to halt the slaughter in Gaza – is in fact winning.

All out for Detroit

A major mobilization Is underway to pack the courtroom during Odeh’s Nov. 4 trial. “People from around the country will be coming to Detroit to support Rasmea. We will stand with her at her trial and demand Justice,” stated Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
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Denver pays $40k a month to suspended deputies under investigation

POSTED: 11/03/2014 05:24:55 PM MST4

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Journalists Accuse FBI Employee of Being out of Control and Striking Them With Her Car at National Press Club

WASHINGTON — An FBI employee at headquarters is being accused by two Voice of America journalists in Washington of road rage that included intentionally striking them with her car and carrying one a short distance on her hood, the Washington Examiner reports.

The paper reports that a lawsuit filed Monday by Thomas Bagnall and William Greenback is asking for $1 million each.

The lawsuit stated that the two were unloading a television camera and other equipment from their sport utility vehicle in front of the National Press Club on 14th Street NW in downtown Washington on March 23 when Joy Ellen Mullinax, who works as a support staffer in Human Resources, at the bureau, pulled up behind them in her 2003 Hyundai Accent, according to the Examiner. Greenback was inside the car while Bagnall unloaded equipment, the paper reported.

After pulling up, Mullinax blew her horn and yelled and Bagnall told her to go around, the suit said, according to the Examiner.

“Mullinax accelerated and struck Bagnall, who spun around and screamed in pain,” the paper reported. ” Greenback got out of the SUV and yelled at Mullinax to stop because she had struck his colleague.”

“Mullinax gunned her engine, each time moving closer to Greenback, eventually pinning Greenback between her car and another car which had stopped in traffic. She then hit the gas again, striking Greenback and throwing him onto the hood of the car,” the paper reported. ” Mullinax’s vehicle then bumped into a 2006 Chevy Trail Blazer driven by Jeneer Beer, who was already on the phone calling 911, according to the lawsuit.”

Millinax was given a ticket for changing lanes without cautions.

- See more at: http://www.ticklethewire.com/2011/04/05/journalists-sue-fbi-employee-for-road-rage-and-striking-them-with-her-car-at-national-press-club/#sthash.ABCLLcli.dpuf

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Damning report slams NOPD response to sex crimes

A new investigative report could shatter the city's already shaken faith in the way the New Orleans Police Department handles sex crimes.

see link for full story


NEW ORLEANS – A new investigative report could shatter the city's already shaken faith in the way the New Orleans Police Department handles sex crimes.

The city's inspector general found that five detectives who were assigned to nearly 1,300 calls alleging sexual assault in a three year period, failed to follow up on an astonishing 86 percent of them.

And in some of the most shocking findings by Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux's investigators, detectives at times ignored or misrepresented DNA evidence and medical reports; created backdated follow-up reports years later when questioned about the absence of those reports; and, in the case of one detective, even told people that sex with an incapacitated woman should not be a crime.

One detective, identified by NOPD as Akron Davis, also failed to follow up on 11 of 13 cases of child abuse, including at least two cases involving infants with head trauma.

"These failures do have serious human consequences for all, and 15 involve children," Quatrevaux said. "These revelations suggest an indifference to citizens that won't be tolerated and they offend all of the good police officers who work diligently to enforce the law."

The new report adds disturbing detail to the picture of an NOPD sex crimes unit that former Police Chief Ronal Serpas acknowledged had a historical tendency to look for ways to disprove rape allegations rather than attempting to back them up.

Serpas replaced the sex-crimes unit leadership in 2013, and new Chief Michael Harrison says he has now revamped the unit again. Asked what will be different this time, he said NOPD is making a concerted effort to change the culture of the unit and improve training.

The five detectives in the report made up nearly a third of the 16 detectives in the Special Victims Section, and four of them made up half of the sex-crimes unit. Harrison vowed to keep closer tabs on whether the new leadership is tracking the work of the detectives left in the unit from here on out.

Harrison joined Quatrevaux at a morning news conference to say he found the report's findings "disturbing" and had launched a full Public Integrity Bureau investigation into the actions of the five detectives, all of whom have been reassigned to patrol duty pending the probe. Harrison said there may be administrative violations involved and that the backdated reports could constitute a crime, injuring public records.

The new report also buttresses the IG's audit findings from May that already questioned if large percentages of sex crimes were being improperly downgraded.

Following up on the audit that sampled 90 cases in the spring, Quatrevaux's office focused in on the five detectives who were assigned to cases in that sample that lacked key documentation.

Expanding their review to all 1,290 sex-crime-related calls for service that were assigned to those five detectives between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2013, investigators found that 840 cases, or 65 percent of the calls, were classified as "miscellaneous incidents," not sex crimes, and closed without follow-up.

The remaining 35 percent, or 450 calls, were classified as actual sex-crime cases, but more than half of those didn't include any follow-up reporting either.

In all, the detectives produced follow-up reports on only 179 of the 1,290 sex-crime-related calls for service assigned to them – 14 percent.

Derrick Williams and Vernon Haynes
Derrick Williams and Vernon Haynes(Photo: NOPD)
The IG report does not name the five detectives, identifying them simply as Detectives A, B, C, D and E, but the New Orleans Police Department later identified them after a press conference to discuss the IG report. Detective A was identified as Akron Davis, Detective B as Vernon Haynes, Detective C as Merrill Merricks, Detective D as Damita Williams and Detective E as Derrick Williams.

In the IG report, two of them -- the ones later identified as Merrill Merricks and Derrick Williams -- failed to file any follow-up reports or information on more than 85 percent of their cases in 2011-2013 that were actually classified as sex crimes, the report says.

The report also says that shortly after investigators questioned why certain follow-up reports for those two detectives' cases were missing, Merricks and Derrick Williams created new reports and dated them as if they were produced two and three years earlier. The IG's chief investigator, former FBI agent Howard Schwartz, said the detectives created the backdated reports on the exact same day in 2013. Chief Harrison said that could be criminal if it's proven to have been done intentionally.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office intends to look into the matter, spokesman Christopher Bowman said. But the DA's office may have its own issues. The DA's chief investigator is Kirk Bouyelas, who was the NOPD deputy

it sent the wrong rape kit, but got no response.
Wrote a supplemental report dated in 2010 and another dated in 2011, but created both of those computerized reports on the same day in 2013, shortly after the IG asked for them.

Nov. 12, 2014,
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Scott Camil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scott Camil (born May 19, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, United States) is a noted ... Recognized by the FBI as an "extremist and key activist," Camil was on ...
Scott Camil lay bleeding on a Gainesville Street. .... documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI was keeping tabs on Camil and referred ...
In 1970, the FBI tried to kill him. They failed. Scott Camil still believes in government and wants to make it better. ... Scott Camil used to kill people for a living.
Scott Camil | Facebook
Scott Camil is on Facebook. Join Facebook to connect with Scott Camil and others you may know. Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the. ..
SCOTT CAMIL ARCHIVE -- (John Kerry's would-be assassin ...
Mar 22, 2004 - In 1971, Scott Camil, a Vietnam Vet who was radicalized by Jane Fonda ... The revelation of the FBI files has recently caused the Kerry 2004 ..
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court affirms ex-FBI agent’s convictions
see link for full story

Friday, November 21, 2014

- A federal appeals court has upheld the fraud and conspiracy convictions of an investment adviser who used his background as an FBI agent to win clients’ trust and then stole about $1.3 million from them.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that there was “more than sufficient evidence” to support the convictions of John Robert Graves of Fredericksburg. Graves was se

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/21/appeals-court-affirms-ex-fbi-agents-convictions/#ixzz3JkzU0wL4
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
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see link for partial story
taxpayer tab for civil lawsuit
soon to follow


Woman ruled innocent in 1997 slaying; payment for prison time expected
Declared innocent
“I feel like I have wings now,” Susan Mellen, with nephew David Mellen, said outside court in Torrance after a judge ruled she was factually innocent of a slaying for which she had served 17 years.

Judge rules woman freed after 17 years is factually innocent of murder in 1997 slaying
Innocence ruling in murder case means woman is due compensation of $100 for each day in prison, about $600,000
A woman freed last month after 17 years behind bars for murder was declared factually innocent Friday by a Los Angeles County judge.

"I'm sorry for what happened to you," Judge Mark S. Arnold told Susan Mellen after he issued his ruling in a Torrance courtroom. "It is my wish that you have a happy life … and I suspect this is going to be a far better Thanksgiving than the ones you've had previously."

Declared innocent
Attorney Deirdre O'Connor, left, says Susan Mellen, center, is looking into a possible civil suit after being declared innocent of murder after 17 years in prison. With them is David Mellen, Susan Mellen’s nephew. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Arnold's ruling paves the way for Mellen, 59, to receive compensation from the state of $100 for each day she was wrongfully imprisoned — about $600,000. Mellen can also legally answer "no" when asked whether she has ever been charged with a serious crime, and can request that her records be destroyed
"I feel like I'm flying and having a new adventure," Mellen said outside the courthouse. "I feel like I have wings now."

Arnold's apology, she said, took her by surprise and added to her feelings of gratitude for the judge who ordered her Oct. 10 release.

Since then, Mellen has been living with her oldest daughter and son-in-law and their two children. She sleeps on a pull-out sofa in the living
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take your time, you got
plenty of time to
shut down the" bureau"

down here in the whisper stream
we call it a death squad
what do you call it?

see link for what your tax dime funds

The FBI: America’s Secret Police

We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.—President Harry S. Truman

Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Intimidation tactics. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment schemes.

These are the hallmarks of every authoritarian regime from the Roman Empire to modern-day America, yet it’s the secret police—tasked with silencing dissidents, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a climate of fear—who sound the death knell for freedom in every age.

Every regime has its own name for its secret police: Mussolini’s OVRA carried out phone surveillance on government officials. Stalin’s NKVD carried out large-scale purges, terror and depopulation. Hitler’s Gestapo went door to door ferreting out dissidents and other political “enemies” of the state. And in the U.S., it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation that does the dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work.

Indeed, a far cry from the glamorized G-men depicted in Hollywood film noirs and spy thrillers, the government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused.

Case in point: the FBI is being sued after its agents, lacking sufficient evidence to acquire a search warrant, disabled a hotel’s internet and then impersonated Internet repair technicians in order to gain access to a hotel suite and record the activities of the room’s occupants. Justifying the warrantless search as part of a sting on internet gambling, FBI officials insisted that citizens should not expect the same right to privacy in the common room of a hotel suite as they would at home in their bedroom.

Far from being tough on crime, FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers. In fact, in addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts. USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

In a stunning development reported by The Washington Post, a probe into misconduct by an FBI agent has resulted in the release of at least a dozen convicted drug dealers from prison. Several suspects awaiting trial have also been freed, and more could be released as the unnamed agent’s caseload comes under scrutiny. As the Post reports: “The scope and type of alleged misconduct by the agent have not been revealed, but defense lawyers involved in the cases described the mass freeing of felons as virtually unprecedented—and an indication that convictions could be in jeopardy. Prosecutors are periodically faced with having to drop cases over police misconduct, but it is unusual to free those who have been found guilty.”

In addition to procedural misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, the FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, and harassment.

For example, the Associated Press recently lodged a complaint with the Dept. of Justice after learning that FBI agents created a fake AP news story and emailed it, along with a clickable link, to a bomb threat suspect in order to implant tracking technology onto his computer and identify his location. Lambasting the agency, AP attorney Karen Kaiser railed, “The FBI may have intended this false story as a trap for only one person. However, the individual could easily have reposted this story to social networks, distributing to thousands of people, under our name, what was essentially a piece of government disinformation.”

Then again, to those familiar with COINTELPRO, an FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, it should come as no surprise that the agency has mastered the art of government disinformation.

The FBI has been particularly criticized in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for targeting vulnerable individuals and not only luring them into fake terror plots but actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”

Another fallout from 9/11, National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.

The FBI’s surveillance capabilities, on a par with the National Security Agency, boast a nasty collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls. In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”

Now the FBI is seeking to expand its already invasive hacking powers to allow agents to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world. As journalist Brett Wilkins warns:

If the proposed rule change is approved, the FBI would have the power to unleash “network investigative techniques” against computers anywhere in the world, allowing the agency to secretly install malware and spyware on any computer, effectively allowing it to control that computer and all its stored information. The FBI could download all the computer’s digital contents, switch its camera or microphone on or off and even control other computers in its network.

And then there’s James Comey, current director of the FBI, who knows enough to say all the right things about the need to abide by the Constitution, all the while his agency routinely discards it. Comey has this idea that the government’s powers shouldn’t be limited, especially when it comes to carrying out surveillance on American citizens. Responding to reports that Apple and Google are creating smart phones that will be more difficult to hack into, Comey has been lobbying Congress and the White House to force technology companies to keep providing the government with backdoor access to Americans’ cell phones.

It’s not all Comey’s fault, though. This transformation of the FBI into a secret police force can be traced back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. As author Anthony S. Summers points out, it was Hoover who “built the first federal fingerprint bank, and his Identification Division would eventually offer instant access to the prints of 159 million people. His Crime Laboratory became the most advanced in the world.”

Eighty years after Hoover instituted the FBI’s first fingerprint “database”—catalogued on index cards, no less—the agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime. This is what’s known as pre-crime.

If it were just about fighting the “bad guys,” that would be one thing. But as countless documents make clear, the FBI has a long track record of abusing its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate dissidents of all stripes. It’s an old tactic, used effectively by former authoritarian regimes.

In fact, as historian Robert Gellately documents, the Nazi police state was repeatedly touted as a model for other nations to follow, so much so that Hoover actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police. As Gellately noted, “[A]fter five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.”

Indeed, so impressed was the FBI with the Nazi order that, as the New York Times recently revealed, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen, brought them to America, hired them on as spies and informants, and then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.

So not only have American taxpayers have been paying to keep ex-Nazis on the government payroll for decades but we’ve been subjected to the very same tactics used by the Third Reich: surveillance, militarized police, overcriminalization, and a government mindset that views itself as operating outside the bounds of the law.

Yet as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, it’s no coincidence that the similarities between the American police state and past totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany grow more pronounced with each passing day. This is how freedom falls, and tyrants come to power.

Suffice it to say that when and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America: how a nation that once abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions has steadily devolved into a police stat
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