Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Former CIA Officer Convicted For Unauthorized Disclosure Of National Defense Information And Obstruction of Justice


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

A former CIA officer was convicted today by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, of illegally disclosing national defense information and obstructing justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director James B. Comey, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement.

“This is a just and appropriate outcome,” said Attorney General Holder. “The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures of classified information compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security.  The disclosures placed lives at risk. And they constituted an egregious breach of the public trust by someone who had sworn to uphold it. As this verdict proves, it is possible to fully prosecute unauthorized disclosures that inflict harm upon our national security without interfering with journalists' ability to do their jobs.  And I want to thank the investigators, prosecutors and support staff who made this outcome possible for their relentless efforts in advancing a complex case that spanned multiple years.”

“He violated his sworn duty to protect our nation's secrets and he betrayed our country,” said Director Comey.  “The FBI will continue to pursue these cases vigorously.”

“Jeffrey Sterling was trusted with the nation's most sensitive secrets and chose to expose them - putting our national security at risk, and endangering lives in the process,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “These cases are challenging, but vitally important to our efforts to secure critical intelligence on behalf of the American people.”

“Over 10 years ago a disgruntled former CIA employee disclosed extremely sensitive classified information to a journalist,” said U.S. Attorney Boente.  “That classified information was critical to our national defense, and releasing it was illegal and went against Mr. Sterling's professional commitments to the CIA.  Mr. Sterling's vindictive and careless choices ultimately led us here today and to this unanimous verdict. I would like to thank the trial team and our partners at the FBI's Washington Field Office and the Central Intelligence Agency for their hard work and commitment to this case.”

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, 47, of O’Fallon, Missouri, was convicted today in the Eastern District of Virginia of six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice.  Sterling was indicted on Dec. 22, 2010, and arrested on Jan. 6, 2011.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 24, 2015.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002.  From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program.  He was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program, a person identified at trial as Merlin.  Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.

In connection with his employment, Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense. 

These agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any “unlawful or improper” conduct that implicated classified information.  These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information.  The media was not an authorized party to receive such classified information.

In August 2000, Sterling pursued administrative and civil actions against the CIA.  Evidence at trial showed that Sterling, in retaliation for the CIA’s refusal to settle those actions on terms favorable to him, disclosed information concerning the classified operational program and the human asset to a New York Times reporter working on an unpublished article in early 2003 and a book the reporter published in January 2006.  Sterling’s civil and administrative claims were ultimately dismissed by the court.

Evidence demonstrated that in February and March 2003, Sterling made various telephone calls to the reporter’s residence and e-mailed a newspaper article about the weapons capabilities of a certain country that was within Sterling’s previous clandestine operational assignment.  While the possible newspaper article containing the classified information Sterling provided was ultimately not published in 2003, evidence showed that Sterling and the reporter remained in touch from December 2003 through November 2005 via telephone and e-mail.  In January 2006, the reporter published a book that contained classified information about the program and the human asset.

Evidence at trial showed that Sterling was aware of a grand jury investigation into the matter by June 2006, when he was served a grand jury subpoena for documents relating to the  reporter’s book.  Nevertheless, between April and July 2006, Sterling deleted the e-mail containing the classified information he had sent from his account in an effort to obstruct the investigation.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, with assistance in the arrest from the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.  This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick of the Eastern District of Virginia. 

Mexican National Sentenced To 15 Years For Participating In A Brutal Family Run Sex Trafficking Organization


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

The Department of Justice today announced a sentencing and guilty plea for two members of a family run sex trafficking organization based in southern Florida.  Rafael Alberto Cadena-Sosa was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joes E. Martinez to serve 15 years in prison and Carmen Cadena pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez for participating in a brutal family run sex trafficking organization.

Rafael Alberto Cadena-Sosa

Cadena-Sosa, 46, a Mexican national, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for conspiring and holding a person in a condition of involuntary servitude.  Judge Martinez also ordered Cadena-Sosa to pay $1,261,563 in restitution to sixteen different victims.

On Oct. 9, 2014, Cadena-Sosa pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to holding a person in a condition of involuntary servitude.  As part of his plea, Cadena-Sosa admitted that he, along with other family members and associates, approached women and girls, some as young as fourteen years old, in Veracruz, Mexico, and lured them into coming to the United States using false promises of legitimate jobs.  After illegally smuggling women and girls into the United States, Cadena-Sosa and other family members imposed a smuggling debt and used brutal physical force and violence, sexual assaults, and threats of death and bodily harm to the victims and their families to compel the victims to engage in prostitution 12 hours a day, six days a week and turn over the proceeds to the defendants to pay down the smuggling debts the defendants imposed.  Cadena-Sosa and other family members would also search for victims who had run away from a brothel and subject them to beatings and rapes upon capture.

Carmen Cadena

Cadena, 48, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for conspiring with other members of the Cadena organization to unlawfully encourage and bring undocumented victims into the U.S.; unlawfully transport victims within the U.S.; unlawfully harbor victims within the U.S.; unlawfully coerce and transport victims, including victims as young as 14-years-old, into the U.S. for purposes of illegal sexual activity; and unlawfully use extortionate means to collect extensions of credit made to the victims. 

Cadena faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $500,000.  Sentencing is scheduled to occur on May 18, 2015.  According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will jointly recommend the maximum sentence of five years in prison and $1,261,563 in restitution to 16 victims.

Sixteen defendants were charged in a superseding indictment filed in 1998.  Mexican authorities arrested Rafael Alberto Cadena-Sosa and Carmen Cadena and extradited them to the United States in November 2013 and December 2014, respectively.  Four other members of the Cadena sex trafficking organization have been convicted, including Cadena-Sosa’s uncle, Rogerio Cadena, who pleaded guilty in 1999 and was sentenced to 15 years; Cadena-Sosa’s brother, Abel Cadena-Sosa, who was convicted in Mexico and sentenced to 24 years, and two other brothers, Hugo and Juan Luis Cadena-Sosa—Carmen Cadena’s husband—, who pleaded guilty in 2002 and 2008, and were sentenced to five years and 15 years respectively.  Six other defendants previously pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with the scheme, and one was convicted in state court for a murder outside a Cadena-run brothel.

Since 2009, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security as well as law enforcement agencies in Mexico, have worked to develop high-impact prosecutions to dismantle human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border, bring human traffickers to justice, restore the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims, and reunite victims with their children held under the trafficking networks’ control.  These efforts have resulted in numerous successful prosecutions, including U.S. federal prosecutions of over 50 defendants in multiple cases in Georgia, New York, Florida, and Texas since 2009.

“No human being should have to endure the violence and brutality these young women and girls suffered at the hands of the Cadena organization,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “These violations of the victims’ individual rights and freedom are intolerable and the Department of Justice will continue in its commitment to bringing human traffickers to justice and restore the rights and dignity of the courageous survivors of this crime.”
“Rafael Cadena-Sosa and Carmen Cadena preyed on vulnerable girls and young women and lured them to the United States with the promise of a better life,” said U.S. Attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida.  “Instead, Cadena-Sosa and his family and associates robbed these victims of their freedom and dignity, brutally beat them and subjected them to modern-day slavery. The dismantling of the Cadena organization reaffirms our unwavering commitment to prosecute those who seek to profit at the expense of the suffering of to others.  We will continue to work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to bring justice to those who engage in this inhumane practice.  This case is one example of bilateral progress to effectively dismantle human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“The long prison sentence imposed upon Rafael Alberto Cadena-Sosa is a testament to the cooperation and commitment of numerous law enforcement agencies both here and in Mexico to stop this appalling criminal activity,” said Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI Miami Office.  “We will continue working with our partners to dismantle human trafficking networks such as this one that operate in the shadows and brutalize their victims.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Gupta and U.S. Attorney Ferrer praised the collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the investigation and prosecution, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, West Palm Beach Police Department, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, Avon Park Police Department, Boynton Beach Police Department, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam McMichael and Trial Attorney Matthew Grady of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Attorney General, Manhattan U.S. Attorney, And FBI Announce Charges Against Russian Spy Ring In New York City


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John S. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Randall C. Coleman, the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) for the Counterintelligence Division, announced charges today against EVGENY BURYAKOV, a/k/a “Zhenya,” IGOR SPORYSHEV, and VICTOR PODOBNYY in connection with BURYAKOV’s service as a covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Russian Federation (“Russia”) in New York City, without notifying the United States Attorney General of BURYAKOV’s status as an agent of Russia, as required by federal law.

BURYAKOV was placed under arrest earlier today in Bronx, New York, and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan federal court later today. SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY no longer reside in the United States and have not been arrested. By virtue of their prior positions in the United States on behalf of Russia, both of them were protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the United States.

Attorney General Eric Holder said: “These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States. We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country—no matter how deep their cover. I want to thank the dedicated men and women of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and New York Field Office, the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their skilled handling of this complex and highly sensitive matter.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Following our previous prosecution with the FBI of Russian spies, who were expelled from the United States in 2010 when their plan to infiltrate upper levels of U.S. business and government was revealed, the arrest of Evgeny Buryakov and the charges against him and his co-defendants make clear that—more than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War—Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy. Indeed, the presence of a Russian banker in New York would in itself hardly draw attention today, which is why these alleged spies may have thought Buryakov would blend in. What they could not do without drawing the attention of the FBI was engage in espionage. New York City may be more hospitable to Russian businessmen than during the Cold War, but my Office and the FBI remain vigilant to the illegal intelligence-gathering activities of other nations.”

Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin said: “The attempt by foreign nations to illegally gather economic and other intelligence information in the United States through covert agents is a direct threat to the national security of the United States, and it exemplifies why counterespionage is a top priority of the National Security Division. I want to thank the FBI’s New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their continued effort to conduct these highly complex and sensitive counterespionage investigations and prosecutions, and for their continued close partnership with the National Security Division and the Counterespionage Section.”

FBI Assistant Director Randall Coleman said: “This investigation is one of many that highlight the determined and prolific efforts by foreign governments to target Americans for the purposes of collecting intelligence and stealing secrets. This case is especially egregious as it demonstrates the actions of a foreign intelligence service to integrate a covert intelligence agent into American society under the cover of an employee in the financial sector. Espionage is as pervasive today as it has even been, and FBI counterintelligence teams will continue to aggressively investigate and expose hostile foreign intelligence activities conducted on U.S. soil.”

According to the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court today:

BURYAKOV worked in the United States as an agent of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, known as the “SVR.” BURYAKOV operated under “non-official cover,” meaning he entered and remained in the United States as a private citizen, posing as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank. SVR agents operating under such non-official cover—sometimes referred to as “NOCs”—typically are subject to less scrutiny by the host government, and, in many cases, are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government. As a result, a NOC is an extremely valuable intelligence asset for the SVR.

Federal law prohibits individuals from acting as agents of foreign governments within the United States without prior notification to the United States Attorney General. Department of Justice records indicate that BURYAKOV has never notified the United States Attorney General that he is, in fact, an agent of Russia.

SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY are also SVR agents who worked in the United States to gather intelligence on behalf of Russia by posing as official representatives of Russia. From November 22, 2010, to November 21, 2014, SPORYSHEV served as a Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in New York. From December 13, 2012, to September 12, 2013, PODOBNYY served as an Attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. Based on their official government postings on behalf of Russia, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY are exempt from notifying the United States Attorney General of the true nature of their work. However, that exemption does not permit them to conspire with, or aid and abet, BURYAKOV in his work as an unregistered agent of Russia operating within the United States.

The intelligence-gathering efforts of SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY included, among other things, (i) attempting to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources for Russia; (ii) tasking BURYAKOV to gather intelligence; and (iii) transmitting intelligence reports prepared by BURYAKOV back to SVR headquarters in Moscow. Specifically, during the course of the charged offenses, SPORYSHEV was responsible for relaying assignments from the SVR to BURYAKOV, and SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY were responsible for analyzing and reporting back to the SVR about the fruits of BURYAKOV’s intelligence-gathering efforts.

The directives from the SVR to BURYAKOV, SPORYSHEV, and PODOBNYY, as well as to other covert SVR agents acting within the United States, included requests to gather intelligence on, among other subjects, potential United States sanctions against Russian banks and the United States’ efforts to develop alternative energy resources.

Clandestine Meetings and Communications

During the course of their work as covert SVR agents in the United States, BURYAKOV, SPORYSHEV, and PODOBNYY regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. These efforts were designed, among other things, to preserve their respective covers as an employee of a bank in Manhattan (BURYAKOV), a Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in New York (SPORYSHEV), and an Attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (PODOBNYY). In particular, the defendants worked to safeguard BURYAKOV’s work as a “NOC.”

SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY acted as covert intermediaries for BURYAKOV to communicate with the SVR on intelligence-related matters. As an agent posing as someone without any official ties to the Russian government or the SVR, BURYAKOV was unable to access the SVR New York Office—which is located within an office maintained by Russia in New York, New York—without potentially alerting others to his association with the SVR. As such, BURYAKOV required the assistance of other SVR agents, like SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY, to exchange communications and information with the SVR through the communications systems located in the SVR New York Office.

From as early as March 2012 through as recently as mid-September 2014, the FBI has conducted physical or electronic surveillance of BURYAKOV and SPORYSHEV engaging in over four dozen brief meetings, several of which involved BURYAKOV passing a bag, magazine, or slip of paper to SPORYSHEV. These meetings typically took place outdoors, where the risk of effective surveillance was reduced relative to an indoor location.

These meetings were nearly always preceded by a short telephone call between BURYAKOV and SPORYSHEV during which one of the men typically told the other that he had an item to give to him. Typically, during these telephone calls, which were intercepted by the FBI, the item in question was referred to as some non-specific “ticket,” “book,” “list,” or other ordinary item (e.g., “umbrella” or “hat”).

Subsequently, at each meeting surveilled by the FBI, BURYAKOV and SPORYSHEV met and sometimes exchanged documents or other small items. Notably, despite discussing on approximately one dozen occasions the need to meet to transfer “tickets,” BURYAKOV and SPORYSHEV, were—other than one occasion where they discussed going to a movie—never observed attending, or discussing in any detail, events that would typically require tickets, such as a sporting event or concert. In fact, BURYAKOV and SPORYSHEV used this coded language to signal that they needed to meet, and then met to exchange intelligence information.

Attempts by Sporyshev and Podobnyy to Recruit Intelligence Sources in New York City

In numerous recorded communications, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY discussed their attempts to recruit United States residents, including several individuals employed by major companies, and several young women with ties to a major university located in New York, New York (“University-1”), as intelligence sources for the SVR. On these recordings, the defendants discussed the potential value of these sources, and identified particular sources by use of a “source name,” which appears to be a coded name. In addition, during these recordings, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY discussed the efforts of other SVR agents to recruit a number of other Russian-origin individuals associated with University-1 as intelligence sources.

For example, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY discussed PODOBNYY’s efforts to recruit a male working as a consultant in New York City as an intelligence source. During this conversation, PODOBNYY explained his source recruitment method, which included cheating, promising favors, and then discarding the intelligence source once the relevant information was obtained by the SVR: “This is intelligence method to cheat. . . . You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go [expletive] himself.”

In other recorded conversations, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY made clear that they worked for the SVR. For example, on January 31, 2013, SPORYSHEV and another SVR agent not charged in the Complaint (“CC-1”) had a discussion inside the SVR New York Office about their contracts with the SVR. SPORYSHEV stated that, “Everyone has a five-year contract,” and explained, in response to CC-1’s question about reimbursement for the travel of SVR agents’ family members, that “travel for military personnel and their families on authorized home leave is paid, and in our, in our SVR, this, the payment for getting to and from the duty station.” In addition, on April 25, 2013, SPORYSHEV and PODOBNYY discussed the use of nontraditional cover for Russian intelligence officers and, in particular, the Illegals program that ended with the arrest of 10 “deep cover” SVR agents in July 2010.

Buryakov’s Intelligence Taskings

SPORYSHEV was responsible for relaying intelligence assignments from the SVR to BURYAKOV. The FBI obtained electronic recordings of several conversations relating to such intelligence directives being communicated to and carried out by BURYAKOV in his position as an SVR agent acting under non-official cover. For example, on May 21, 2013, SPORYSHEV called BURYAKOV to ask for BURYAKOV’s help in formulating questions to be used for intelligence gathering purposes by others associated with a leading Russian state-owned news organization (the “News Organization”). BURYAKOV responded by supplying SPORYSHEV with a particular line of questioning about the New York Stock Exchange for use by the News Organization.

Buryakov’s Receipt of Purported Official United States Government Documents

In the summer of 2014, BURYAKOV met numerous times with a confidential source working for the FBI (“CS-1”). CS-1 posed as the representative of a wealthy investor looking to develop casinos in Russia. During the course of these meetings, and consistent with his interests as a Russian intelligence agent, BURYAKOV demonstrated his strong desire to obtain information about subjects far outside the scope of his work as a bank employee. During these meetings, BURYAKOV also accepted documents that CS-1 claimed he had obtained from a U.S. government agency and which purportedly contained information potentially useful to Russia, including information about United States sanctions against Russia.
* * *
BURYAKOV, 39, SPORYSHEV, 40, and PODOBNYY, 27, are charged in two counts. The first count charges the defendants with participating in a conspiracy for BURYAKOV to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The second count charges BURYAKOV with acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and charges SPORYSHEV and PODOBYNYY with aiding and abetting that offense. The second count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Fee, Ian McGinley, and Anna M. Skotko of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Senior Trial Attorney Heather Schmidt of the Counterespionage Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

New U.S. Navy Recruitment Video


As an old Navy veteran I got a kick out the new U.S. Navy recruitment video.

You can watch the interesting ad via the below link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBHt_gu6ZzQ

Note: Above is a U.S. Navy photo of the USS George Washington CVN 73. The aircraft carrier appears in the video.

The First Great Sherlock Holmes: Five Ways British Actor William Gillette Transformed How Sherlock Holmes Looks And Talks


Tom de Castella at bbc.com offers a piece on how British actor William Gillette transformed how Sherlock Holmes looks and talks.

A 1916 silent movie featuring Sherlock Holmes - long presumed lost - is due to have its premiere in Paris. It stars a man who changed the way we see Conan Doyle's famous sleuth forever.

He was the first great Sherlock Holmes. But few will have heard of US actor William Gillette.

He is thought to be a distant relation of the family behind Gillette razors, wrote plays about the American civil war, patented a noise to imitate the sound of a galloping horse and built an enormous castle in Connecticut. But it is his Holmes that fascinates people today.

And until three months ago, it seemed that no-one would ever see it.

Gillette adapted Sherlock Holmes for the stage in 1899 and played Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective more than 1,000 times.

He made only one film, the 1916 silent movie version of Sherlock Holmes. For decades the movie was presumed lost, one of the great missing links of Sherlockiana. Then in October 2014 it was discovered at the Cinematheque Francaise, a film archive in Paris.

"At last we get to see for ourselves the actor who kept the first generation of Sherlockians spellbound," says Professor Russell Merritt, who has been researching the film's origins. "As far as Holmes is concerned, there's not an actor dead or alive who hasn't consciously or intuitively played off Gillette."  

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video of William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes via the below link:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30932322

First SEALs: A Look Back At The WWII OSS Maritime Unit


Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of First SEALs: The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit, offers a piece on the World War II OSS Maritime Unit in National Review.

Today, the Navy SEALs are the stuff of Hollywood legend: The last two years alone have seen them featured in both Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper. But few people know the history of America’s first swim commando teams. 

It all began with a kick in the ass. On the night of December 19, 1941, a 709-ton Auda-class Italian submarine surfaced in Alexandria Harbor, and six Italian frogmen mounted three miniature submersibles that contained massive warheads. Clad in wetsuits and wearing breathing devices, they each received a ceremonial kick in the backside from their commanding officer, Prince Junio Valerio Scipione Borghese, as they exited the submarine. Later called “The Black Prince,” Borghese was the leader of Decima MAS, an Italian special-operations unit that included these underwater swim commandos.

Invisible from the surface, these men entered the home of the British fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean and detonated their warheads, sinking two British battleships and a tanker. As a result of their daring attack, the balance of maritime power in that part of the world shifted, setting off an underwater arms race. Other nations rushed to develop their own capabilities and the means to support them.

The United States was perhaps the farthest behind when the need for this capability became apparent. In 1942, America didn’t have special-operations units. To solve that problem, the U.S. government turned to its Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. At the time, no technology for underwater combat swimming existed in a military-operational form in the American arsenal. The OSS Maritime Unit (MU) would have to develop it and the teams needed to use it, overnight — with a whopping budget of $500.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/397167/history-seals-patrick-k-odonnell

Note: In addition to the OSS' MU, the U.S. Navy also developed two groups who were also the forerunners of today's Navy SEALs. The Naval Demolition Unit (NDU) lead the way for the D-Day invasion of Europe, and the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) lead the way for the invasion of the Japanese-held islands in the Pacific.

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on how the Underwater Demolition Team frogmen contributed to the forming of the modern Navy SEALs via the below link:

http://www.pauldavisoncrime.com/2013/06/a-look-back-at-world-war-ii-us-navy.html 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mystery Writers Of America Announces 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards


The Mystery Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards:

NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 206th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the Nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2014. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 69th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.
 
BEST NOVEL
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown)
Coptown by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse – Ballantine Books)
 
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)
 
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Albani (Penguin Randomhouse – Penguin Books)
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)
The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)
 
BEST FACT CRIME
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)
The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywoodby William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nationby Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing – New Harvest)
 
BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)
James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction
by Jim Mancall (Oxford University Press)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noir by Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)
Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe
by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)
 
BEST SHORT STORY
"The Snow Angel" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
"200 Feet" – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)
"What Do You Do?" – Rogues by Gillian Flynn
(Penguin Randomhouse Publishing – Ballantine Books)
"Red Eye" – Faceoff  by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)
"Teddy" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)
 
BEST JUVENILE
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
(Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder
and Steve Hockensmith  (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
 
BEST YOUNG ADULT
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children's Books - Amistad)
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
 
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
"The Empty Hearse" – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
"Unfinished Business" – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O'Connor (CBS)
"Episode 1" – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
"Dream Baby Dream" – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)
"Episode 6" – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)
 
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"Getaway Girl" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine By Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)
GRAND MASTER
Lois Duncan
James Ellroy
 
RAVEN AWARDS
Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine
Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder
 
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime
* * * * * *
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA's Agents & Editors Party on Tuesday, April 28, 2015)
Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur Books)
The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)