Tuesday, July 23, 2019

On This Day In History The American Crime Writer Raymond Chandler Was Born

On this day in 1888 the late, great crime writer Raymond Chandler was born.

He published his first short story, Blackmails Don't Shoot in 1933 for Black Mask and he published his first great Philip Marlowe novel, The Big Sleep, in 1939.

You can read my Washington Times review of The Annotated Big Sleep via the below link:


And you can read my Crime Beat on Raymond Chandler's influence on crime films and crime novels via the below link:


Former Government Contractor Sentenced To Nine Years In Federal Prison For Willful Retention Of National Defense Information

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

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Harold Thomas Martin, III, age 54, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, to nine years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for willful retention of national defense information.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.
“Harold Martin was entrusted with some of the nation’s most sensitive information,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “Instead of respecting the trust given to him by the American people, Martin violated that trust and put our nation’s security at risk.  This sentence will hold Mr. Martin accountable for his dangerous and unlawful actions.”
“For nearly 20 years, Harold Martin betrayed the trust placed in him by stealing and retaining a vast quantity of highly classified national defense information entrusted to him,” stated U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “This sentence, which is one of the longest ever imposed in this type of case, should serve as a warning that we will find and prosecute government employees and contractors who flagrantly violate their duty to protect classified materials.”
“Whether an individual is a federal contractor or government employee, when given the privilege of holding a security clearance, the American people expect classified information to be protected,” said Assistant Director Brown.  “That is essential to protecting our national security.  In this case, Harold Martin was a serial offender in retaining national defense information for more than two decades.  Today’s sentencing should signal that the FBI takes these violations extremely seriously and will vigorously investigate cases when people improperly handle classified information.”
“Harold Martin took an oath to preserve and protect the nation's secrets, and violated that oath repeatedly over many years, causing damage with his unlawful mishandling of classified information,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone, FBI Baltimore Field Office.  “Martin’s actions harmed Intelligence Community sources and methods.  The vitality and integrity of the Intelligence Community requires the strictest adherence to the law for handling classified information.  The FBI will be tireless in investigating cases like the Martin case.”
According to his plea agreement, from December 1993 through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin was employed by at least seven different private companies and assigned as a contractor to work at a number of government agencies.  Martin was required to receive and maintain a security clearance in order to work at each of the government agencies to which he was assigned.  Martin held security clearances up to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) at various times.  A Top Secret classification means that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.  An SCI designation compartmentalizes extremely sensitive information.  Because of his work responsibilities and security clearance, Martin was able to access government computer systems, programs, and information in secure locations, including classified national defense information.  Over his many years of holding a security clearance, Martin received training regarding classified information and his duty to protect classified materials from unauthorized disclosure.
Martin admitted that beginning in the late 1990s and continuing through Aug. 31, 2016, he stole and retained U.S. government property from secure locations and computer systems, including documents in both hard copy and digital form relating to the national defense, that bore markings indicating that they were the property of the United States and contained highly classified information of the United States, including Top Secret/SCI information. 
As detailed in his plea agreement, Martin retained the stolen documents and other classified information at his residence and in his vehicle.  Martin knew that the hard copy and digital documents stolen from his workplace contained classified information that related to the national defense and that he was never authorized to retain these documents at his residence or in his vehicle.  Martin admitted that he also knew that the unauthorized removal of these materials risked their disclosure, which would be damaging to the national security of the United States and highly useful to its adversaries.
In court documents and at today’s sentencing hearing, the government noted that crimes such as Martin’s not only create a risk of unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, highly classified information, but often require the government to treat the stolen material as compromised, resulting in the government having to take remedial actions including changing or abandoning national security programs.  In addition, Martin’s criminal conduct caused the government to expend substantial investigative and analytical resources.  The diversion of those resources resulted in significant costs.  
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked the National Security Agency for its assistance.  Mr. Hur and Mr. Demers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and Harvey E. Eisenberg, and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, who prosecuted the case.

Monday, July 22, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'American Predator: The Hunt For The Most Meticulous Serial Killer Of The 21st Century'

The Washington Times published my review of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century.

Serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are mostly well known to the general public, but one serial killer, Israel Keyes, an organized and well-traveled predator, is likely not as well known.

Maureen Callahan’s book, “American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century,” may change that.

“The rarest form of murder is serial. Despite what we see on “CSI” or “Mindhunters” or the films and procedurals that dominate popular culture, people who kill randomly and for no reason are extremely uncommon. Its why they loom so large in our collective mindscape,” Ms. Callahan writes in the preface of her book. “It’s also why many of us think we know of every such American killer. But the subject of this book was unlike anything the FBI had ever encountered. He was a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest string of unsolved disappearances and murders in modern American history.

“And you have probably never heard of him.”

A big, strong man, Israel Keyes killed at random as he traveled across the country, even to Alaska. He buried his “kill kits,” which included cash, guns, and body-disposal tools, at various locations in the states that he passed through and/or lived. He had no particular M.O., and he covered his tracks well. He killed at least 11 people, but no one knows the exact number of his victims.

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


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ernest Hemingway On Life And Being A Writer

On the anniversary of the late, great writer Ernest Hemingway’s birthday, below are some of his most famous thoughts on life and being a writer:

In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway has his character Santiago say, “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” 

The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.

Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don't cheat with it.

Ernest Hemingway defined the word "courage" as "grace under pressure". When describing someone he considered to be a hero, Hemingway wrote that his hero is: "... a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful."

You can read my previous post on Hemingway via the below link:


On This Day In History American Writer Ernest Hemingway Was Born

On this day in 1899 the late, great writer Ernest Hemingway was born.

As I noted in my Washington Times review of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, I've been a Hemingway aficionado since I was a teenager in the 1960s.

… This collection, edited by Hemingway’s grandson, Sean Hemingway, with a foreword by Hemingway’s son Patrick, is the fourth in a series of annotated editions of his work. The book offers some of his best known stories, such as “The Killers,” “Fifty Grand,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” (three of my favorites), as well as a few unpublished stories and his early drafts and notes.

“Ernest Hemingway is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His writing, with its powerful, understated prose and economy of words, has influenced countless writers,” Sean Hemingway writes in his introduction to the collection. “More than any other writer of his time, Hemingway changed the course of literature and furthered the written expression of the human condition. His novels, such as ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ have entered into the canon of world literature, but it is arguably his contributions to the art of the short story that are his greatest literary achievement.”

You can read my Washington Times review of Hemingway’s short stories via the below link:


You can also read my Washington Times review of Hemingway at War via the below link:


And you can read my Crime Beat column, Hemingway On Crime, via the below link:


A Little Humor: Fun In Hell

A big, tough outlaw biker died and found himself in Hell. 

As he is wallowing in despair, he has his first meeting with the Devil.

Devil: “Why so glum?”

Biker : “What do you think? I’m in Hell!”

Devil: “Hell’s not so bad. We actually have a lot of fun down here. You a drinking man?”

Biker : “Sure, I love to drink.”

Devil: “Well, you’re gonna love Mondays then. On Mondays, that’s all we do is drink. Bombay Sapphire, tequila, Guinness, red wine, single malt scotch. We drink ’til we throw up and then we drink some more! And you don’t have to worry about getting a hangover, because you’re dead anyway.”

Biker : “Gee that sounds great!”

Devil: “You a smoker?”

Biker : “You better believe it.”

Devil: “All right! You’re gonna love Tuesdays. We get the finest cigars from all over the world, and we smoke our lungs out. If you get cancer, no biggie, you’re already dead, remember?”

Biker : “Wow…that’s awesome!”

Devil: “I bet you like to gamble.”

Biker : “Yeah, I do.”

Devil: “Good,’ cause Wednesdays you can gamble all you want. Craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, slots, whatever. If you go bankrupt, it doesn’t matter, you’re dead anyhow.”

Biker : “Cool!”

Devil: “What about Drugs?”

Biker : “Are you kidding? I love drugs!"

Devil: “Thursday is drug day. Help yourself to a great big bowl of crack or smack. Smoke a doobie the size of a submarine. You can do all the drugs you want. You’re dead so who cares.”

Biker : “Wow! I never realized Hell was such a cool place!”

Devil: “Are you gay? Do you like men?"

Biker : “Hell, no……”

Satan: “Ooooh, then Fridays are gonna be tough……”

Note: The above photo is of Jon Lovitz as the Devil appearing on People’s Court on an episode of Saturday Night Live.

'N.Y.P.D': A Look Back At A 1960s Gritty, Realistic Cop TV Series

I recently came across a video on youtube.com of N.Y.P.D., a gritty, realistic TV cop show that aired from 1967 to 1969.

I recall that I enjoyed the show when I was a teenager, and after watching three episodes, the show appears to have held up.

Jack Warden, Robert Hooks and Frank Converse (all seen in the below photo) were the stars of the show, and many young actors, such as Al Pacino, guest starred on the program and later went on to become major film stars.

The three detectives worked murders and other crimes and the show filmed at actual New York locations. Many of the shows were based on actual crime cases.

You can watch three of the show's episodes via the below links: