Thursday, July 29, 2010

My On Crime & Security Column: Take Steps To Avoid the Violent Crime of Carjacking

The online small business magazine Businessknowhow.com published my On Crime & Security column today.

My column covers the violent crime of carjacking and I offer tips on how to avoid being carjacked.

You can read my column via the below link:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/security/carjacking.htm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WikiLeaks Release of Classified Documents Endangers American Troops in Afghanistan


Thriller writer Tom Clancy once told a reporter that if someone tried to give him classified information, he'd call the FBI. Unfortunately, few writers, journalists and political activists share this view.
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As a writer who covers crime, espionage and terrorism, I'm in contact with many former and current military, intelligence, security and law enforcement officers. Like Tom Clancy, I would never accept classified information.
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Having spent more than 37 years doing security work for the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department - man and boy, sailor and civilian - I know that the release of classified information endangers American troops, government civilian officials and citizens
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The exposure of classified information often fuels dangerous criminals and terrorists who wish to do us harm.
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I believe the recent release of classified documents by WikiLeaks will do harm to our troops serving bravely in Afghanistan.
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I'd like to see the U.S. soldier or official responsible for the leaks shot, just as I believe John Walker and other American spies and traitors ought to be executed.
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Below is a link to a FoxNews piece on The Times of London report that the names of many Afghans who provided intelligence to American forces were exposed in the released classified documents.
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http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/07/27/leaked-afghan-war-files-expose-identities-informants/
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For more information on the leaks, below are two pieces from the American Forces Press Service.
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Pentagon Launches Probe into Document Leaks
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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden, American Forces Press Service
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WASHINGTON, July 27, 2010 - The Pentagon has launched an investigation to find out how thousands of classified military documents were leaked to the group WikiLeaks.org, a Defense Department spokesman said.
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The Army's Criminal Investigation Division, also known as CID, is heading the investigation, Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan told Pentagon reporters today.
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"An investigation has been initiated and Army CID has the lead," Lapan said.
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Having the Army take charge of the investigation doesn't suggest that Army personnel are responsible for the leaks, Lapan explained. CID was chosen for its capabilities in such matters, he said.
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"CID is an investigative agency that has the ability, the capability, to do these types of things," Lapan said. "There are a number of investigative agencies within the Pentagon, but the decision was made that Army CID takes the lead."
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Army CID, he said, also is investigating the case of Army Spc. Bradley Manning (seen in the above photo), who has been charged with leaking a video of a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq to WikiLeaks. The document leaks investigation is a continuation or extension of the existing open investigation on Manning, Lapan said.
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However, he added, the document leak investigation is "broader" than the Manning case.
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"The current investigation into the leak of the documents to WikiLeaks isn't focused on any one, specific individual," Lapan said. "It's much broader. They're going to look everywhere to determine what the source may be."
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In an interview broadcast today on a segment of MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" television news show, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell (seen in the below photo) said that Manning "is a person of interest with regards to this leak, but we just don't know at this point."
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Morrell said the question was posed to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently about changing the way the Pentagon shares information with uniformed members. Gates, he said, doesn't believe that that sort of adjustment is necessary.
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"What makes our military the envy of the world is that we entrust the most-junior officers, the most-junior enlisted with incredible amounts of responsibility," Morrell said. "Gates doesn't want to alter that dynamic, that trust element that exists because of one or two 'bad seeds.'"
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The answer, Morrell said, is "to go after the 'bad actors,' hold them responsible, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, but don't change the fundamental trusting relationship that makes the military so effective."
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The documents, reportedly given to several U.S. and international media weeks ago, are said to detail field reports from Afghanistan, as well as alleged Pakistani partnership with the Taliban. The more than 90,000 documents cover the period from January 2004 through December 2009, according to news reports.
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Morrell refuted questions about Pakistan being a questionable ally, saying Pakistan is a sovereign nation with its own interests. The U.S. military is thankful, he said, that Pakistan's interest in eliminating terrorists coincides with that of the United States.
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"We are aligned in that respect," Morrell said of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. "But we each have our own interests here that we have to balance and work through. We think we're making a lot of progress there, but we're not alone in the driver's seat.
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"As Secretary Gates says, we're in the passenger seat. They're at the wheel," Morrell continued. "They determine the direction and the pace, but we're going to be their partner in this effort."
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On questions regarding the documents' outlining of miscues in Afghanistan, Morrell said the United States effort there is long term and moving in the right direction. Although civilian casualties there are a concern, he said, the numbers are down by a third this year, while the civilian casualties taken at the hands of the Taliban has nearly doubled.
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Morrell noted "rules of engagement" changes U.S. and international forces made a year ago when former commander of forces in Afghanistan Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal took the helm.
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"General McChrystal, when he came in, instituted this tactical directive which has seen civilian casualties, due to our forces and coalition forces [efforts], plummet by a third this year," Morrell said. Meanwhile, he said, Afghan civilian casualties caused by the Taliban casualties are up by about 90 percent.
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Turning back to the WikiLeaks situation, Morrell noted that the Pentagon's investigation of the leaked documents continues.
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"To the issue of whether it's damaged operational security or endangered our forces, we're still trying to get our arms around that," he said. "We've got a team working around the clock going through them bit by bit to try to see is there any information in there that could imperil our forces, our coalition partners, the civilians who are on the battlefield with us.
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"And are there any things in there that could jeopardize our operations or our nation's security?" he continued. "We just don't know at this point."
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Chairman Appalled by Wikileaks Release
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By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service
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ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, July 27, 2010 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he is "appalled" by the breach of security represented by the Wikileaks case.
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Navy Admiral Mike Mullen (seen in the above photo) told reporters traveling with him that the leaks could put American service members at risk. Investigators are still sifting through some 90,000 classified documents to determine the exact harm that the release could bring, he said.
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The chairman said the information is older – from 2004 to 2009 – and this may mitigate the situation to an extent. Many of the documents are field reports covering the situation in Pakistan.
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"From the time I've been chairman I've been very clear about the need to improve the relationship with Pakistan, re-establish the trust that was broken in the 1990s," he said. "In the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, none of us have been anything but very forthcoming on the criticality of Pakistan. We can't get at the safe havens that we know exist in Pakistan without their cooperation."
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The chairman is very concerned about the release of these documents. "Releasing classified documents could put in jeopardy American lives," he said.
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"We're going through a review to see in fact if that release has done that. But in my experience with troops from conventional to special forces, I think sometimes people don't appreciate what information could be out there that makes their jobs a lot more difficult and in fact, could jeopardize their lives."
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"I feel very strongly to do all we can to make sure leaks like this don't occur in the future," he continued.
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Mullen spoke to the reporters aboard an Air Force C-17 transport following meeting in Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan. Previously the chairman had visited Islamabad, Pakistan; New Delhi, India and Seoul, South Korea
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Crime Beat Column: Manhattan Noir 2, The Classics


I love short stories and I truly love short stories about crime.
   
Back in May I wrote a column about a collection of short stories called Boston Noir (which can be read here http://www.pauldavisoncrime.com/2010/05/on-crime-thrillers-column-boston-noir.html 

At the end of my column I asked why there was no Philly noir collection and an editor at Akashic Books subsequently informed me that a collection of Philly crime noir stories would soon be published.

So while I wait for the Philly collection, I read another one of Akashic’s noir series, Manhattan Noir 2, The Classics.

This book greatly interested me as it contained short stories by several writers that I’m very fond of, including O. Henry and Damon Runyon.

One of the movies I try to watch every Christmas season is O. Henry's Full House. The 1952 film featured five O. Henry stories, each segment with a different director. Author John Steinbeck introduced each segment. Some of the stories have a Christmas theme and all of the stories contain the famous twist at the end.

The film features two moving segments based on O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf. The other three stories in the film deal with crime.

Actor Charles Laughton is brilliant in The Cop and the Anthem. The Clarion Call, directed by Henry Hathaway, features Dale Robertson as a cop who is beholding to a hoodlum portrayed by Richard Widmark. Both actors are superb. And The Ransom of Red Chief, directed by Howard Hawks, features the great comic Fred Allen as the con man and crook who wishes he didn’t kidnap the odd and terrible little boy who calls himself Red Chief.

I love these stories and the film does them justice, I believe.

Lawrence Block, the author of Eight Million Ways To Die and other crime stories, edited Manhattan Noir and Manhattan Noir 2, The Classics. He wrote in the introduction of Manhattan Noir 2 that for the first book all he had to do was to persuade some of the best writers in the country to produce new dark stories set in Manhattan.

“And to do so for a fee that fell somewhere between honorarium and pittance,” Block added.

“They turned in magnificent work, and I turned in the fruits of their labors, and that was pretty much it,” Block explained. “Nice work if you can get it.”

But with this book, Block had to find the stories and he noted that it was not that easy.

“I knew I wanted to include O. Henry and Damon Runyon — but which O.Henry story? Which story of Runyon’s? I did not want to resort to the anthologist’s ploy of picking stories from other people’s anthologies — this, of course, is one reason everybody knows The Gift of the Magi and Little Miss Marker, while so many equally delightful stories remain unknown to the general reader,” Block explained.

Block stated that he read all of O. Henry’s New York stories and all of Damon Runyon’s stories and then he narrowed the field until he could select a single story from each author.

Block informs us that money had much to do with the publishing of these classic short stories.

“Consider this: In 1902, William Sydney Porter, whom you and the rest of the world know as O. Henry, moved to New York after serving a prison sentence in Ohio (he’d been convicted of embezzling $854.08 from a bank in Austin, Texas.) Within a year he had been contracted to write a weekly short story for a newspaper, the New York World,” Block wrote.

Block wrote that Porter received $100 for each story, which was very good money in those days (and not too bad these days, I might add).

“O. Henry published his first short story collection in 1904, and his tenth in1910,” Block wrote. “He never wrote a novel. He never had to.”

Block selected O. Henry’s The Furnished Room for his collection.

“Restless, shifting, fugacious as time itself is a certain vast bulk of the population of the red brick district of the lower West Side,” O. Henry wrote. “Homeless, they have a hundred homes. They flit from furnished room to furnished room, transients forever — transients in abode, transients in heart and mind. They sing “Home Sweet Home” in ragtime; they carry their lares et penates in a bandbox; their vine is entwined about a picture hat; a rubber plant is their fig tree.

“Hence the houses of this district, having had a thousand dwellers, should have a thousand tales to tell, mostly dull ones, no doubt; but it would be strange if there could not be found a ghost or two in the wake of all these vagrant guests.’

O. Henry’s story deals with a young man who is searching through these boarding houses that are home to transient theatrical entertainers. He is searching for a young woman.

“Consider Damon Runyon,” Block wrote in the introduction. “”Today’s readers know him chiefly for Guys and Dolls, the brilliant musical based on his stories.”

Block noted that Runyon was already a great success as a Broadway columnist when he began writing fiction in 1929. His stories about gangsters, gamblers, entertainers and other Broadway characters appeared in Cosmopolitan, Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post.

“Damon Runyon never wrote a novel. He never had to either.”

Block selected Johnny One-Eye as the Runyon story for this collection.

The story is about a showdown and shoot-out between two gangsters and how a scruffy and injured kitten enters between them. One of the kitten’s eyes is closed, hence the name one of the gangsters gives him.

Manhattan Noir 2, The Classics also offers short stories by Evan Hunter, Irwin Shaw, Stephen Crane, Donald E. Westlake, Joyce Carol Oates and other great writers. The book also includes Edgar Allen Poe’s great poem The Raven.

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Tell Intel: Oliver North On The Washington Post's Series "Top Secret America"

Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North wrote an interesting column about The Washington Post's series on the intelligence community, Top Secret America.

In North's column he notes we are at war and explains why we can't fight this war without contractors and good intelligence.

You can read North's column via the below link:

http://townhall.com/columnists/OliverNorth/2010/07/23/no_tell_intel

Although The Post used public sources for the series and didn't use classified information, I believe they did the country a disservice by performing the leg work for any criminal, spy and terrorist who wishes our country harm.

As one who performed security work for the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department for more than 37 years - man and boy, sailor and civilian - I'm well aware of government redundancies and inefficiencies. They exist in the government, sure, and they should be corrected. But they also exist in business and they even exist in non-profit organizations. I'll bet they exist at The Washington Post.

As for outsourcing intelligence, I'd prefer to keep it in-house in the military and the civilian intelligence agencies, but often the technical ability resides in the public sector. And lets not forget that defense contractors have aided the military in all of America's wars. This is not a new concept.

The Post series does not acknowledge that the government's intelligence community, bloated and redundant as they are, managed to thwart dozens of terrorist plots against the United States. The intelligence community deserves America's thanks.

I also think some attention should be given to one of the authors of The Post's series. Bill Arkin is hardly an objective reporter. Arkin is notoriously left-wing and anti-military. His bias should be noted if and when you read this series.

Below is a partial transcript from a Fox News exchange between Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly on the subject of Bill Arkin:


O'REILLY: Now, on the Arkin front, William Arkin, unbelievable left wing bomb thrower, page 1, "New York Post" story, along with Dana Priest.

HUME: "The Washington Post."

O'REILLY: Oh, "Washington Post," I'm sorry.

HUME: Right.

O'REILLY: "Washington Post" story, along with Dana Priest. I thought it was decently reported. I don't have a beef with it as I said. But Arkin, I have a huge beef with it. How do you see it?

HUME: Well, I just am surprised at the way "The Post" characterized him. They treated him on this front page story. You know, this is not, you know, the front page of their outlook section, which is their opinion and commentary section. This was the front page of the newspaper today. This story had been promoted and hyped for days ahead of time. And side by side with Dana Priest, who is, whatever you may think of her, is a veteran correspondent in Washington. She is a reporter in the sense -- in the standard conventional sense of that word. Bill Arkin has never been that. He came out of Human Rights Watch, Green Peace, the Institute for Policy Studies, all left wing organizations. He has been a defense intellectual of the left for many, many years. He has written -- "The Post" said he'd been a reporter and columnist for them. He may have written columns for them. To my knowledge, he's never been a reporter for "The Washington Post" or any other newspaper. And among the things he said, for example, this was when we were about -- in the onset of the war in Iraq. "And I can't help but feel cynical about the fact that we're going to war to enhance the economic interests of the Enron class". That's pretty strong medicine for somebody who is to later be treated by the "The Washington Post" as a, "reporter". I don't think so.

O'REILLY: Okay, so why would the "The Washington Post" risk its reputation by giving this guy this kind of platform and assignment?

HUME: Well, my guess is that he was kind of the guide on this story. Now look, say this for Bill Arkin--

O'REILLY: That's what Bernie said, right.

HUME: --he's not -- he is ignorant of what goes on in the defense committee. He knows a lot. And he's deeply interested in it. And he studies it. And undoubtedly, he has contacts. And he picks up things in the defense and intelligence areas. The problem with him is not that he doesn't know a lot. The problem is that he has an ax to grind. Now what you do if somebody like this comes, you know, to you with a story, if you're a, you know, ordinary garden variety reporter is you check it out, you make it your own eventually, you develop sources of your own to verify what he's saying. What you don't normally do is make him your co-reporter and share a byline with him. That's very unusual by the standards that I came up with.

O'REILLY: All right. Now the Obama administration didn't like this story. Obviously, it doesn't reflect well on them to have this huge out- of-control intelligence apparatus. And that's the main thrust of the story, that cost a fortune. And nobody knows, you know, what they're doing. And they can't crosscheck them. And it's completely out of control. So Arkin actually turned on his own by making the Obama administration look like they can't handle the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
HUME: Well, look, I don't know, you know, whether he voted for Barack Obama or not, or whether he's an Obama sympathizer. What I do think about Arkin is that he is a person who has been a very strong critic of the U.S. military and intelligence establishments. And that is where his opinions and his feelings run. He is, you know, broadly, loosely speaking, anti- military.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

President Ronald Reagan's Star Wars Dream Come True: U.S. Navy's Laser Weapon System Shoots Down Aerial Drones In Test

President Ronald Reagan was mocked in the 1980s for his dream of a "Star Wars" anti-missile defense shield, but he may have the last laugh.

CBSNews.com reports that the U.S. Navy has successfully used a laser weapon system to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in a recent test.

Raytheon is developing the system for the Navy and perhaps we will soon have an excellent anti-missile defense system to shield us from missiles launched from countries like Iran, North Korea, and other adversaries.

You can read the CBSNews.com report and see a video of the laser shoot down via the below link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20011041-501465.html

President Reagan would be proud.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Papa. Ernest Hemingway's Life In Photos/Hemingway On Crime

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Happy Birthday, Papa. The great American writer Ernest Hemingway was born on this date in 1899. Below is his life in photos:
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Below is a link to my online column Hemingway:

http://pauldavisoncrime.blogspot.com/search?q=Hemingway+on+crime

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jay Leno On Crime & Cats

I've always enjoyed Jay Leno's monologue on The Tonight Show.
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Below are some jokes from his latest:
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"All of Mel Gibson’s troubles could have been avoided if he’d just made those calls with the iPhone . None of them would have gone through.
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O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, has agreed to represent Lindsay Lohan, but only if she agrees to go to jail. Where was this deal when O.J. was on trial?
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Dick Cheney is recovering from heart surgery in the hospital. I understand Fox sent flowers, and MSNBC sent a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.
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A new study says that having a cat makes you 40 percent less likely to die of a heart attack. Not that the cat would care one way or the other.
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Good stuff.
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But my adopted feral two-year-old cat, Kit (seen in the photo below), would surly miss me - come feeding time.
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Sea Hunt: Remembering Lloyd Bridges' Mike Nelson, a TV Hero in the Early 1960s


The International Legends of Diving web site offers a fond look back at the character of Mike Nelson.

Nelson, portrayed by Lloyd Bridges in the TV program Sea Hunt in the early 1960s, was a hero to many kids of that era.

You can read the piece about Mike Nelson via the link below:

http://www.internationallegendsofdiving.com/featuredlegends/Mike_Nelson_bio.htm


Note: Mike Nelson was an early hero of mine, as I was fascinated by the sea and scuba diving. Sea Hunt was one of several influences that inspired me to dream about one day becoming a sailor and a scuba diver.

When I was a kid I dreamed about sailing around the world and diving in exotic, tropical oceans, and thankfully I was able to do so as an adult.

I also liked the TV character because my father had been, like the fictional Mike Nelson, a U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition (UDT) frogman in World War II. (My late father was Chief Edward Miller Davis, UDT 5).

Not too long ago I watched an episode of Sea Hunt on http://www.hulu.com/ and I thought the old show held up pretty well over the years.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Traitors, Spies and Fidel Castro's True Believers: Walter Kendall Myers, Gwendolyn Myers & Ana Montes


While there has been front page news coverage about the roll up of the Russian spy ring and the subsequent spy swap, a much more serious spy case has concluded with lessor fanfare on July 16th.
 
Walther Kendall Myers, a former U.S. State Department official, was sentenced to life in prison and his wife Gwendoyn was sentenced to 81 months. The elderly couple (seen in the above photo) spied for Cuba for nearly 30 years.
 
Although Cuba is a pitiful little Communist dictatorship on a small island 90-miles off Key West, Florida, their intelligence service is very aggressive and they share their intelligence with other adversaries of America. The Myers are the latest Americans to betray America because they are true believers in Fidel Castro and his evil little country.
 
Ana Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, also spied for Cuba. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2002.
 
You can read more below about the traitors, spies and Castro's true believers; Walter Kendall Myers, Gwendolyn Myers, and Ana Montes:
 
Below is a U.S. Justice Department release on the Myers' sentencing:

Former State Department Official Sentenced to Life in Prison for Nearly 30-year Espionage Conspiracy, Wife of Official Sentenced to Nearly Seven Years in Prison for Her Role.

WASHINGTON -- Walter Kendall Myers, a former State Department official, and his wife, wendolyn Steingraber Myers, have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and 81 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a nearly 30-year conspiracy to provide highly-classified U.S. national defense information to the Republic of Cuba.

The sentences, handed down today by Judge Reggie B. Walton in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Shawn Henry, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Ambassador Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.

On Nov. 20, 2009, defendant Kendall Myers, 73, aka “Agent 202,” pleaded guilty to a three-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud. His wife, Gwendolyn Myers, 72, aka “Agent 123,” and “Agent E-634,” pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging her with conspiracy to gather and transmit national defense information. The defendants, both residents of Washington, D.C., were arrested on June 4, 2009, by FBI agents and have remained in custody ever since.

Both defendants have agreed to the entry of a monetary judgment against them in the amount of $1,735,054. The assets that will be forfeited to the government towards satisfaction of that judgment include the proceeds from the sale of the defendants’ apartment and vehicle, and various bank and investment accounts.

“For nearly 30 years, this couple proudly committed espionage on behalf of a long-standing foreign adversary. Today, they are being held accountable for their actions. Their sentences should serve as a clear warning to others who would willingly compromise our nation’s most sensitive classified information,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

“Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers were brought to justice not because they were careless, but because of an extremely well-planned and executed counterintelligence investigation that required the unprecedented cooperation of multiple agencies of the U.S. government tasked with protecting our national security,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “Others like the Myers who are presently betraying the trust that this country has placed in them should know that they are not safe from prosecution regardless of how careful they think they are being. As with Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers, they will be caught and brought to justice.”

Shawn Henry, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said: “The Myers made a conscious decision to betray the United States and its citizens. The FBI, along with its partners in the U.S. Intelligence Community, will continue to aggressively pursue anyone who seeks to cause the same harm.”

“Walter Kendall Myers betrayed his country. By committing acts of espionage Myers grievously violated the confidence placed in him by the U.S. Department of State and the American people. Today, he has been rightfully sentenced for crimes against our nation,” said Assistant Secretary for State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell.

Background

According to the sentencing memorandum, plea agreements and other documents filed in court by the United States:

Kendall Myers began working at the State Department in 1977 as a contract instructor at the Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Arlington, Va. After living briefly with Gwendolyn in South Dakota, he returned to Washington, D.C., and resumed employment as an instructor with FSI. From 1988 to 1999, in addition to his FSI duties, he performed work for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). He later worked full-time in INR and, from July 2001 until his retirement in October 2007, was an intelligence analyst for Europe in INR where he specialized on European matters and had daily access to classified information through computer databases and otherwise. He received a “Top Secret” security clearance in 1985 and, in 1999, received access to “Sensitive Compartmental Information.”

Gwendolyn Myers moved to Washington, D.C., in 1980 and married Kendall Myers in May 1982. She later obtained employment with a local bank as an administrative analyst and later as a special assistant. Gwendolyn Myers was never granted a security clearance by the U.S. government.

Recruitment

In December 1978, while an employee of the State Department’s FSI, Kendall Myers traveled to Cuba after being invited by a Cuban government official who had made a presentation at FSI. That Cuban official was an intelligence officer for the Cuban Intelligence Service (CuIS). This trip provided CuIS with the opportunity to assess or develop Myers as a Cuban agent. Myers kept a diary of his two-week trip to Cuba in which he explicitly declared his affinity for Fidel Castro and the Cuban government. The diary was recovered by the FBI in the investigation.

In 1979, Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers were visited in South Dakota by the same Cuban intelligence officer who had invited Kendall Myers to Cuba. During the visit, the Cuban intelligence officer recruited both of them to be clandestine agents for Cuba, a role in which they served for the next 30 years. Their recruitment by CuIS as “paired” agents is consistent with CuIS’s past practice in the United States. Afterwards, CuIS directed Kendall Myers to pursue a job at the State Department or the CIA to gain access to classified information. Kendall Myers, accompanied by his wife, returned to Washington, D.C., where he pursued a position at the State Department.

During the time frame in which Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers were serving as clandestine agents for Cuba, the CuIS often communicated with its clandestine agents in the United States by broadcasting encrypted radio messages from Cuba on shortwave radio frequencies. Clandestine agents in the United States monitoring the frequency on shortwave radio could decode the messages using a decryption program provided by CuIS. Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers communicated with CuIS by this method. The shortwave radio they used to receive clandestine communications was purchased with money provided by CuIS. The shortwave radio was later recovered by the FBI.

Undercover Operation

According to the court documents, in April 2009, the FBI launched an undercover operation against the pair. Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers met four times with an undercover FBI source, on April 15th, 16th and 30th, and on June 4, 2009. The meetings were all video- and audio-taped.

During the meetings, Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers made a series of statements about their past activities on behalf of CuIS, including how they used code names and how they had transmitted information to their CuIS handlers through personal meetings, “dead drops,” “hand-to-hand” passes, and in at least one case, the exchange of shopping carts in a grocery store. The couple also stated that they had traveled to meet Cuban agents in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and other locations.

When asked by the undercover FBI agent if he had ever transmitted information to CuIS that was classified higher than “Secret,” Kendall Myers replied, “oh yeah…oh yeah.” He said he typically removed information from the State Department by memory or by taking notes, although he did take some classified documents home. Gwendolyn Myers admitted she would process the classified documents at home for delivery to their CuIS handlers. In the final meeting with the FBI source, Kendall Myers disclosed “Top Secret” national defense information related to sources and methods of gathering intelligence. He also admitted that he had previously disclosed the information to CuIS.

Corroboration

The admissions by Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers were corroborated by other evidence collected in the investigation. The FBI seized a shortwave radio in their apartment and confirmed overseas trips by the couple that corresponded to statements they made. The FBI also identified encrypted shortwave radio messages between CuIS and a handler for the couple that were broadcast in 1996 and 1997.

Furthermore, an analysis of Kendall Myers’ State Department computer revealed that, from August 22, 2006, until his retirement on Oct. 31, 2007, he viewed more than 200 intelligence reports concerning the subject of Cuba. Of these reports concerning Cuba, the majority was classified and marked “Secret” or “Top Secret.” The FBI also located handwritten notes by Kendall Myers reflecting the gathering and retention of “Top Secret” information which he intended to provide the CuIS, but never did.

Finally, since at least 1983 and until 2007, Kendall Myers made repeated false statements to government investigators responsible for conducting background investigations which determined his continued suitability for a “Top Secret” security clearance. By not disclosing his and his wife’s clandestine activity on behalf of CuIS and by making false statements to the State Department about their status as clandestine Cuban agents, he defrauded the United States whenever he received his government salary. Based on these false representations and promises, Kendall Myers obtained at least $1,735,054 in salary from the U.S. government for the benefit of him and his wife.

This investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Harvey, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Senior Trial Attorney Clifford I. Rones, from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

 
I reviewed True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy, by Scott W. Carmichael for The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2007.
 
Carmichael was a Defense Intelligence Agency investigator who worked with the FBI and federal prosecutors on the Montes case.
 
You can read my review via the two links below:
 
 
And Below is the FBI's account of the Ana Montes case:
 
The Case of the Cuban Spy

A "cheat sheet" provided by Cuban intelligence that Ana Montes used to help her encrypt and decrypt messages to and from her handlers.

Just 10 days after the attacks of 9/11, the FBI arrested a 44-year-old woman named Ana Belen Montes.

She had nothing to do with the terrorist strikes, but her arrest had everything to do with protecting the country at a time when national security was of paramount importance.

Montes, it turned out, was spying for the Cubans from inside the U.S. intelligence community itself—as a senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA. And she was soon to have access to classified information about America’s planned invasion of Afghanistan the following month.

Montes was actually the DIA’s top Cuban analyst and was known throughout the U.S. intelligence community for her expertise. Little did anyone know how much of an expert she had become…and how much she was leaking classified U.S. military information and deliberately distorting the government’s views on Cuba.

It began as a classic tale of recruitment. In 1984, Montes held a clerical job at the Department of Justice in Washington. She often spoke openly against the U.S. government’s policies towards Central America. Soon, her opinions caught the attention of Cuban “officials” who thought she’d be sympathetic to their cause. She met with them. Soon after, Montes agreed to help Cuba.

She knew she needed a job inside the intelligence community to do that, so she applied at DIA, a key producer of intelligence for the Pentagon. By the time she started work there in 1985, she was a fully recruited spy.

Montes was smart. To escape detection, she never removed any documents from work, electronically or in hard copy. Instead, she kept the details in her head and went home and typed them up on her laptop. Then, she transferred the information onto encrypted disks. After receiving instructions from the Cubans in code via short-wave radio, she’d meet with her handler and turn over the disks.
 
Below is a photo of Montes' "cheat sheet."
 

During her years at DIA, security officials learned about her foreign policy views and were concerned about her access to sensitive information, but they had no reason to believe she was sharing secrets. And she had passed a polygraph.

Her downfall began in 1996, when an astute DIA colleague—acting on a gut feeling—reported to a security official that he felt Montes might be under the influence of Cuban intelligence. The official interviewed her, but she admitted nothing.

The security officer filed the interview away until four years later, when he learned that the FBI was working to uncover an unidentified Cuban agent operating in Washington. He contacted the Bureau with his suspicions. After a careful review of the facts, the FBI opened an investigation.

Through physical and electronic surveillance and covert searches, the FBI was able to build a case against Montes. Agents also wanted to identify her Cuban handler and were waiting for a face-to-face meeting between the two of them, which is why they held off arresting her for some time.
 
However, outside events overtook the investigation—as a result of the 9/11 attacks, Montes was about to be assigned work related to U.S. war plans. The Bureau and DIA didn’t want that to happen, so she was arrested.

What was Montes’ motivation for spying? Pure ideology—she disagreed with U.S. foreign policy. Montes accepted no money for passing classified information, except for reimbursements for some expenses.

Montes, who acknowledged revealing the identities of four American undercover intelligence officers working in Cuba, pled guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Crime Beat Column: Get Capone, The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster

I’ve been a student of crime since I was a 12-year-old aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia in the early 1960s.

My interest in crime, and my particular interest in organized crime, stems partly from my being half-Italian and my coming of age in South Philly, the hub of the Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra organized crime family. Angelo Bruno, the long-time local mob boss, lived around the corner from my home.

Richard Zappile, an Italian-American who rose in the Philadelphia Police Department to become the Deputy Police Commissioner, also lived around the corner from my boyhood home. When Zappile was the Chief of Detectives, he was the cop who locked up the mob guys.

During one of my interviews with Zappile in a local newspaper in the 1990s, he said that organized crime members were very small in numbers and that most Italian-Americans, and most South Philadelphians, were honest and hard working.

Zappile was right, of course. South Philly was not then or now all mob guys, racketeers and gamblers - but the mob guys sort of stood out.

My early interest in organized crime also stems from the TV program The Untouchables, which aired from 1959 to 1963. I loved that program as a kid and I don’t think I missed an episode.

Robert Stack as the incorruptible federal prohibition agent Eliot Ness was an early hero of mine, and I loved the voice of former columnist and radio broadcaster Walter Winchell, who narrated the program as if it were a crime documentary.

I recently watched the program on DVD and I’m sad to say that it does not hold up. The show is historically inaccurate. The Italians are portrayed as caricatures and real mob guys, according to Gay Talese, the author of Honor Thy Father, got a kick out of the show. They watched it as if it were an early version of Saturday Night Live .

The TV program was not realistic - nor was Brian De Palma’s 1987 film The Untouchables, although I thought Sean Connery and Robert De Niro were great in the film - but TV’s The Untouchables introduced me to the Prohibition era, Elliot Ness and a larger-than-life character named Al Capone.

Actor Neville Brand was miscast as the notorious gangster, but the TV show led me to read about Al Capone and true crime history.

Later, while attending Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Ill in 1970, I visited Chicago and I took the crime tour. We stopped at several notorious crime landmarks, including the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, where on February 14, 1929 seven men were brutally murdered during the Prohibition-era gangland wars. Al Capone, although he was in Florida at the time, was and remains a prime suspect. The horrific crime is unsolved to this day.

Although I’ve read several books about Capone and the Prohibition era - including John Kobler’s Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone and Laurence Bergreen’s Capone: The Man And The Era - my interest has not waned, so I picked up Jonathan Eig’s Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster (Simon&Schuster).
 
Eig, a Chicago writer who previously wrote about Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig, states in Get Capone that he kicked around the idea of writing a book on Capone, but he couldn’t find the right angle.

Then while reading an article in the library about the prosecutor who led the government’s case against Capone, George E.Q. Johnson, he read that the prosecutor’s son stated that all of his father’s papers had been turned over to a college professor at the University of Nebraska. Eig tracked down the prosecutor’s papers, which were stacked in old boxes. Eig described the boxes as “treasure chests.”

“Here were transcripts of wiretaps typed by Elliot Ness; memos and telegrams from Herbert Hoover and his cabinet members plotting to put Capone behind bars; and handwritten notes jotted by prosecutors expressing their innermost doubts and fears as they tried to build a case they knew from the start was fundamentally flawed,” Eig wrote in Get Capone. “Here was the real story of Al Capone.”

Eig wrote he went on to receive from the IRS formally secret, raw intelligence files that had never been released to the public and he received Capone’s prison records, which included his personal letters and medical records. Eig also came across a hundred pages of notes that Chicago journalist Howard O’Brien made from his meetings with Capone when the crime lord was thinking of having O’Brien ghostwrite his life story. The book never came about, but the notes survived.

This was the “Roaring 20s,” the “Jazz Age.” A time of alcohol prohibition, yet many people still wanted to drink and party, which gave rise to the bootleggers and small-time crooks. Eig chronicles the rise of Al Capone and does a fine job of describing the crime boss and his era.

Not as well known as Capone and far less colorful, Eig also offers the story of the U.S. attorney at the time, George E.Q. Johnson. Coming from Swedish farmer stock, as Johnson himself put it, the fiercely principled and fiercely honest lawyer led the federal government’s fight to get Capone.

Due to the many murders in Chicago, the near-total disregard for Prohibition laws, and Capone’s public image, President Herbert Hoover ordered the Justice Department to “Get Capone.”

The best part of Eig’s book is his description of how the President, the Attorney General, the U.S. attorney, and a federal judge, James H. Wilkerson, conspired to bring Capone down.

I thought Eig went a bit overboard describing how much Capone was a loving family man (OK, but he was also a murderer), and I’m not convinced that Capone didn’t order the most notorious murders in American history, the St. Valentine Day murders.

Eig offers a theory that police officers killed the North Side Gangsters in revenge for the murder of a Chicago police officer’s son. Had the killers been cops, as Eig suggests, I don’t think they would have worn police uniforms to the shooting. I also believe had the shooters been cops, they would have taken the gangsters’ money.

Capone’s involvement in the murders is only a theory as well. He was in Florida when the killers (all of the suspected killers had ties to Capone) opened up their Thompson machine guns on Bugs Moran’s underlings.

Capone then traveled to Atlantic City to meet with other gangsters and then went on to be arrested in Philadelphia for carrying a concealed gun.

Civic pride would like me to believe that the Philly detectives were on the job, but I subscribe to the theory that it was “suggested” to Capone by Charlie Lucky that he lay low until the clamor over the St. Valentine murders quiet down. What better place than a Philly prison, so Capone arranged to have himself arrested.

I visited Eastern Penitentiary a while back and I saw Capone’s cell. The prison, now a museum, has placed period furniture in the cell that matched photographs of Capone’s incarceration there. Capone lived better than most prisoners.

But laying low in a prison cell did not help Capone in the end. The St. Valentine Day’s murders were Capone’s undoing, whether he committed the deed or not. The murders pushed the feds to finally get Capone.

Eig’s Get Capone is a good addition to the many books about the most notorious gangster in American history, Al Capone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Crime Beat Column: The Bug in the Mayor's Office, the Pay-To-Play Scandal, and other Philadelphia Corruption Cases


Lincoln Steffens wrote that Philadelphia was corrupt and contented in 1903.

Philadelphians are nothing if not proud of our history, so it was no surprise to me when Philadelphia Mayor John Street was reelected despite the discovery of a FBI bug in his city hall office shortly before the election.

The news of the bug and the subsequent story that his administration was being investigated for illegally issuing city contracts to campaign contributors actually helped invigorate his campaign.

We appear to be corrupt and contented still.

The time-honored tradition of rewarding political contributors with lucrative city contracts, called "Pay-to-Play," is not unique to Philadelphia. Other cities have similar set-ups.

As I understand it, giving contracts to contributors is only illegal if its done on a "quid pro quo" (something for something) basis. That is, if you give the mayor a campaign contribution and then just happen to be awarded a contract, that’s not a crime. But if there is a stated agreement of cash traded for future contracts, that’s a crime.

With only weeks to go in a hotly contested mayoral election, the Philadelphia police "swept" the mayor’s office for electronic listening devices and discovered a fairly sophisticated bug concealed in the ceiling.

FBI spokesperson Linda Vizi came out and stated that the bug was not "election-related," leaving everyone to assume that the bug was the FBI's’ and that they were investigating crimes.

Street’s supporters protested the bugging of the mayor and claimed the federal investigation was political and racially motivated (the mayor’s opponent, Sam Katz, is white and Street is black). U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George Bush were mentioned as part of a broad Republication conspiracy to steal the election. Ironically, the fallout from the scandal actually helped the mayor, especially among black voters.

Street said that he did nothing wrong. He said the FBI described him as a "subject," rather than a "target" of the investigation.

A subject, according to the U.S. Justice Department, is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation. A target, according to the Justice Department, is a person that the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime.

After the news of the bug in the mayor’s office broke, the FBI raided the city’s Finance Department, the City Treasurer Office and the city Board of Pensions & Retirement. The FBI also raided the law offices of Ronald White, a close political associate of the mayor, as well as a major fund-raiser. White, who has received city contracts for legal work (big surprise), appears to be a key figure in the FBI probe.

White reportedly has his business associates contribute to his political action committees, which in turn donates large amounts of cash to the mayor. White has, according to press reports, collected $967, 094 in fees on bond deals. The city also paid White $1.6 million since 1996 for his work as a lawyer representing the city.

Since the discovery of the bug, we’ve learned that White’s wife was judged by the Street administration to be qualified to run two businesses at the Philadelphia International Airport even though she also serves as a medical director of a mental institution situated more than 30 miles from the city. (I would think that her expertise as a psychiatrist and director of a mental institution is a clear plus. One might say that the city is, after all, one large mental institution).

The city’s Minority Business Enterprise Council (MMBCE), set up to help "disadvantaged" companies, ruled she could become a partner in five airport bars and several gift shops despite her other business interests. Her company grossed $4.7 million according to records released to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper reported that White’s son once had a popcorn concession at the airport, his daughter, a punk rock singer, had a job there and recent reports show that White’s brother-in-law also had a piece of the action.

The treasurer of one of White’s political action committees sold soft pretzels at the airport. Don’t laugh. We’re talking big bucks here.

City Treasurer Corey Kemp, who recently resigned his office, had his office raided by the FBI. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that FBI agents were making inquiries into allegations that Kemp was taken to the Super Bowl by White.

A mayor’s aide helped the mayor’s brother, Milton Street, by giving him information about the bidding process for a contract at the airport. The FBI was looking at a $13.6 million dollar contract with a company that had ties to the mayor’s brother.

The FBI is also looking at contracts awarded to a Street supporter and Muslim Iman named Shamsud-din Ali.

"Before becoming a soft-spoken, politically connected leader of Philadelphia’s African-American community," The Philadelphia Daily News reported, "Iman Shamsud-din Ali was a reputed Black Mafia kingpin named Clarence Fowler."

The FBI placed a video cam in Ali’s dept collection agency. His company – you guessed it – was awarded a host of city contracts. More to come, I’m sure.

As a crime reporter and columnist for South Philadelphia newspapers for a good number of years, I covered local politics, city government, the police and the FBI. I’ve interviewed most of the principal characters in this urban comedy and I, like everyone else in the city, have heard stories about pay-to-play deals. 

Although all of the known subjects of the investigation, and perhaps the targets as well, are black, I think Katz is correct in his assertion that the federal probe was not about black or white.

"It’s about green," he told reporters. "And green is the color of greed."

The subjects are black simply because, as Street himself proudly proclaimed, "the brothers and sisters are in charge." When white politicians were in office there were also corruption scandals. We have an equal opportunity crooked system.

I recall some of Philadelphia’s more recent seedy history, starting with the rock & roll "payola" scandal in the early 1960s. The scandal involved DJs who accepted money and gifts from records companies for playing their songs. You might say that this was another form of "pay-to-play."

Dick Clark, who hosted "American Bandstand" from Philadelphia at that time, was discovered to have substantial holdings in music publishing and record companies. ABC stepped in and ordered Clark to divest himself or lose the show. In a sense, this was Dick Clark’s first "blooper."

Then there was Democratic City Chairman Peter J. Camiel, who claimed that Mayor Frank Rizzo, the law and order former police commissioner, tried to make a deal with him in a hotel men’s room. Rizzo denied it and both men were coaxed into taking a lie-detector test administered by The Philadelphia Daily News. Rizzo failed the test.

Another major black eye for the city came with "Abscam," a FBI sting operation in the 1970s and 1980s. The FBI set up "Abdul Enterprises" and an undercover FBI agent dressed up as an Arab sheik that offered cash to several elected officials. The FBI caught the greedy politicians on tape.

My own South Philly congressman at the time, "Ozzie" Myers, went to jail as a result of Abscam. Myers was the guy caught on tape saying the infamous line, "Money talks and bullshit walks." This could be Philadelphia’s slogan.

Abscam also netted the U.S. Senator from New Jersey, Harrison Williams, Camden Mayor Angelo Erichetti, Philadelphia City Council President George X. Schwartz, Philadelphia City councilman Harry Jannotti, Congressman Raymond Lederer and a string of other elected officials.

Those caught in the sting claimed entrapment, but the images of politicians eagerly stuffing cash into their pockets in a hotel room was truly damaging. John Street, the future mayor and current subject of his very own corruption probe, criticized City Council at the time, calling them "nothing but thieves and crooks." Former Philadelphia Mayor William Green called City Council "the worst legislative body in the free world."

In other scandals, not one, but two of my South Philly city councilmen were jailed for corruption. In the 1980s City Councilman Leland Beloff, along with a local mob guy, tried to solicit a bribe from Willard Rouse. Pay us, they said to the nationally known developer, and your bill will fly through city council.

That Rouse was a constant dinner companion of not only the mayor and the governor, but also the Special-Agent-In-Charge of the FBI, did not deter these two from shaking down the developer. Of course, Rouse went right to the FBI and the two were arrested and later jailed.

Beloff’s successor to city council, Jimmy Tayoun was also jailed in a later scandal.

Tayoun, a former Philadelphia Daily News reporter, would go on to write a book to help initiate the newcomer to federal prison. Tayoun’s Going to Prison? is sort of a dummy’s guide to Club Fed.

It’s a very popular book locally, as you can imagine. I would venture to say that quite a few more copies will be sold in the future.

Note: The above column originally appeared in The Orchard Press Online Mystery Magazine in 2003.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Crime Beat Column: The U.S. Navy's Cold War Spies & Traitors Revisited


 I was invited to speak at the Historicon convention at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA on July 8th. My presentation was on the U.S. Navy's sailors and civilian employees who betrayed America by spying for the Soviet Union and other foreign nations during the Cold War.

The Cold War - 1947-1991 -was a military and political rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II. The conflict was called a "cold" war as the two superpowers stopped short of full-scale war.
 
During the Cold War there were brave Russians who lived behind the "Iron Curtain" who spied for the U.S., U.K. and other Western powers because they hated communism. One such brave Russian was GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, who provided the U.S. with the proof that the Soviets had long-range missiles in Cuba. He was later executed by the Soviets.
 
There were also some in the west who believed in communism and became spies for the Soviet Union, such as the British Cambridge Five - Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald McLean, Anthony Blunt and John Caincross.
 
And there were those who spied for the Soviets simply for the money, such as U.S. Navy Warrant Officer John Walker, Jr (seen in the below photo).
 
From the Korea War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam, the U.S. Navy's power, mobility and command of the sea greatly aided the United States during the Cold War. Yet the Navy's mission was often undermined by spies and traitors.
 
Below are symbols of some the U.S. Navy's projected power. The USS Kitty Hawk is seen in the top photo, and a nuclear submarine is leaving the nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland to go on patrol in the second photo, and the third photo is of the Navy tugboat the USS Saugus, which was stationed at Holy Loch. (I served on the Kitty Hawk and the Saugus)
 

The FBI has an acronym for spying, called "MICE," which stands for Money, Ideology, Compromise and Ego.
 
Its a shame the FBI could not come up with an acronym for "RAT."
 
Below is a partial list of U.S. Navy sailors and civilian employees who spied for the Soviet Union and others during the Cold War. I say this is a partial list, as I may have missed a name or two of those arrested and prosecuted, and it should be noted that the U.S. government did not always arrest and prosecute spies.
 
NAME OF SPY, SERVICE, AND DATE OF ESPIONAGE:
 
Robert Wade Ellis, Navy enlisted, 1983
 
John Joseph Haeger, Navy enlisted, 1982
 
Brian Patrick Horton, Navy enlisted, 1982
 
Samuel Loring Morison, Navy civilian, 1984
 
Michael Richard Murphy, Navy enlisted, 1984
 
Jeffery Loring Pickering, Navy enlisted, 1982-83
 
Anne Henderson Pollard, civilian, 1985
 
Jonathan Jay Pollard, Navy civilian, 1984-85
 
Charles Edward Schoof, Navy enlisted, 1989
 
Brian Everett Slavans, Marine enlisted, 1982
 
Glenn Michael Souther, Navy civilian, 1980-86
 
Bruce Edward Tobias, Navy civilian, 1985
 
Michael Timothy Tobias, Navy enlisted, 1985
 
Arthur James Walker, retired Navy officer/contractor, 1981-85
 
John Anthony Walker, Jr, Navy Warrant Officer/civilian, 1968-85
 
Michael Lance Walker, Navy enlisted, 1983-85
 
Jerry Alfred Whitworth, Navy enlisted, 1975-85
 
I'd like to cover three of these Navy cases, all of them coming to light in 1985. The year was known as "The Year of the Spy" due to the many spy cases that were exposed that year.
 
In 1985 the John Walker family spy ring was rolled up.
 
Walker, a retired U.S. Navy Warrant Officer, pleaded guilty along with his son, Navy Seaman Michael L. Walker, then 22, to charges of spying for the Soviet Union .
 
John Walker passed secrets to the Soviets while he was a shipboard and shore station communications officer. After he retired, he recruited his son, brother and a friend. Walker 's brother, Arthur Walker, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, was convicted of stealing secret documents from a defence contractor. Jerry Whitworth, a Navy chief petty officer, was convicted in 1986 of passing secret Navy codes to Walker.
 
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as they say. Walker's ex-wife tipped the FBI to his selling data on encryption devices that compromised U.S. communications.

In late 1985, Walker pleaded guilty to espionage charges and was sentenced to two life terms plus 10 years. His son, Michael, got 25 years; his brother, Arthur James, life in prison; and a Navy colleague, Jerry Whitworth, 365 years.

Walker gave away the keys to the kingdom of naval communications: the key cards used for enciphering messages and encryption devices. The U.S. Navy estimates that more than one million classified military and intelligence agency messages were compromised by Walker. The Soviets were able to read vital American communications during a time of war. Had the U.S. gone to nuclear war with the Soviet Union, Walker’s security breech would have had been catastrophic.
 
I have a particular interest in the Walker spy case; I served as a young seaman in the communications division aboard the USS Kitty Hawk when the aircraft carrier conducted combat operations off the coast of Vietnam in 1970-1971.
 
The Kitty Hawk served as the flag ship for Task Force 77, so we handled highly classified war traffic for the 7th Fleet, the in-country military commands, the CIA, and other alphabet intelligence agencies. Little did we know that much of what we took great pains to protect was already blown by Walker.
 
Below is a photo of a Soviet TU-16 bomber flying over the USS Kitty Hawk as the aircraft carrier leaves her tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam. Note the Soviet bomber has an escort of U.S. Navy F-4 fighter aircraft.

 
It is my view — a view shared by many others who served in the military — that Walker’s espionage led to the death of many American sailors, soldiers, airman and marines during the Vietnam War.

Walker sees himself as a glamorous spy, but he was in fact merely a sneak thief. He stole classified documents and sold them to the Soviets in order to live a more prosperous lifestyle.
 
Also in 1985 the FBI arrested Jonathan Jay Pollard. (Below is a photo of Anne and Jonathan Pollard).
 
 
Unlike most other U.S. spies who worked with American enemies, Pollard was arrested and convicted for selling classified information to a staunch ally, Israel, while a civilian employee at the Naval Investigative Service's Anti-Terrorist Center.
 
Like the CIA's spy, Aldrich Ames, Pollard partnered with his wife in the sale of state secrets; his wife was sentenced to five years, Pollard to life in prison.

Since his conviction in 1986, Israel has lobbied U.S. administrations to pardon Pollard. President Clinton considered doing so in 1998, only to pull back after CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign if Pollard was pardoned.
 
I interviewed retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agent Ronald G. Olive for Counterterrorism magazine. Olive wrote a book called Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice (Naval Institute Press).
 
Below are FBI/NCIS surveillance photos of Pollard at his workstation stealing classified information)
 

 
Olive punctured the myth that Pollard only spied out a sense of duty towards Israel. Pollard wanted money. He was paid more than $45,000 and he received free trips to Europe and the Middle East.
 
Pollard also confessed to passed information to South Africa and a CBS TV reporter, and he tried to sell Pakistan classified information, but they passed.
 
Olive said the material Pollard stole was 360 cubic feet, or one million pages of classified material.
 
 
What an oddball he was. He was late for a job interview and his explanation was that he wife had been kidnapped. He didn't get the promotion, thankfully.
 
Lastly, Samuel Loring Morison worked at the Naval Intelligence Support Center in Suitland, Md., from 1974 to 1984. The grandson of the famous naval historian Samuel Elliot Morison, he was an intelligence analyst specializing in Soviet amphibious and mine-laying vessels.
 
Morison also worked as a part-time contributor and editor of the American section of Jnae's Fighting Ships, an annual reference work on the world's navies published in England.
 
Morison was accused several times of using his government office time and facilities to do his work for Jane's. He was warned about a conflict of interest between his two jobs.

In 1984, Morison tried to get a full-time position with Jane's in London. He began overstepping the boundary of permissible information that could be sent to Jane's. Morison took three classified photographs from a neighboring desk and sent them to Jane's. The photos were aerial surveillance photographs showing construction of the first Soviet nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The photographs were missed. When they appeared in Jane's Defense Weekly, they were traced back to Morison.
 
Morison believed that by sending the photos to Jane's he might get a full-time job. What he got was  two years in prison for espionage and theft of government property.
 
Although critics of the prosecution argued that Morison only published photos of the Soviets' ships - something one would think the Soviets already knew about - Morison exposed our technical capability to the Soviets.
 
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and so ended the Cold War. But espionage certainly didn't end, as the FBI recently rolled up a Russian spy ring of "illegals." The Communist Chinese are also aggressively spying on us, and Islamic fanatical terrorists also commit espionage.
 
America must protect and guard her military and economic secrets more than ever.
 
You can read more about John Walker via the below links to my two-part Greathistory.com series on Walker:
 
 
 
You can also read my other GreatHistory.com pieces on espionage and American crime history via the below link:
 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My On Crime & Security Column: Hazmat Safety Prevents Fires in Homes and Workplaces

The online small business magazine Businessknowhow.com published my On Crime & Security column today.

My column covered hazardous material (hazmat) safety in homes and workplaces.

You can read my column via the link below:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/security/hazmatsafety.htm