Sunday, May 31, 2015

P.J. O'Rourke Rips 'Buckley And Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped The Sixties'

I was a teenager and a political conservative in the 1960s (although in other aspects I was far from conservative) and I read William F. Buckley's newspaper column and his political books. I also watched him on his PBS TV show, Firing Line. In later years I read and enjoyed his spy thrillers. He was a huge influence.

In the 1960s I also read Norman Mailer's novels and nonfiction work. I didn't agree with his worldview, but I thought he was an interesting writer. I also thought Mailer's The Executioner's Song  was an outstanding true crime book.

Having read both authors and having watched the two brilliant men debate on Firing Line, I was initially very interested in reading Kevin M. Schultz's Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties.

But having now read P.J. O'Rourke's book review in the Washington Post, I'm not so sure.

Kevin M. Schultz’s “Buckley and Mailer” would be fun without Kevin M. Schultz. He’s a third wheel. What he contributes to the chronicle of friendship between William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer is what an oversize carry-on bag contributes to an airplane flight. If “Buckley and Mailer” were a Bing Crosby and Bob Hope road movie, Kevin M. Schultz would be along instead of Dorothy Lamour. Athos, Porthos and . . . Schultz.

In fairness, telling the story of two men who liked each other is difficult if you don’t like one of them. Schultz detests Buckley.

“ . . . a salesman’s eyes, as though Buckley were trying to sell something he knew you didn’t really want to buy.”  

... Schultz’s subtitle says it all — wrong. “The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties.” The adjective, the verb and the nouns are incorrect.

Schultz is a historian of the ’60s. I was there. William F. Buckley did not shape the ’60s and would have been appalled to be accused of it. Buckley, who led conservatism’s long march from cocktail-hour mixed nuts to political main course, shaped the ’80s and, to an extent, the ever-since.

Norman Mailer did not shape the ’60s. Prosperity, pot, the pill and the draft did. Mailer was an artist; he shaped all of creation. But he had little direct influence on we who fancied ourselves members of the Armies of the Night. And Mailer considered us to be lost in the dark, anyway. Buckley and Mailer together can hardly be said to have done what Buckley and Mailer separately did not do.

... I met Buckley a number of times and owe him a boatload of praise. He was a mainmast of courtesy, an anchor of encouragement and a spinnaker of enthusiasm for whatever one had written. And he knew what it was. The man must have read everything, including National Lampoon. My first contact with Bill was in the mid-’70s, a personal note lauding something I’d done, maybe “Why Fluoride in Water Turns Kids Into Commies.” (Infrequent need to go to the dentist means fewer salutary waiting-room exposures to hard-line Cold War articles in Reader’s Digest.)

Only once did I get a chance to talk to Mailer at length. We were seated near each other at a dinner party. “The Executioner’s Song” had just been published. I asked Mailer if Gary Gilmore’s inamorata, Nicole Baker, had as much je ne sais quoi and you-know-what as it seemed. The answer was: did she ever.

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

From The FBI Files: The Life And Death Of Bonnie & Clyde

The FBI website offers a piece with photos on the FBI's hunt for the notorious criminals Bonnie & Clyde.

Clyde Champion Barrow and his companion, Bonnie Parker, were shot to death by officers in an ambush near Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana on May 23, 1934, after one of the most colorful and spectacular manhunts the nation had seen up to that time.
Barrow was suspected of numerous killings and was wanted for murder, robbery, and state charges of kidnapping.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), then called the Bureau of Investigation, became interested in Barrow and his paramour late in December 1932 through a singular bit of evidence. A Ford automobile, which had been stolen in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, was found abandoned near Jackson, Michigan in September of that year.

At Pawhuska, it was learned another Ford car had been abandoned there which had been stolen in Illinois. A search of this car revealed it had been occupied by a man and a woman, indicated by abandoned articles therein. In this car was found a prescription bottle, which led special agents to a drug store in Nacogdoches, Texas, where investigation disclosed the woman for whom the prescription had been filled was Clyde Barrow’s aunt.

Further investigation revealed that the woman who obtained the prescription had been visited recently by Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker, and Clyde’s brother, L. C. Barrow. It also was learned that these three were driving a Ford car, identified as the one stolen in Illinois. It was further shown that L. C. Barrow had secured the empty prescription bottle from a son of the woman who had originally obtained it.

On May 20, 1933, the United States Commissioner at Dallas, Texas, issued a warrant against Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, charging them with the interstate transportation, from Dallas to Oklahoma, of the automobile stolen in Illinois. The FBI then started its hunt for this elusive pair.

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

From The CIA Library: The Assassination Of Reinhard Heydrich - A Nazi Tyrant's Death At Patriots' Hands Revealed As Operation Salmon Of Czech Intelligence In Exile.

The CIA library released a long, unclassifed piece by R.C. Jaggers on the life and assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

On the twenty-ninth of May, 1942, Radio Prague announced that Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, was dying; assassins had wounded him fatally. On the sixth of June he died.

Though not yet forty at his death, the blond Heydrich had had a notable career. As a Free Corpsman in his teens he was schooled in street fighting and terrorism. Adulthood brought him a commission in the German navy, but he was cashiered for getting his fiancée pregnant and then refusing to marry her because a woman who gave herself lightly was beneath him. He then worked so devotedly for the Nazi Party that when Hitler came to power he put Heydrich in charge of the Dachau concentration camp. In 1934 he headed the Berlin Gestapo. On June 30 of that year, at the execution of Gregor Strasser, the bullet missed the vital nerve and Strasser lay bleeding from the neck. Heydrich's voice was heard from the corridor: "Not dead yet? Let the swine bleed to death."

In 1936 Heydrich became chief of the SIPO, which included the criminal police, the security service, and the Gestapo. In 1938 he concocted the idea of the Einsatzgruppen, whose business it was to murder Jews. The results were brilliant. In two years these 3,000 men slaughtered at least a million persons. In November of that year he was involved in an event that in some inverted fashion presaged his own death. The son of a Jew whom he had deported from Germany assassinated Ernst von Rath in Paris. In reprisal Heydrich ordered a pogrom, and on the night of November ninth 20,000 Jews were arrested in Germany.

In 1939 the merger of the SIPO with the SS Main Security Office made Heydrich the leader of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. In this capacity he ordered and supervised the "Polish attack" on Gleiwitz, an important detail in the stage setting for the invasion of Poland on September first. It was he who saw to it that twelve or thirteen "criminals" dressed in Polish uniforms would be given fatal injections and found dead on the "battlefield." It was probably he who chose the code name for these men--Canned Goods.

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Federal Prosecutors Disclose Dramatic Details of 1978 Lufthansa Robbery

The Lufthansa robbery and aftermath is one of the greatest crime stories of the 20th Century. The story was later dramatized in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, perhaps the greatest crime film ever made.

Now John Marzulli at the New York Daily News offers a piece on Vincent Asaro (seen in the above FBI mugshot), one of the suspects.  

The Bonanno gangster charged with the infamous 1978 Lufthansa robbery allegedly blew his nearly $1 million share of the loot gambling at the racetrack, the Daily News has learned.

Federal prosecutors, in their most detailed disclosure to date about evidence against reputed capo Vincent Asaro, have revealed stunning secrets in the long-unsolved airport heist.

The feds have lined up an impressive roster of rats with knowledge of Asaro’s participation in the Lufthansa heist — immortalized in the classic film “Goodfellas.”  

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fifteen Chinese Nationals Charged In Fraud Scheme

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

Fifteen Chinese nationals have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on charges of conspiracy, counterfeiting foreign passports, mail fraud and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced today.

The 35 count indictment, returned on May 21, 2015, and unsealed today, names the following 12 individuals as defendants: Han Tong, Xi Fu, Xiaojin Guo, Yudong Zhang, Yue Zou, Biyuan Li aka “Jack Li,” Jia Song, Ning Wei, Gong Zhang, Songling Peng, Siyuan Zhao and Yunlin Sun.  The identities of the three additional defendants remain under seal.

According to the indictment, between 2011 and 2015, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy and a scheme to defraud Educational Testing Services (ETS) and the College Board by having imposters take college and graduate school standardized entrance examinations, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  In carrying out the scheme, the conspirators had counterfeit Chinese passports made and sent to the United States, which were used by the imposters to defraud ETS administrators into believing that they were other people, namely the conspirators who would receive the benefit of the imposter’s test score for use at American colleges and universities.  The majority of the fraudulent exams taken by the conspirators were taken in western Pennsylvania.

“The perpetrators of this conspiracy were using fraudulent passports for the purpose of impersonating test takers of standardized tests including the SAT, GRE and TOEFL and thereby securing fraudulently obtained admissions to American institutions of higher education and circumventing the F1 Student Visa requirements,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton.  “This case establishes that we will protect the integrity of our passport and visa process, as well as safeguard the national asset of our higher education system from fraudulent access.”

“These students were not only cheating their way into the university, they were also cheating their way through our nation’s immigration system,” said Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of Philadelphia.  “HSI will continue to protect our nation’s borders and work with our federal law enforcement partners to seek out those committing transnational crimes and bring them to justice.”

“The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our other law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of crime related to passport fraud and to bring those who commit these crimes to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge David Schnorbus for DSS’s New York Field Office.  “If criminal enterprises are able to manipulate instruments of international travel for profitable gain, then national security is at risk.”

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both for each count of wire and mail fraud, 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both for each count of counterfeiting foreign passports, and five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both for conspiracy.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense(s) and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Department of Homeland Security, HSI and the Department of State conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.  U.S. Attorney Hickton acknowledged that ETS and the College Board cooperated fully in the investigation.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Happy 107th Birthday To Ian Fleming, Creator Of James Bond

Happy 107th birthday to the late, great thriller writer Ian Fleming, creator of the iconic character James Bond. Fleming was born on this date in 1908.

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the history of Ian Fleming's World War II intelligence commando group, the 30 Assault Unit, via the below link:

You can also read my Crime Beat column on the Ian Fleming and James Bond phenomenon via the below link:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pussy Galore Returns in New James Bond Continuation Novel, 'Trigger Mortis' reports that Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle's War, has authored a James Bond continuation novel called Trigger Mortis, which will feature Ian Fleming's character Pussy Galore.

Pussy Galore is to be reunited with James Bond in the superspy's latest literary outing.
Ian Fleming's famous femme fatale is back in Anthony Horowitz's new official Bond novel, Trigger Mortis.

The bestselling author has revealed his new 007 adventure begins in 1957, two weeks after the end of Fleming's original novel Goldfinger.

The book, out on 8 September, is set against the backdrop of the Soviet-American space race.

As well as Pussy Galore - played by Honor Blackman in 1964's Goldfinger film - the new book features a new Bond girl called Jeopardy Lane and Jai Seung Sin, a "sadistic, scheming" Korean adversary.   

Trigger Mortis will begin with an original Fleming idea - a motor racing scene written for an unmade TV series.

Horowitz said: "It was always my intention to go back to the true Bond, which is to say, the Bond that Fleming created and it was a fantastic bonus having some original, unseen material from the master to launch my story."

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

'John Wayne Day' In Texas Honors Actor's 108th Birthday reports that yesterday was declared 'John Wayne Day' in Texas.

Texas Lt. Govenor Dan Patrick declared 'John Wayne Day' in honor of the great western actor's 108th birthday.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Note: You can read an earlier post on John Wayne via the below link:

Reflections On Vietnam War - The Way We Were

R.L. Schreadley, a retired U.S. naval officer and newspaper editor, and the author of From the Rivers to the Sea: The U.S. Navy in Vietnam, looks back on the Vietnam War in a piece in the Charleston Post-Courier.
There were nights on the river, away from the villages and towns, when the stars seemed close enough to touch. In a Swift Boat or a PBR, engines idling, drifting with the current, it was easy to forget the war and the enemy who might be waiting for you at the next bend of the river.
Sometimes your reverie was broken by the rumble and flash of distant artillery — or was it simply thunder and lightning? Sometimes a helicopter gunship appeared from out of nowhere to lash a village or the environs of a village with twin tongues of fire. At other times it was the sudden chatter of automatic weapons or the whoosh of a rocket that ended the dreaming.
And then you wondered: What the hell were you doing there? What the hell was the Navy doing there? 
It’s been 40 years and 10 days since a North Vietnamese Army tank broke through an ornamental iron gate in central Saigon and led celebrating NVA troops to the very doorsteps of South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace.

This Marked the formal end of what was then America's longest war, a war that took the lives of some 58,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen. 
Critics of the war, and I have been one of them, say that Vietnam was a war we should never have gotten into.
Where I differ with many, though, is my firm belief that once we were in there was only one honorable way to get out, and that was by achieving victory, a victory that could have been ours at a price far less than what we paid by suffering a humiliating defeat.
The ramifications of that defeat are with us still, in the bloody chaos we see in the Middle East and elsewhere in a world painfully lacking the leadership and calming presence America once provided.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Note: You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on a look back at the Vietnam War via the below link:

A Life Of Lies And Spies: Tales Of A CIA Ops Polygraph Interrogator

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review of Alan B.Trabue's A Life of Lies and Spies in the Washington Times.  

Fairly or not, polygraph examiners for the Central Intelligence Agency and other institutions that require security clearances for staff are not necessarily the most popular guys in the coffee shop. And for good reason: much of their professional lives are devoted to ferreting out secrets their subjects would prefer to leave untold.

Alan B. Trabue, a polygraph specialist for 38 of his 40 years with the CIA, aptly terms the process a “mental colonoscopy,” and he became accustomed to seeing subjects become so nervous that they “fainted during their tests and slid out of their chair.”

He continues, “There were the fearful ones, the angry ones and the dangerous ones. There were examinees so stressed, they spewed vomit across the examination room. Terrified examinees fled the examination room, while others were so angry they refused to leave. Angry subjects waited in the parking lot after their polygraph interviews to confront their examiners as they left the building.”

Some of these persons, to be sure, had reasons to be nervous about the box.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Senior Member Of Al-Qaeda Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Kill U.S. Soldiers In Iraq And Afghanistan And Providing Material Support To Al-Qaeda

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

Earlier today, Saddiq al-Abbadi, 40, a Yemeni national, pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals abroad, providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda and using a machine gun in furtherance of those crimes.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office.  Today’s guilty plea proceeding took place before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York.  At sentencing, al-Abbadi faces a maximum of life imprisonment.

“With the guilty plea entered today, Saddiq al-Abbadi will be held accountable for conspiring to kill Americans overseas and providing material support to al-Qaeda,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Seeking to identify, thwart and hold accountable those who target U.S. citizens and interests around the world will remain a top priority of the National Security Division.”

“The defendant was a high-level al-Qaeda operative with ties to the terrorist group’s senior leadership in both Pakistan and Yemen,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie.  “He fought in battles against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, tried to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan by luring them to a compound rigged with explosives, and helped an American citizen gain entry to al-Qaeda.  We stand resolute in our commitment to bring to justice those who would try to harm members of our military or who assist al-Qaeda’s efforts to kill Americans at home or abroad.”

“With today’s guilty plea, Al-Abbadi admitted to directly supporting the mission of a designated terrorist organization through planning an operation designed to kill U.S. forces and for engaging in recruitment efforts on behalf of al-Qaeda,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe.  “This plea is due in no small part to the many FBI Special Agents, intelligence analysts, and linguists from the Washington and New York Field Offices as well as our interagency and international partners who spent countless hours investigating terrorism actors and al-Abbadi’s actions.  The FBI will not rest until we find and hold accountable those who provide support to terrorist groups and ensure that they are brought to justice.”

According to court filings, al-Abbadi traveled from his home country of Yemen to Iraq where, from approximately late 2005 through early 2007, he fought alongside al-Qaeda affiliated battalions against U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

In early 2008, al-Abbadi traveled to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan in order to fight for al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  While in the FATA, al-Abbadi – who had longstanding ties to senior members of al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – engaged directly with senior al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, including Sheikh Saeed al-Masri, the then-third ranking member of al-Qaeda.

During the late spring and summer of 2008, Al-Abbadi crossed from Pakistan into Afghanistan for the purpose of fighting and killing members of the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan.  In June 2008, he planned an operation designed to lure U.S. forces to a compound in Ghazni, Afghanistan, that was rigged with explosives set to detonate upon their entry.  When U.S. forces arrived at the compound, they found rocket-propelled grenades and artillery rounds littered about.  One soldier observed wiring running from the exterior gate to the inside of the compound and recognized the trap.  The military evacuated and subsequently leveled the compound.

In addition to fighting against the U.S. military, al-Abbadi used his connections with al-Qaeda’s leadership to help U.S. citizen Bryant Neal Vinas gain entry into al-Qaeda.  Vinas had traveled to Pakistan from Long Island, New York, in the hopes of joining al-Qaeda and fighting against U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.  As a result of al-Abbadi’s assistance, Vinas was allowed to join al-Qaeda.  After participating in al-Qaeda’s military training program, Vinas developed a plan with senior al-Qaeda external operations leadership to conduct an attack on the Long Island Railroad in New York.  Vinas was arrested before he could carry out this attack.

Assistant Attorney General Carlin extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI.  The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zainab Ahmad, Michael P. Canty and Douglas M. Pravda of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Josh Parecki of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and by the Office of International Affairs.

Proof Snowden Leaks Crippled War On Terror: Al Qaeda Groups Now Use New Codes, Jihadis Sent Out Tips To Avoid Surveillance And Spying Operations Had To Be Called Off

Ian Drury and James Slack at the British newspaper the Daily Mail offer a piece on how traitor and spy Edward Snowden's leaks to the press aided the terrorists.

Edward Snowden's intelligence leaks have crippled Britain's ability to fight terrorists, a major study confirms today.
Extremists, including those from Islamic State, have seized on the fugitive traitor's revelations and now use them to learn about spy agencies' techniques – making it easier for them to avoid detection, the report says.
Snowden's theft of 1.7million classified files from GCHQ and the US's National Security Agency has therefore had a 'profound impact' on the agencies' ability to tackle jihadists.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Bram Stoker: 10 Facts About the Dracula Author

Martin Chilton at the British newspaper the Telegraph looks back at the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker.

Bram Stoker's vampire novel Dracula, which paved the way for vampire lore in popular culture, was published today in 1897. Here are 10 facts about the former Daily Telegraph journalist.
  1. Bram Stoker wrote 12 novels, including Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars, and also published collections of short stories. Dracula was originally titled The Undead. As Dracula says: “My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side.” To date, more than 1000 novels and 200 films have been made about the vampire Dracula.    

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

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Photo

The above Defense Department photo shows Brittany, left, and her son, Christian, 4, visit the grave of her husband and his father, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, on Memorial Day in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 25, 2015.

Christian is wearing his father's cover.

Bob Woodward: Bush Didn't Lie About WMDs To Justify Iraq War

Greg Richter at reports on veteran journalist and author Bob Woodward, who states that President Bush did not lie about WMDs to justify the Iraq War.

Former President George W. Bush did not lie about the presence of weapons of mass destruction to justify the Iraq War, journalist Bob Woodward said Sunday.

The argument has been used for years by Democrats and other detractors, but Woodward said on
"Fox News Sunday" that his own 18-month investigation showed that Bush was actually skeptical that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had WMDs as Saddam claimed.

Though plenty of mistakes were made in the invasion of Iraq, Bush actually told CIA Director George Tenet, "Don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD," Woodward said.

The reason the United States went into Iraq was "momentum," he said.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also watch a video of Bob Woodward talking about Iraq on Fox via the below link:

Honor America's Fallen Heroes: Memorial Day 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Late, Great Crime Writer Dashiell Hammett's Papers Aquired By University Of South Carolina

The Washington Times offers a piece on the papers of the late, great crime writer Dashiell Hammett.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A major collection of letters, photos and publications of the late crime fiction author Dashiell Hammett has been acquired by the University of South Carolina and will be made available to students and scholars within the coming year.

Hammett was a high-school dropout who created such iconic American characters as the gritty gumshoe Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon,” and the witty and worldly couple Nick and Nora Charles in “The Thin Man.”

University officials spoke with The Associated Press about the acquisition prior to its announcement, which is scheduled for Wednesday in Columbia at the Thomas Cooper Library.

Dean of Libraries Tom McNally said the collection includes hundreds of family letters, photographs, personal effects and documents from Hammett’s daughter Josephine, 89, and two of his grandchildren. It is bolstered by more than 300 Hammett books and rare first editions, as well as dozens of screenplays, files, documents and serialized magazines compiled by Hammett biographer and Columbia publisher Richard Layman.

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

The REAL Purpose Of Memorial Day: One Photographer's Poignant Images That Bring Home The Sacrifices Made By U.S. Servicemen

Charlene Adams at the Daily Mail offers a piece on Andrew Lichtenstein and his poignant photos.
As Memorial Day approaches, one photographer set out to refocus America's gaze from the three-day weekend and barbecues back to the holiday's true purpose: a day
of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States armed forces.
Andrew Lichtenstein, documentary photographer, journalist, and author, attended some 60 military funerals from 2003 to 2006 capturing the heartbreak and pride present as family and friends remembered and honored the fallen soldiers.
Lichtenstein published some of the photos in his 2007 book on the subject titled 'Never Coming Home.' On Friday the Times featured almost two dozen photos from the photographer's project

You can read the rest of the piece and view some of the photos via the below link:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Creator Of Sherlock Holmes

Happy birthday to the creator of the iconic fictional character Sherlock Holmes. The late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, in 1859.

You can read about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a TIME piece and watch a video about the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London via the below link:

Ross Macdonald On How America Fell For The Private Eye

The Daily Beast offers an old piece written by the late crime writer Ross Macdonald.

Ross Macdonald belongs on the Mount Rushmore of American mystery writers, alongside Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. He was also a connoisseur of the detective story, as he displays in this terrific 1965 Show magazine essay, “The Writer as Detective Hero,” one of a handful of nonfiction pieces that appear in a new Library of America anthology, Ross Macdonald: Four Novels of the 1950s, edited by Tom Nolan. If you are a fan of mysteries, this collection is a must, another beautiful and meticulous Library of America volume. Reprinted here with permission, this is a master given by a peerless practitioner.
—Alex Belth

A producer who last year was toying with the idea of making a television series featuring my private detective Lew Archer asked me over lunch at Perino’s if Archer was based on any actual person. “Yes,” I said. “Myself.” He gave me a semi-pitying Hollywood look. I tried to explain that while I had known some excellent detectives and watched them work, Archer was created from the inside out. I wasn’t Archer, exactly, but Archer was me.

The conversation went downhill from there, as if I had made a damaging admission. But I believe most detective-story writers would give the same answer. A close paternal or fraternal relationship between writer and detective is a marked peculiarity of the form. Throughout its history, from Poe to Chandler and beyond, the detective hero has represented his creator and carried his values into action in society.

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

Memorial Day Weekend: Honoring And Remembering American Military Men And Women Who Gave The Supreme Sacrifice

Friday, May 22, 2015

Carrier Power!

Jack Devine's 'Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story'

I interviewed former CIA official Jack Devine today. Devine is the author of Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story.

Devine's publisher, Macmillan, offers the below:

Jack Devine is one of the legendary spymasters of our time. He was in Chile when Allende fell; he ran Charlie Wilson's war in Afghanistan; he had too much to do with Iran-Contra for his own taste, though he tried to stop it; he oversaw the effort to run down Pablo Escobar in Colombia. Devine served America's interests for more than thirty years in a wide range of covert operations, ultimately overseeing the Directorate of Operations, a CIA component that watches over thousands of American covert operatives worldwide.

 Good Hunting is his guide to the art of spycraft, told with great wit, candor, and commonsense wisdom. Caricatured by Hollywood, lionized by the right, and pilloried by the left, the CIA remains one of the least understood instruments of the United States government. Devine knows more than almost anyone about the CIA's vital importance as a tool of American statecraft. In wonderfully readable prose, Good Hunting aims to set the record straight. This is a revelatory inside look at an organization whose history has not been given its real due.

Jack Devine (seen in the above photo) is a thirty-two-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency who served at the pinnacle of his career as the CIA’s top spymaster—Acting Deputy Director of the CIA’s operations outside the United States, in which capacity he had supervisory authority over thousands of CIA employees involved in sensitive missions throughout the world. He is also a founding partner and the president of the Arkin Group, an international risk consulting and intelligence firm. He lives in New York City with his wife, Pat.

Note: My interview with Jack Devine will appear in the next issue of The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. 

Herman Wouk's New Book, 'Sailor And Fiddler: Reflections Of A 100-Year-Old Author,' Coming Out In December

The Washington Times offers a piece on Herman Wouk's new book.

NEW YORK (AP) - As he nears his 100th birthday, Herman Wouk has a book planned with a title permitted only to a man of his age.

Wouk’s “Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author” is coming out in December, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Friday. The book will cover his years in the Navy during World War II, inspiration for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Caine Mutiny,” and will include reflections on his Jewish faith, a recurring theme in his work.

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

Note: I'm a huge fan of The Caine Mutiny. I'm a Navy veteran and I've read the novel several times and seen the film several times. I also saw the play with my wife when it was staged in a real courtroom at City Hall in Philadelphia.    

Economic Espionage: University Professor In Philadelphia Charged With Wire Fraud Scheme To Benefit Communist China

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information:

PHILADELPHIA – Xioaxing Xi, 47, of Penn Valley, PA, was charged by indictment, unsealed today, with four counts of wire fraud in an alleged scheme involving the exploitation of technology for the benefit of third parties in China. Xi, a naturalized U.S. citizen and a native of the People’s Republic of China, is a world-renowned expert in the field of magnesium diboride thin film superconducting technology. The fraud, it is alleged, was an effort to assist Chinese entities in becoming world leaders of the superconductivity field.
The charges were announced today by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Hanko.
The indictment alleges that, in 2002, Xi participated in China’s 863 Program, which was a Chinese government program intended to boost high-technology innovation and development in China. Thereafter, in 2002 to 2003, the indictment alleges that Xi took a sabbatical from his university position and worked with a U.S. company in the field of thin film superconductivity research.
During his tenure at the company, individuals there invented a piece of technology which revolutionized the field of superconducting magnesium diboride thin film growth. The indictment alleges that, starting in January 2004, Xi made efforts to obtain the technology from the company. The indictment further alleges that Xi applied for and was awarded a U.S. Defense Department grant to finance his purchase of the device for research relevant to the Department of Defense.
In January 2006, Xi obtained the device for 12 months subject to an agreement that he not reproduce, sell, transfer or otherwise distribute the device or any copies of the device to any third party. The indictment alleges that Xi signed this agreement as part of a scheme to defraud the company into providing him the technology, so that he could provide it to entities in China and assist those entities in further exploitation and use of the technology.
The indictment further alleges that Xi repeatedly reproduced, sold, transferred, distributed, and otherwise shared the device with, and exploited it for the benefit of, government entities and other third parties in China. It is further alleged that, in exchange for his efforts, Xi repeatedly sought lucrative and prestigious appointments in China.
According to the indictment, Xi’s emails include a communication on May 14, 2010, to an associate in China, confirming the delivery of certain technology to a laboratory in China; and three emails to separate associates in China, in June 2010 and December 2010, in which Xi offers to build a world-class thin film laboratory.
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 80 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $1 million, and a $400 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.
An Indictment is an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Record-Breaking Seizure: Over 70 Kilograms Of Heroin, $2 Million Cash And Firearm Recovered In The Bronx

The DEA released the below information:

MAY 19 (MANHATTAN, N.Y.) - James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division; Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor; Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York; New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton; and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced the arrest of four members of a narcotics trafficking network and the seizure of over 70 kilograms of heroin (154 lbs.) worth up to $50 million, plus $2 million in cash and a firearm. The massive load of narcotics and cash was recovered from a vehicle and an apartment in the Fieldston section of the Bronx, near Horace Mann School and adjacent to Van Cortlandt Park.

This is the largest heroin seizure in New York State in DEA history and the fourth largest heroin seizure in the U.S. It was the result of a yearlong investigation by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), Group T-31, which is comprised of DEA special agents, New York City Police Department (NYPD) detectives and New York State Police Investigators, and the ICE HSI-led El Dorado Task Force. The Yonkers Police Department and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey also assisted.

On Sunday, May 17, agents arrested the head of the multi-million dollar heroin organization, Jose A. Mercedes, aka “Hippie,” and a second defendant, Yenci Cruz Francisco. Both are charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree. Two additional defendants were arrested in November.

A court authorized wiretap investigation revealed that Mercedes and his drug trafficking group received sizable shipments of heroin at least once a month from suppliers in Culican, Mexico, an area controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel. The organization is believed to have served as a main source of heroin for customers throughout the five boroughs, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

In the days leading up to the seizure and arrests, intercepted phone conversations suggested the organization was expecting delivery of a large load of heroin over the weekend. Agents set up surveillance outside 210 West 251st St. in Fieldston, where the organization was suspected of maintaining a stash location in Apt. 5E.

Late Saturday, agents tracked a Chevrolet Suburban and a Honda Accord driven by Mercedes, Cruz Francisco and a third individual as they travelled from 210 West 251st St. to an industrial parking lot off of Interstate 287 in Montville, N.J. The vehicles entered a section of the industrial lot where tractor-trailers were parked. After more than an hour, the Chevrolet Suburban and Honda Accord headed back to the Bronx.

Upon reaching 210 West 251st St., the Chevrolet Suburban was parked in a gated parking lot behind the building. At the request of the NYDETF, the Yonkers Police Department dispatched a K-9 Unit and obtained a positive hit for narcotics on the Chevrolet Suburban. Agents maintained surveillance at the location.

On Sunday morning, agents observed Mercedes arrive in a Kia Sorrento and stopped him for questioning. Several large bags containing a tan powdery substance were recovered from the front seat of the car and from a hidden compartment in the center console. At least one of the bags tested positive for heroin.

Subsequently, agents observed Cruz Francisco leave 210 West 251st St., enter the Chevrolet Suburban and start the engine. Agents stopped him and obtained a court authorized search warrant for the vehicle. A hidden compartment under the floor of the vehicle contained 70 rectangular-shaped kilogram packages of heroin labeled with the identifying name of “Rolex.” Also inside the vehicle was $24,000 cash.

Agents conducted a series of court authorized searches at apartments associated with the group. Inside 210 West 251st St., Apt. 5E, agents recovered $2 million from underneath the floorboards. A search of 830 Magenta St., Apt. 2J, in the Bronx yielded a .380 caliber firearm.

Last night Jose A. Mercedes and Cruz Francisco were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court and held without bail, with their next court date set for Friday, May 22.

Two additional members of the narcotics trafficking group were previously charged on November 17, 2014. Mercedes’ son Jose Mercedes, JR. and defendant Juan Infante were arrested at 2851 Webb Ave., Apt. 1D, in the Bronx, where members of the NYDETF and HSI seized another 10 kilograms of heroin (22 lbs.) that had been hidden in a compartment inside a wall. An indictment filed by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office charges both with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and two counts each of Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau, the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, the ICE HSI-led El Dorado Task Force, the Yonkers Police Department and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Seventy kilograms of heroin was intended to be distributed throughout the Northeast, proving that NYC is the bull's eye for drug traffickers and heroin is their weapon.  Record breaking aside, this investigation and seizure are messages to our communities that DEA and our law enforcement partners are doing our part in fighting opioid addiction that is afflicting our nation, by seizing the heroin that drug traffickers are pushing into our city."

Bridget G. Brennan said, “The $50 million street value of the heroin in this case is a conservative estimate. To put it in perspective, this load was so large it carried the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City. While this important seizure stopped a huge amount of heroin from flooding our city, it also highlights the critical need to intercept heroin before it ever reaches our region.”

“These millions of doses of heroin and millions of dollars represent much more than just a seizure. They represent violence, overdoses, crime, death and the suffering of our communities,” said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “HSI and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are determined to put an end to the heroin epidemic plaguing our neighborhoods.”

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “I want to thank the investigators of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the prosecutors of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor whose work resulted in this significant heroin seizure.  The NYPD will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to stop this dangerous and highly addictive drug from being sold in our neighborhoods and destroying lives.”

"This case will have a significant impact on the drug trade in New York State and throughout the Northeast, by keeping this large load of heroin out of our communities," said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico. "The State Police remain committed to working with our partners in law enforcement and using every resource available to shut these drug operations down. We continue to send a clear message to those dealing these dangerous and deadly drugs -- you will be found, you will be prosecuted and you will go to prison."


Jose A. Mercedes
185 Bronx River Rd., Apt. 5G
Yonkers, NY
Operating as a Major Trafficker – 1 ct
CPCS 1st – 1 ct

Yenci Cruz Francisco
210 West 251st St., Apt. 5E
Bronx, NY
Operating as a Major Trafficker – 1 ct
CPCS 1st – 1 ct

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center Releases Annual Snapshot Of Internet Crimes

The FBI website offers the below information:

Today, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its annual report highlighting the numbers and common types of complaints it received during 2014 on suspected Internet fraud and other Internet-based crimes.

The report mentions two new trends that took shape during 2014: criminals increasingly taking advantage of personal data found on social media to start relationships with victims and scam them out of their money; and the emerging popularity of virtual currency, which has attracted perpetrators who capitalize on the vulnerabilities of the developing digital currency system.

Other common scams reported to the IC3—which received an average of 22,000 complaints a month during 2014—included auto fraud, impersonation e-mails, intimidation/extortion scams, real estate fraud, confidence fraud/romance scams, and business e-mail compromise schemes.

According to the report, the IC3 adapted its approach to handling complaints during 2014: Analysts began reviewing more recent complaints first and then looked back at older submissions to better identify urgent threats, recognize new trends more quickly, and disseminate information to law enforcement and the general public based on the most recent data.

The IC3—which houses well over three million complaints from consumers in its database—continues to encourage anyone who thinks they’ve been the victim of an Internet crime, regardless of dollar loss, to file a complaint through the IC3 website. The more complaints it receives, the more effective it will be in helping law enforcement gain a more accurate picture of the extent and nature of Internet-facilitated crimes.

You can read the report via the below link: 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Interview With Stephen Hunter, Author Of 'I, Ripper'

David Martindale at the Forth Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Stephen Hunter, author of the new thriller, I. Ripper.

Stephen Hunter, the author of I, Ripper, believes he has cracked the case.

He says his research into the infamous Whitechapel prostitute murders of 1888 enabled him to figure out the identity of elusive Jack the Ripper.

“It’s nothing forensic,” Hunter says. “But it’s a way of organizing the information that, as far as I can tell, is unprecedented. It’s a very provocative way of connecting the dots that I consider to be a valuable piece of intellectual property.”

Alas, I, Ripper isn’t the book that shares Hunter’s theory. This book is a bloody good thriller, however.
The Baltimore-based author puts readers inside the mind of the London serial killer by ghostwriting passages of Jack’s darkly detailed diary.

Hunter’s prose also re-creates the sites, the people and the vibe of dodgy Whitechapel so vividly that you’ll feel like you’re there alongside Jack — or shadowing Jeb, the newspaper reporter whose narrative is also showcased.

I, Ripper is distinctly different from Hunter’s usual work. He’s best known for his bestselling series about Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, the Gun Whisperer. But it’s a gripping read and quite possibly the best book he has written.

We chatted with Hunter about Jack lore and I, Ripper. You can read the interview via the below link: 

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CIA Honors Its Fallen Officers In Annual Memorial Ceremony

The CIA released the below information on May 18th:

The Central Intelligence Agency today paid tribute to the women and men of the Agency who have died in the line of duty—courageous Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Two additional stars were added to the Memorial Wall this year. CIA dedicated the Memorial Wall 41 years ago. Today, there are 113 stars on the wall.

At today’s ceremony in the lobby of CIA headquarters, Director John O. Brennan stood before the Memorial Wall and welcomed the families and friends of our fallen officers. “For as long as this Agency endures, we will never shy away from the risks that must be taken to protect America and to further freedom’s cause,” he said. “Today, we pay tribute to our heroes who accepted those risks and placed themselves in harm’s way, expecting neither praise nor fame in return.”

Director Brennan spoke at length about the extraordinary lives and dedication of the heroes whose recently-added stars honor their service to our country, while their identities and relationship to CIA remain classified. Director Brennan concluded by saying the officers’ memories summon the “very best in each and every one of us. And just as they helped build a safer, better world, so shall we.”

During the ceremony, Director Brennan presented the families of the two officers with a marble replica of their loved one's star.

The memorial ceremony is attended each year by hundreds of employees, retirees, and family members and friends of those who died in service with the CIA.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chinese Professors Among Six Defendants Charged With Economic Espionage And Theft Of Trade Secrets For Benefit Of Communist China

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

On May 16, 2015, Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in connection with a recent superseding indictment in the Northern District of California, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Division.

The 32-count indictment, which had previously been sealed, charges a total of six individuals with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of universities and companies controlled by the PRC government.

“According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive U.S. technologies to illegally obtain and share U.S. trade secrets with the PRC for economic advantage,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Economic espionage imposes great costs on American businesses, weakens the global marketplace and ultimately harms U.S. interests worldwide.  The National Security Division will continue to relentlessly identify, pursue and prosecute offenders wherever the evidence leads.  I would like to thank all the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this indictment.”

“As today’s case demonstrates, sensitive technology developed by U.S. companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology,” said U.S. Attorney Haag.  “Combating economic espionage and trade secret theft remains one of the top priorities of this Office.”

“The conduct alleged in this superseding indictment reveals a methodical and relentless effort by foreign interests to obtain and exploit sensitive and valuable U.S. technology through the use of individuals operating within the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Johnson.  “Complex foreign-government sponsored schemes, such as the activity identified here, inflict irreversible damage to the economy of the United States and undercut our national security.  The FBI is committed to rooting out industrial espionage that puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage in the global market.”

According to the indictment, PRC nationals Wei Pang and Hao Zhang met at a U.S. university in Southern California during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering.  While there, Pang and Zhang conducted research and development on thin-film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) technology under funding from U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  After earning their doctorate in approximately 2005, Pang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Avago Technologies (Avago) in Colorado and Zhang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Skyworks Solutions Inc. (Skyworks) in Massachusetts.  The stolen trade secrets alleged in the indictment belong to Avago or Skyworks.

Avago is a designer, developer and global supplier of FBAR technology, which is a specific type of radio frequency (RF) filter.  Throughout Zhang’s employment, Skyworks was also a designer and developer of FBAR technology.  FBAR technology is primarily used in mobile devices like cellular telephones, tablets and GPS devices.  FBAR technology filters incoming and outgoing wireless signals so that a user only receives and transmits the specific communications intended by the user.  Apart from consumer applications, FBAR technology has numerous applications for a variety of military and defense communications technologies.

According to the indictment, in 2006 and 2007, Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators prepared a business plan and began soliciting PRC universities and others, seeking opportunities to start manufacturing FBAR technology in China.  Through efforts outlined in the superseding indictment, Pang, Zhang and others established relationships with officials from Tianjin University.  Tianjin University is a leading PRC Ministry of Education University located in the PRC and one of the oldest universities in China.

As set forth in the indictment, in 2008, officials from Tianjin University flew to San Jose, California, to meet with Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators.  Shortly thereafter, Tianjin University agreed to support Pang, Zhang and others in establishing an FBAR fabrication facility in the PRC.  Pang and Zhang continued to work for Avago and Skyworks in close coordination with Tianjin University.  In mid-2009, both Pang and Zhang simultaneously resigned from the U.S. companies and accepted positions as full professors at Tianjin University.  Tianjin University later formed a joint venture with Pang, Zhang and others under the company name ROFS Microsystem intending to mass produce FBARs.

The indictment alleges that Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators stole recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential and proprietary from the victim companies and shared the information with one another and with individuals working for Tianjin University.

According to the indictment, the stolen trade secrets enabled Tianjin University to construct and equip a state-of-the-art FBAR fabrication facility, to open ROFS Microsystems, a joint venture located in PRC state-sponsored Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), and to obtain contracts for providing FBARs to commercial and military entities.
The six indicted defendants include:
  • Hao Zhang, 36, a citizen of the PRC, is a former Skyworks employee and a full professor at Tianjin University.  Zhang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.  Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States on May 16, 2015.
  • Wei Pang, 35, a citizen of the PRC, is a former Avago employee and a full professor at Tianjin University.  Pang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.
  • Jinping Chen, 41, a citizen of the PRC, is a professor at Tianjin University and a member of the board of directors for ROFS Microsystems.  Chen is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.
  • Huisui Zhang (Huisui), 34, a citizen of the PRC, studied with Pang and Zhang at a U.S. university in Southern California and received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in 2006.  Huisui is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.
  • Chong Zhou, 26, a citizen of the PRC, is a Tianjin University graduate student and a design engineer at ROFS Microsystem.  Zhou studied under Pang and Zhang, and is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.
  • Zhao Gang, 39, a citizen of the PRC, is the General Manager of ROFS Microsystems.  Gang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.
The maximum statutory penalty for each of the charges alleged in the superseding indictment is as follows:
  • Count One: conspiracy to commit economic espionage: 15 years imprisonment; $500,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years’ supervised release; and $100 special assessment. 
  • Count Two: conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets: 10 years imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years’ supervised release; and $100 special assessment. 
  • Counts Three Through Seventeen: economic espionage; aiding and abetting: 15 years imprisonment; $500,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years’ supervised release; and $100 special assessment. 
  • Counts Eighteen Through Thirty-Two: theft of trade secrets; aiding and abetting: 10 years imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years’ supervised release; and $100 special assessment. 
Zhang was arrested on May 16, 2015, upon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from the PRC.  He made his initial appearance yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg of the Central District of California, who ordered the defendant transported in custody to San Jose for further proceedings.  His next scheduled appearance will be before the U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila of the Northern District of California, at a date to be determined.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Palo Alto Resident Agency/San Francisco Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Parrella and Dave Callaway of the Northern District of California, and the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section.

The Spy's Son: The True Story Of The Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted Of Espionage And The Son He Trained To Spy For Russia

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review of Bryan Denson's The Spy's Son in today's Washington Times. 

Of the American intelligence and military officers who spied for the Soviet Union and successor Russia, who deserves the most scorn for odious conduct? Topping any list would be Aldrich Ames of the CIA, whose treachery cost the lives of sources working for the United States, followed closely by Robert Hanssen of the FBI, who gave the KGB the bureau’s “game plan” for tracking spies.

After reading Bryan Denson’s superbly entertaining and informative book, my own choice is James Nicholson, a CIA officer who not only spied for the Russians, but dragged his young son into the messy vortex of treachery — and prison.

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

Note: I would add John Walker to Mr. Goulden's list of spies with odious conduct. Walker not only dragged his son into the traitor and spy business, he also dragged his brother and best friend in. All three, like Walker, ended up in prison. Walker also tried to convince his pregnant daughter to have an abortion so she could join the Army and commit espionage for cash. Wisely, she declined.   

Airport Baggage Handlers Charged In Wide-Ranging Conspiracy To Transport Drugs Across The Country

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

Fourteen persons have been charged in connection with an alleged wide-ranging criminal conspiracy to violate airport security requirements and transport drugs throughout the country announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) for the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

The case highlights the government’s determination to address security concerns in and around the nation’s airports.

In a criminal complaint partially unsealed today, the co-conspirators were described as a drug trafficking organization determined to use the special access some of them had been granted as baggage handlers at the Oakland International Airport to circumvent the security measures in place at the airport.  As alleged in the complaint, the baggage handlers entered the Air Operations Area (AOA) of the Oakland Airport while in possession of baggage containing marijuana. 

The AOA is an area of the airport that is accessible to employees but not to passengers who have completed security screening through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.  The baggage handlers were not required to pass through a TSA security screening checkpoint to enter the AOA.  The baggage handlers then used their security badges to open a secure door that separates the AOA from the sterile passenger terminal where outbound passengers, who have already passed through the TSA security and screening checkpoint, wait to board their flights.  The baggage handlers then gave the baggage containing drugs to passengers who then transported the drugs in carry-on luggage on their outbound flights.  After arriving in a destination city, the drugs were distributed and sold.

According to the complaint, the conspiracy was operating as early as July 2012.  Baggage handlers Kenneth Wayne Fleming, 32, of San Leandro, California; Keith Ramon Mayfield, 34, of Oakland, California; and Michael Herb Videau, 28, of Oakland, California, are accused of using their security badges to cross security barriers while carrying unscreened baggage filled with packages of marijuana.  They would then hand off the baggage to co-conspirators, including Major Alexander Session III, 24, of Oakland, California; Clyde Barry Jamerson, 41, of Oakland, California; Kameron Kordero Eldridge Davis, 26, of Dublin, California; Ronnell Lamar Molton, 34, of Oakland, California; Francisco Manuel Carrasco, 29, of Hayward, California; Sophia Cherise West, 44, of Castro Valley, California; and others, who then would board outbound aircraft and bring the drugs to destinations throughout the country. 

Proceeds from the sale of the marijuana eventually were deposited into accounts controlled by defendants Ahshatae Marie Millhouse, 27, of Oakland, California; Laticia Ann Morris, 40, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Donald Ray Holland II, 42, of Discovery Bay, California; and others.  Additionally, Mayfield used his privileges as an airline employee to ship drugs as cargo and have co-conspirators such as Brandon Jarred Davillier, 27, of Slidell, Louisiana, receive them for distribution.  The defendants have been charged in a complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.

Nine defendants were taken into custody in arrests coordinated throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Arkansas.  Eight defendants made their initial appearances this morning before the Honorable U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore, in Oakland, California. 

The defendants’ next appearances are scheduled as follows: defendants Holland, Fleming, Baker, Session, Davis and West are scheduled to appear tomorrow morning for a hearing at which they may be appointed counsel.  Defendants Mayfield and Videau are scheduled to appear on May 21, 2015, for detention hearings.  Defendant Morris made her initial appearance in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was released on bond.  Defendants Jamerson and Molton are currently serving state prison sentences in Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively, for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Defendants Davillier, Millhouse and Carrasco are presently fugitives.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana is 40 years imprisonment and $5 million.  The offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Additional periods of supervised release, fines and special assessments also could be imposed.  Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Hire is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Melissa Dorton, Michelle Alter, Kathleen Turner and Vanessa Vargas.  This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.