Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Elimination Of Adnani Would Be 'Significant Blow' to ISIL, Pentagon Spokesman Says

Lisa Ferdinando a the DoD News offers the below report:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2016 — The elimination of Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani from the battlefield would be a significant blow to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said today.

The coalition targeted Adnani in a strike yesterday near Al Bab, Syria, Cook told reporters at a Pentagon press briefing. Officials are still assessing the results of that precision action, he said.
The coalition had been actively looking for Adnani for some time, he said.

"This is someone who has been a senior leader in ISIL," Cook said. "He's been responsible for ISIL's external plotting and directly responsible for recruiting foreign fighters."

The ISIL senior leader was a spokesman for the terrorists, and was responsible for encouraging attacks against civilians and military personnel in the West, Cook said.

"His elimination would be a significant blow to ISIL,” Cook said, as well as a “significant blow to ISIL's leadership.

The terrorist’s demise also would constitute “a significant step in reducing ISIL's ability to conduct external attacks outside of Iraq and Syria,” the spokesman added.

Successful Precision Strikes

Precision strikes are a key part of the campaign to defeat ISIL, Cook said. The coalition has been focused on and very successful at these strikes over the last months, he said.

"We're going to continue to target ISIL leaders as we have, because we think it has taken a toll on the organization as a whole," Cook said. "It's an important means by which we can weaken ISIL and we're going to continue to do that."

Cook said he had no information to support a Russian claim that its forces had carried out a strike against Adnani.

Regarding the Russian claim, Cook said he wasn’t "going to wager a guess as to why they might have a motive to engage in this and to discuss this and maybe it's just a misunderstanding on their part."

Note: The above U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class J. Alexander Delgado
shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet launching from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Gulf on Aug. 8, 2016. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 105.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook On Precision Airstrike Targeting Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani

The U.S. Defense Department released the below statement:

Today coalition forces conducted a precision strike near Al Bab, Syria, targeting Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani (seen in the above photo), one of ISIL's most senior leaders. We are still assessing the results of the strike, but Al-Adnani's removal from the battlefield would mark another significant blow to ISIL. Al-Adnani has served as principal architect of ISIL's external operations and as ISIL's chief spokesman. He has coordinated the movement of ISIL fighters, directly encouraged lone-wolf attacks on civilians and members of the military and actively recruited new ISIL members. The U.S. military will continue to prioritize and relentlessly target ISIL leaders and external plotters in order to defend our homeland, our allies and our partners, while we continue to gather momentum in destroying ISIL's parent tumor in Iraq and Syria and combat its metastases around the world. 

What Me Worry? FBI To Release Report On Clinton Email Investigation

The New York Post offers a piece on the FBI release of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

You can read the piece via the below link:

The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies

Joseph Greenlee offers a review in the Washington Times of John R. Lott's The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies.  

In his new book, “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies,” John Lott methodically dismantles one popular gun-control myth after another.
It has been said that a lie told often enough becomes the truth, and a similar phenomenon is overwhelming the gun debate in America. Oft-repeated untruths have formed common beliefs that often sway the debate about firearms. Gun-control advocates have learned that their exaggerated claims are likely to go unchecked by a largely sympathetic media, allowing them to control the narrative and shape public opinion.
What is more, as Mr. Lott explains, billionaire elitists like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying legislators, funding conclusion-driven research, developing “grass-roots” organizations, and literally training reporters to cover gun control issues the way they want them covered; the purpose being to negatively distort the public’s view of firearms so that there is less resistance when gun rights are taken away. There is an astonishing amount of money being poured into the gun-control movement, and the success of the movement will ultimately depend on how the public perceives the issues — meaning that facts are now more important than ever.
Thankfully, Mr. Lott has set the record straight in “The War on Guns.” In his usual methodical style, he answers the baseless rhetoric and hyperbole of gun-control advocates with facts and statistics. And better yet, in addition to providing an abundance of tables and graphs, Mr. Lott states his case in a way that is easy to comprehend so that the reader, too, can start setting the record straight when confronted with misinformation.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link: 

A Look Back at the 1991 Talladega Prison Riot And the FBI’s Early Crisis Response Capabilities

The FBI released the below report:

Twenty-five years ago this month, the FBI—working closely with our partners at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)—played a crucial role in the successful resolution of a prison riot that ended without loss of life or serious injury to any of the hostages, inmates, or responding federal officers.  

From August 21 through August 30, 1991, at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Talladega, Alabama, approximately 120 Cuban detainees armed with homemade weapons took seven BOP and three Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) employees hostage. The Talladega detainees—a small portion of the more than 120,000 Cubans who came to the U.S. during a six-month period in 1980 in what was called the Mariel boatlift—were being held on a variety of criminal charges. The men had exhausted their appeals through the U.S. legal system and were to be sent back to Cuba, but they didn’t want to go.

The incident began in FCI Talladega’s Alpha Unit—the maximum security wing—around 10 a.m. on August 21, 1991. Negotiations began, and inmates demanded—among other things—that they not be returned to Cuba. Within a few hours of the takeover, Acting U.S. Attorney General William Barr tasked the FBI with the tactical response to the hostage situation: If negotiations failed, the Bureau was to take the lead.

The FBI’s Birmingham Field Office responded first, with Special Agent in Charge Allen Whitaker and his crisis response team quickly mobilizing and setting up a command post. The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams from Birmingham and Atlanta were mobilized as well. There was soon a presence of about 180 FBI agents and specialized personnel joining BOP’s Special Operations Response Teams (SORT) and additional personnel from the BOP, the U.S. Marshals Service, and INS. At FBI Headquarters, our Strategic Information Operations Center was also stood up to monitor the situation.

It was hoped that the situation could be ended quickly. In earlier prison riots by Cuban detainees at federal facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and Oakdale, Louisiana, federal negotiators had been able to resolve each crisis. But this time seemed different.

Talks at FBI Talladega—conducted by both BOP and FBI negotiators—were intermittent through the first several days and slowed even further as the incident stretched into its sixth and seventh days. Inmates began firing homemade arrows out of the prison wing and appeared to be fortifying the roof. Some displayed messages written on bed sheets to communicate directly with members of the media outside the prison.

On the eighth day, one hostage was released for medical care, but the approach of the prisoners was hardening and the situation was deteriorating. And the next day, inmates announced they would begin killing hostages one by one, drawing names from a pillow case, if certain interim demands were not met.

All Department of Justice representatives, including Acting Attorney General Barr and the BOP and FBI directors, considered this threat real and of immediate concern. And late on the evening of August 29, Barr gave the order to free the hostages.

So at 3:40 a.m. on August 30, 1991, the Bureau’s HRT and SWAT teams joined the BOP’s team and entered the building. Using shaped charges, they blew off the fortified door to a room holding the hostages and rescued them all without injury. And SORT members took control of the prisoners. 

To better facilitate the Bureau’s rapid response to critical incidents, the FBI in 1994 formally created the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) to integrate tactical, negotiation, behavioral analysis, and crisis management resources into one cohesive structure. Since then, the FBI’s mission has expanded and evolved, as have CIRG’s responsibilities, which today also include hazardous device disruption, surveillance, special events management, and training for Bureau field personnel and domestic and international law enforcement partners.

And CIRG experts remain on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond in the event of a crisis.

The FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) consists of a cadre of special agents and professional support…

Personal Reflections from Talladega

Excerpted from “The Hostage Rescue Team, Part 5: Held to a Higher Standard”

Retired Special Agent Jaime Atherton helped pioneer the HRT’s use of explosive breaching to gain entrance into fortified places during crisis situations. In 1991, he was part of the team that helped rescue nine hostages held by Cuban inmates in the Talladega federal prison in Alabama. The Cubans had been incarcerated after the Mariel boatlift in 1980 and were rioting to prevent their return to Cuba.

“We were there eight or nine days during the standoff and negotiations when the Cubans threatened to kill some of the hostages,” Atherton recalled. “And because they had nothing to lose, they were taken very seriously.” The acting attorney general gave the FBI the green light to rescue the prisoners, and the HRT led the way.

The Cubans and their hostages were barricaded behind bars in a section of the prison, and as Atherton pointed out, it’s much easier to break out of a prison than into one. But when his team got the word, operators executed the type of explosive breach they had trained for—and it worked flawlessly. The hostages were rescued unharmed, and none of the Cubans were hurt.

“That was our first significant use of explosive breaching,” Atherton said, “and to do it in a maximum security prison with people’s lives at stake—that was a pretty big moment for us, a pretty intense couple of minutes. That’s where all your training pays off.”

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Washington Times Review Of 'By Honor Bound: Two Navy SEALs, The Medal Of Honor, And A Story Of Extraordinary Courage'

My review of By Honor Bound appears in the Washington Times today.

That U.S. Navy SEALs are extraordinary men is a given. They are extraordinarily trained, extraordinarily skilled, and extraordinarily tough and extraordinarily brave.
Yet even among these extraordinary men, certain SEALs have gone above and beyond the special operations teams’ extraordinary attributes and their actions have made them legends in the SEAL community and in military history.
Tom Norris and Mike Thornton are two such men.
During the Vietnam War SEAL Lt. Tom Norris placed his own life in jeopardy when he rescued two American airmen shot down behind North Vietnamese enemy lines. For this action in April of 1972, Lt. Norris received the Medal of Honor.
Six months later, SEAL Petty Officer Mike Thornton waded into heavy enemy fire and rescued Lt. Norris, who had been severely wounded with a bullet wound to his left eye. For this action, Petty Officer Thornton received the Medal of Honor.
In “By Honor Bound: Two Navy SEALs, the Medal of Honor, and a Story of Extraordinary Courage,” Mike Thornton andTom Norris, along with author, Vietnam veteran and former Navy SEAL Dick Couch, tell their incredible story.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Jeanne Vertefeuille: CIA Spy Hunter

The CIA released a piece on the late Jeanne Vertefeuille (seen above in the center of the group photo), one of the CIA officers who caught CIA spy and traitor Aldrich Ames.

At first, I wanted to jump across the table and strangle him. But then I started laughing. It was really funny, because he was the one in shackles, not me.”

This was the reaction of CIA officer Jeanne Vertefeuille upon learning that Aldrich Ames, the most damaging mole in CIA history, had once given his Soviet handlers her name when they asked what other CIA official could be framed for Ames’s own treachery.

Fortunately that strategy did not pan out, and instead Jeanne led the internal task force that ultimately brought Ames to justice. It was the pinnacle of a long and memorable career in CIA.

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Sandra V. Grimes (seen on the left in the above group photo) via the below link:

Grime worked with Jeanne Vertefeuille and helped catch Ames. She and Jeanne Vertefuille wrote Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed.

Something New Under The Sun: A Hemingway Biography That's Original

Ron Capshaw offers a good review in National Review of James M. Hutchisson's Ernest Hemingway: A New Life.

Norman Mailer once located courage in Ernest Hemingway's manic depression. Proof of this, according to Mailer, was that Papa was able to produce classic works despite daily struggles with that crippling condition.

James Hutchisson tales off from that point and advertises that his is the first "balanced" view of Hemingway in years. Others, he argued, have either portrayed the writer as the persona he created for himself - that of a rugged adventurer with a genius for words - or as an alcoholic womanizer.

Hutchinsson justifies this latest attempt of explaining Hemingway by announcing that he would view the author's work through several prisms: his medical condition that grew worst over the years (like others, Hutchisson sees an air of inevitability about Hemingway's putting that fatal shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger); his obsession with life and death, which was grist to his creative mill; and his relationship with women.        

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sources Name Informant Who Recorded Reputed Philadelphia Mob Boss Joey Merlino In Federal Racketeering Case

Dave Schratwieser at Fox 29 in Philadelphia offers a piece and video clip on the identity of the federal informant who recorded Joey Merlino, the reputed Philadelphia Cosa Nostra organized crime boss, and others. Merlino and 45 others were indicted on racketeering charges.

Schratwieser interviewed veteran organized crime reporter Jerry Capeci, whose website,, named the informant.

You can read the piece and watch the video via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on the federal case against Merlino and others via the below link:

Wildwood Days: From Plastic Palm Trees To Looping Neon Signs, Striking Images Of Mid-Century Motels Capture The Vanishing Architecture Of A Bygone Era

Like many of the middle class South Philadelphians I grew up with, we vacationed in Wildwood, N.J. every summer.

As a child in the 1950s and early 1960s I went "downashore," as South Philadelphians called Wildwood, with my family. As a teenager in the mid and late 1960s, and in my 20s in the 1970s, I traveled to Wildwood with the guys or a girl friend.

In the 1980s, in my 30s, I and my wife began to take our children to Wildwood. And the last time we visited Wildwood, we went with our grown children and our grandchildren.

I've vacationed around the world, but Wildwood has a special place in my memories.

So I was interested in seeing the photos and reading Valerie Edwards' Daily Mail piece on a book on the old motels I know so well.

The book is Mark Havens' Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods.

"Through a rare combination of economics, geography and chance, the island of Wildwood in New Jersey contains a national treasure: the highest concentration of mid-century modern hospitality architecture in the US," Edwards writes.

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

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

New Hampshire Man Pleads Guilty To Computer Hacking And “Sextortion” Scheme Involving Multiple Female Victims

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

A New Hampshire man pleaded guilty today to remotely hacking into the online accounts of almost a dozen female victims and sending them threatening online communications, in some instances containing sexually explicit photos, in order to force the victims to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves. 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Emily Rice of the District of New Hampshire and Resident Agent in Charge Holly Fraumeni of the U.S. Secret Service’s Manchester, New Hampshire, Field Office made the announcement. 
Ryan J. Vallee, 22, formerly of Belmont and Franklin, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to a 31-count superseding indictment charging him with 13 counts of making interstate threats, one count of computer hacking to steal information, eight counts of computer hacking to extort, eight counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of cyberstalking.  On March 16, 2016, while Vallee was awaiting trial, he was re-arrested on new criminal charges and has remained in custody since then.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 1, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, from 2011 through March 2016, Vallee, using various aliases that included “Seth Williams” and “James McRow,” engaged in a computer hacking and “sextortion” campaign designed to force numerous victims to provide him with sexually explicit photographs of themselves and others.
Vallee admitted that he employed a variety of techniques to force his victims to cede to his “sextortionate” demands.  For example, according to the plea agreement, he repeatedly hacked into and took control over the victims’ online accounts, including their email, Facebook and Instagram accounts.  Once he had control of these accounts, Vallee locked the victims out of their own accounts and, in some cases, defaced the contents of the accounts, he admitted.  According to the plea, in at least one instance, Vallee hacked into a victim’s account, which stored her payment information and shipping address, then ordered items of a sexual nature and had them shipped to the victim’s home.  Vallee also admitted that in some instances, he obtained sexually explicit photos of the victims and their friends and distributed them to the victims, their friends and their family members.  With at least one victim, Vallee created a Facebook page using an account name that was virtually identical to the victim’s real Facebook account name, with one letter misspelled, he admitted.  He then posted sexually explicit photos of the victim on this fake Facebook page and issued “friend requests” to the victim, her friends and her family members, according to the plea agreement.
Vallee admitted that he repeatedly sent threatening electronic communications to his victims, usually by using spoofing or anonymizing text message services, in which he threatened his victims that unless they gave him sexually explicit photographs of themselves, he would continue with the above-described conduct.  According to the admissions in the plea agreement, when most of the victims refused to comply with Vallee’s demands and begged him to leave them alone, Vallee responded with threats to inflict additional harm.
The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case with substantial assistance from the Belmont Police Department.  Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen of the District of New Hampshire are prosecuting the case.
Victims of “sextortion” schemes such as this often may be hesitant to come forward.  The Justice Department encourages individuals who may be the victims of similar schemes to contact their local law enforcement agencies to report this conduct. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Russian Cyber-Criminal Convicted Of 38 Counts Related To Hacking Businesses And Stealing More Than Two Million Credit Card Numbers

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

A federal jury today convicted a Vladivostok, Russia, man of 38 counts related to his scheme to hack into point-of-sale computers to steal and sell credit card numbers to the criminal underworld, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington.  
Roman Valerevich Seleznev, aka Track2, 32, was convicted after an eight-day trial of 10 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, nine counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, nine counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones of the Western District of Washington scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2, 2016.
According to testimony at trial and court documents, between October 2009 and October 2013, Seleznev hacked into retail point-of-sale systems and installed malicious software (malware) to steal credit card numbers from various businesses from a server he operated in Russia.  Many of the businesses were small businesses, some of which were restaurants in Western Washington, including the Broadway Grill in Seattle, which was forced into bankruptcy following the cyber assault.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the malware would steal the credit card data from the point-of-sale systems and send it to other servers that Seleznev controlled in Russia, the Ukraine or in McLean, Virginia.  Seleznev then bundled the credit card information into groups called “bases” and sold the information on various “carding” websites to buyers who would then use the credit card numbers for fraudulent purchases, according to the trial evidence.  Testimony at trial revealed that Seleznev’s scheme caused 3,700 financial institutions more than $169 million in losses.
When Seleznev was taken into custody in July 2014 in the Maldives, his laptop contained more than 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers, some of which were stolen from businesses in Western Washington.  The laptop also contained additional evidence linking Seleznev to the servers, email accounts and financial transactions involved in the scheme.
Seleznev is charged in a separate indictment in the District of Nevada with participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO) and conspiracy to engage in a RICO, as well as two counts of possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices.  Seleznev is also charged in the Northern District of Georgia with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of bank fraud and four counts of wire fraud.  An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force investigated the case.  The task force includes detectives from the Seattle Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service Cyber Intelligence Section in Washington, D.C.   Trial Attorney Harold Chun of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman M. Barbosa and Seth Wilkinson of the Western District of Washington are prosecuting the case.   The CCIPS Cyber Crime Lab and its Director, Ovie Carroll, provided substantial support for the prosecution.  The Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Guam also provided assistance in this case.

US Navy Ship Fired Warning Shots At Iranian Ship; 4 Mideast Close Calls This Week reports that the USS Squall (seen above in the photo) fired warning shots at Iranian boats who were harassing U.S. Navy ships.

DEVELOPING: A U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship fired three warning shots at an Iranian ship that sailed within 200 yards in the Northern Persian Gulf Wednesday after one of four close calls this week involving U.S. and Iranian vessels, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.
The USS Squall fired the shots, according to the official.
On Tuesday, four Iranian small boats "harassed" the USS Nitze, sailing near the guided missile destroyer in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. Navy official told Fox News.

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video clip via the below link:

A Look Back At The Gambino Crime Family Tree, From Their Early Roots To Serving As inspiration For ‘The Godfather’


Jessica Schladerbeck at the New York Daily News looks back at the Gambino crime family history.

Before he was the inspiration for the greatest fictional crime boss of all time, Carlo Gambino was an illegal immigrant trying to rise to power during the height of organized crime.

Gambino, born August 24, 1902, headed one of the most powerful families in New York and in part inspired the iconic character Don Corleone — the Godfather was also heavily based on Frank Costello. His journey to the top, not unlike those in the famous film series, is a tangled web of assassinations, power grabs and silent betrayal.

The Gambino Crime Family was founded by Salvatore “Toto” D’Aquila, who took over a gang of newly transplanted Mafiosi from Sicily after leaders Lupo Saietta and Giuseppe Morello were handed a 30 year prison sentence for counterfeiting in 1910.

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

Happy 86th Birthday To Sir Sean Connery

Happy 86th birthday to one of my favorite actors, Sir Sean Connery.

Lindsay Lowe at offers 10 of Sir Sean Connery's most famous quotes, including one from Dr. No, where he first introduced himself as "Bond. James Bond."

You can read the quotes via the below link:

And you can read an earlier post on Sir Sean Connery via the below link:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Iranian Vessels Make 'High-Speed Intercept' Of U.S. Ship

They don't call the USS Nitze a destroyer for nothing.

The ship is manned with multiple modern weapons systems and is quite capable of dispatching four Iranian boats, and much more, yet the risk-adverse civilian and military leadership at the helm in the Pentagon allowed this multi-million dollar warship to be harassed by the second-rate Iranian navy, just as the U.S. Navy allowed the Iranians to capture our boats and sailors a while back.

And, you may recall, Secretary of State John Kerry publicly thanked the Iranians for the humiliation.

Clearly, the Iranians - and the rest of the world - have no respect for the United States Navy.

You can read about the U.S.'s latest humiliation at the hands of the Iranians via the below link:

Note:  The USS Nitze appears in the above U.S. Navy photo.

FBI: Fugitive Apprehended - Alleged Child Abuser Was on the Run for 23 Years

The FBI released the below report:

In 1993, Boston-area resident John Hartin was 23 years old when he befriended two young boys—ages 6 and 9—and allegedly raped them.

One of the victims eventually told a family member about the abuse, which led to an investigation and Hartin being charged in Massachusetts with five counts of rape of a child. Rather than face the charges, Hartin fled, and was later charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

He was at large for more than two decades, and investigators followed numerous leads without success. “But the case never stopped being actively investigated,” said Special Agent Brooks Broadus, a member of the FBI’s Boston Division Child Exploitation Task Force. “We were always looking.”

At the time of his disappearance, Hartin, a lifelong resident of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was working as a security guard. He had also studied graphics and computer arts in college. His first alleged victim was related to an acquaintance of Hartin’s. The young boy’s close friend was Hartin’s second alleged victim.

In 2012, the FBI launched a multi-state media campaign and announced a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to Hartin’s arrest. The campaign generated thousands of tips—and many tantalizing leads—but no arrest.

More recently, explained Boston Police Department Det. Mike Sullivan, a member of the Child Exploitation Task Force, “we started looking at the case again with fresh eyes and went back to Day One. We sought out Hartin’s family and friends and began to conduct new interviews.”

In the end, Sullivan said, “it was old-fashioned detective work that led to Hartin’s capture.” Sullivan sought the assistance of various law enforcement agencies to assist in the search, including the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of State. Through these partnerships, investigators learned that Hartin was using the alias Jay Carter. The fugitive had a driver’s license in Carter’s name, and other fraudulent documents.

Leads were initially sent to the FBI Miami Division, FBI Long Beach Resident Agency and the FBI Greensboro Resident Agency. The fugitive was traced to Walkertown, North Carolina, and the FBI put his residence under surveillance. Intelligence revealed that he had weapons in the house. “We had information that he was armed and potentially dangerous,” Sullivan said. Although Hartin was taken into custody without incident at his home on June 15, 2016, he initially denied his true identify.

“We are still piecing together where he was for all the years he was on the run,” Broadus said. “He lived in Florida for a long period of time before he went to North Carolina. We also had information he may have lived in California. He apparently did freelance computer work to earn money and worked in a bar in Miami.” Broadus added that Hartin had roommates and “significant others who might have helped him financially. They all deny they knew his real identity.”

Hartin, now 46 years old, was on the run for 23 years. He waived extradition, and U.S. Marshals recently returned him to Massachusetts, where he will now have to answer for his actions in court.

Broadus commended the Boston Police Department and federal law enforcement partners for their efforts on the case. After Hartin’s arrest, Sullivan and Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Alissa Goldhaber contacted the victims to let them know Hartin had finally been captured. After learning the news, one victim said, “This is the best day of my life.”  

Steven Hill, District Attorney Adam Schiff On 'Law & Order,' Dies at 94

Chris Koseluk at the Hollywood Reporter offers a piece on the late Steven Hill, the actor who portrayed the original DA on TV's Law & Order and the leader of the IMF on the first season of Mission Impossible.

Steven Hill, the stoic actor who was an original castmember on both the 1960s iconic television series Mission: Impossible and the ground-breaking 1990s drama Law & Order, died Tuesday. He was 94.

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

Marine General Dunford Details Implications Of Today’s Threats On Tomorrow’s Strategy

Jim Garamone at the DoD News offers the below piece:

FORT McNAIR, D.C., Aug. 23, 2016 — National security leaders must be able to confront today’s threats, and they must develop and maintain the personnel, strategies and equipment needed for an ever more uncertain world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the new class at the National Defense University today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford also shared with the members of the class of 2017 his thoughts on the strategic landscape, and the implications to the joint force.

Dunford agrees with assessments that the world is in the most uncertain time since the end of World War II. Still, the U.S. military “is recruiting and retaining quality people,” the chairman said.

“Across the board,” he added, “they are focused. They are committed. They are high quality.”

There are signs of wear in some military specialties and Dunford cited a pilot shortage and the near constant deployments of special operators and other small, but crucial specialties, specifically. But, he noted the closer to a combat environment, the higher the morale.

Assessing Risk

“In the environment we are in today, with the complexity and volatility and variety of challenges we have, how do we assess risk?” he asked. “How do we assess the capabilities or capacities that must exist in the joint force? A part of this is also how to prepare for the unexpected.”

The threat baseline, he said, is four-plus-one: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and violent extremism. Four are nation states that can cause varying degrees of concern. The fifth threat, terrorism, can flare up in any part of the world.

“We use those four state actors and one nonstate actor … to get an appreciation for where is the force relative to where it needs to be,” Dunford said.

He addressed each of the threats starting with the campaign against the core of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq and Syria. The military campaign against core ISIL is going well, he said. Iraqi security forces have proved in Fallujah and Ramadi that they can take on ISIL and win. They have set the stage for the battle against the terror group in Mosul -- Iraq’s second-largest city and the largest city anywhere under ISIL control.

Fighting ISIL in Iraq

Now, he said, “it is no longer the military campaign that is going to be the determining factor in the success in Iraq. The interactions of governments in Iraq, the role of Shia militia forces, the relationship of the Peshmerga in the north with the Shia and government -- all those things have to be sorted out.”

Meanwhile, the United States is supporting 14,000 Arab fighters and upwards of 30,000 Kurds during the counter-ISIL campaign in Syria, said Dunford, who noted there’s been much ground retaken there from ISIL.

ISIL in Libya

ISIL is not limited to Iraq and Syria and the United States is helping government forces in Libya strike at ISIL in Sirte, Dunford said. The U.S. needs to eliminate the group from the region for ISIL in Libya could be the headquarters for the group throughout Africa and for attacks into Europe, he said.

Dunford said the counter-ISIL campaign in Libya is making progress. “The trajectory that ISIL was on in Libya in January and February was concerning to me, but it is less so today,” the chairman said.

ISIL is also in Afghanistan, West Africa and is trying to gain adherents in Southeast Asia. The United States will confront the group wherever it goes, Dunford said.

The chairman discussed the capabilities that Russia and China are developing. “When I look at Russia, they are modernizing their nuclear enterprise, they are modernizing their submarine force, they are modernizing their conventional capabilities,” he said. All this is being done, he said, despite significant demographic and economic challenges facing Russia.

The U.S. competitive advantage in many of these areas is getting smaller, the chairman said.

Russian Actions

Dunford said he’s concerned about Russia’s behavior, including its annexation of Crimea, its actions in Eastern Ukraine, it threats to Georgia and Moldova, and its aid to Syria.

Russia is engaging in these actions in an attempt, Dunford said, to “undermine the most successful alliance in history -- the NATO alliance.”

He added: “From a U.S. perspective, I would tell you I believe our center of gravity as a nation, through a security lens, is the network of alliances. Russia is trying to erode that.”
Russia and China are separately concentrating on anti-access, area denial strategies, but for similar ends, the chairman said.

The Question of China

China is a bit more opaque, Dunford said. China has invested significant sums in building up its military, including its nuclear enterprise. Its actions in the South China Sea are cause for concern to the United States, the chairman said.

Meanwhile, Iran is trying to spread its influence across the Middle East, he said, and must be carefully monitored. And, the chairman said, North Korea is still building nuclear capabilities and intercontinental missiles and is the most unpredictable nation on the list.
All these risk assessments have implications for the joint force. The first, Dunford said, is the United States must have balanced capabilities. “In other words, we have to have capabilities that range from the nuclear down to conventional and special operations capabilities,” he said. “We as a nation with the challenges out there cannot afford not to have a robust capability.”

Another implication is the United States has to do better at integrating all aspects of the government into strategy and integrating allies and partners into plans, the chairman said.
Finally, the chairman believes any disagreement has the potential to grow to a transregional, multi-domain conflict. 

He cited the example of North Korea. In the 1990s, it was possible that if the armistice broke down, the conflict could be limited to the Korean Peninsula. With ballistic missiles, the cyber threat and conventional attacks, any conflict with North Korea would soon escalate to include the rest of U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command.

This calls for a much greater degree of strategic integration in the future, Dunford said. The decision-making processes need to be streamlined, and leaders need a common operational picture. All this requires a strategic framework to build the plans for global operations.  

Former Philly Police Commissioner John F. Timoney, 'A Cop's Cop,' Is Laid To Rest

Chris Palmer at the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the funeral of former Philadelphia Police Commissioner John F. Timoney.

You can read about the funeral and tributes via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on John F. Timoney via the below link:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On This Day In History Texas Rangers Arrest Outlaw John Wesley Hardin

As notes, on this day in 1877 Texas Ranger John Armstrong (seen in the below photo) arrested notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin (seen in the above photo).

You can read about Hardin, Armstrong and the arrest via the below link:

U.S. Servicemember Who Took Illegal Photos Inside Nuclear Sub, Impeded Investigation, Sentenced To Prison

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

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin announced that KRISTIAN SAUCIER, 29, of Arlington, Vt., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 12 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally retaining photos taken inside a nuclear submarine and impeding the investigation of the matter.  While on supervised release, SAUCIER must spend six months in home confinement with electronic monitoring, and perform 100 hours of community service.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from September 2007 to March 2012, SAUCIER served as a machinist’s mate aboard the USS Alexandria, which is a U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine based at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.  On at least three separate dates in 2009, SAUCIER used the camera on his personal cellphone to take photographs of classified spaces, instruments and equipment of the USS Alexandria, documenting the major technical components of the submarine’s propulsion system.
On January 19, 2009, at approximately 4:00 a.m., SAUCIER took two photos, one of the auxiliary steam plant panel and the other of the reactor compartment viewed through a portal.  On March 22, 2009, at approximately 1:30 a.m., SAUCIER took two photos that, when placed side by side, provided a panoramic array of the Maneuvering Compartment, the room from which the propulsion system of the boat is operated.  On July 15, 2009, at 12:47 p.m., SAUCIER took two photos documenting the reactor head configuration of the nuclear reactor and a view of the reactor compartment from within that compartment.
SAUCIER had a Secret clearance and knew that the photos depicted classified material and that he was not authorized to take them.  He retained these photographs and failed to deliver them to any officer or employee of the U.S. entitled to receive it.
The investigation began in March 2012 when SAUCIER’s cellphone was found at a waste transfer station in Hampton, Conn.  SAUCIER was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Naval Criminal Investigative Service in July 2012 and confronted with the classified images from his phone.  Following that interview and in an effort to impede the federal investigation, SAUCIER returned to his home and immediately destroyed a laptop computer, a personal camera and the camera’s memory card.  Pieces of a laptop computer were subsequently found in the woods on a property in Connecticut owned by a member of SAUCIER’s family.
SAUCIER was arrested on May 28, 2015.  On May 27, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information.
SAUCIER, who is released on bond, was ordered to report to prison on October 12, 2016.
SAUCIER is currently enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer First Class assigned to the Naval Support Activity Base, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.  He is awaiting an administrative separation board proceeding.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vanessa Richards and Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss, and Trial Attorney Will Mackie from the Justice Department’s National Security Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Love Him Or Hate Him: A Look Back At Former Philadelphia Mayor & Top Cop Frank Rizzo

Years after the death of Frank Rizzo, the former Philadelphia mayor and top cop remains controversial.

A local Black Lives Matter group is attempting to have the statute of the late mayor removed from in front of the City Services Center. I believe they will fail.

I watched the Robert Mugge short film on Frank Rizzo and I thought it attempted to be balanced, but perhaps failed.

I was glad to hear former Rizzo foe Thatcher Longstreth state that Rizzo was anti-criminal, not anti-black.

A good bit of street crime is committed by blacks - and against blacks for the most part - and Rizzo was against criminals, be they black or white.

A few years back my friend, a retired Philadelphia detective, introduced me to Anthony Fulwood, a big cop, bigger than Rizzo, who had been Rizzo's bodyguard. The late Anthony Fulwood happened to be black. Rizzo's life and safety were in the hands of a black cop. And Anthony Fulwood was very fond of Rizzo.

I didn't agree with many of Rizzo's economic policies as mayor, but I thought he was a good police commissioner, all things considered.

To get a more balanced view of Frank Rizzo, I suggest you read The Cop Who Would Be King by two Philadelphia newspaper men.

On This Day In History Hired Killer Jim Miller Joins The Texas Rangers

As notes, on this day in 1898 Jim "Killer" Miller, a hired gun who worked both sides of the street in the wild west, joined the Texas Rangers.

You can read about the event and Miller's life via the below link:

U.S. Army Lt. General Townsend Takes Command of Operation Inherent Resolve

The Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Released the below report:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 21, 2016 — Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, assumed command of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve from Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the commander of III Armored Corps based at Fort Hood, Texas, during a transfer of authority ceremony held here today, according to CJTF-OIR officials.

Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, U.S. Central Command’s commanding general, presided over the ceremony that was attended by hundreds of U.S. and coalition soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Pressuring ISIL

Votel expressed confidence in the team from Fort Bragg to continue pressuring the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"We are very fortunate to be welcoming another great team in Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend and Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones," Votel said. "The XVIII Airborne Corps has very big shoes to fill, but I know they are up to the task and raring to go!”

Over the last several months, officials said, soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps conducted intense training to prepare for the mission.

Townsend highlighted the incredible work already accomplished in the region.

"Over the past year, CJTF-OIR, led by my good friend Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland and his III Armored Corps, and our coalition and regional partners, have done incredible work to degrade and dismantle ISIL's oppressive and brutal regime,” Townsend said.

“Their combined efforts on the ground and in the air have accelerated” the counter-ISIL campaign, Townsend said, pushing ISIL back across the battlefield and achieving remarkable momentum towards ISIL’s ultimate defeat.

MacFarland reflected on the turning point in the campaign against ISIL as Iraqi security forces drove them out of Ramadi, Iraq, in December 2015.

“Now the enemy is in retreat on all fronts and the Iraqi security forces have demonstrated that they can conduct complex and decisive operations," MacFarland said.

Counter-ISIL Accomplishments

Some key accomplishments achieved during the III Armored Corps tour include:

-- Trained more than 13,500 members of the Iraqi security forces including over 4,000 Iraqi soldiers, 1,500 counter-terrorism service soldiers, 6,000 Peshmerga, almost 1,000 federal police and 300 border guards.

-- Increased emphasis on police training and recruiting tribal forces, adding 5,000 trained local police and over 20,000 tribal fighters enrolled.

-- Conducted about 50,000 counter-ISIL sorties in the past year, in which more than 30,000 munitions were dropped on the enemy with approximately two-thirds of those in Iraq and about one-third in Syria.

-- These strikes have enabled the liberation of more than 25,000 total square kilometers from ISIL. That's nearly half of the territory the enemy once controlled in Iraq and 20 percent of the territory they once controlled in Syria.

-- Conducted more than 200 strikes against oil and natural gas activities of the enemy, which reduced their oil revenue stream by approximately 50 percent.

-- Vigorously attacked enemy leadership, command-and-control and weapons manufacturing capability, to include more than 25 bulk cash storage sites, resulting in at least half-a-billion dollars destroyed.

Townsend shared his vision for the CJTF-OIR mission ahead.

“Let me say for all to hear -- friend and foe alike -- we will continue the attack against ISIL, and we will defeat them in Iraq and Syria on our watch," Townsend said.

The XVIII Airborne Corps most recently returned from deployment in Afghanistan in December 2014, where in Afghanistan it led the NATO operational headquarters in Kabul, the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

Note: In the above DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantly, Defense Secretary Ash Carter appears Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Titan Books Will Publish 'The Complete Ian Fleming's James Bond Classic Comic Strip Collection - 1958-1960" In November

The James Bond website MI-6 (not to be confused with the British intelligence organization) informs us that Titan books will publish the complete James Bond comic strip collection from 1958 to 1960 in November.

You can read about the book via the below link:

Note: The comic strip, which ran in the British newspaper the Express, was in fact more faithful to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels than the film series.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Commancheors: John Wayne's 007 Movie

A few years back I watched John Wayne's The Comancheros for perhaps the fourth time and I recall thinking, and later mentioned to a friend, that the 1961 Western film was in some ways a James Bond-type thriller.

Nehemiah Persoff was an early-day Bond-type villain with a SPECTRE-like criminal organization. The Duke is a Texas Ranger who goes undercover and infiltrates Persoff's lair, much like Bond does in the 007 films (and the earlier Ian Fleming novels).

There is also a dramatic Bond-like card game with John Wayne and bad guy Lee Marvin. Marvin, in a brief but powerful role, is at his evil best. This bad guy may be even more rotten than Marvin's Liberty Valance outlaw character in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

There are other similarities between Bond thrillers and The Comancheros, as The Spy Commander website points out.

You can read the post via the below link:

Note: In this film John Wayne shows his acting chops when he assumes the identity of a gunrunner he meets briefly in jail. You can clearly see the contrast between Wayne's Texas Ranger character and his assumed role as an outlaw gunrunner. Good movie.

US Navy Sailor Sentenced To A Year Behind Bars For Taking Photos Of A Nuclear Submarine... Despite His Pleas His Crime Was No Different To Hillary Clinton's Email Server Controversy

The Daily Mail reports that a U.S. sailor received a year in prison for taking photos of a nuclear submarine.

A Navy sailor was sentenced to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine despite his pleas that it was similar to how Hillary Clinton used a private server to send classified emails.

Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Friday where a judge also ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time. 

He pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information and had faced five to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton and he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine. 

The photos showed the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said.

Kristian Saucier’s attorneys tried working a Hillary Clinton angle, arguing that the Democratic presidential nominee had been 'engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier' with information of much higher classification, according to US News

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