Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Great South Philly iPhone Heist of 2018: Remember When South Philly Guys Used To Steal Truckloads Of Cigarettes?

Victor Fiorillo at offers a piece on the theft of iPhones and other cell phone devices in South Philadelphia.

There was a time when a certain type of South Philly guy would spend his productive hours casing tractor-trailers and delivery trucks to score truckloads of cigarettes that would then be sold on the black market. But, this being 2018 and cigarettes not being particularly socially acceptable, we’ve moved onto iPhones.

The Philadelphia Police Department has arrested three South Philly men, alleging that they were behind schemes to steal $100,000 in iPhones and other cell phone devices.

You can read the rest of the piece at 

Happy Halloween

Beirut Rules: The Murder Of A CIA Station Chief And Hezbollah's War Against America

Joshua Sinai offers a good review in the Washington Times of Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz’s Beirut Rules: The Murder of a CIA Station Chief And Hezbollah’s War Against America.

On March 16, 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives just as he had left his apartment building at 6:45 am and started driving his car to his office at the United States embassy compound, a two-minute drive away. The two cars driven by the Hezbollah kidnappers quickly blocked Mr. Buckley’s car and their operatives overwhelmed him with their firearms and hurled him into one of their cars, driving him to their hidden place of captivity. Mr. Buckley had been in his position since June 1983, and contrary to standard security practice, he was not accompanied by an embassy-provided driver or bodyguard. Mr. Buckley reportedly died in Hezbollah captivity in June 1985, despite the numerous measures the United States had employed to attempt his rescue.

Taking this high-profile kidnapping as its central focus, this book is a dramatic and engaging account of the American backchannel intelligence and military efforts to help restore order to Lebanon’s protracted Hobbesian civil war, with the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah’s Shi’ite insurgency the primary antagonist.

Hezbollah’s insurgency took the form of systematically kidnapping and assassinating Westerners in Lebanon, whether academics, United Nations officers, Christian humanitarian aid officials and journalists. During Mr. Buckley’s brief tenure at the U.S. embassy, Hezbollah also organized two spectacular truck-driven suicide bombing attacks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983, with the first explosion killing 241 U.S. Marine Corps personnel at their barracks by the Beirut Airport, and the second killing 58 French peacekeeping personnel and six civilians.

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

Welcome To Hell, Mr. Bulger: Revealed: Murdered Wheelchair-Bound Mob Boss Whitey Bulger, 89, Was 'Wheeled Away From Security Cameras By Three Inmates With Mafia Ties Before They Beat Him To Death With A Lock In A Sock And Tried To Gouge His Eyes Out'

The Daily Mail offers a report on how convicted mob boss and murderer ‘Whitey’ Bulger was himself murdered.
Wheelchair-bound Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger Jr. has been beaten to death in a savage attack by fellow federal inmates, who reportedly pummeled him with a lock in a sock and tried to gouge his eyes out. 
Bulger was found dead by guards on Tuesday morning at USP Hazelton, a high-security federal prison in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. He was 89.
Bulger was in general population when three inmates rolled his wheelchair to a corner out of view of surveillance cameras, beat him in the head with a lock in a sock, and attempted to gouge his eyes out with a shiv, a prison source told TMZ.

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

To learn more about Bulger you can read my Q&A with Dick Lehr, a former Boston Globe reporter and co-author of Whitey: The Life of America’s Most Notorious Mob Boss, via the below link:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Boston Mob Boss James 'Whitey' Bulger Found Dead In Prison

Bruce Golding at the New York Post reports on the death of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in prison.

Infamous Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was found dead shortly after being transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia, according to a report Tuesday.
Multiple federal officials confirmed Bulger’s death, according to a tweet from NBC News investigative reporter Tom Winter.
The report of Bulger’s death came about an hour after the WVNews website reported that a prisoner was slain overnight inside the Hazleton federal penitentiary in Bruceton Mills.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my Q&A with Dick Lehr, former Boston Globe reporter and co-author of Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss, via the below link:

Monday, October 29, 2018

John Cuddy, Long-Time NYPD Detective Credited With 'French Connection' Case Dies At 92

Ben Feuerherd at the New York Post offers a piece on the death of a retired NYPD detective who worked on the “French Connection” case, which was covered in a true crime book by Robin Moore and an award-wining, classic crime film.
Retired detective John Cuddy, a longtime police investigator whose career in the NYPD helped bring down the “French Connection” heroin operation and Harlem gangster Nicky Barnes, died early Sunday morning in Suffolk County. He was 92.
“He was an honest guy,” said his son John, also a retired NYPD detective. “Those who worked with him knew him as Gentleman Jack.”
On the narcotics squad, Cuddy spent years rooting out heroin from opium dens in Chinatown in the late 1950s — and worked with other noted detectives, including Kitty Barry and John Kai.
But his largest case came after he had been promoted to sergeant and was supervising narcotics detectives.
In 1961, under Cuddy’s supervision, detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso broke up an international heroin ring and seized more than a hundred kilos of the drug. The case went on to be immortalized in the “French Connection” movie and book, with Egan being portrayed by Gene Hackman.
In 1971, Cuddy retired from the NYPD and took a job as an investigator with the Nassau County district attorney’s office — but his penchant for landing big cases didn’t stop.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Navy Day 2018

According to the Naval History & Heritage Command, when it was first celebrated on October 27, 1922, Navy Day was observed to focus public attention on the importance of the U.S. Navy.

Although Navy Day was last formally observed on October 27, 1949, many still celebrate it to salute all the men and women who served in the U.S. Navy, past and present.  

Michael Connelly: From Bosch And Ballard To Real-Life Detectives

Declan Hughes at the Irish Times offers a piece on crime novelist Michael Connelly. 

Not content with being the internationally bestselling author of 32 novels in 26 years and the executive producer of Bosch, the acclaimed Amazon Prime TV show based on his most enduring detective Harry Bosch, Michael Connelly is about to launch his own podcast.

It’s called The Murder Book, the first season is about a case that took 30 years to come to court and it will feature the voices of detectives who have “a deep-seated fierceness about not letting people getting away with stuff”.

Stepping out from under the cloak of fiction is not exactly a stretch for Connelly, who still considers himself a reporter at heart – virtually every page of his fiction is firmly rooted in true crime – but there’s rather more at stake for him than mid-career restlessness.

But first, there’s a new book to talk about (with Connelly, there’s always a new book). When ebullient defence lawyer Mickey Haller arrived on the scene in The Lincoln Lawyer, readers suspected it was only a matter of time (two books) before he’d come up against Harry Bosch. Detective Renée Ballard didn’t have to wait so long to find a secure foothold in Connelly’s fictional universe. Following her debut in 2016’s incendiary The Late Show, Ballard is back in Dark Sacred Night. She’s still working the graveyard shift at Hollywood Division, but now she has Bosch to contend with. When did Connelly know that Ballard was a keeper?

“You get to the end of a book and you ask yourself, am I finished with this character or is there more to say? With Renée it was very clear, I was still fascinated by her and what I wanted to do with her. I write about Harry Bosch and Bosch is a murder detective and every story is a murder story, whereas Ballard takes on anything that happens from midnight to 7am, so from the writing standpoint that’s a lot of freedom, I can explore almost anything I want. Also, she’s the kind of character who doesn’t punch out and go home at seven, she carries cases with her, she has that relentless quality, and then the third aspect was, unlike my other characters, who are usually based on an amalgam of real detectives, fictional detectives, movie detectives etc, this character was wholly inspired by one person who I have an ongoing relationship with, so am I stupid or what? Of course I’m gonna use that.”

That person is Mitzi Roberts, an LAPD detective who’s been advising Connelly for years, both on his fiction and also as a technical consultant to the Bosch TV show. Connelly speaks to me from the set in Los Angeles, where they’re shooting the fifth season and – as if to underline his centrality to the enterprise – where he is interrupted more than once by crew seeking his counsel.

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

You can also read my Washington Times review of Michael Connelly’s last novel, Two Kinds of Truth, via the below link:

And you can read my Crime Beat column Q&A with Michael Connelly via the below link:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Gosnell The Murderer Revisited

David Keene at the Washington Times offers a piece on the new film Gosnell and the true story of the Philadelphia abortion doctor and mass murderer behind the film

When Philadelphia police obtained a search warrant and raided Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic eight years ago, they were seeking evidence of illegal prescriptions for opioids and other addictive drugs. Gosnell would later be sentenced to 30 years in prison for running an illegal prescription mill, but they found much more.

Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society was no ordinary provider of abortion services. His clinic was filthy and later described by those who were there that night as “a house of horrors.” The place stank of cat urine and death. Police found infant body parts in the garbage disposal and in frozen in milk cartons in the freezer. A cabinet contained dozens of jars of baby feet the police later came to believe were souvenirs, but although the police knew something was terribly wrong, they weren’t sure just what they had stumbled on. They called in reinforcements.

The ensuing investigation resulted in multiple indictments. Not only was the facility substandard, poorly trained unlicensed employees were drugging Gosnell's patients with his permission, but the doctor was ignoring virtually every regulation on the books. Gosnell’s neglect and mistreatment of his patients, mostly poor and desperate, led to at least one death and perhaps more.

The unsanitary conditions at the clinic resulted in dozens of hospitalizations with dangerous and even life-threatening infections. Worse, as the investigators dug deeper they discovered that Gosnell was performing not just legal abortions or even illegal partial birth abortions, but was in the habit of delivering babies live and then killing them.

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

You can also read my Washington Times review of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, the book the film was based on, via the below link: 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My Washington Times Piece On No "Jane" Bond

The Washington Times published my piece that gave a thumbs down on a female or black James Bond. 

In a recent interview in the British newspaper the Guardian, Barbara Broccoli, the executive producer of the James Bond film series, basically ruled out the idea that Ian Fleming's beloved and iconic character would be portrayed by an actress once actor Daniel Craig gave up the role.

“Bond is male,” Ms. Broccoli told the Guardian. “He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male.”

Ms. Broccoli, 58, the head of EON productions and daughter of the late Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, the EON producer of the Bond series that began with “Dr. No” in 1963, added, “We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”

The drive to have a female Bond perhaps began when actress Gillian Anderson retweeted a photoshopped image of her replacing Daniel Craig in a “Skyfall” movie poster.

“It’s Bond. Jane Bond,” she wrote, partly, I presume, in jest.

Ms. Broccoli’s idea that film makers should let Bond be Bond and simply create more female characters of their own can also be applied to those who wish to see James Bond portrayed by a black actor.

… The late Sir Roger Moore, who died in May of last year at the age of 89, portrayed James Bond in seven films, beginning with 1973’s “Live and Let Die” to 1985’s “A View to a Kill.” He weighed in on the idea of a female, gay or black James Bond in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper in 2015. 

“I have heard people talk about how there should be a lady Bond or a gay Bond.” Sir Roger Moore said. “But they wouldn’t be Bond for the simple reason that wasn’t what Ian Fleming wrote. It is not about being homophobic or, for that matter, racist — it is simply about being true to the character.”                                                                                                                            
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

A Look Back At The Late, Great William F. Buckley

As a teenager in the 1960s, I was influenced greatly by conservative author, editor, TV host and newspaper columnist William F. Buckley.

I read his newspaper columns, his magazine National Review and his many books, including his sailing books and his fine series of spy thrillers. I was also a faithful viewer of his TV show, Firing Line.

I’m thankful that I was able to review two of his books for the Philadelphia Inquirer. One was on President Ronald Reagan and the other was his last thriller. He was still alive when my review of Last Call for Blackford Oates appeared, and I hope he read it.

Ed Feuler offers a look back at the late, great William F. Buckley in the Washington Times.

Last week was a homecoming for me. But it was something more. On Oct. 18, I was in Chicago to receive the annual William F. Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought. On the occasion of this great honor, I couldn’t help reflecting on the fact that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

Conservatives owe a huge debt to Bill Buckley. He didn’t just start a magazine when he founded National Review in 1955. He planted a flag for many of us who bristled at the liberal orthodoxy then prevalent in American society.

The books that followed, along with his hosting television’s “Firing Line” for 33 years, showed how the tenets of conservative weren’t something that had to be consigned to history books and musty tomes. They were eternally true. They could — and should — be applied to the issues of the day.

For so many of us, the philosophy of freedom found its voice in Bill Buckley and its platform in National Review.

It soon became clear that Bill was developing not just a readership, but a national movement. NR was not simply another journal, but a political act.

We intend, wrote Bill to a prospective supporter, “to revitalize the conservative position” and “influence the opinion-makers” of the nation.

… But Bill’s influence went beyond his landmark magazine. His biography itself is conservatism’s history.

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

You can also read my Philadelphia Inquirer reviews of Mr. Buckley’s books below:

Monday, October 22, 2018

Social Security Administration Inspector General Warns Public About Caller-ID “Spoofing” Scheme Misusing SSA Customer Service Number

Andrew Cannarsa, the OIG communications director, offers the below:

 The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about an ongoing caller-ID “spoofing” scheme misusing the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) national customer service phone number. SSA has received numerous reports of questionable phone calls displaying SSA’s 1-800 number on a caller-ID screen. This is a scam; citizens should not engage with those calls or provide any personal information.

These reports indicate the calls display the 1-800-772-1213, SSA’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on caller ID. People who have accepted the calls said the caller identifies as an SSA employee. In some cases, the caller states that SSA does not have all of the person’s personal information, such as their Social Security number (SSN), on file. Other callers claim SSA needs additional information so the agency can increase the person’s benefit payment, or that SSA will terminate the person’s benefits if they do not confirm their information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from citizens across the country.
SSA employees do not contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes, and in some situations, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.
“This caller-ID spoofing scheme exploits SSA’s trusted reputation, and it shows that scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people,” Stone said. “I  encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence. We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens, so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”
The Acting Inspector General urges citizens to be extremely cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Skripal Files: The Life And Near Death Of A Russian Spy

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a review in the Washington Times of Mark Urban’s The Skripal Files. 

Speaking to reporters in December 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that his spy agencies had assassination squads that targeted defectors. But he voiced an ominous warning. “Whatever thirty pieces of silver those people may have gotten, they will stick in their throat.”

Despite his shortcomings as a decent human, give Mr. Putin credit: He carries out his threats. Any person unfortunate enough to cross him is a step removed from the grave.

The civilized world was shocked in March when a defected Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were stricken with a mysterious poison in the quiet British town of Salisbury. They were in critical condition for weeks but survived. Scientific tests identified the poison involved as Novichok, developed by Russia for germ warfare. It had been smeared on the door knob of the Skripal home.

The attack matched earlier Russian murder operations, notably the poisoning death of defector Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Mr. Skripal, a onetime Red Army airborne colonel, had shifted to the GRU, the military’s intelligence arm. Disillusioned with the Communist regime, he tried to resign, but was refused. (As Mr. Putin himself once said, “There is no such thing as an ex-KGB man.”

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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Russian National Charged With Interfering In U.S. Political System

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
A criminal complaint was unsealed in Alexandria, Virginia, today charging a Russian national for her alleged role in a Russian conspiracy to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2018 midterm election. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, and FBI Director Christopher Wray made the announcement after the charges were unsealed.
“Today’s charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.”
“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”
“This case serves as a stark reminder to all Americans: Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates,” said Director Wray. “We take all threats to our democracy very seriously, and we’re committed to working with our partners to identify and stop these unlawful influence operations. Together, we must remain diligent and determined to protect our democratic institutions and maintain trust in our electoral process.”
According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others.
Khusyaynova allegedly managed the financing of Project Lakhta operations, including foreign influence activities directed at the United States. The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and “promoting news postings on social networks.” Between January 2016 and June 2018, Project Lakhta’s proposed operating budget totaled more than $35 million, although only a portion of these funds were directed at the United States. Between January and June 2018 alone, Project Lakhta’s proposed operating budget totaled more than $10 million. 
The alleged conspiracy, in which Khusyaynova is alleged to have played a central financial management role, sought to conduct what it called internally “information warfare against the United States.” This effort was not only designed to spread distrust towards candidates for U.S. political office and the U.S. political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements. 
The conspirators allegedly took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists. This included the use of virtual private networks and other means to disguise their activities and to obfuscate their Russian origin. They used social media platforms to create thousands of social media and email accounts that appeared to be operated by U.S. persons, and used them to create and amplify divisive social and political content targeting U.S. audiences. These accounts also were used to advocate for the election or electoral defeat of particular candidates in the 2016 and 2018 U.S. elections. Some social media accounts posted tens of thousands of messages, and had tens of thousands of followers.
The conspiracy allegedly used social media and other internet platforms to address a wide variety of topics, including immigration, gun control and the Second Amendment, the Confederate flag, race relations, LGBT issues, the Women’s March, and the NFL national anthem debate. Members of the conspiracy took advantage of specific events in the United States to anchor their themes, including the shootings of church members in Charleston, South Carolina, and concert attendees in Las Vegas; the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally and associated violence; police shootings of African-American men; as well as the personnel and policy decisions of the current U.S. presidential administration.
The conspirators’ alleged activities did not exclusively adopt one ideological view; they wrote on topics from varied and sometimes opposing perspectives. Members of the conspiracy were directed, among other things, to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups” and to “aggravate the conflict between minorities and the rest of the population.” The actors also developed playbooks and strategic messaging documents that offered guidance on how to target particular social groups, including the timing of messages, the types of news outlets to use, and how to frame divisive messages.
The criminal complaint does not include any allegation that Khusyaynova or the broader conspiracy had any effect on the outcome of an election. The complaint also does not allege that any American knowingly participated in the Project Lakhta operation.

The investigative team received exceptional cooperation from private sector companies, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Iftimie are prosecuting the case, with assistance of Trial Attorneys Matthew Y. Chang and Patrick T. Murphy of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-mj-464.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Former U.S. Navy Commander Sentenced to Prison for Bribery Conspiracy With Foreign Defense Contractor in Massive U.S. Navy Corruption And Fraud Case

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

A former U.S. Navy Commander was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and $21,625.60 in restitution by the Honorable Janis L. Sammartino of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  The case relates to a wide-ranging corruption and fraud investigation involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman for the Southern District of California, made the announcement.
Earlier this year, Troy Amundson, 51, of Ramsey, Minnesota pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting that he conspired with Francis and others to receive things of value in exchange for taking official acts for the benefit of GDMA and violating his official duties to the U.S. Navy.  Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, from May 2005 to May 2013, Amundson served as the officer responsible for coordinating the U.S. Navy’s joint military exercises with its foreign navy counterparts.  As part of his duties, Amundson was responsible for building and maintaining cooperative relationships with the U.S. Navy’s foreign navy exercise partners.  Amundson admitted that from September 2012 through October 2013, Francis paid for dinner, drinks, transportation, other entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes for Amundson and other U.S. Navy officers, in return for sensitive information, such as U.S. Navy ship schedules, and for taking other actions in favor of GDMA and in violation of his official duties.   Amundson further admitted that after being interviewed by federal criminal investigators in October 2013, he deleted e-mail correspondence with Francis. 

So far, 33 defendants have been charged and 21 have pleaded guilty, many admitting to accepting things of value from Francis in exchange for helping the contractor win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by millions of dollars.
The investigation is being conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Contract Audit Agency.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Patrick Hovakimian of the Southern District of California.        

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Fat Leonard case via the below link:

Friday, October 19, 2018

'Gosnell' Film Strikes Nerve With Moviegoers Despite Shoestring Budget, Lack Of Media Attention

Christian Toto at the Washington Times offers a piece on the film Gosnell.

It was a movie destined for failure — relying on crowdfunding for its shoestring budget, garnering little to no attention among liberal media outlets and opening in only 673 theaters around the country.

Still, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” succeeded in its opening weekend at the box office, becoming the No. 12 film release last week. Its $1.16 million in ticket sales placed the film just behind “A Simple Favor” ($1.3 million) and just ahead of “Crazy Rich Asians” ($1 million), according to the Box Office Mojo website.

What’s more, “Gosnell” enjoys a 67 percent “fresh” rating among critics and a 99 percent audience “like” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

The film, which chronicles the crimes and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, owes part of its success to its 29,000+ donors in its 2014 crowdfunding campaign.

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

You can also read my Washington Times review of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, the book the film was based on, via the below link:

Former FBI Agent Sentenced For Leaking Classified Information

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

Terry J. Albury, 39, a former Special Agent of the FBI, was sentenced today to 48 months in the District of Minnesota in connection with his unauthorized disclosure and retention of classified national defense information.

The announcement was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Chris Wray, Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office Nancy McNamara, and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright.

"We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history," said Attorney General Sessions. "Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated—they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished. I want to thank Assistant Attorney General Demers, U.S. Attorney Terwilliger, and their attorneys for their hard work in prosecuting this important case. Today's sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price."

"Every FBI agent has a solemn obligation to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure to safeguard our national security. Terry Albury betrayed that responsibility, and he betrayed the trust bestowed on him by the American people," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "His sentencing today demonstrates those who violate the law by disclosing classified information will be held responsible for their reckless and illegal actions."

“Leaking classified national defense information to the media is a crime that damages our national security,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “Albury transmitted classified information not just to one hostile foreign power, but to every hostile foreign power with the ability to pick up a newspaper or access the Internet. To be clear, this was not whistleblower activity. Albury made no attempts to engage in any of the legitimate whistleblower processes available to him, and instead chose to betray his oath and his colleagues by leaking classified national defense information to the press. This case should send a message to anyone considering violating the public’s trust and compromising our national security by disclosing classified information. We will remain steadfast and dogged in pursuit of these challenging but critical national security cases.”

"Terry Albury willingly disclosed classified information that he had taken an oath to protect, for his own purposes," said Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara. "He violated the trust that was placed in him by willfully providing information that could endanger national security to individuals not authorized to receive it and lied to the FBI about his actions. Albury violated the trust that was placed in him and his attempt to leverage national security information for his own reasons brought him to this sentence today. The FBI will continue to take all necessary and appropriate steps to thoroughly investigate individuals, no matter their position, who undermine the integrity of our justice system by lying to federal investigators."

According to court documents, Albury worked as an FBI Special Agent in the Minneapolis field office at the time of the disclosures, held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance, and his daily duties provided him access to sensitive and classified FBI and other U.S. government information.

According to court documents, beginning in 2016 and continuing through August 2017, Albury knowingly and willfully disclosed national defense information, classified at the Secret level, to a reporter. Albury employed methods to avoid detection, including printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document so as to avoid leaving a record of having printed the original, classified document. Albury also accessed documents on a classified computer and took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph certain classified documents. Those additional classified documents were recovered on an electronic storage device found during a search of his home.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Danya E. Atiyeh of the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorneys Patrick T. Murphy and David C. Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.