Monday, April 29, 2019

A Little Humor: Sweet Little Old Lady With A Concealed Carry Permit

A Pennsylvania State Trooper pulled over an elderly woman for speeding.

He asked the sweet little old lady for her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The woman took out the required information and handed it to him.

In with the cards, he was somewhat surprised to find - due to her advanced age – that she had a concealed carry permit. 

He asked her if she had a weapon in her possession at this time. 

She responded that she had a .45 automatic in her glove box.

He asked her if she had any other firearms. 

She said she also has a 9mm Glock in her center console. 

“Any other firearms?” 

“Well,” the woman said. “I have a. 38 special in my purse”.

“Ma’am, you sure carry a lot of guns. What are you so afraid of?”

She looked him right in the eye and said, “Not a damn thing!”

DEA: Extradition Of Pakistani Man For Attempted Heroin Importation - Muhammed Khalid Khan Is Charged With Attempting To Send Hundreds Of Kilograms Of Heroin For Distribution In New York City And Laundering Money Into The United States

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released the below information:

NEW YORK – DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman announced today the extradition of Muhammad Khalid Khan for attempting to import heroin into the United States and laundering what he believed to be narcotics proceeds into the United States. Khan was taken into custody by Nigerian authorities in Lagos, Nigeria, on Feb. 9, 2019, and extradited to the United States today. He will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox later today. An initial conference is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick, to whom the case is assigned, for May 1, 2019.  

“Khan’s extradition to the United States means he will no longer be able to ship poison into our communities,” Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni. “We look forward to bringing him to justice to answer for the crimes he is accused of.”

“As alleged, Muhammad Khalid Khan was making high-level heroin deals to send multi-hundred kilogram shipments at a time to the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Unbeknownst to Khan, he was dealing with undercover law enforcement. The extradition of Khan from halfway around the world to face justice in New York is emblematic of this office’s commitment to keep deadly heroin out of our neighborhoods.”

According to the allegations contained in the complaint and indictment, which were unsealed today:

Beginning in October 2017, Khan, an Asia-based drug trafficker, began talking to and meeting with individuals who he believed were heroin traffickers interested in purchasing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for importation into the United States and Australia. Those individuals were, in fact, an undercover foreign law enforcement agent, a confidential source working at the DEA’s direction and an undercover DEA agent posing as a New York-based heroin distributor. Between approximately October 2017 and June 2018, Khan attempted to send hundreds of kilograms of heroin hidden in maritime shipping containers to New York City and Australia, and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars of what he believed to be narcotics proceeds from Australia into the United States. In January 2018, Khan sold a four-kilogram heroin sample to the undercover agents, with the understanding that two kilograms of heroin would be sold in the United States, and two kilograms would be sold in Australia. Following the success of this sample shipment, Khan planned to supply larger, multi-hundred kilogram quantities of heroin for importation to and distribution within the United States and Australia. 

The indictment charges Khan, 31, a citizen of Pakistan, in three counts: (1) attempting to import heroin into the United States, (2) international promotional money laundering and (3) international concealment money laundering. If convicted, Khan faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison on count one, and a maximum sentence of 20 years on each of counts two and three. The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division’s Bilateral Investigations Unit, New York Field Division Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Financial Investigations Unit, and DEA Dallas Field Division; the DEA Dubai, Islamabad, Kabul, Lagos, New Delhi, and Canberra Country Offices, and the Sydney Resident Office; the United States Central Command; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Government of Nigeria; and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. The defendant’s arrest and subsequent extradition are also the result of the close cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski and Kimberly J. Ravener are in charge of the prosecution. 

The allegations contained in the complaint and the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Little Humor: Depressed Man At A Bar

A depressed man sat at a bar staring at his drink when in walked a big trouble-making man who stood next to the depressed man. 

When the big man couldn’t get the bartender’s attention to order a drink, he simply picked up the depressed man’s drink and drank it down.

The depressed man began crying. 

The big man felt bad and said, “Ah, pal, I was just joking. I’ll buy you another drink.”

“No, it’s not that,” the depressed man said. “This day is the worst of my life. First, I was late to work and I was fired. Leaving the building, I found out my car was stolen, and the police said they probably won’t recover it. I got a cab to go home and I realized I left my wallet in the cab as the cab driver drove away. I walked into my house and discovered my wife sleeping with the gardener. So, I came to this bar.” 

“Jeez,” the big man said, “You have had a tough day.” 

“Right,” the depressed man replied. “And just as I was thinking about ending my life, you show up and drank my poison.” 

Note: The above photo is of actor James Stewart (in the middle of the photo) from Frank Capra’s classic Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life.

FBI Director: China Is Stealing Its Way Up The Economic Ladder

The FBI released the below information:
FBI Director Christopher Wray called China’s sweeping spying and hacking efforts a threat to U.S. economic and national security and said the FBI is working diligently to stay ahead of the diverse and evolving threats our country faces.
In remarks today at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., Wray described a threat landscape ranging from terrorism to cybercrime to espionage. He specifically called out the Chinese government, which is considered a major counterintelligence threat to the U.S. and other countries. The Chinese intelligence services strategically use every tool at their disposal—including state-owned businesses, students, researchers, and ostensibly private companies—to systematically steal information and intellectual property.
“China has pioneered a societal approach to stealing innovation any way it can, from a wide array of businesses, universities, and organizations,” Wray said.
Wray said the FBI has China-related economic espionage investigations in nearly all of its 56 field offices and in nearly every industry.
“Put plainly, China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder, at our expense,” Wray said.
In recent months, the U.S. government charged Chinese tech giant Huawei with theft of trade secrets and other offenses. Chinese government-affiliated hackers have also been subjected to indictments in the U.S.
Wray described the variety of resources that the FBI uses to thwart terrorists, spies, and criminals, such as multi-agency task forces, international legal attaché offices, and rapid response teams. Partnerships, whether with other government agencies or the private sector, are key to carrying out the FBI’s mission and something the FBI continues to strengthen. Wray said he meets with law enforcement, private sector, academic, and other FBI partners during his travels throughout the U.S.
“In our country, the vast majority of our critical infrastructure and intellectual property is of course in the hands of the private sector,” Wray said. “You own it, you run it, you're on the front lines. … That’s why it’s so important for these lines of communication to be open.”
Wray also said the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka are a reminder that terrorism remains a persistent danger, although smaller plots from homegrown violent extremists are also a threat—one that is more challenging for law enforcement to thwart ahead of time.
“These are people moving from radicalization to attack in weeks, or even days, not years,” Wray said. “And they’re doing it online and in encrypted messaging platforms, not in some camp or cave.”

Mystery Writers Of America Announces 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Awards

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners for the 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2018. 

The awards were presented to the winners at the organization’s 73rd Gala Banquet, held on April 25, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.  

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group - Mulholland)

Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin (HarperCollins Publishers - Ecco)

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler (W.W. Norton & Company - Liveright)

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger (Pegasus Books)

 "English 398: Fiction Workshop" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Art Taylor (Dell Magazines)

Otherwood by Pete Hautman (Candlewick Press)

Sadie by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books)

"The One That Holds Everything" – The Romanoffs, Teleplay by Matthew Weiner & Donald Joh (Amazon Prime Video)

"How Does He Die This Time?" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Nancy Novick (Dell Magazines)

* * * * * *
Martin Cruz Smith

Marilyn Stasio, NY Times

Linda Landrigan, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

* * * * * *
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)

* * * * * *
Shell Game by Sara Paretsky (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

Friday, April 26, 2019

John Timpane: Kate Smith Called For Racial Tolerance In This Forgotten 1945 Radio Address

John Timpane, one of my former editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer, offers a good piece on the late, great singer Kate Smith, whose statute was removed and song God Bless America was canceled from the Philadelphia Flyers due to the lyrics to of songs she sang in the 1930s.

Kate Smith’s statue has been wrapped up and carted off from outside the Wells Fargo Center. Reaction to racist lyrics in two songs she sang — “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” recorded in 1931, and “Pickaninny Heaven,” from a 1933 movie — silenced her rendition of “God Bless America” at Flyers and New York Yankees games.

Now it’s time to complicate the record further and consider Smith as a champion of racial tolerance.

In a long-forgotten radio speech in January 1945, “the First Lady of Radio” gave an impassioned speech attacking bigotry and racism, calling them “the diseases that eat away the fibers of peace.” As millions listened, she called for every church and family to commit to tolerance and understanding. 

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

You can also read my earlier piece on Kate Smith and hear her sing at a Flyers game via the below link: 

Russian National Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Conspiring To Act As An Agent Of The Russian Federation Within The United States

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

Mariia Butina, a Russian national (seen in the above mugshot), was sentenced today to 18 months in prison after earlier pleading guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Butina, 30, a Russian citizen who had been residing in Washington D.C., pled guilty on Dec. 13, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  She was sentenced by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.  Following her incarceration, she is to be deported to Russia.
According to the government’s evidence, from approximately 2015 to 2017, Butina acted as an agent of a Russian government official.  Under his direction, she provided key information about Americans who were in a position to influence United States politics and took steps to establish an unofficial line of communication between Russia and these Americans.  As described in the plea documents, Butina sought to do so for the benefit of the Russian Federation. She took these actions without providing the required notifications to the Attorney General that she was in fact acting as an agent of the Russian Federation.
Butina was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., and has been in custody ever since.  Butina will get credit for the time she already has served.  The court also granted a government motion that led to a reduced sentence in the case.
The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erik M. Kenerson, Thomas N. Saunders, and Jolie Zimmerman of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney William A. Mackie of the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mob Talk 30:

Veteran organized crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser discuss how the FBI landed a two punch on the Philly mob as a mob soldier pleaded guilty and a top mob associate with high level connections faces a new indictment in their Mob Talk 30 video.

The two reporters also discuss the new leadership of New York's Gambino crime family after the murder of the previous Gambino boss.

You can watch the video via the below link:

James Bond Film Producers Announce New Creepy Bond Villain

The James Bond film producers announced the cast for the yet unnamed upcoming Bond film, which they now only call Bond 25. 

As an old school Ian Fleming aficionado and James Bond fan, the new villain, Rami Malek, who portrayed previously Freddy Mercury and Mr. Robot, is not my idea of a Bond villain. 

Like other recent actors who have portrayed Bond villains, such as Mathieu Amalric and Christopher Waltz, Malek is a creepy little guy who is about as menacing as Wiley E. Coyote. 

They are good actors, but they are unsuitable as Bond villains. To me, the three actors look more like child molesters than world-class criminals. 

Javier Bardem, like the above-mentioned actors, is a fine actor, and he could have portrayed a strong and suitably evil Bond bad guy, but he came off as a somewhat effeminate Joker who escaped from a Batman movie. 

(Batman Begins’ bad guy, Liam Neeson, would have made a great Bond villain. In fact, take away the costumes, Batman Begins IS a Bond movie).

Below are photos of the truly villainous and menacing Bond villains, all of whom were created by the late, great Ian Fleming, from the classic Bond films from the 1960s:

And below are photos of the more recent creepy bad guys:


Thursday, April 25, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Will Bill:The True Story Of The American Frontier's First Gunfighter'

The Washington Times published my review of Tom Clavin’s Will Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter.

The Wild West quick-draw showdown, a duel and test of speed, accuracy and grit, with two gunfighters facing each other on a dusty street in a Western frontier town, is a staple feature of nearly every Western cowboy film and TV series since the beginning of motion pictures.

This scene rarely happened, as gunfights on the American frontier were generally a more spontaneous affair of firearms drawn on the spot of the disagreement with shots fired wild and a few finding their mark. But James Butler Hickok, better known as “Wild Bill,” did face off famously against a man on a Springfield, Missouri, street in July 1865.

Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt had a gambling dispute and Tutt took Wild Bill’s gold pocket watch in lieu of a gambling debt he thought he was owed. Wild Bill, then a former Civil War Union soldier and scout, wanted his watch back and faced off against Tutt in the street with townsfolk watching the gunfight from a safe distance. Wild Bill’s speed, accuracy and courage won the duel and he killed his opponent with his Colt pistol. This was the first recorded quick-draw street duel in history.

Wild Bill Hickok faced a trial and he was subsequently found not guilty of murder. After the trial, he met Col. George Ward Nichols, a fellow Civil War Union veteran and former newspaper reporter, who was then a correspondent for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. His interview and profile of the victorious “shootist” and frontiersman would do much to create the Wild Bill Hickok legend.

“It even contained a few facts,” Tom Clavin writes in his book, “Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter.”

Mr. Clavin, who also wrote “Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West,” writes in his author’s note of “Wild Bill” that before the heyday of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holiday and other iconic frontier figures, there was arguably the most iconic figure of all: James Butler “Wild BillHickok.

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

A Little Humor: A Crying Man On A Park Bench

An elderly man of ninety was sitting on a park bench crying. 

A woman of seventy saw him and sat down beside him on the bench. 

She asked him why he was crying.

“Well,” said the old man, “I got married to a beautiful twenty-five-year-old woman last month. Every morning I wake up and we make love for an hour and then she makes me a wonderful breakfast. In the afternoon she makes me a wonderful lunch, and we again make love for an hour.

At this point the old man buried his face in his handkerchief and cried.

“Don’t cry, don’t cry, “the woman said, trying to comfort him.

“And at night,” the old man continued, “After a wonderful dinner, we spend most of the night making love.”

“You shouldn’t be crying!” the woman said. “You should be the happiest man in the world!”

“I know!” said the old man, “I’m crying because I don’t remember where I live!”

Note: The above photo is of Ruth Buzzi and Arte Johnson from the TV series Laugh-In.

Their best bit was when Artie Johnson asked Ruth Buzzi if she believed in the hereafter.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Then you know what I’m here after.” 

Former State Department Employee Pleads Guilty To Conspiring With Foreign Agents: Defendant Admitted Receiving Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars In Benefits From Two Chinese Agents In Exchange For Internal State Department Documents

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

Candace Marie Claiborne, a former employee of the U.S. Department of State, pleaded guilty today to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, by lying to law enforcement and background investigators, and hiding her extensive contacts with, and gifts from, agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in exchange for providing them with internal documents from the U.S. State Department. 
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia, Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.
The plea took place before the Honorable Randolph D. Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 
“Candace Marie Claiborne traded her integrity and non-public information of the United States government in exchange for cash and other gifts from foreign agents she knew worked for the Chinese intelligence service,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “She withheld information and lied repeatedly about these contacts.  Violations of the public’s trust are an affront to our citizens and to all those who honor their oaths.  With this guilty plea we are one step closer to imposing justice for these dishonorable criminal acts.” 
“Candace Claiborne broke the public trust when she accepted gifts and money from foreign officials, and then lied about it to State Department background investigators,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “The United States will continue to seek to hold accountable those who abuse their positions of trust.” 
“Candace Claiborne was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully misled federal investigators about her repeated interactions with foreign contacts which violated her oath of office as a State Department employee,” said Assistant Director McNamara.  “The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust.”
“Our close working relationship with the FBI and the Department of Justice resulted in the conviction of Candace Claiborne who violated the public trust and damaged our national security,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Colón.  “Diplomatic Security will continue working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously defend the interests and security of the United States of America.”
According to the plea documents, Claiborne, 63, began working as an Office Management Specialist for the Department of State in 1999.  She served overseas at a number of posts, including embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China.  As a condition of her employment, Claiborne maintained a TOP SECRET security clearance.  Claiborne also was required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency as well as any gifts she received from foreign sources over a certain amount.
Despite such a requirement, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two agents of the People’s Republic of China Intelligence Service, even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years.  The gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA account, Chinese New Year’s gifts, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, a monthly stipend and numerous cash payments.  Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, while others were provided to a close family member of Claiborne’s.
In exchange for these gifts and benefits, as stated in the plea documents, Claiborne provided copies of internal documents from the State Department on topics ranging from U.S. economic strategies to visits by dignitaries between the two countries. 
Claiborne noted in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” working with one of the PRC agents.  That same agent at one point tasked her with providing internal U.S. Government analyses on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.
Claiborne, who confided to a co-conspirator that the PRC agents were “spies,” willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the plea documents state.  After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents.  She was arrested on March 28, 2017, following a law enforcement investigation.
Judge Moss scheduled sentencing for July 9, 2019.  Claiborne, of Washington, D.C., was ordered detained pending sentencing, but will self-surrender for said detention on June 5, 2019.  The statutory maximum penalty for a person convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States is five years in prison.  The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes.  The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office is leading the investigation into this matter.  The case was prosecuted by Thomas A. Gillice and investigated by John L. Hill, both Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Deputy Chief Julie A. Edelstein and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Little Humor: Some Of W.C. Fields' Best One-Liners

Below are some of the late W.C. Fields’ best one-liners:

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.

I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.

No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.

Women are like elephants. I like to look at ’em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.

I drink therefore I am.

I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.

It’s morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.

A man’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink.

A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. 

I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The Other half I wasted. 

In My Little Chickadee, a man came up to W,C. Fields as he was shuffling a deck of cards. 

"Is this a game of chance?” the man asked. 

 W.C. Fields replied, “Not the way I play it.”  
You can also watch a TCM video on W.C. Fields, narrated by John Cleese, via the below link:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Former GE Engineer And Chinese Businessman Charged With Economic Espionage And Theft Of GE’s Trade Secrets

An indictment unsealed today charges Xiaoqing Zheng, 56, of Niskayuna, New York, and Zhaoxi Zhang, 47, of Liaoning Province, China, with economic espionage and conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE’s) trade secrets surrounding turbine technologies, knowing and intending that those stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith for the Northern District of New York, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Special Agent in Charge James N. Hendricks of the FBI’s Albany Field Office made the announcement.
According to the 14-count indictment, Zheng, while employed at GE Power & Water in Schenectady, New York as an engineer specializing in sealing technology, exploited his access to GE’s files by stealing multiple electronic files, including proprietary files involving design models, engineering drawings, configuration files, and material specifications having to do with various components and testing systems associated with GE gas and steam turbines.  Zheng e-mailed and transferred many of the stolen GE files to his business partner, Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang, who was located in China.  Zheng and Zhang used the stolen GE trade secrets to advance their own business interests in two Chinese companies - Liaoning Tianyi Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. (LTAT) and Nanjing Tianyi Avi Tech Co. Ltd. (NTAT), companies which research, develop, and manufacture parts for turbines.
The indictment also alleges that Zheng and Zhang conspired to commit economic espionage, as the thefts of GE’s trade secrets surrounding various turbine technologies were done knowing and intending that the thefts would benefit the People’s Republic of China and one or more foreign instrumentalities, including LTAT, NTAT, Shenyang Aerospace University, Shenyang Aeroengine Research Institute, and Huaihai Institute of Technology.  The defendants, through LTAT and NTAT, received financial and other support from the Chinese government and coordinated with Chinese government officials to enter into research agreements with Chinese state-owned institutions to develop turbine technologies.
“The indictment alleges a textbook example of the Chinese government’s strategy to rob American companies of their intellectual property and to replicate their products in Chinese factories, enabling Chinese companies to replace the American company first in the Chinese market and later worldwide,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “We will not stand idly by while the world’s second-largest economy engages in state-sponsored theft.  As part of the Attorney General’s China Initiative, we will partner with the private sector to hold responsible those who violate our laws, and we urge China’s leaders to join responsible nations and to act with honesty and integrity when competing in the global marketplace.”
“As alleged, the thefts of trade secrets to benefit the People’s Republic of China are serious crimes against the victimized company and our country,” said U.S. Attorney Jaquith. “Both fair competition and incentivized innovation require that American companies be able to rely on the secrecy of technological advances forged through their talent and tenacity.  When technology is taken through treachery, we will continue to work with the National Security Division and the FBI to prosecute the perpetrators.”
“American businesses spend many hours and large amounts of money developing unique technology.  When such technology is stolen it can be devastating to U.S. businesses and can result in American workers losing jobs,” said FBI Assistant Director Brown.  “China continues to support behavior that violates the rule of law.  This case demonstrates the FBI will continue to pursue China's efforts to steal American technology.”
“Economic espionage and the theft of trade secrets have a profound impact on our companies and communities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Hendricks.  “We view this as a grave threat to our economic and national security and the FBI will work tirelessly to prevent the loss of American technology and American jobs.”
Zheng was arraigned today in Albany, New York, before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, and released with conditions pending a trial before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino. 
The economic espionage counts (Counts One, Three, Four, Seven, Eight and Eleven) carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.  The trade secrets theft counts (Counts Two, Five, Six, Nine, Ten, Twelve and Thirteen) carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.  Count Fourteen of the indictment, which charges Zheng with making false statements to the FBI during a voluntary interview, carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.   
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss, and National Security Division Trial Attorneys Jason McCullough and Matthew Chang.

A little Night Music: A Song That Will Never Die - Kate Smith Sings God Bless America At Flyers Game

Although the Philadelphia Flyers have pulled down Kate Smith's statue and stopped playing her  recording of Irving Berlin's classic song, God Bless America, you can still watch and listen to her at a Flyers game from 1974 via the below link:

You can also listen to her 1938 recording of the song via the below link:

And you can watch a Philadelphia news video about the removal of her statute via the below link:

A Little Humor: The Zen Master

A Zen master decides to pursue earthly pursuits and pleasures while visiting Philadelphia.

He walked up to a hot dog vendor’s cart in South Philadelphia and asked for a “hot dog with everything.”

The hot dog vendor took a hot dog from his cart, slopped everything on it, and handed it to the Zen master.

The Zen master pulled out a $20 bill from his robes and handed it to the hot dog vendor.

The hot dog vendor pocketed the bill and then waited on another customer. 

“Where’s my change?” asked the Zen master. 

The hot dog vendor responded, “Change must come from within.”

Russian GRU Military Intelligence Spearphishing Emails Fooled Democrats, Clinton Campaign in 2016

Veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz offers a piece at the Washington Free Beacon on how Russia’s GRU fooled the Clinton 2016 campaign.

Russia's GRU military intelligence service used fraudulent emails to gain access to large amounts of sensitive emails and documents that were then disseminated via covert GRU websites during the 2016 presidential election campaign influence operation, according to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Two GRU intelligence units worked together in the spring of 2016 to first identify email servers for Democratic staff member Gmail accounts, and then a special cyber unit sent spearphishing emails that produced the implantation of special software inside Democratic computer networks.

The Mueller report provided new details of the cyber attacks carried out by two numbered GRU groups: Military Unit 74455, in charge of influence and disinformation operations, and Military Unit 26165, the main cyberattack group.

"The GRU spearphishing operation enabled it to gain access to numerous email accounts of Clinton campaign employees and volunteers, including campaign chairman John Podesta, junior volunteers assigned to the Clinton campaign's advance team, informal [Hillary] Clinton campaign advisors, and a DNC employee," the report said. 

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

IC3 Annual Report Released Report Shows Cyber-Enabled Crimes And Costs Rose In 2018

The FBI released the below information:
The statistics gathered by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for 2018 show Internet-enabled theft, fraud, and exploitation remain pervasive and were responsible for a staggering $2.7 billion in financial losses in 2018.
In its annual Internet Crime Report, the FBI reports the IC3 received 351,936 complaints in 2018—an average of more than 900 every day. The most frequently reported complaints were for non-payment/non-delivery scams, extortion, and personal data breaches. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and investment scams, which can include Ponzi and pyramid schemes.
Reports came in from every U.S. state and territory and involved victims of every age. There was a concentration of victims and financial losses, however, among individuals over the age of 50.
“The 2018 report shows how prevalent these crimes are,” said Donna Gregory, chief of the IC3. “It also shows that the financial toll is substantial and a victim can be anyone who uses a connected device. Awareness is one powerful tool in efforts to combat and prevent these crimes. Reporting is another. The more information that comes into the IC3, the better law enforcement is able to respond.”
The bright spots reported by the IC3 include the establishment in February 2018 of the Recovery Asset Team and its success in recovering funds lost in business email compromise scams. These sophisticated scams involve perpetrators infiltrating businesses’ email accounts and requesting fraudulent wire transfers or gift card purchases.
The Recovery Asset Team has helped streamline communication with financial institutions and assist FBI field offices in the recovery of funds for businesses that report a fraudulent domestic transfer. The team was able to successfully recover more than $192 million in funds—a recovery rate of 75 percent.
One recovery success came in Colorado, where a victim wired $56,179.27 for a home purchase to a thief after receiving a spoofed email request from the lending agent. The Recovery Asset Team worked with the Denver Field Office and the victim’s bank to freeze the funds transfer and return $54,000 of the stolen money.
To improve the chances of a successful recovery, it is imperative that victims contact their bank immediately upon discovering a fraudulent transaction as well as report the crime to the IC3.
The large number of complaints captured by the IC3 in 2018 also helped improve the data available to all law enforcement entities as they search for connections among cases and look for trends and patterns in crimes and victims. In addition, the IC3’s Operation Wellspring Initiative helps build the cyber investigative capability and capacity of state and local law enforcement by linking them to the FBI’s field offices for support on identifying and responding to malicious cyber activity.
In 2018, the IC3 also worked with the FBI’s Victim Services Division to add staff to help better serve the victims of cyber-enabled crime. The victim specialist-Internet crimes position helps provide crisis intervention services, assess victim needs, and refer victims to additional resources.
The IC3 website provides a list of common and current scams as well as tips on how to avoid being a victim of an Internet-enabled crime. The most important prevention tips include keeping hardware and software updated and protected by anti-virus programs and strong passwords. The other steps include learning how to recognize suspicious messages and requests and researching and verifying the legitimacy of every offer, person, message, or opportunity encountered online.
The IC3 was created in 2000 to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information to the FBI concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity and to develop effective alliances with industry partners. Learn more at

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Little Humor: Some Of Groucho Marx's Best One-Liners

Below are some of the late Groucho Marx’s best lines:

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

I have nothing but respect for you, and not much of that. 

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Room service? Send up a larger room.

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.

A child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.

If I held you any closer I would be on the other side of you.

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.

I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you came along.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. 

While at dinner with a woman, Groucho picked up the check and glanced at it. "This price is outrageous," he said angrily as he passed her the check. "I wouldn't pay this if I were you."

Sunday, April 21, 2019

On Easter 2019: Sara Bareilles & Andrew Lloyd Weber Perform 'I don't Know How To Love Him'

You can watch and listen to Sara Bareilles and Andrew Lloyd Weber perform I don't Know How to Love him from Jesus Christ Superstar via the below link:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Former Manager For International Airline Pleads Guilty To Acting As An Agent Of The Chinese Government

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
In Brooklyn, New York, Ying Lin pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), without notification to the Attorney General, by working at the direction and control of military officers assigned to the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations.  Lin, a former manager with an international air carrier headquartered in the PRC (the Air Carrier), abused her privileges to transport packages from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) to the PRC aboard Air Carrier flights at the behest of the PRC military officers and in violation of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations.  The proceeding was held before United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr of the FBI’s New York Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the guilty plea.
“This case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business here to engage in illegal activity,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “Covertly doing the Chinese military’s bidding on U.S. soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate U.S. government oversight.”
“The defendant’s actions as an agent of the Chinese government helped Chinese military officers to evade U.S. law enforcement scrutiny of packages that they sent from New York to Beijing,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This case demonstrates how seriously we address counterintelligence threats posed by individuals in the United States who work for foreign governments, such as China.” 
“The FBI and our law enforcement partners do all we can every day to protect this country from the threats we can see, and we work even harder to find the threats we can’t see,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Ms. Lin was secreting packages through some of the country's busiest airports, using her work with the Chinese government to thwart our security measures.  We believe this case isn’t unique and hope it serves as an example that the Chinese and other foreign governments can't break our laws with impunity.”
“Lin’s criminal actions exploited the international boundary of the United States as she used her position to smuggle packages onto planes headed to China,” said HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our international airports so they are not used as a front for illicit activities.”
Lin worked for the Air Carrier from 2002 through the fall of 2015 as a counter agent at JFK Airport and from the fall of 2015 through April 2016 as the station manager at Newark Liberty International Airport.  During her employment with the Air Carrier, Lin accepted packages from the PRC military officers, and placed those packages aboard Air Carrier flights to the PRC as unaccompanied luggage or checked in the packages under the names of other passengers flying on those flights.  As the PRC military officers did not travel on those flights, Lin’s actions were contrary to a security program that required that checked baggage be accepted only from ticketed passengers, thereby violating TSA regulations.  In addition, Lin encouraged other Air Carrier employees to assist the PRC military officers, instructing those employees that because the Air Carrier was a PRC company, their primary loyalty should be to the PRC.
In exchange for her work at the direction and under the control of PRC military officers and other PRC government officials, Lin received benefits from the PRC Mission and PRC Consulate in New York.  These benefits included tax-exempt purchases of liquor, cigarettes and electronic devices worth tens of thousands of dollars.  These benefits also included free contracting work at the defendant’s two residences in Queens, New York, by PRC construction workers who were permitted under the terms of their visas to work only on PRC government facilities.
When sentenced, Lin faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.  As part of the guilty plea, Lin agreed to forfeit approximately $25,000 as well as an additional $145,000 in connection with her resolution of the government’s forfeiture verdict in United States v. Zhong, No. 16-CR-614 (AMD).
Mr. Demers and Mr. Donoghue expressed their appreciation to the Transportation Security Administration for their assistance on the case.  The government’s case is being handled by the National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas M. Pravda, Alexander A. Solomon, Ian C. Richardson and Sarah M. Evans are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Matthew R. Walczewski of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.  The forfeiture aspect of the case is being handled by EDNY Assistant United States Attorney Brian Morris of the Office’s Civil Division.