Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy 89th Birthday To Clint Eastwood, Director And Star Of 'The Mule'

Happy birthday to Clint Eastwood. The film director and actor turns 89 today.

I've been a fan of Clint Eastwood since I watched him on TV as Rowdy Yates in Rawhide when I was a kid in the 1960's. 

Over the years I've also enjoyed watching him in crime films like Dirty Harry and Coogan's Bluff  and in westerns like The Unforgiven and Hang Em' High. 

Clint Eastwood has also directed such fine films as Mystic River and Gran Torino. 

My wife and I recently watched him in The Mule, an interesting and compelling crime drama that he directed and also starred in. The film, about an elderly drug smuggler, was based on a true story. 

Clint Eastman remains a good actor and a fine director.  

A Little Humor: An Elderly Retired Naval Officer

Two young buck naval officers who thought they were hotshots were making fun of an elderly retired naval officer napping in a chair under the tropical sun outside of the officer’s club at the U.S. naval station at Subic Bay in the Philippines in the 1970s.

“Hey, old timer,” one of the young officers asked the retired officer, “When was the last time you had sex with a woman?”

Both young officers were laughing as the elderly officer sucked on his pipe and thought about it.

“1945,” the elderly officer finally said.

They roared with laughter and then one of the young officers said, “1945? Are you kidding me? How can you even remember that long ago?” 

The elderly, retired naval officer looked at his watch and said, “It’s only 2100 now…”

Note: The above photo is of director John Ford, a Navy captain during WWII, as he directs the classic war film, They Were Expendable, in the Philippines.   

Thursday, May 30, 2019

John Douglas On His Life's Work: Talking With Killers

Lisa Levy at offers an interview with John Douglas, a former FBI profiler, author of Mindhunter, and his current book, The Killer Across the Table.

John Douglas is the OG of criminal profilers. As the lead profiler at the FBI, and now as a consultant, he has helped apprehend some of the worst serial killers and predators in history. As a young agent, he hit upon the idea to do extensive interviews with the worst society had to offer: the evolution of this program is traced in Douglas’s book Mindhunter, which was made into a Netflix series last year. To further his investigation into why criminals do what they do, he’s interviewed the most horrifying murderers in recent history: Jeffrey Dahmer, Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, the Green River killer, BTK—the list is depressingly long.

His new book, The Killer Across the Table, talks about some of the lesser known (but still frightening) criminals Douglas has interviewed, as well as describing some of his techniques for getting people to open up—one of the topics we discussed below, along with how his work affected his health, what profilers do to help police, and the advent of forensic evidence.

You can read the interview via the below link: 

A Little Humor: Missing Wife

A man went to the sheriff’s department to report that his wife was missing.

Husband: My wife is missing. She went shopping yesterday and has not come home.

Sergeant: What is her height?

Husband: Gee, I’m not sure. A little over five-feet tall.

Sergeant: Weight?

Husband: Don’t know. Not slim, not really fat.

Sergeant: Color of eyes?

Husband: Never noticed.

Sergeant: Color of hair?

Husband: Changes a couple times a year. Maybe dark brown.

Sergeant: What was she wearing?

Husband: Could have been a skirt or shorts. I don’t remember exactly.

Sergeant: What kind of car did she go in?

Husband: She went in my truck.

Sergeant: What kind of truck was it?

Husband: Brand new 2015 Ford F150 King Ranch 4X4 with eco-boost 5.0L V8 engine special ordered with manual transmission. It has a custom matching white cover for the bed. Custom leather seats and “Bubba” floor mats. Trailering package with gold hitch. DVD with navigation, 21-channel CB radio. Added special alloy wheels and off-road Michelins. Wife put a small scratch on the driver’s door…. At this point the husband started choking up.

Sergeant: Don’t worry buddy. We’ll find your truck.

Note: The above photo is of comedian Larry the Cable Guy.

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Is Not A Journalist - He's A Spy

The Philadelphia Inquirer offers Marc Thiessen’s column on why Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, is a spy and not a journalist.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a “nonstate hostile intelligence service.” Apparently Julian Assange agrees. In its new 18-count indictment of Assange for multiple violations of the Espionage Act, the Justice Department notes that Assange told former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning that WikiLeaks had originally described itself as an “intelligence agency” for the people.

Now, at long last, the head of that enemy intelligence agency is facing a possible 175 years in a federal penitentiary for his theft of American secrets.

The damage Assange has done is unfathomable. In 2010, he exploded what he called his “thermonuclear device” — releasing a tranche of more than a quarter of a million classified State Department diplomatic cables, all unredacted. According to the indictment, those cables “included names of persons throughout the world who provided information to the U.S. government in circumstances in which they could reasonably expect that their identities would be kept confidential. These sources included journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents who were living in repressive regimes and reported to the United States the abuses of their own government, and the political conditions within their countries, at great risk to their own safety.”

The indictment cites specific examples of sources WikiLeaks burned inside China, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Moreover, Assange’s decision to release 90,000 Afghanistan war-related activity reports also revealed the identities of at least 100 Afghans who were informing on the Taliban. The indictment quotes a New York Times interview with a Taliban leader who told the paper, “We are studying the report. We knew about the spies and people who collaborate with U.S. forces. We will investigate through our own secret service whether the people mentioned are really spies working for the U.S. If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them.”

… Some are concerned that the newest Assange indictment will help set a precedent to go after investigative journalists who publish classified information. But as I wrote in 2010, unlike “reputable news organizations, Assange did not give the U.S. government an opportunity to review the classified information WikiLeaks was planning to release so they could raise national security objections.” So responsible journalists have nothing to fear.

Regardless, Assange is not a journalist. He is a spy. The fact that he gave stolen U.S. intelligence to al-Qaida, the Taliban, China, Iran and other adversaries via a website rather than dead-drops is irrelevant. He engaged in espionage against the United States. And he has no remorse for the harm he has caused. He once called the innocent people hurt by his disclosures “collateral damage” and admitted WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands.” 

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My Washington Times Review of 'Boxing And The Mob: The Notorious History Of The Sweet Science'

The Washington Times published my review of Jeffrey Sussman's Boxing and the Mob: The Notorious History of the Sweet Science.

When I was a teenager in the 1960s, I used to visit the Passyunk Gym at Passyunk Avenue and Moore Street in South Philadelphia. As an amateur boxer and aspiring writer, I enjoyed watching the fighters train, spar or simply hang out at the famous gym. Some of the most well-known professional boxers of the day, such as heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and middleweight champion Joey Giardello, used to visit the Passyunk Gym. Also in attendance were the ubiquitous gamblers and mobsters.

I recall a short, elderly man who sat quietly at ringside while everyone treated him like royalty. In the world of boxing at the time, Frank “Blinky” Palermo, a member of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime family, was indeed royalty. Along with his partner, Frankie Carbo, a New York Lucchese crime family member, Palermo managed and controlled many of the professional boxers around the country.

Palermo and Carbo are two of the mobsters involved intricately in the sport of boxing that are covered in Jeffrey Sussman’s “Boxing and the Mob: The Notorious History of the Sweet Science.”

“This book is about the intermarriage of mobsters and boxers, of fixed fights and the millions of dollars earned by mobsters through the 1960s, right up until the time when Frankie Carbo and his minions were given long prison sentences,” Mr. Sussman writes.

Mr. Sussman profiles the shady promoters and managers who controlled boxing from the sport’s early days in America. The book charts the gangsters’ involvement in boxing beginning with Arnold Rothstein, the New York gambler who was suspected of fixing the 1919 World Series.

Mr. Sussman calls Rothstein a “visionary” and the father of organized crime who turned gambling into big business. Rothstein mentored some of the most notorious mobsters in crime history, such as Charles “Charlie Lucky” Luciano, Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky.

Rothstein found boxing an easier sport to fix than baseball, as there were far less participants to corrupt. Rothstein’s aide in corrupting boxing was Abe “Little Hebrew” Attell, who had been the featherweight champion from 1906 to 1912.

“He was a champion boxer, a bagman, and enforcer for Arnold Rothstein, and a gambler who had a thumb on the scales of many fixed fights,” Mr. Sussman writes. “Any history of boxing in the United States in the twentieth century would have to shadow the career of Abe Attell, for his presence unlocks the secret of many fixed fights. At ringside, in boxing gyms, at training camps, Abe Attell was a presence that indicated something was not on the level.”

… Prior to his involvement with boxing, Carbo was a professional hitman with the mob’s infamous “Murder, Inc.” Carbo’s partner in boxing crime was Frank “Blinky” Palermo, a mobster known as the “Numbers King of Philadelphia.”

“Palermo, was a short and short-tempered man, not much more than five feet tall, who always seemed to operate on the edge of anger. He reminded some people of an angry bulldog,” Mr. Sussman writes. “Ultimately, in addition to owning boxers and promoting matches, he was Carbo’s muscleman, the guy who threatened recalcitrant boxers and devious managers that they had better accept Carbo’s deals, no matter how unfair and onerous they were. Few had the courage or the foolishness not to go along.”

Carbo and Palermo were behind the fixed fight between Jake LaMotta and Billy Fox, which was later dramatized in the Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro film, “Raging Bull. “They were also behind the two contentious fights between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali.

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

Note: The below photos are of Frank “Blinky” Palermo in between Sugar Ray Robinson and Charlie Fusari prior to their fight, Frankie Carbo, Arnold Rothstein and Abe Attell.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Little Humor: Late Night Lecture

A man driving a car was swerving from side to side on the road at 2 am.

He was pulled over by a cop and the cop asked the clearly intoxicated man where he was going at that time of night.

The man replied in a slurred voice, “I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking cigars and staying out late.”

The cop asked, “Really? Who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?”

The man replied, “That would be my wife.” 

Note: The above photo is of W.C. Fields in the classic comedy film, The Bank Dick.  

Ian Fleming: How To Write A Thriller

On the occasion of Ian Fleming's birthday, who was born on this date in 1908, Emily Temple at offers a 1963 piece by the late, great thriller writer on how to write a thriller.

There is no literary spy—and perhaps no literary character, full stop—more famous than James Bond, which should already be enough of an argument for any aspiring writer, but particularly any aspiring writer of thrilling tales, to seek advice from his creator, Ian Fleming.

Luckily, I recently stumbled across an essay by Fleming, aptly entitled “How to Write a Thriller,” which appeared in the May 1963 issue of Books and Bookmen, only a little over a year before the author’s death. 

“How To Write A Thriller,” by Ian Fleming (1963)

The craft of writing sophisticated thrillers is almost dead. Writers seem to be ashamed of inventing heroes who are white, villains who are black, and heroines who are a delicate shade of pink.

I am not an angry young, or even middle-aged, man. I am not “involved.” My books are not “engaged.” I have no message for suffering humanity and, though I was bullied at school and lost my virginity like so many of us used to do in the old days, I have never been tempted to foist these and other harrowing personal experiences on the public. My opuscula do not aim at changing people or making them go out and do something. They are written for warm-blooded heterosexuals in railway trains, airplanes and beds.

I have a charming relative who is an angry young littérateur of renown. He is maddened by the fact that more people read my books than his. Not long ago we had semi-friendly words on the subject and I tried to cool his boiling ego by saying that his artistic purpose was far, far higher than mine. He was engaged in “The Shakespeare Stakes.” The target of his books was the head and, to some extent at least, the heart. The target of my books, I said, lay somewhere between the solar plexus and, well, the upper thigh. These self-deprecatory remarks did nothing to mollify him and finally, with some impatience and perhaps with something of an ironical glint in my eye, I asked him how he described himself on his passport. “I bet you call yourself an Author,” I said. He agreed, with a shade of reluctance, perhaps because he scented sarcasm on the way. “Just so,” I said. “Well, I describe myself as a Writer. There are authors and artists, and then again there are writers and painters.”

This rather spiteful jibe, which forced him, most unwillingly, into the ranks of the Establishment, whilst stealing for myself the halo of a simple craftsman of the people, made the angry young man angrier than ever and I don’t now see him as often as I used to. But the point I wish to make is that if you decide to become a professional writer, you must, broadly speaking, decide whether you wish to write for fame, for pleasure or for money. I write, unashamedly, for pleasure and money.

I also feel that, while thrillers may not be Literature with a capital L, it is possible to write what I can best describe as “Thrillers designed to be read as literature,” the practitioners of which have included such as Edgar Allan Poe, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. I see nothing shameful in aiming as high as these.

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

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

Monday, May 27, 2019

On This Day In History The Late, Great Crime Writer Dashiell Hammett Was Born

Happy birthday to Dashiell Hammett, who was born on this day in 1894.

Hammett was the author of The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and other classic crime stories.

You can read my Washington Times review of his short stories via the below link:

And you can read my Crime Beat column on Hammett - From Street to Paper - via the below link:

Memorial Day 2019: Remember And Honor

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Little Humor: When I Die

One Sunday morning, a man and his wife were sitting at the breakfast table. 

Unexpectedly, the man said to his wife, “When I die, I want you to immediately burn all of my stuff." 

“Now why would you want me to do something like that?” she asked.

“I figure a woman as fine as yourself would eventually remarry and I don’t want some other jerk using my stuff.”

She looked at him intently and said, “What makes you think I’d marry another jerk?”

Note: The above photo is of the late comics George Burns and Gracie Allen 

The Traitor Review – The Real Goodfellas: Cosa Nostra On Trial

Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian offers a review of Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor, a film about the 1986 maxi of Sicilian Cosa Nostra members and Tommaso Buscetta, a Cosa Nostra boss who testified against them.

Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor is a big, handsomely shot, true-crime gangster movie, ranging over 30 years from the early 1970s to the late 90s, scripted by Bellocchio with screenwriters Valia Santella, Ludovica Rampoldi and Francesco Piccolo. The film has the authoritative air of official history: sometimes brash, sometimes stolid, sometimes with flashes of inspiration and sometimes with long stretches of courtroom dialogue. It is in these sections where Bellocchio is perhaps self-consciously concerned, as a major Italian film-maker, to be seen delivering a definitive cinematic account of an important period of modern Italian life. Well, it was certainly a sound instinct to show the courtroom scenes at some length, because however bizarre and chaotic it could be, the court of law is the moral centre of these events.

His subject is Italy’s sensational anti-mafia Maxi trial of 1986, in which hundreds of Sicilian mobsters were convicted, on the testimony of a tiny number of high-up pentiti, or informers, of which the most important was Tommaso Buscetta, a bulkily intimidating, charismatic presence portrayed here by Italian character actor Pierfrancesco Favino. 
He was the important Cosa Nostra guy who astonished everyone by committing the ultimate sin: treason. He snitched to the cops. 

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

Memorial Day Weekend 2019: Never Forget Those Who Gave Thier Lives For Our Country

Friday, May 24, 2019

U.S. Navy Sailor Sentenced For Attempted Communication Of Classified National Defense Information

The FBI released the below information:
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Kellogg III was sentenced last Friday at a general court-martial to three years of confinement after pleading guilty to charges related to the illegal communication of national defense information. Kellogg will receive a dishonorable discharge from the Navy and a reduction in rank from E-5 to E-1. 
From May to September 2018, Kellogg, 26, served aboard the nuclear-powered warship USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) as a Nuclear Electrician’s Mate (EMN2). In this position, Kellogg had access to classified national defense information relating to the capabilities, operations, and maintenance of Navy nuclear propulsion systems. 
According to a pretrial agreement, Kellogg admitted that while on active duty on August 27, 2018, he attempted to board a commercial airline from San Diego, California, to New York City with the intention of providing classified information regarding the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered warships to a journalist whom he thought would release the information to the public. 
Kellogg separately admitted to, in July and August 2018, telling his roommate that he was planning to defect to Russia. During this time-period, Kellogg searched the Internet for information relating to flights to Moscow, contact information for the Russian Consulate in San Diego, and contact information for Sevmash, a Russian shipbuilding enterprise. He wrote to an email address associated with Sevmash stating, “I am willing.” 
Furthermore, Kellogg admitted that, in May and August 2018, he photographed controlled spaces containing sensitive Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program information aboard the USS Vinson. He then communicated those photos to his father and ex-girlfriend, neither of whom possess a security clearance nor have a need to know about classified Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program information. 
Kellogg also admitted that during June 2018 to August 2018, he failed to obey a lawful general order by wrongfully storing classified information in his berthing. 
“The FBI is committed to protecting the nation’s critical assets, advanced technologies and sensitive information in the defense sector against all counterintelligence threats.” said Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “As demonstrated by this case, the FBI works closely with NCIS to investigate and prosecute those military members who intentionally risk our national security and violate the oath they took to protect our nation.” 
“This sailor’s attempts to disclose classified Navy nuclear propulsion information posed a significant threat to national security and endangered the lives of American service members,” said Special Agent in Charge Garrett Waugh of the Southwest Field Office. “NCIS will continue to prioritize counterintelligence efforts as well as investigate and disrupt espionage activity directed at the Navy and Marine Corps.” 
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - San Diego Division and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service - Southwest Field Office. Investigators were also assisted by the San Diego Harbor Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Cmdr. Chris Czaplak, U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Senior Trial Counsel, Region Legal Service Office Southwest, Naval Base San Diego. 

A Little Humor: A Cat In Heaven

A cat died and went to Heaven. 

God met the animal at the Pearly Gates and said, “You have been a good cat all of these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking.”

The cat thought for a moment and then said, “All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard, wooden floors… I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on.”

God said, “Say no more.” Instantly, the cat had a HUGE fluffy pillow.

A few days later, 12 mice were simultaneously killed in an accident and they all went up to Heaven together. 

God met the mice at the Gates of Heaven, with the exact same offer that He made to the cat.

The mice said, “Well, we have had to run all of our lives… from cats, dogs, and even from people with brooms. If we could just have some little roller-skates, we would never have to run again.”

God answered, “It is done.” All the mice had beautiful little roller-skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat… He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. 

God gently awakened the cat and asked, “Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?”

The cat replied, “Oh, everything is just WONDERFUL… I’ve never been so happy in my life! My pillow is always fluffy and those little “Meals-on-Wheels” that You have been sending over are delicious.” 

Note: The above photo is of my cat, Kit Cat. You can read my Crime Beat column on the murder of a litter of kittens and how I took in Kit Cat, the only survivor of the litter via the below link: 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Charged In 18-Count Superseding Indictment Charges Related To Illegally Obtaining, Receiving And Disclosing Classified Information

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
A federal grand jury returned an 18-count superseding indictment today charging Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, with offenses that relate to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Acting Assistant Director in Charge Timothy Dunham of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
The superseding indictment alleges that Assange was complicit with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, in unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense.  Specifically, the superseding indictment alleges that Assange conspired with Manning;  obtained from Manning and aided and abetted her in obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation;  received and attempted to receive classified information having reason to believe that such materials would be obtained, taken, made, and disposed of by a person contrary to law; and  aided and abetted Manning in communicating classified documents to Assange. 
After agreeing to receive classified documents from Manning and aiding, abetting, and causing Manning to provide classified documents, the superseding indictment charges that Assange then published on WikiLeaks classified documents that contained the unredacted names of human sources who provided information to United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to U.S. State Department diplomats around the world.  These human sources included local Afghans and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents from repressive regimes.  According to the superseding indictment, Assange’s actions risked serious harm to United States national security to the benefit of our adversaries and put the unredacted named human sources at a grave and imminent risk of serious physical harm and/or arbitrary detention.
The superseding indictment alleges that beginning in late 2009, Assange and WikiLeaks actively solicited United States classified information, including by publishing a list of “Most Wanted Leaks” that sought, among other things, classified documents.  Manning responded to Assange’s solicitations by using access granted to her as an intelligence analyst to search for United States classified documents, and provided to Assange and WikiLeaks databases containing approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activities reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables.
Many of these documents were classified at the Secret level, meaning that their unauthorized disclosure could cause serious damage to United States national security.  Manning also provided rules of engagement files for the Iraq war, most of which were also classified at the Secret level and which delineated the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces would initiate or conduct combat engagement with other forces.
The superseding indictment alleges that Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange.  The discussions also reflect that Assange actively encouraged Manning to provide more information and agreed to crack a password hash stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a United States government network used for classified documents and communications.  Assange is also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to crack that password hash.
Assange is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count except for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, for which he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer, Thomas W. Traxler and Gordon D. Kromberg, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Walczewski and Nicholas O. Hunter of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

'He was a human tape measure': Ex-Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Says They Confirmed His Identity By Asking A 6'2' Sniper To Lay Down Next To His Body Because They Knew How Tall The 9/11 Mastermind Was

Ariel Zilber at the Daily Mail offers a piece on how the Navy SEALs confirmed that they killed bin Laden.

The former Navy SEAL credited with killing Osama Bin Laden said that his commander asked a fellow sniper who was nearly as tall as the 6ft5in Al Qaeda leader to lie down next to his corpse in order to make sure they got the right guy.

Rob O’Neill (seen in the above photo), the decorated special forces soldier who shot Bin Laden during the raid on his Abottabad, Pakistan compound in May 2011, confirmed on Wednesday the account first given on Tuesday by Navy Admiral William McRaven (Ret.) (seen in the below photo).

During an appearance on Fox Business Network on Tuesday, McRaven recalled the immediate aftermath of the Bin Laden raid.

‘The SEALs had come back over the border from Pakistan [to Afghanistan] and I was on a video conference with the president (Barack Obama),’ McRaven said.

Navy SEALs asked a 6ft2in soldier in their unit to lie down next to the corpse of Osama Bin Laden (left) after the May 2011 raid on his Pakistan compound, Rob O'Neill (right), the SEAL who shot and killed the al Qaida leader, said.

It was O'Neill's commander, Navy Admiral William McRaven (Ret.), who used a tall Navy SEAL to confirm Bin Laden's identity.

‘The president asked me, “Are you certain it’s Bin Laden?”

‘I said, “No, sir, I need to go personally identify the body.”

‘So my command post was just a minute or two away from the air field. So I drove to the airfield.

‘The SEALs were just arriving. They brought the body bag in.

‘I unzipped the body bag and took a look at the remains. He obviously didn’t look too well.

‘He had taken a couple rounds. The beard was a little shorter than we expected, but I knew he was about 6ft4in.

‘So I looked around and saw some young SEAL. I said, “Son, how tall are you?”

‘He said: “Well, sir, I’m 6ft2in.”

‘“Come here. I need you to lie down.”

‘First he had a kinda funny look on his face, but he quickly understood and, of course, the remains were a couple of inches taller.

McRaven said he told then-President Barack Obama about how he tried to make certain the SEALs got the right guy. 

Obama jokingly told McRaven at the time: 'So let me get this straight, Bill. We had $60million for a helicopter, and you didn’t have $10 for a tape measure?'

 ‘And the president says, and, again, it had been a serious night with serious implications, but it was a lighthearted moment…

‘He said: “So let me get this straight, Bill. We had $60 million for a helicopter, and you didn’t have $10 for a tape measure?”

O’Neill appeared on Fox Business Network on Wednesday and corroborated McRaven’s account.

… ‘When I saw him standing up on two feet I recognized his nose… his beard was shorter and white.

‘But no doubt in my mind when I saw him about four seconds later that we just got Osama Bin Laden.’

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with Robert O’Neill via the below link: 

And you can read my Washington Times review of Admiral McRaven’s book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations via the below link: 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Little Humor: The Worst Thing You Can Eat

A Doctor was addressing a large audience.

“The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago,” the doctor said.
“Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long- term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water." 

The doctor paused and let the alarming information sink in.  

"But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it," the doctor said. " Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?”

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, “Wedding Cake?”

Covering Crime, Espionage & Terrorism, And Other Military Journalism

Prior to working as a reporter, columnist and writer for newspapers, magazines and Internet publications, I was a contributing writer to U.S. Navy and Defense Department magazines.

I received the Philadelphia Federal Executive Board's 1990 Public Affairs Award for my magazine articles.  

I wrote my first newspaper piece while I was an 18-year-old seaman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in 1970. I was assigned to the warship's Special Services unit and although I was a high school dropout, the officer in charge took a chance when he discovered that I was an aspiring writer and had me write several pieces for the ship's newspaper, The Flyer. 

My pieces ranged from what Special Services offered the 5,500 men aboard the carrier to what San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico offered the crew ashore. I loved going out as a reporter and writing those pieces. As we prepared to sail to Southeast Asia and combat duty off the coast of Vietnam, the ship's newspaper was transferred to the newly formed Public Affairs Division. As I had not attended the Navy's journalism school or had a journalism degree, I was reassigned to the Radio Communications Division.

In 1986 I was the civilian chief of Installation Services for a Defense Department command in Philadelphia. I oversaw security, safety and other programs for the command's military and civilian employees. I also began contributing articles to local and worldwide Defense Department magazines. The Defense Logistic Agency's magazine, Dimensions, reached more than three million DoD civilians and military people worldwide.

I covered crime, espionage, terrorism, drug trafficking and special operations, subjects I continue to cover today.

You can read some of my magazine pieces below:


Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Look Back At The Terrorists Jihad Jane And Theblackflag

Counterterrorism magazine published my piece on the terrorists "Jihad Jane" and "Theblackflag."

You can read the piece below: