Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Spy And The Traitor: How A KGB Officer Stopped The Soviets From Launching A Nuclear Attack On The West

Cole Moreton at the Daily Mail offers a piece on the former KGB officer who helped prevent WWIII.

We’re walking through a park in London where a Soviet spy once carried out a secret drop – just before he saved the world. ‘Most people have no idea how close we were to nuclear war at that time,’ says Ben Macintyre, author of The Spy And The Traitor, which tells the extraordinary true story of a KGB agent turned British informant called Oleg Gordievsky (seen in the above photo). ‘He was able to crack open the inner secrets of the Kremlin. No spy had ever done that for Britain before.’

Gordievsky worked undercover for the KGB – the Soviet secret service – in London in the early Eighties, sending reports back to Moscow. But he was also, bravely, spying for the West. ‘If Oleg had been caught he would have been tortured and executed, and most of his family would have been rounded up as well.’ 

Then came Able Archer 83, a NATO war-game training exercise in November 1983, leading up to a simulated nuclear attack. The Soviets thought it was real. ‘Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric about the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” was interpreted in Moscow as a direct threat. The Kremlin genuinely believed the West was going to launch a first nuclear strike.’

The Soviets panicked and prepared to launch their missiles first, believing it was the only way to save themselves. Gordievsky heard all about it as a senior KGB operative, but quickly passed word on to his handlers, who took it to the highest level.

‘People in Downing Street and the Oval Office didn’t believe it at first, but Oleg managed to convince them it was true – and say that unless they calmed down the fighting talk, the West would effectively press the button on its own destruction.’

Moves were made to calm down the Soviets, who never fired. ‘A lot of what spies do doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. This is one of the few cases in which spying changed history.’

Gordievsky was even more intimately involved in the next historic development, when the Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev came to London in 1984 for a meeting with the Prime Minister that would hasten the end of the Cold War. ‘Oleg was briefing both sides. He was telling Thatcher what to say to Gorbachev and he was telling Gorbachev to say to Thatcher. Extraordinary.’

Gordievsky had been brought up a loyalist, the son of a KGB agent, but his stomach was turned by the sight of the Berlin Wall going up while he was stationed there. ‘He came to believe that he was serving a corrupt, barbarian regime. He didn’t do it for money; he did it purely for ideological reasons.’

All this is laid out in The Spy And The Traitor, which is about to be released in paperback. So I’m walking with Macintyre, a short, bespectacled 55-year-old with a tweed jacket and a fierce intelligence, through Coram’s Fields near Holborn. This is where Gordievsky carried out his last dead-drop, hiding £8,000 in the bushes for a newly arrived Soviet spy. ‘He brought his kids as cover. They would have been aged three and six. He left them on the swings, went behind the hedge and dropped a brick with the notes, wrapped in a plastic bag.’

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

You can also read my review of The Spy and the Traitor via the below link: 

A Little Humor: Hiring A New 007 With A License To Kill

With James Bond getting on in years, the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) was looking to hire a new 007 with a license to kill. 

After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done, there were 3 finalists: two men and a woman.

For the final test, an SIS officer took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. 

“We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you find your wife sitting in a chair… kill her.”

The man said, “You can’t be serious. I could never shoot my wife.” 

The SIS officer said, “Then you’re not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home.”

The second man was given the same instructions. 

He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. 

The man came out with tears in his eyes, “I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.” 

The SIS officer said, “Then you don’t have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”

Finally, it was the woman’s turn. 

She was given her instructions: kill your husband. 

She took the gun and went into the room. 

Shots were heard. The SIS officer heard screaming, crashing, and banging on the walls. 

After a few minutes, all was quiet.

The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping the sweat from her brow. 

“This gun is loaded with blanks” she said. “I had to kill him with the chair!”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Former CIA Officer Sentenced To Prison for Espionage

Kevin Patrick Mallory, 62, of Leesburg, Virginia, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after being convicted under the Espionage Act for conspiracy to transmit national defense information to an agent of the People’s Republic of China.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
“Former U.S. Intelligence officer Kevin Patrick Mallory will spend the next 20 years of his life in prison for conspiring to pass national defense information to a Chinese intelligence officer,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers.  “This case is one in an alarming trend of former U.S. intelligence officers being targeted by China and betraying their country and colleagues.  This sentence, together with the recent guilty pleas of Ron Hansen in Utah and Jerry Lee in Virginia, deliver the stern message that our former intelligence officers have no business partnering with the Chinese, or any other adversarial foreign intelligence service.”
“Mallory not only put our country at great risk, but he endangered the lives of specific human assets who put their own safety at risk for our national defense,” said. U.S. Attorney Terwilliger.  “There are few crimes in this country more serious than espionage, and this office has a long history of holding accountable those who betray our country.  As the Chinese continue to attempt to identify and recruit current and former members of the United States intelligence community, those individuals should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate security officials.  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.”
“U.S. Government employees are trusted to keep the nation's secrets safe,” said Assistant Director in Charge McNamara, “and this case shows the violation of that trust and duty will not be accepted.  The targeting of former U.S. security clearance holders by foreign intelligence services is a constant threat we face, and the FBI will continue to preserve and combat these threats head on.  I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI, and our counterparts at the Department of Justice, for their years of hard work to investigate and prosecute this case.”
Mallory was found guilty by a federal jury in June 2018 of conspiracy to deliver, attempted delivery, delivery of national defense information to aid a foreign government and making material false statements.  The district court subsequently ordered acquittal as to the delivery and attempted delivery of national defense information counts due to lack of venue.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in March and April 2017, Mallory, a former U.S. intelligence officer, travelled to Shanghai to meet with an individual, Michael Yang, who held himself out as a People’s Republic of China think tank employee, but whom Mallory assessed to be a Chinese Intelligence Officer.
Mallory, a United States citizen who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, consented to an FBI review of a covert communications (covcom) device he had been given by Yang to facilitate covert communications between the two.  Analysis of the device, which was a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, revealed a number of communications in which Mallory and Yang talked about classified information that Mallory could sell to the PRC’s intelligence service.  FBI analysts were able to determine that Mallory had completed all of the steps necessary to securely transmit at least five classified U.S. government documents via the covcom device, one of which contained unique identifiers for human sources who had helped the United States government.  At least two of the documents were successfully transmitted, and Mallory and Yang communicated about those two documents on the covcom device.
Evidence presented at trial included surveillance video from a FedEx store in Leesburg where Mallory could be seen scanning documents classified at the Secret and Top Secret level onto a micro SD card.  Though Mallory paid to have the paper copies of the eight documents shredded, FBI agents found a carefully concealed SD card containing those documents during a search of Mallory’s home, the day of his June 22, 2017 arrest.  A recording was played at trial from June 24, 2017, where Mallory could be heard on a call from the jail asking his family to search for the hidden SD card.
Mallory has held numerous positions with various government agencies and several defense contractors, including working as a covert case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and an intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).  As required for his various government positions, Mallory obtained a Top Secret security clearance, which was active during various assignments during his career.  Mallory’s security clearance was terminated in October 2012 when he left government service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Gibbs and Colleen E. Garcia, and Trial Attorneys Jennifer Kennedy Gellie and Evan Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Herman Wouk, WWII Naval Officer And Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Of 'The Caine Mutiny' And Other Great Navy Novels, Dies at 103

Herman Wouk (seen in the above and below photos), a naval officer in World War II and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of some of my favorite WWII Navy novels, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, died today. He was 103.

The Caine Mutiny was made into a 1952 classic film with Humphrey Bogart and The Winds of War and War and Remembrance were made into TV mini-series starring Robert Mitchum as Commander "Pug" Henry.

You can read about his life and work via the below link:

You can watch The Winds of War via the below link:

Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Member And Associate Plead Guilty To Making And Collecting Extortionate Loans

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

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Philip Narducci, 56, of Philadelphia, and James Gallo, 44, of Philadelphia, entered pleas of guilty today before Judge Timothy Savage on several counts relating to making and collecting upon extortionate loans.  Narducci is a member of the Philadelphia organized crime family La Cosa Nostra (LCN), and Gallo is his associate.
At the hearing, the defendants both admitted that Narducci made usurious and extortionate loans involving tens of thousands of dollars to an unnamed borrower.  When the borrower failed to make weekly interest payments – sometimes with an interest rate above 80 percent - Narducci used threats of violence and actual physical assault to force the borrower to repay the loans.  One such incident occurred at Chick’s Philly, a bar and restaurant operated by Narducci, on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia.  In one particularly disturbing exchange, Gallo told the borrower he should be scared of Narducci, saying, “He’s a killer you f***ing idiot.  He’s killed f***ing eight people.”
“Philadelphians deserve to be safe and live without the fear or threat of violence, especially from unscrupulous defendants like these,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “My Office takes organized crime in this District very seriously, and will investigate and prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law.”
“This organized crime network threatened the safety of our neighborhoods by extorting and assaulting Philadelphians,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Thanks to strong collaboration between our law enforcement partners, we were able to put an end to this criminal behavior and keep the people of Philadelphia safe. We will continue working together to investigate and prosecute organized crime wherever we find it.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John S. Han of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan B. Ortiz.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Two More Navy officers Censured For Fat Leonard-Related Infractions

Geoff Ziezulewicz at the Navy Times offers a piece on two more Navy officers punished in the “Fat Leonard’ bribery and fraud case.

The Navy has censured a pair of commissioned officers for their roles in the Fat Leonard public corruption scandal.

The letters of censure issued to the captains by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer serve as both a public rebuke of their actions and shine more light into the web of kickbacks, payoffs and port contracts spun by the portly Leonard Glenn Francis (seen in the below photo) that cost U.S. taxpayers at least $35 million.

At least 10 captains and admirals have received similar written reprimands in recent years.

Capt. Heedong Choi’s (seen in the above photo) infractions took place from 2008 to 2013, as he served in several leadership positions in the Western Pacific, including as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer Chafee, according to the April 26 letter.

But Spencer concluded that his relationship with Francis went back to 2001, when Choi was a flag aide to the commander of 7th Fleet.

“As Flag Aide, Mr. Francis specifically described you as his means to ‘grease’ your Commander and the ‘pipeline’ between him and your Commander," Spencer wrote. "He also said you were on his ‘payroll’ since that time because you ‘kept delivering.”

…Retired Capt. Ricardo Martinez was also censured in an April 26 letter.

His Fat Leonard-related infractions took place while he was serving as the U.S. Naval attaché to Indonesia and New Zealand from 2001 to 2008, according to the reprimand.

Martinez received or solicited nearly $16,000 in gifts from Francis and his port services company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, and the April 26 censure letter contains a “chronological list of misconduct."

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

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

RIP Tim Conway, Ensign Parker On 'McHale's Navy'

When I was a seaman recruit in Navy Boot Camp at the Great Lakes, Illinois Naval Training Center in 1970, I recall standing at parade rest on the grinder field as our drill instructor told us that the 1960s TV comedy series McHale’s Navy was one of the best weapons the Communists had in their arsenal.

I whispered to the sailor next to me that McHale’s Navy was one of the reasons I joined the Navy. 

Yes, I might have told the drill instructor if I had the chance, McHale’s World War II PT-73 crew was an undisciplined, raucous, gambling, girl-chasing, moonshine-making bunch, but they were also the most effective combat PT boat crew in the fictional squadron. 

I loved that show and I have a couple of DVDs that I still watch from time to time. 

So I was sorry to hear that Tim Conway had passed away.

Tim Conway portrayed Ensign Parker (seen in the above and below photos), the executive officer of the PT-73 under Ernest Borgnine’s Commander McHale (seen in the below photo). 

Ensign Parker was an innocent, goofy, clumsy, but good natured officer who was a constant irritant to the squadron’s pompous, ambitious, officious and somewhat insane commanding officer, Captain Wallace Burton (Old Leadbottom) Binghamton, portrayed by the late Joe Flynn (seen in the below photos). 

Later, while serving on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, I realized that Tim Conway’s Ensign Parker had some counterparts in the real U.S. Navy, although some of those junior officers were not so innocent or good natured (Ha). 

And later still, as a civilian Defense Department administrative officer, I discovered that Joe Flynn’s Captain Binghamton also had some counterparts in the real U.S. Navy. 

I didn’t watch Tim Conway on Carol Burnett's TV show, but my wife and I were fortunate to have seen Tim Conway live on stage in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. He portrayed Felix, the fussy one, and Tom Poston portrayed Oscar the slob. Tim Conway added clumsy comedic pratfalls on stage to his portrayal of Felix. We enjoyed the show.

Lastly, while watching SpongeBob SquarePants on TV with my grandchildren, I was pleased to discover that Tim Conway was the voice of the cartoon character Barnacle Boy, the sidekick to Mermaid Man (voiced by Ernest Borgnine), SpongeBob’s underwater superheroes.

Tim Conway will be missed.             

Note: You can watch the first episode of McHale’s Navy via the below link: 

Monday, May 13, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of Admiral McRaven's 'Sea Stories: My Life In Special Operations'

The Washington Times published my review of retired Navy SEAL admiral William McRaven’s Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operation.

When I was a teenage sailor serving aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, “sea stories” was a pejorative term, meaning an embellished tale of braggadocio, as in, “Oh, no, Davis is telling sea stories again!”

In the opening of William H. McRaven’s book, “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations,” the retired four-star admiral who served as the commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces offers a more classical definition of sea stories: “Tales of epic adventures recounted by sailors returning home from a long voyage; usually told over a bottle of rum with good friends and intentions.”

His definition of sea stories is certainly more fitting for his book, as Adm. McRaven doesn’t need to embellish his dramatic 37-year Navy SEAL career, nor does he necessarily brag, as he shares credit with his team mates and superior officers for the successes of the historical missions he recounts in the book.

Adm. McRaven commanded the special operators who captured Saddam Hussein after the war in Iraq, and he commanded the Navy SEALs who took out the Somalian pirates who boarded a commercial ship off Africa and kidnapped the ship’s captain, Richard Philips. And near the end of his most distinguished career, he commanded the Navy SEALs and other special operators who raided the compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader who planned and executed the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

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

During Police Week, The FBI Asks For Help Finding Those Responsible For Killing Or Assaulting Law Enforcement Officers

The FBI released the below information:
Robert Rosenbloom knew the dangers that came with police work. The New Mexico State Police patrolman, who was killed during a 1971 traffic stop on Interstate 40 near Albuquerque, talked to his wife about it before they were married. “He told me the dangers, the risks, what might happen,” said Rosenbloom’s widow, Linda.
Patrolman Rosenbloom was fatally wounded on November 8, 1971, after he stopped a car that investigators believe was carrying Michael Finney, Ralph Goodwin, and Charlie Hill. The three suspects fled into the desert after allegedly shooting Rosenbloom in the neck and chest, emerging weeks later to allegedly hijack a truck and then a plane that took them to Cuba, where they were sheltered from prosecution. Goodwin and Finney are believed to be dead. Hill is still living in Cuba and is wanted by the FBI and New Mexico state authorities.
“You can’t just kill somebody, flee the country, and live your life,” said Tammy Minicki, Rosenbloom’s daughter. She was 3 when her father was killed and has only a single, fleeting memory of her dad.
Her brother, Rob Rosenbloom, was just 2 years old when his father was murdered, and though he doesn’t remember his dad, he followed his career path and became a parole officer in Oklahoma. Rob said he and Tammy grew up surrounded by law enforcement and an extended family of sorts created by New Mexico State Police colleagues who were committed to remembering their dad.
He stressed that seeking justice is important for his father and for every officer who goes to work and then doesn’t return home to his or her family. “Every year there are police officers being shot,” Rob Rosenbloom said. “They have to know that they are not going to be forgotten.”
On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the nation will come together at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service to remember law enforcement personnel who lost their lives while protecting their communities. It is one of the most solemn of the events during Police Week, which is celebrated annually to mark the daily commitment, service, and sacrifices of law enforcement.
“During Police Week, we honor the memory of those we have lost and intensify our commitment to bring to justice those responsible for killing or injuring members of the law enforcement community,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess. “It is imperative that we continue all efforts to find—and ultimately hold accountable—those fugitives. We are hopeful the focused attention to these cases will generate new tips for the FBI and our partners.”
According to the most recent figures released by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, there were 106 law enforcement officer deaths in 2018 alone; 55 of those officers were killed feloniously. Each death leaves a family mourning, a department missing a colleague, and a community going without one of the men or women who worked to keep them safe.
This Police Week, the FBI is highlighting eight cases that led to the deaths of six officers and resulted in serious injuries to three others. They date back as far as 1971, in Rosenbloom’s case, and occurred as recently as 2013 with the unsolved murder of Officer Jason Ellis in Kentucky. In all eight cases, justice has not yet been served. Either the perpetrators are unknown or the person suspected or convicted of the crime has escaped or evaded capture.
The FBI and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department are seeking information that will lead to the person or persons involved in the death of Deputy Jeffrey Mitchell.
Mitchell was patrolling rural Sacramento County during the predawn hours of October 27, 2006, when he logged into his in-vehicle computer to inform dispatch that he was going to investigate a suspicious white Chevrolet van. Mitchell reported that he could see at least one person at the vehicle.
“At some point during the contact, the dispatcher heard his radio microphone click,” said Sergeant Tony Turnbull, a homicide detective with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and friend of Mitchell’s. “When they radioed back to him, there was no answer.”
The dispatcher immediately called for other patrol vehicles to come to the scene. When units arrived, they found Mitchell had been shot in the head with his service weapon after a violent struggle.
Mitchell was a nine-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, a skilled baseball player, a husband, and the father to a 6-year-old boy.
Turnbull said the department took his death extremely hard. “We take these risks every day, but Deputy Mitchell’s murder was one of the first we had in quite a long time. And there were not a whole lot of answers right away.”
Turnbull said several hundred people from multiple agencies, including the FBI, California Highway Patrol, the Elk Grove Police Department, and the Rancho Cordova Police Department, assisted in the intense early phases of the investigation. That investigation remains active for Sacramento County and the FBI, who want answers and justice for Mitchell’s family and the department he served.
“This is something we would never let go,” said Turnbull. “Not just because he’s one of our own, but that’s the way we do things. We don’t forget.” Turnbull said the sheriff’s office has sifted through more than 4,000 tips and leads. “We follow up on every piece of information we receive. And we are looking for something that will push us over the finish line.”
Anyone with information on any of the cases featured here is asked contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit tips online at

A Little Humor: The Engineer, The Doctor Or The Lawyer Going To Mars

NASA was interviewing people to be sent to Mars for an experiment. Only one could go, and he couldn’t return to Earth.

The first applicant, an engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going. “A million dollars,” he answered, “because I want to donate it to M.I.T.”

The next applicant, a doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for two million dollars. “I want to give a million to my family”, he explained, “and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.”

The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer’s ear, “Three million dollars.”

“Why so much more than the others?” the interviewer asked.

The lawyer replied, “If you give me $3 million, I’ll keep $2 million, and pay the engineer to go.”

Note: The above photo is of Phil Morris portraying Jackie Chiles, Kramer’s lawyer on the TV series Seinfeld.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Little Humor: The Father's Collar

A little boy got on the bus, sat next to a man reading a book, and noticed he had his collar on backwards. 

The little boy asked why he wore his collar that way.

The man, who was a priest, said, “I am a Father.”

The little boy replied, “My Daddy doesn’t wear his collar like that.”

The priest looked up from his book and said, “I am the Father of many.”

The boy said, “My Dad has four boys, four girls and two grandchildren and he doesn’t wear his collar that way.”

The priest, getting impatient, said “I am the Father of hundreds,” and went back to reading his book.

The little boy sat quietly… but on leaving the bus, he leaned over and said, “Well, maybe you should wear your pants backwards instead of your collar.”

Note: The above photo is of actor Pat O’ Brien in 1938’s Angels With Dirty Faces 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

My Washington Times Review of 'Mafia Spies: The Inside Story Of The CIA, Gangsters, JFK, And Castro'

The Washington Times published my review of Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK, and Castro.

Although mobster Johnny Roselli was murdered in 1976, his body discovered in a 55-gallon oil drum floating off Miami, Florida, this appears to be his year.

Lee Server wrote an interesting biography of the mobster, “Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Roselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin” (which I reviewed here). And now Roselli is also featured as one of the main historical characters, alongside fellow mobster Sam Giancana, President Kennedy, Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro, and Frank Sinatra and the other “Rat Pack” entertainers, in Thomas Maier’s “Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK, and Castro.”

Although during his lifetime he was well-known in organized crime, gambling and Hollywood movie-making circles, the notably handsome, well-dressed ladies’ man was not as well-known to the general public as many of the other gangsters he was associated with.

That books have been written about his life, as well as an upcoming film about him, has to do with his association with the CIA and the failed plot to kill Fidel Castro.

“The original 1960s Castro murder conspiracy remained a secret for fifteen years, until Congressional hearings in the mid-1970s revealed the spy agency’s basic plot. More spy details were released in the years to come,” Mr. Maier writes. “But the recently declassified files about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, released in batches by the National Archives in 2017-2018, were the biggest help for this book.”

…“Poison bills, exploding cigars, lethal James Bond-like gadgets, midnight boat raids from Florida with Cuban exiles carrying bombs and long-range rifles — a veritable army of undercover spies, double agents, and “cutout” handlers — were all part of this ill-fated campaign emanating from the White House.” Mr. Maier explains.

… I only wish that they had succeeded. 

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

Former Intelligence Analyst Charged With Disclosing Classified Information

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
An indictment was unsealed today charging a former intelligence analyst with illegally obtaining classified national defense information and disclosing it to a reporter. Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Nashville.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. 
According to the indictment, Hale was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from July 2009 to July 2013, during which time he received language and intelligence training.  While serving on active duty, Hale was assigned to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) and deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst.  After leaving the U.S. Air Force, Hale was employed by a defense contractor and assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), where he worked as a political geography analyst between December 2013 and August 2014.  In connection with his active duty service and work for the NSA, and during his time at NGA, Hale held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS//SCI) security clearance and was entrusted with access to classified national defense information.
According to allegations in the indictment, beginning in April 2013, while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the NSA, Hale began communicating with a reporter. Hale met with the reporter in person on multiple occasions, and, at times, communicated with the reporter via an encrypted messaging platform.  Then, in February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at NGA, Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work at NGA and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter.  Each of the six documents printed were later published by the reporter’s news outlet.
According to allegations in the indictment, while employed as a cleared defense contractor for NGA, Hale printed from his Top Secret computer 36 documents, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA.  Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were classified as Top Secret or Secret and marked as such.
According to allegations in the indictment, in August 2014, Hale’s cell phone contact list included contact information for the reporter, and he possessed two thumb drives.  One thumb drive contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document that Hale had printed in February 2014 and had attempted to delete from the thumb drive.  The other thumb drive contained Tor software and the Tails operating system, which were recommended by the reporter’s online news outlet in an article published on its website regarding how to anonymously “leak” documents. 
Hale is charged with obtaining national defense information, retention and transmission of national defense information, causing the communication of national defense information, disclosure of classified communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.  Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon D. Kromberg and Alexander P. Berrang and Senior Trial Attorney Heather M. Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

All History Is Sex And Violence: BBC Radio 1963 Interview With Ian Fleming, Author Of The James Bond Thrillers

The late, great thriller writer Ian Fleming was interviewed by BBC Radio in August of 1963.

"All history is sex and violence," Ian Fleming said in response to a question about the critics who believe his novels are sadistic and have too much sex.

You can listen to the radio interview via the below link:

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

David Ignatius: The Saga Of The Chinese Mole Reads Like A Thriller

David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist and author of The Quantum Spy and other fine spy thrillers, offers his take on former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee (seen in the above photo), who was also a Chinese spy, in his column:

WASHINGTON -- Behind last week's admission by a former CIA officer that he plotted to spy for China lies an astonishing tale of Beijing's espionage against America -- and the vindication of other CIA officers who were falsely suspected of being the Chinese mole.

This saga has a classic thriller plot, in which a suspect must find the real villain to clear his name. Unfortunately, most of the details of the true-life version remain secret, under seal at the U.S. Attorney's office in Alexandria or in the vaults of the CIA. But knowledgeable sources sketched parts of the story that aren't classified.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, who was a CIA case officer from 1994 to 2007, pleaded guilty May 1 to conspiring with Chinese intelligence agents to provide secret information. U.S. officials won't discuss the precise damage Lee did, but intelligence experts believe he was part of an aggressive Chinese spy operation that led to the exposure, arrest and execution of at least 20 CIA sources inside China. For an intelligence service like the CIA, that's as bad as it gets.

The resolution of the Lee case comes at a time when the Trump administration is threatening to escalate its trade war against Beijing to force China to stop stealing commercial secrets and allow fairer trade. The negotiations will hit a deadline Friday, when the administration has threatened to raise tariffs to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese products.

Trump's hard-nosed and sometimes erratic bargaining tactics have roiled financial markets this week. But as the Lee case shows, the Chinese are hardly innocent victims. They have been burrowing deep into the CIA to steal its most precious secrets, as well as pilfering corporate data wherever they can.

Lee pleaded guilty to only one count of conspiracy, and prosecutors said his plea agreement and an accompanying statement of evidence were "not intended to be a full enumeration of all of the facts surrounding the defendant's case." Asked if Lee had agreed to cooperate with the CIA in sharing additional details, his attorney, Edward B. MacMahon Jr., responded: "There is nothing in the plea agreement that deals with his cooperating."

The hunt for a Chinese mole began after the CIA started losing its key sources in China in 2010. Lee, who first met with Chinese intelligence officers in April 2010, according to prosecutors, soon came under suspicion. 

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with David Ignatius via the below link: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Little Humor: Three Men On A Golf Course

Mark Twain said famously that golf was a good walk spoiled, but I have friends who truly love the game.

There were three friends that wanted to play golf every Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t because of their wives who bugged them to stay home.

One day, they finally got together on the golf course and were waiting at the first tee when one guy said, “I had to buy my wife a diamond necklace to get to play today!”

The second said, “That’s nothing, I had to buy MY wife a new sports car to get out here today!”

The third said, “Boy you guys are a couple of wimps; I didn’t have to buy my wife anything.”

They both look at him and ask how he managed that.

The smartest of the three said, “It was easy, when I got up this morning, I looked her straight in the eye and asked, “Golf course or Intercourse?”

She threw me a sweater and said, “Take this, it might get chilly out there!”

Note: The above photo is of actors Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould as “the Pros from Dover” from one of my favorite movies, the great 1970 film MASH. 

The Tramp That Fooled Hitler: Colin Firth Will Play British Spy Who Plotted With Ian Fleming To Dress Dead Homeless Man As British Officer Then Dump Body Off Spain With Top Secret Papers To Dupe The Nazis

Richard Spillett offers a piece at the Daily Mail on the plans to make a film based on Ben Macintyre’s book about a daring plan to fool Hitler during WWII, "Operation Mincement." 

It is the incredible tale of how the body of a dead tramp found floating in the sea with a bundle of fake documents ended up saving the lives of 40,000 soldiers.

Now, the full story of Operation Mincemeat, one the ingenious espionage schemes which helped the Allies win the Second World War, is to get the full Hollywood treatment.

Colin Firth will play intelligence mastermind Ewan Montagu and the new film will be directed by Oscar-nominated British director John Madden, with a screenplay by Emmy-nominated Michelle Ashford.

Producers say Firth has the perfect 'substance, swagger and sensitivity' to play spymaster Montagu. 

Ewan Montagu (left), the mastermind behind Second World War escapade Operation Mincemeat, is to be played by Colin Firth in a forthcoming film

Madden said of the new film: 'In the context of World War II narratives, the story of Operation Mincemeat is unique – a bizarre and seductive cinematic blend of high-level espionage and ingenious fiction, where the stakes could hardly be higher.' 

Operation Mincemeat was dreamed up by British spymasters, including James Bond writer Ian Fleming, as the Allies prepared to invade southern Italy in 1943, at the height of World War Two.

The operation saw the corpse of a tramp, Glyndwr Michael, dressed as an officer and dropped in the sea to fool Hitler into thinking the Allies would invade Greece

Attacking the Axis on the often steep shorelines of Italy could have quickly become a massacre, so Britain's spies came up with a plan to make Hitler think the Allies would go for Greece instead.

They took the body a Welsh tramp and made him look like a high-ranking Royal Marines Officer, who they gave the fictional identity of Captain William Martin.

They then created a bundle of official-looking fake 'top secret' documents, which suggested the Allies were to invade Greece.

The body and a briefcase filled with the documents were then dropped by submarine in the sea off of Spain, to make it look like he had died in an accident.

When the body and the briefcase were picked up by the Nazis, Hitler fell for it 'hook, line and sinker' and moved 90,000 troops to other posted away from southern Italy, meaning the Allies faced a smaller opposition force when it landed in Sicily.

The operation was later immortalised in the 1956 film 'The Man Who Never Was', as well as many TV documentaries. 

But the full audacity of the plan will now be brought to life for a new generation with the Colin Firth film, which is based on a 2010 book by spy historian Ben Macintyre. 

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

You can also watch a documentary on Operation Mincemeat with Ben Macintyre via the below link:

And you can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming’s WWII naval intelligence role via the below link:

Former CIA CI Chief: To Catch A Spy: The Art Of Counterintelligence

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review in the Washington Times of James M. Olson’s To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence 

For more than three decades, James M. Olson ranked high among the CIA operatives tasked with pilfering secrets from the enemy — in those days, chiefly the Soviet Union. As a young officer he went underground, literally, to tap a buried cable connecting an outlying military post with a Moscow office.

He ended his career as chief of counterintelligence (CI, in intel jargon), one of the more ticklish positions at CIA. As one of the successors to the controversial James J. Angleton, Mr. Olson inherited a “disgraceful legacy that for years discredited the CI profession.” As he puts it, “Do operators really want to hear that there may be problems with their careers?”

He is credited with restoring CI’s reputation. In retirement, Mr. Olson joined the faculty of the Bush School at Texas A&M University.

Why is counterintelligence important? As Mr. Olson writes, it “consists of all the measures a nation takes to protect its citizens, secrets and technology from foreign spies.” And over the years some 80 countries (including friends) have attempted to spy on the United States.

Mr. Olson offers several commandments for effective counterintelligence. First on his list is taking the offensive — through double-agent and penetration operations. He cites several instances in which in-place CIA sources fingered American turncoats — including CIA officer Philip Agee and agency employee Larry Wu-Tai Chin, for instance, who spied for the Soviets and Chinese, respectively.

Knowing that the CIA is actively recruiting inside sources would keep the opposition off-balance. He would have American agents constantly probe rival agencies for recruits, to the point of sending bogus “walk ins” to foreign embassies to offer their services.

Conversely, he advocates strong in-house vigilance to detect enemy penetrations. If a colleague is acting suspiciously, or showing signs of sudden unexplained wealth, alert the counterintelligence office so that an investigation can be made. Such vigilance could have toppled CIA officer Aldridge Ames early on when he began lavish spending — with Soviet money, as events proved.

And why was not suspicion directed at Ana Montes, the ranking Cuban specialist in the Defense Intelligence Agency — and who made no secret of her admiration of the Castro regime, and her loathing of U.S. policy toward Latin America. She spied for Cuba for six years before she aroused suspicions of an alert co-worker.

As Mr. Olson laments, one reason persons remain silent about a suspicious colleague is the inbred American aversion to acting as an informer on acquaintances. “Had [Montes] kept her mouth shut,” Mr. Olson writes, she might have escaped exposure forever.

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

Monday, May 6, 2019

FBI: More Than 100 Law Enforcement Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty In 2018

More than 100 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, an increase from 2017, according to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018 (LEOKA) report released today.

In 2018, 55 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed and 51 were killed accidentally, for a total of 106 killed for the year.

The previous year, a total of 94 officers were killed in the line of duty.
The FBI collects officer deaths and assault data from law enforcement agencies across the United States and U.S. territories, and publishes it through its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. LEOKA tracks detailed data on officer line-of-duty assaults and deaths, so the information can be used in officer safety training.
Of the officers who were feloniously killed in 2018:
  • The average age was 37.
  • The average tenure in law enforcement was 10 years.
  • Three were female and 52 were male.
Of the officers who were accidentally killed last year:
  • The average age was 36.
  • The average tenure in law enforcement was 10 years.
  • Four were female and 47 were male.
The full report is available on the UCR publications page.  

James Bond Takes On The Mob: BBC Radio 4 Broadcast Of Ian Fleming's 'Diamonds Are Forever'

The British BBC Radio 4 offers a broadcast of Ian Fleming's James Bond thriller, Diamonds Are Forever. 

You can listen to the radio program via the below link:

You can also read my Crime Beat column on Diamonds Are Forever via the below link:

Warner Archive Blu-Ray Release: James Garner's Wartime Spy Thriller '36 Hours'

I saw 36 Hours in a movie theater when I was a kid back in 1964 and I watched the movie on TV a few years ago. The World War II espionage film, starring James Garner, is an interesting, suspenseful and very clever wartime spy thriller. 

Doug Oswald at offers a review of the film, which Warner Archive has just released on Blu-Ray. 

James Garner is an American Army intelligence officer who is one of the men behind the planning of D-Day when he’s kidnapped by the Germans in neutral Portugal just days prior to the invasion of Normandy in “36 Hours,” released on Blu-ray as part of the Warner Archive Collection. Major Jefferson Pike (Garner) is sent on a routine intelligence gathering mission to Lisbon, but it turns out to be a ruse by the Germans to kidnap Pike in order to get him to reveal the invasion plans. They drug him and transport him to Germany where Pike wakes up six years later in a U.S. Army hospital suffering from amnesia. It’s 15 May 1950 and the war has been over for several years, but Pike can’t remember anything after his night in Lisbon.

In reality, it’s still a few days before D-Day and the Germans have created an elaborate deception in order to convince Pike he’s receiving treatment at a military hospital in American occupied Germany. The Allied invasion was victorious, and the war is over. Pike’s doctor, Major Walter Gerber (Rod Taylor), is in reality a German psychiatrist who developed the elaborate plan in order to gather the invasion plan date and location for Nazi Germany. A base camp filled with fake Americans and German nationals are roaming the grounds to set Pike at ease and disorient him at the same time, but also to convince him he is indeed located at an American military hospital in Germany. The Germans have gone to elaborate steps to make the trap work by dying the edges of his hair gray and putting drops in his eyes to trick him into believing he needs prescription glasses in order for Pike to accept he has aged six years. There are fake newspapers in his room, pictures of his parents, American books and a fake radio station plays American “oldies” from the 1930s and early 40s. He also learns he’s married to Anna Hedler (Eva Marie Saint), his nurse for all these years and a Jewish concentration camp survivor. Gerber has 36 hours to complete his plan, but he is under extreme pressure from Gestapo agent Werner Peters (Otto Shack) to use torture in order to retrieve the information in Pike’s head.

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

Kidnap: The Ransom Business

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review in the Washington Times of Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business.

In “Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business,” author Anja Shortland calls kidnapping “the trickiest trade in the world.” Thousands of persons are kidnapped annually, in many instances to be ransomed by employers’ insurance, a multimillion dollar annual business. And Ms. Shortland addresses the logical question: “Does kidnapping for ransom insurance encourage kidnapping? Would people be safer if insurance did not exist?”

At hand is a read that is both fascinating and terrifying — of innocent persons snatched off the streets and threatened with death unless someone pays for their release. Kidnapping is so prevalent in odd corners of the world that freeing of hostages has led to the establishment of “ground rules” that are generally obeyed both by villains and the ransom payers.

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

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Little Humor: Crumpled Up

With a seductive voice the woman asked her husband, “Have you ever seen a $20 bill all crumpled up?” 

“No,” said her curious husband.

She gave him a sexy little smile, unbuttoned the top 3 buttons of her blouse, and slowly pulled out a crumpled $20 bill from her bra. 

He took the bill from her and smiled approvingly.

She then asked him, “Have you ever seen a $50 bill all crumpled up?”

“Uh, no, I haven’t,” he said with an anxious tone in his voice.

She gave him another sexy little smile, pulled up her skirt, seductively reached into her sheer panties and pulled out a crumpled $50 bill. 

He took the bill and started breathing a little quicker with anticipation.

“Now,” she said ever so softly, “Have you ever seen $50,000 all crumpled up?”

“No!” he answered trying hard to hide his arousal.

“Then go check the garage!”