Tuesday, July 30, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'The Birth Of The FBI: Teddy Roosevelt, The Secret Service, And The Fight Over America's Premier Law Enforcement Agency'

The Washington Times published my review of The Birth of the FBI: Teddy Roosevelt, the Secret Service, and the fight over America’s Premier Law Enforcement Agency.  

Most people credit the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to its first and longest-serving director, J. Edgar Hoover, but as Willard M. Oliver notes in his book, “The Birth of the FBI: Teddy Roosevelt, the Secret Service, and the Fight Over America’s Law Enforcement Agency,” it was actually President Theodore Roosevelt who created a federal law enforcement agency that would eventually morph into the FBI.

Roosevelt created the Special Agent Force in 1908 under the Department of Justice. The force later that year was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, the agency that preceded the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover became the third director of the Bureau of Investigation, which he remade into the FBI in 1935.

But as Mr. Oliver contends in “The Birth of the FBI,” it was President Roosevelt who should be credited with the birth of the FBI.

“The true birth of the FBI traces back to the presidential administration of Theodore Roosevelt, who created the Bureau of Investigation with the help of his attorney general, Charles Joseph Bonaparte. Although it could be said that the Bureau was created to respond to serious federal land fraud, the reality is that the FBI emerged from a political fight,” writes Mr. Oliver. “President Theodore Roosevelt, finding himself in a political row with Congress over the Secret Service, found a political solution to the problem by creating the Bureau of Investigation. So the true origins of the FBI have little to do with crime waves and criminal investigations but rather, are shrouded in the mystery of politics.”

Readers will no doubt note the resemblance between early-20th century political conflicts between the White House, Congress and the press, and today’s political clashes. Having covered the FBI for many years and having interviewed FBI senior leaders as well as street agents, including the legendary undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone — better known as the name he assumed when he infiltrated the Bonanno Cosa Nostra crime family for six years in the late 1970s, Donnie Brasco — I was most interested in reading this well-researched, interesting and enlightening backdrop of the issues and political intrigue that surrounded the creation of the predecessor to the FBI.    

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


Texas Man Convicted Of Conspiracy To Commit Theft Of Trade Secrets

The U. S. Justice Department released the below information:
A Texas man was convicted today by a federal jury in Washington D.C. of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.
Following a nine-day trial, Shan Shi, 54, of Houston, Texas, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.  Shi was originally indicted in June 2017 for conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, and a superseding indictment containing one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering charges issued in April 2018.  Shi was acquitted on the other charges. 
“Shan Shi and his coconspirators went to great lengths to cash in on the Chinese government’s desire to obtain syntactic foam technology,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “As this case demonstrates, the Department of Justice is and will remain on the front lines of defending U.S. companies against the theft of their trade secrets.”
“The jury’s verdict makes clear that Shan Shi conspired to steal trade secrets by poaching employees from a U.S. company and enticing them to bring technical data to his company,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “He did this against the backdrop of China’s strategic plan to close the gap between China and United States in buoyancy technology and with the benefit of millions of dollars of funding from China.  Like our many other prosecutions implicating China’s economic aggression, this case exemplifies both the threat to American companies and our commitment to confront it.”  
“We take very seriously the theft of intellectual property that was developed in the United States through long years of research, development, and innovation,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia.  “Shi chose to steal the secrets of a U.S. company rather than do the hard work necessary to succeed honestly in the free market.  He is now being held accountable for that choice.”
“Shan Shi attempted to obtain sophisticated U.S. technology with both military and civilian uses for the ultimate benefit of China,” said Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.  “It is no secret that China is determined to achieve superiority in virtually all high-tech areas, and the FBI is equally determined to stop individuals who commit illegal acts to help China achieve its goals.  The stakes are high both for U.S. national security and for American companies who invest so much money and time on research and development.”
“FBI Houston’s elite counterintelligence investigators worked for years to dismantle Mr. Shi’s prolific network and bring him to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office.  “Our highly trained agents and intelligence analysts work every day to protect American businesses from unscrupulous foreign adversaries.  We are pleased by today’s verdict, and we will continue to aggressively protect America's economic security and intellectual property from those who would do us harm.”
Evidence introduced at trial established that Shi conspired with others to steal trade secrets from a Houston-based company, Trelleborg Offshore, relating to syntactic foam, a strong, lightweight material with commercial and military uses that is essential for deep-sea oil and gas drilling.  In public statements of its national priorities, China has made clear its desire to develop this technology.  Shi sought to obtain information about syntactic foam for the benefit of CBM-Future New Material Science and Technology Co. Ltd. (CBMF), a Chinese company based in Taizhou, and for the ultimate benefit of the People’s Republic of China.  Four of Shi’s codefendants—some of whom worked at Trelleborg—had pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets, and two testified as cooperating witnesses at trial.  From 2014 to 2017, CBMF sent Shi’s company in Houston approximately $3.1 million from China in order to promote Shi’s activity in the United States. 
Sentencing has been set for Oct. 25, 2019. 
The FBI’s Houston Field Office conducted the investigation.  Senior Counsel Joss Nichols of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Pearlman and Luke Jones for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

FBI: International Conference On Cyber Security - Director Wray Touts FBI Cyber Capabilities, Addresses Current Threats

The FBI released the below information:
FBI Director Christopher Wray is seen through the phone of an audience member at the Fordham University/FBI-sponsored International Conference on Cyber Security in New York City on July 25, 2019.
The FBI is working to address evolving cyber threats facing the country, including foreign influence and foreign investment, FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a cybersecurity conference today.
“These threats strike—and they strike hard—at our security. That means our economic security and our ability to keep our companies safe from theft and intrusion,” Wray said. “It means our national security ... it means our safety as everyday citizens walking the streets and sending our kids to school.”
Wray served as the closing speaker at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York, co-sponsored by the FBI and Fordham University. He was joined by Rev. Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, and FBI New York Special Agent in Charge Aristedes Mahairas.
Wray described the many resources the FBI brings to its cyber mission—from Cyber Action Teams to the 24-hour command post known as CyWatch to the addition of cyber-focused legal attach├ęs in FBI offices around the world.
“Our role isn’t limited to investigations,” Wray explained. We’re using our expertise to warn the public and private sectors about what we’re seeing and to spotlight risks and vulnerabilities.”
Foreign influence is one of today’s most pressing cyber-related threats, and Wray discussed the FBI’s role in mitigating these threats to the 2020 elections. Through its Foreign Influence Task Force, the FBI has foreign influence-related investigations open across the country. The Bureau’s efforts also involve building relationships with the private sector and information sharing.
“But the foreign influence threat isn’t just limited to election season,” Wray said. “We have to remain vigilant all year round. We have to raise public awareness and increase our country’s resilience in a more sustained and enduring way."
Another threat of concern to the U.S. government is foreign investment in American companies, which can sometimes lead to the theft of intellectual property, sensitive data, or proprietary research. He urged U.S. companies to exercise caution in working with companies from adversarial countries because adversaries are willing to buy access to American proprietary information. 
Additionally, Wray called on the public and private sectors to work together to address the growing inability for law enforcement to lawfully access encrypted data of terrorists and criminals, sometimes referred to as “going dark.” This data may be on phones or other devices or transmitted over encrypted apps or platforms.
While the FBI supports strong cybersecurity, Wray said that no place should be completely off-limits to lawful access. He called it a “fundamental public safety issue” that hampers not only the FBI but also state and local law enforcement efforts.
Wray cited the example that nearly two years after the shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the FBI still cannot get into the shooter’s phone. While the gunman is dead and no longer a threat, access to that information could potentially help prevent a future attack. “If we were dealing with a living subject—someone we were still trying to track down, who could be out planning another attack—the situation could be even more dangerous,” said Wray.
This trend is made more complex by the advent of virtual currency, which some criminals use to hide their transactions.
“It cannot be a sustainable end state for us to be creating some kind of unfettered space beyond the reach of lawful access for terrorists, hackers, and child predators to hide,” Wray said. “But that’s the path we’re on now if we don’t somehow come together to find a solution.”

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Little Humor: Blonde's First Horse Ride

A beautiful blonde decides to try horseback riding, even though she has had no lessons or prior experience. 

She mounts the horse unassisted and the horse immediately springs into motion.

It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde begins to slide from the saddle. 

In terror, she grabs for the horse’s mane, but cannot seem to get a firm grip. 

She tries to throw her arms around the horse’s neck, but she slides down the horse’s side anyway. 

The horse gallops along, seemingly impervious to its slipping rider.

Finally, giving up her frail grip, the blonde attempts to leap away from the horse and throw herself to safety. 

Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in the stirrup, she is now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as her head is struck against the ground over and over.

As her head is battered against the ground, she is mere moments away from unconsciousness when to her great fortune Frank, the Walmart greeter, sees her dilemma and unplugs the horse.

18 Arrests At Camp Pendleton: Smugglers Offer Cash To U.S. Marines, Sailors

The Navy Times offers a piece on the arrests of Marines at Camp Pendleton.
SAN DIEGO — On the surface, it seemed like a simple task: Drive to a spot a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, pick up people and then drop them off at a McDonald’s or other spot past the city of San Diego, and make anywhere from $500 to $1,000. No need to cross into Mexico.
Two Marines whose arrests earlier this month for migrant smuggling led to the stunning arrests of fellow Marines at Camp Pendleton described in federal court documents such an offer being made to them. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service on Friday said a total of 19 service members have been arrested at the base, including 18 Marines and a Navy corpsman, who all serve in the same unit.
The military personnel are accused of various crimes from migrant smuggling to drug-related offenses, but officials have not said exactly how they were involved.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Raymond Chandler: The Art Of Beginning A Crime Story

Dwyer Murphy at CrimeReads.com offers a piece on the late, great Raymond Chandler and his masterful opening paragraphs.

There are times in life when you need a good opener. Maybe you’re caught in a rut and need the charge of a new world, new characters, something that carries with it the quiet thrill of possibility. Maybe you’re looking for inspiration yourself. All writers, aspiring and established, have a few special works they return to time and again, those books and stories that seem to act like jumper cables for their own work—read a few paragraphs, a chapter or two, and you’re back on the road. Whatever your reason or need, you’d be hard pressed to find an author equal to Raymond Chandler in jolting a story alive. If Elmore Leonard was the king of the opening line, Chandler made a case for himself as the master of the opening paragraph. Whether he’s describing the weather, the face of a building, a street corner, or the glint in a doorman’s eye, Chandler brought the scene instantly to life and gave you an immediate and overwhelming feeling that you were in a real place, encountering real people caught up in the little dramas and tragedies that define all our lives.
One-hundred and thirty one years ago today, Chandler was born in Chicago, Illinois. In honor of that auspicious entrance and the many more he would pass down to the annals of literature, we’ve collected here (and ranked, because some are first among peers) our ten favorite openers from Chandler’s novels and short stories.
Read them all, get drawn in all over again, and above all, let yourself be inspired.
“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid-October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my power-blu suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.    
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read my Crime Beat column on Raymond Chandler via the below link:
And you can read my Washington Times review of The Annotated Big Sleep via the below link:

Friday, July 26, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged The U.S. Navy'

The Washington Times published my review of Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy.

While serving as a teen-age seaman on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, the ship’s crew and air wing were aware of the dogged presence of our Cold War adversary, the Soviet navy.

The carrier was under constant surveillance by Soviet trawlers that shadowed us at sea and spied on the carrier’s combat operations against their ally, the North Vietnamese. Soviet surface warships, submarines and aircraft also conducted surveillance of the carrier.

I recall vividly when we sailed away from “Yankee Station” in the South China Sea in 1971, a Soviet TU-16 bomber aircraft performed a fly-over the carrier to let us know that via Soviet naval surveillance they knew we had been relieved by another carrier and we were departing the war zone.

Of course, we knew they knew, so the TU-16 was received and escorted in the air by several of Kitty Hawk’s fighter aircraft. It was a surreal moment. As the bomber flew over and took surveillance photos of the carrier, on the deck of the carrier were a couple of thousand sailors and airmen taking photos of the bomber as it flew over the ship. (See the below photo).

The man in charge of the Soviet navy shadowing the Kitty Hawk and other U.S. ships during the Vietnam War was one of America’s greatest adversaries during the Cold War. He is largely unknown by the general public, so authors Norman Polmar, Thomas A. Brooks and George E. Fedoroff provide a valuable service by writing a book that chronicles the life and work of the prominent Soviet admiral.

In “Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy,” readers discover how the Soviet navy rose to become a serious challenge to the U.S Navy and NATO forces during the Cold War, and how one man, Adm. Sergey G. Gorshkov was primarily responsible.

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


Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Little Humor: Replaced By The Inch

A man woke up in the hospital and discovered that he was bandaged from head to foot. 

The doctor came in and said, “Ah, I see you’ve regained consciousness. Now, you probably won’t remember, but you were in a pile up on the freeway. You’re going to be OK, you’ll walk again and everything, but something happened. 

"I’m trying to break this gently, but the fact is, your penis was chopped off in the wreck, and we were unable to find it.”

The man groans, but the doctor went on, “You’ve got $20,000 in insurance compensation coming to you, and we have the technology now to build you a new penis that will work as well as your old one did, better in fact! 

“But the thing is, it doesn’t come cheap. It’s $2,000 an inch.”

The man perks up at this. “So,” the doctor said, “It’s for you to decide how many inches you want, but it’s something you’d better discuss with your wife.”

The man agreed to talk with his wife. 

The doctor came back the next day and asked, “So, have you spoken with your wife?”

“I have,” says the man.

“And has she helped you in making the decision?” asked the doctor.

“She has,” said the man.

“And what is it?” asked the doctor. 

“We’re getting a new kitchen.” 

Note: The above photo is from the Mike Nichols film, Catch 22, which was based on Joseph Heller's classic satiric novel. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Congressman Ratcliffe To Former Special Prosecutor Mueller: President Trump Not Above Law, But He Damn Sure Isn't Below It

No matter what your politics are, or your personal view of President Trump or Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller (seen in the above photo), one thing should be indisputable and easily agreed on – in our system of justice one is innocent until proven guilty. 

It is the prosecutor who must prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while the defendant does not have to prove his innocence at all.   

Which is why the discussion of whether President Trump was exonerated or not exonerated by the Mueller Report makes little legal sense. Especially annoying is the fact that many of the members of Congress debating the exoneration of the president are lawyers.

But, to be honest, discussing President Trump’s non-exoneration is a way of making a political point, rather than a legal one. Today was pure political theater. 

Republican Texas Representative John Ratcliffe (seen in the in the below photo) a former U.S. Attorney and federal terrorism prosecutor, was one the congressmen who questioned Special Prosecutor Mueller today. 

And he schooled Robert Mueller, also a former U.S. Attorney before he became the director of the FBI, on the concept of innocence before proven guilty.

Below is a transcript of the exchange:            

RATCLIFFE: The special counsel did not make what you call a traditional prosecution or declination decision, the report on the bottom of page two of Volume II reads as follows, ‘The evidence we obtained about the president’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’ I read that correctly?


RATCLIFFE: Your report…and today you said “at all times the Special Counsel team operated under, was guided by, and followed Justice Department policies and principles. So, which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is ‘not exonerated’ if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? 

MUELLER: Can you repeat the last part of that question?

RATCLIFFE: Yeah. Which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is ‘not exonerated’ if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? Where does that language come from, director? Where is the DOJ policy that says that? Let me make it easier. Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?

MUELLER: I cannot, but this is a unique situation.

RATCLIFFE: You can’t. Time is short, I’ve got five minutes. Let’s just leave it at you can’t find it, because I will tell you why: It doesn’t exist. In the special counsel’s job nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the special counsel should determine whether to exonerate him. It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the special counsel regulations, it’s not the OLC opinions, it’s not the justice manual or the principles of federal prosecution.

Nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully, respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it. Now director, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that I can’t find, and you said it doesn’t exist anywhere in the department policies and you used it to write a report.

The very first line of your report says, as you read this morning, it authorizes the Special Counsel to provide the Attorney General a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel. That’s the very first words of your report, right?

MUELLER: Correct.

RATCLIFFE: Here’s the problem, Director. The Special Counsel didn’t do that. On Volume I, you did. On Volume II, with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the Special Counsel made neither a prosecution decision nor a declination decision. You made no decision. You told us this morning and, in your report, that you made no determination. So respectfully, Director, you didn’t follow the Special Counsel regulations. It clearly says write a confidential report about decisions reached. Nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions that weren’t reached. 

You wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached. About potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided. And respectfully, respectfully, by doing that you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra-prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren’t charged. So, Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report. 

Volume II of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department and it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra-prosecutorial commentary. I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where Volume II of this report put him.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Little Humor: Standing Before St Peter

A man appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

“Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St. Peter asked.

“Well, I can think of one thing,” the young man replied. “On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. 

"I told them to leave her alone and they wouldn’t. So, I went up to the largest, ugliest and most tattooed biker there and I smacked him in the mouth, kicked over his bike, and ripped out his nose ring. I told them to back or I would kick the shit out of all of them."

St. Peter was suitably impressed, “When did this happen?”

“A few minutes ago.”

On This Day In History The American Crime Writer Raymond Chandler Was Born

On this day in 1888 the late, great crime writer Raymond Chandler was born.

He published his first short story, Blackmails Don't Shoot in 1933 for Black Mask and he published his first great Philip Marlowe novel, The Big Sleep, in 1939.

You can read my Washington Times review of The Annotated Big Sleep via the below link:


And you can read my Crime Beat on Raymond Chandler's influence on crime films and crime novels via the below link:


Former Government Contractor Sentenced To Nine Years In Federal Prison For Willful Retention Of National Defense Information

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

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Harold Thomas Martin, III, age 54, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, to nine years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for willful retention of national defense information.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.
“Harold Martin was entrusted with some of the nation’s most sensitive information,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “Instead of respecting the trust given to him by the American people, Martin violated that trust and put our nation’s security at risk.  This sentence will hold Mr. Martin accountable for his dangerous and unlawful actions.”
“For nearly 20 years, Harold Martin betrayed the trust placed in him by stealing and retaining a vast quantity of highly classified national defense information entrusted to him,” stated U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “This sentence, which is one of the longest ever imposed in this type of case, should serve as a warning that we will find and prosecute government employees and contractors who flagrantly violate their duty to protect classified materials.”
“Whether an individual is a federal contractor or government employee, when given the privilege of holding a security clearance, the American people expect classified information to be protected,” said Assistant Director Brown.  “That is essential to protecting our national security.  In this case, Harold Martin was a serial offender in retaining national defense information for more than two decades.  Today’s sentencing should signal that the FBI takes these violations extremely seriously and will vigorously investigate cases when people improperly handle classified information.”
“Harold Martin took an oath to preserve and protect the nation's secrets, and violated that oath repeatedly over many years, causing damage with his unlawful mishandling of classified information,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone, FBI Baltimore Field Office.  “Martin’s actions harmed Intelligence Community sources and methods.  The vitality and integrity of the Intelligence Community requires the strictest adherence to the law for handling classified information.  The FBI will be tireless in investigating cases like the Martin case.”
According to his plea agreement, from December 1993 through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin was employed by at least seven different private companies and assigned as a contractor to work at a number of government agencies.  Martin was required to receive and maintain a security clearance in order to work at each of the government agencies to which he was assigned.  Martin held security clearances up to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) at various times.  A Top Secret classification means that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.  An SCI designation compartmentalizes extremely sensitive information.  Because of his work responsibilities and security clearance, Martin was able to access government computer systems, programs, and information in secure locations, including classified national defense information.  Over his many years of holding a security clearance, Martin received training regarding classified information and his duty to protect classified materials from unauthorized disclosure.
Martin admitted that beginning in the late 1990s and continuing through Aug. 31, 2016, he stole and retained U.S. government property from secure locations and computer systems, including documents in both hard copy and digital form relating to the national defense, that bore markings indicating that they were the property of the United States and contained highly classified information of the United States, including Top Secret/SCI information. 
As detailed in his plea agreement, Martin retained the stolen documents and other classified information at his residence and in his vehicle.  Martin knew that the hard copy and digital documents stolen from his workplace contained classified information that related to the national defense and that he was never authorized to retain these documents at his residence or in his vehicle.  Martin admitted that he also knew that the unauthorized removal of these materials risked their disclosure, which would be damaging to the national security of the United States and highly useful to its adversaries.
In court documents and at today’s sentencing hearing, the government noted that crimes such as Martin’s not only create a risk of unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, highly classified information, but often require the government to treat the stolen material as compromised, resulting in the government having to take remedial actions including changing or abandoning national security programs.  In addition, Martin’s criminal conduct caused the government to expend substantial investigative and analytical resources.  The diversion of those resources resulted in significant costs.  
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked the National Security Agency for its assistance.  Mr. Hur and Mr. Demers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and Harvey E. Eisenberg, and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, who prosecuted the case.

Monday, July 22, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'American Predator: The Hunt For The Most Meticulous Serial Killer Of The 21st Century'

The Washington Times published my review of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century.

Serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are mostly well known to the general public, but one serial killer, Israel Keyes, an organized and well-traveled predator, is likely not as well known.

Maureen Callahan’s book, “American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century,” may change that.

“The rarest form of murder is serial. Despite what we see on “CSI” or “Mindhunters” or the films and procedurals that dominate popular culture, people who kill randomly and for no reason are extremely uncommon. Its why they loom so large in our collective mindscape,” Ms. Callahan writes in the preface of her book. “It’s also why many of us think we know of every such American killer. But the subject of this book was unlike anything the FBI had ever encountered. He was a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest string of unsolved disappearances and murders in modern American history.

“And you have probably never heard of him.”

A big, strong man, Israel Keyes killed at random as he traveled across the country, even to Alaska. He buried his “kill kits,” which included cash, guns, and body-disposal tools, at various locations in the states that he passed through and/or lived. He had no particular M.O., and he covered his tracks well. He killed at least 11 people, but no one knows the exact number of his victims.

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


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ernest Hemingway On Life And Being A Writer

On the anniversary of the late, great writer Ernest Hemingway’s birthday, below are some of his most famous thoughts on life and being a writer:

In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway has his character Santiago say, “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” 

The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.

Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don't cheat with it.

Ernest Hemingway defined the word "courage" as "grace under pressure". When describing someone he considered to be a hero, Hemingway wrote that his hero is: "... a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful."

You can read my previous post on Hemingway via the below link:


On This Day In History American Writer Ernest Hemingway Was Born

On this day in 1899 the late, great writer Ernest Hemingway was born.

As I noted in my Washington Times review of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, I've been a Hemingway aficionado since I was a teenager in the 1960s.

… This collection, edited by Hemingway’s grandson, Sean Hemingway, with a foreword by Hemingway’s son Patrick, is the fourth in a series of annotated editions of his work. The book offers some of his best known stories, such as “The Killers,” “Fifty Grand,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” (three of my favorites), as well as a few unpublished stories and his early drafts and notes.

“Ernest Hemingway is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His writing, with its powerful, understated prose and economy of words, has influenced countless writers,” Sean Hemingway writes in his introduction to the collection. “More than any other writer of his time, Hemingway changed the course of literature and furthered the written expression of the human condition. His novels, such as ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ have entered into the canon of world literature, but it is arguably his contributions to the art of the short story that are his greatest literary achievement.”

You can read my Washington Times review of Hemingway’s short stories via the below link:


You can also read my Washington Times review of Hemingway at War via the below link:


And you can read my Crime Beat column, Hemingway On Crime, via the below link:


A Little Humor: Fun In Hell

A big, tough outlaw biker died and found himself in Hell. 

As he is wallowing in despair, he has his first meeting with the Devil.

Devil: “Why so glum?”

Biker : “What do you think? I’m in Hell!”

Devil: “Hell’s not so bad. We actually have a lot of fun down here. You a drinking man?”

Biker : “Sure, I love to drink.”

Devil: “Well, you’re gonna love Mondays then. On Mondays, that’s all we do is drink. Bombay Sapphire, tequila, Guinness, red wine, single malt scotch. We drink ’til we throw up and then we drink some more! And you don’t have to worry about getting a hangover, because you’re dead anyway.”

Biker : “Gee that sounds great!”

Devil: “You a smoker?”

Biker : “You better believe it.”

Devil: “All right! You’re gonna love Tuesdays. We get the finest cigars from all over the world, and we smoke our lungs out. If you get cancer, no biggie, you’re already dead, remember?”

Biker : “Wow…that’s awesome!”

Devil: “I bet you like to gamble.”

Biker : “Yeah, I do.”

Devil: “Good,’ cause Wednesdays you can gamble all you want. Craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, slots, whatever. If you go bankrupt, it doesn’t matter, you’re dead anyhow.”

Biker : “Cool!”

Devil: “What about Drugs?”

Biker : “Are you kidding? I love drugs!"

Devil: “Thursday is drug day. Help yourself to a great big bowl of crack or smack. Smoke a doobie the size of a submarine. You can do all the drugs you want. You’re dead so who cares.”

Biker : “Wow! I never realized Hell was such a cool place!”

Devil: “Are you gay? Do you like men?"

Biker : “Hell, no……”

Satan: “Ooooh, then Fridays are gonna be tough……”

Note: The above photo is of Jon Lovitz as the Devil appearing on People’s Court on an episode of Saturday Night Live.

'N.Y.P.D': A Look Back At A 1960s Gritty, Realistic Cop TV Series

I recently came across a video on youtube.com of N.Y.P.D., a gritty, realistic TV cop show that aired from 1967 to 1969.

I recall that I enjoyed the show when I was a teenager, and after watching three episodes, the show appears to have held up.

Jack Warden, Robert Hooks and Frank Converse (all seen in the below photo) were the stars of the show, and many young actors, such as Al Pacino, guest starred on the program and later went on to become major film stars.

The three detectives worked murders and other crimes and the show filmed at actual New York locations. Many of the shows were based on actual crime cases.

You can watch three of the show's episodes via the below links:




Saturday, July 20, 2019

'One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind': On This Day In History Neil Armstrong Walked On The Moon

As History.com notes, on this day in 1969 American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

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


Project Sindacato: Following Dirty Money Leads Police To Alleged Mafia Clan North Of Toronto Living Life Of Luxury

Andrian Humphreys offers a piece on the takedown of an Figliomento organed crime family in Toronto at the Canadian newspaper the National Post.

VAUGHAN, ONT. — Mobsters started fretting at precisely 9 p.m. on Friday  when police crashed into several gambling dens north of Toronto, seizing equipment, paperwork, money. Word then spread among better-connected gangsters that homes of Mafia members were also being raided, their friends led away in handcuffs.

And, then, the big news: one of those arrested was the alleged boss of a powerful Mafia organization with international ties.

If mobsters thought this was just another periodic gambling crackdown, which they apparently did, the news kept getting worse.

Over the weekend and into this week, raids and search warrants kept coming: real estate offices, accountants firms, a bookkeeper, a loan company, a former banker, construction companies and other businesses were all raided by police.

Even on Thursday, 400 to 500 bank accounts were frozen.

It didn’t feel like business as usual, an underworld source said. It got worse “day after f—in day.”

York Regional Police revealed the mystery behind the commotion Thursday — it was the endgame of a remarkable investigation attacking a powerful Mafia clan allegedly operating for decades, more or less with impunity, in the Toronto area and beyond.

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