Both violent crime and property crime fell in
2018 from the previous year, according to the FBI’s annual crime statistics
Violent crime declined 3.3
percent between 2017 and 2018. Property crime decreased 6.3 percent during the
same time period, according to Crime in the
United States, 2018, the annual crime statistics report produced by the
FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
The crime data was voluntarily
reported to the FBI by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.
In 2018, there were about 1.2
million violent crimes, according to the report. Nearly every category of
violent crime decreased between 2017 and 2018, with the exception of rape
offenses, which increased 2.7 percent.
In the property crime category,
there were nearly 7.2 million offenses reported in 2018. Burglaries,
larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts all declined in 2018 compared to 2017
Jake Hurfurt offers a piece at the Daily Mail on the former head of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known
as MI6, who said that SIS intelligence officers are not fans of spy novelist
John le Carre. Le Carre was a British intelligence officer for three years.
Spooks are not fans of Tinker
Tailor Soldier Spy author John le Carré because his novels portray them as
untrustworthy, according to the former head of MI6.
Sir Richard Dearlove (seen in the below photo), 74,
said Mr le Carré's espionage thrillers portrayed Britain's intelligence services
in a negative light.
Mr le Carré, 87, worked for
both MI5 and MI6 in the 1950s and 1960s before leaving and becoming an author.
The writer was 'obsessed'
with his time as a spy, said Sir Richard.
Spooks are not fans of Tinker
Tailor Soldier Spy author John le Carré (right) because his novels portray them
as untrustworthy, according to the former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove.
Speaking at the Cliveden
Literary Festival, the former spymaster said: 'We've all enjoyed enormously
reading the Smiley books... and he does capture some of the essence of what it
was like in the Cold War.
'However, he is so corrosive
in his view of MI6 that most professional SIS (Secret Intelligence Service)
officers are pretty angry with him.'
Trust between co-workers is
at the heart of Britain's intelligence agencies but Mr le Carré's books are
'exclusively about betrayal', said Sir Richard.
The Washington Times
published my review of The Outlaw Ocean.
“Life on the ocean has long
been romanticized as the ultimate expression of freedom — an escape from
landlocked life, a chance to explore, to reinvent,” Ian Urbina
writes in “The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier.”
Adventurous and romantic
tales of going to sea have been told by sailors for centuries, and there are
many novels and films that dramatize the excitement and wonder of sailing the
seas. And like so many sailors before me, those notions made me enlist in the
U.S. Navy when I was just 17 years old.
Unlike the mostly good
experiences I encountered at sea, many modern-day sailors suffer the hardships
of hunger, disease and brutality while working on fishing boats and other craft
around the world. Some are virtual prisoners on boats and ships, and some have
been murdered.Ian Urbina,
an investigative reporter for The New York Times, offers a collection of
fascinating and often lamentable stories that chronicle how life on the vast
oceans of the world is largely ungoverned.
offers stories of traffickers, smugglers, pirates and other criminals who take
to the sea and ply their criminal trades often beyond the reach of
international and national laws.
Often placing himself often
in harm’s way, Mr. Urbina
for five years gained access to many ships and boats that operated way out to
sea off foreign shores. He also embedded with the U.S. Coast Guard.
The U.S. Justice
Department released the below information:
PHILADELPHIA – United
States Attorney William M. McSwain joined fellow Justice Department officials
today at a press conference to announce a coordinated health care fraud
enforcement action across seven federal districts involving more than $800
million in loss and the distribution of over 3.25 million opioid pills in “pill
mill” clinics. The takedown includes new charges against 48 defendants for
their roles in submitting over $160 million in fraudulent claims. Of those 48
defendants, 15 are doctors or medical professionals, and at least 24 defendants
were charged for their roles in diverting opioids. In the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania, 17 defendants (five of whom are doctors or medical professionals)
were arrested, and the conduct involved submission of more than $4 million in
fraudulent claims and distribution of approximately 738,000 oxycodone pills to
the streets of this District.
comes one year after the Department of Justice announced the formation of the
Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint law
enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the
Health Care Fraud Unit in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and the U.S.
Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of
New Jersey. The Strike Force focuses its efforts on aggressively investigating
and prosecuting complex cases involving patient harm, large financial loss, and
the illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other dangerous
“As today’s takedown
demonstrates, this Strike Force has produced precisely what we hoped it would –
and by that I mean tangible results,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “We have
brought together a wealth of resources, knowledge, and subject-matter expertise
– that of health care fraud prosecutors, civil enforcement attorneys, data
analysts, and law enforcement agencies – all working to stop fraud, waste, and
abuse within our federal health care programs and to stem the tide of illegal
opioid distribution. These are top priorities of the Department of Justice and
of my Office, and our focus in this area continues to pay off.”
At the press
conference, U.S. Attorney McSwain announced details about the following cases
charged in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
Timothy F. Shawl,
M.D., 60, of Garnet Valley, PA, a medical doctor, was charged with five counts
of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. He allegedly wrote
prescriptions for controlled substances that were outside the usual course of
professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. As alleged in
the indictment, Shawl wrote prescriptions for controlled substances for
patients without seeing, treating, or examining them. Shawl allegedly
prescribed hundreds of prescriptions for oxycodone to approximately 16
patients, amounting to over 29,000 oxycodone tablets. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation. The case is being prosecuted
by Trial Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz of the DOJ Fraud Section.
The second case
involves defendants Neil K. Anand, M.D., 42, of Bensalem, PA, and Asif Kundi,
31, Atif Mahmood Malik, 34, and Viktoriya Makarova, 33, all of Philadelphia,
PA. Anand, a medical doctor, Kundi and Malik, unlicensed foreign medical school
graduates, and Makarova, a nurse practitioner, were each indicted on one count
of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled
substances. The charges stem from the defendants’ alleged submission of false
and fraudulent claims to Medicare, health plans provided by the United States
Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Independence Blue Cross (IBC). The
claims allegedly were for “Goody Bags,” which were stuffed with medically
unnecessary prescription medications that were dispensed by non-pharmacy
dispensing sites owned by Anand. In total, Medicare, OPM, and IBC allegedly
paid over $4 million for the Goody Bags. Patients were allegedly required to
take the Goody Bags in order to receive prescriptions for controlled
According to the
indictment, Malik and Kundi wrote prescriptions for controlled substances using
blank prescriptions that were pre-signed by Anand or Makarova. Anand and
Makarova provided over 10,000 prescriptions for Schedule II controlled
substances, of which over 7,000 were for oxycodone, for a staggering total of
over 634,000 oxycodone tablets distributed from this scheme. The investigation
was conducted by the following agencies: FBI, Department of Health and Human
Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), United States Postal Service
– Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG), the Office of Personnel Management,
the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and the Philadelphia Police
Department. The case is being prosecuted by DOJ Trial Attorney Jaroslawicz.
indictments were unsealed yesterday involving charges against 12 people for
allegedly possessing oxycodone with intent to distribute. The indictments
charge that, from September 2016 through June 2019, the 12 defendants all
presented forged prescriptions for oxycodone to various pharmacies outside of
Philadelphia, in order to obtain oxycodone to distribute to others. The
defendants, all from Philadelphia, allegedly drove to Pennsylvania pharmacies
in Marcus Hook, Drexel Hill, and Kennett Square, and a New Jersey pharmacy in
Mount Laurel, to fill these forged prescriptions. The defendants are charged
with at least two, and up to 32, counts of possession with intent to distribute
oxycodone. The defendants are charged with having received anywhere from 6,300
milligrams to 135,000 milligrams of oxycodone, which is approximately 75,000
Charged were: Lamar
Dillard, 37; Jermaine Grant, 29; Katrina Tucker, 32; Maurice Bertrand, 31;
Courtney Brockenborough, 34; Alan Alexander Harrison, 29; Abdullah Howard, 23;
Jonathan Metellus, 32; Clinton Monte Bullock, 29; Crystal Coleman, 31; Marques
Russell, 35; and Joseph Michael Simmons. One defendant, Metellus, is also
charged with one count of health care fraud, for allegedly using his Medicaid
card to purchase prescription drugs with a forged prescription. These cases
were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, HHS-OIG, the
Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigations,
the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, and the Easttown Township Police
Department. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David E.
Troyer, Elizabeth Abrams, Joan Burnes, and Mary Kay Costello, all of the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
actions were led and coordinated by the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal
Division’s Fraud Section, in conjunction with its Medicare Fraud Strike Force,
as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania, District of New Jersey, Western District of Pennsylvania, Eastern
District of New York, Western District of New York, District of Connecticut,
and District of Columbia.
“Physicians and other
medical professionals who fraudulently bill our federal health care programs are
stealing from taxpayers and robbing vulnerable patients of necessary medical
care. The medical professionals and others engaging in criminal behavior by
peddling opioids for profit continue to fuel our nation’s drug crisis,” said
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s
Criminal Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool
at our disposal, including data analytics and traditional law enforcement
techniques, to investigate, prosecute, and punish this reprehensible behavior
and protect federal programs from abuse.”
confirm the FBI's commitment to hunting down doctors and other healthcare
professionals who act like drug dealers. The opioid crisis is devastating
families here in Philadelphia and across the country. The FBI and its law
enforcement partners will continue to focus on corrupt physicians and others
driving the epidemic,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the
Philadelphia Division of the FBI.
enforcement actions show we are holding alleged bad actors accountable and
working to prevent further harm to beneficiaries and taxpayers,” said Maureen
R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge, Philadelphia Regional Office of the
Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “HHS-OIG will
continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to combat
health care fraud and drug diversion in the Philadelphia Region.”
“The DEA’s Diversion
Investigators and Tactical Diversion Squads are missioned with the
identification, investigation, and arrest of rogue DEA Registrants and drug
trafficking organizations involved in the illegal distribution of controlled
substances such as oxycodone and other prescription painkillers,” said Jonathan
A. Wilson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Philadelphia Field Division.
“Working with our partner agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the DEA will continue to pursue federal criminal cases and
parallel civil proceedings against the registrants and organizations that seek
to divert these powerful painkillers that have contributed to the opioid
U.S. Postal Service
Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely, Eastern
Area Field Office, stated: “The Postal Service spends billions of dollars per
year on health care related costs for postal employees, the majority of which
is for legitimate purposes. However, a few medical providers try to take
advantage of the system. USPS – OIG special agents will vigorously investigate
health care fraud allegations that touch the Postal Service and will work with
our law enforcement partners to bring fraudsters to justice.”
“The opioid, heroin,
and fentanyl epidemic is devastating Pennsylvania communities, and it is fueled
in part by prescription drug abuse,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh
Shapiro. “The defendants had a responsibility to help their patients, but
instead they are charged with giving them dangerous opioids that they did not
need. They also allegedly committed millions of dollars in insurance fraud,
which causes rates for all consumers to increase. I’m proud to work with our
law enforcement partners to put a stop to this criminal enterprise and protect
the people of Pennsylvania.”
information or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are
presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of
Jim Garamone at the Defense
Department offers the below piece on Defense Secretary Esper (seen in the above photo)
speaking about cybersecurity:
Cyberspace is a warfighting domain, and the
U.S. military must take an active role in defending the country and its allies
from threats in that realm, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said.
Speaking at the Department of
Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's second
annual Cybersecurity Summit near Washington, Esper said the National Defense
Strategy sets the tone for the military's aggressive stance in the cyberworld.
Cyber is the domain of choice
for states and groups that wish to attack the United States, its interests and
its allies. ''Strategic competitors such as Russia and China are asserting
their military power and challenging the rules-based international
order,'' he said.
Esper said the U.S. military
has been waging war on land and sea for more than 200 years and in the air for
100 years, and that it remains dominant in those domains. But only in the past
decade have officials been figuring out what fighting in cyberspace entails, he
Just as we do on land, at
sea, and in the air, we must posture our forces in cyberspace where we can most
effectively accomplish our mission.''
The world is quickly becoming
dependent on the capabilities that run through the cyber domain, from
navigation to targeting to reconnaissance, the secretary noted.
''While we are having success
deterring conventional aggression against the United States, our adversaries
are increasingly resorting to malign activity in less traditional areas to
undermine our security,'' he said. ''There is perhaps no area where this
is more true than in the cyber domain.''
Cyber has been part and
parcel of what many call hybrid war – a blurring of the lines between peace and
war, Esper said. ''For nation-states such as China, Russia, North Korea and
Iran, engaging America and our allies below the threshold of armed conflict is
a logical choice.''
Cyber allows adversaries to
take on the United States and impose costs without confronting its traditional
strengths, Esper said.
Tracking down the
perpetrators of a cyberattack is difficult, and attributing them is sometimes
impossible, the secretary said, and opponents may conduct campaigns to steal
sensitive DOD information in an effort to undermine military advantages.
''When successful, this
coordinated, malicious cyber activity puts us at risk by eroding our
capabilities and disrupting our ability to operate once conflict
ensues,'' he said.
DOD must respond to these
challenges and is hardening networks and systems to continue to execute
missions even while under cyberattack.
''Training to operate in a
degraded environment is now regularly built into our exercises, and our service
members are quickly becoming aware of our cyber vulnerabilities,'' the
But winning in cyberspace
requires an offensive strategy, Esper told the summit audience. ''We need to do
more than just play goal line defense,'' he said. ''As such, the
department's 2018 Cyber Strategy articulates a proactive and assertive approach
to defend forward of our own virtual boundaries.
''Just as we do on land, at sea,
and in the air, we must posture our forces in cyberspace where we can most
effectively accomplish our mission,'' he continued. ''Defending forward
allows us to disrupt threats at the initial source before they reach our
networks and systems. To do this, we must be in a position to continuously
compete with the ongoing campaigns being waged against the United States. Not
only does this protect us day-to-day, but enacting this strategy builds the
readiness of our cyber warriors so they have the tools, skills and experience
needed to succeed in conflict.''
The department is also
working with other U.S. agencies to protect American prosperity and democratic
institutions as foreign governments conduct operations aimed at 'influencing
the American public at a scope and scale never before imagined,' Esper
''The Department of Defense
has an important role in defending the American people from this
misinformation,'' he said, ''particularly as it pertains to preserving the
integrity of our democratic elections.''
DOD demonstrated that
capability during last year's midterm elections, the secretary said, with U.S.
Cyber Command and the National Security Agency forming an interagency group
that shared information, expertise and resources to protect the elections from
''We also expanded our
cooperation to the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and were
prepared to provide direct support, if necessary,'' he said.
DOD also developed
capabilities and increased military capacity to detect, locate and exploit
threats in the cyber domain with the same focus and energy as in the physical
Finally, DOD had the
authorities needed to more fully employ cyber capabilities in an offensive
manner, Esper said. ''This policy reflects a shared understanding across the
government of the need to maximize the effectiveness of the department’s cyber
warriors,'' he added.
The department will take the
lessons learned from the 2018 experiences and apply them moving into 2020. ''I
consider election security an enduring mission for the Department of
Defense,'' the secretary said.
DOD officials for years have
spoken of using a network to defeat a network, and the U.S. military is
reaching out to allies and partners around the world to take on the challenge
''Our ability to share
information and operate on common communications networks serves as a force
multiplier – but, it also comes with increased risk,'' he said. ''To guard
against this, we must help our allies develop their own cyber resiliency.''
China is the greatest threat,
Esper said, and the Chinese government is ''perpetrating the greatest
intellectual property theft in human history.'' Chinese businesses are in
thrall to the government, and any nation that partners with Chinese firms to
build 5G networks put their own networks at risk.
''This not only jeopardizes
military interoperability and intelligence sharing, but can also compromise
commercial institutions such as banks, hospitals and media
outlets,'' Esper said. ''This is why it is so important that we work
together from the very start to preserve the integrity of our cyber networks.''
The U.S. Justice
Department released the below information:
A former Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, who pleaded guilty in March to attempting to
communicate, deliver, or transmit information involving the national defense of
the United States to the People’s Republic of China, will serve 10 years in federal
prison. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson imposed the sentence Tuesday
afternoon in Salt Lake City.
Ron Rockwell Hansen,
60, of Syracuse, Utah, was arrested June 2, 2018, on his way to the
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington, as he was
preparing to board a flight to China while in possession of SECRET military
“One of three ex-US
intelligence officers recently convicted of acting on behalf of the People’s
Republic of China, Ron Rockwell Hansen received hundreds of thousands of
dollars for betraying his country and former colleagues,” said Assistant
Attorney General of National Security John C. Demers. “These cases show
the breadth of the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and the threat they
pose to our national security. Our intelligence professionals swear an
oath to protect our country’s most closely held secrets and the National
Security Division will continue to relentlessly pursue justice against those
who violate this oath.”
government continues to attempt to identify and recruit current and former
members of the United States intelligence community. This is a very
troubling trend. These individuals must remain vigilant and immediately report
any suspicious activity. The Hansen case is an example of what will happen
to those who violate the public’s trust and risk our national security by
disclosing classified information,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the
District of Utah.
“Ron Hansen was
willing to betray his oath and his country for financial gain,” said Special
Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office.
"This case brings to light that not all spies are foreign
adversaries. Insider threats pose a significant national security risk,
and the FBI will continue to aggressively investigate those who put our country
and citizens at risk.”
Hansen retired from
the U.S. Army as a Warrant Officer with a background in signals intelligence
and human intelligence. He speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian,
according to court documents. Upon retiring from active duty, DIA hired Hansen
as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006. Hansen held a Top Secret
clearance for many years, and signed several non-disclosure agreements during
his tenure at DIA and as a government contractor.
As Hansen admitted in
the plea agreement, in early 2014, agents of a Chinese intelligence service
targeted him for recruitment, and he began meeting with them regularly in
China. During these meetings, the agents described to Hansen the type of
information that would interest Chinese intelligence. Hansen stipulated
that during the course of his relationship with Chinese intelligence, he
received hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for information he
Between May 24, 2016,
and June 2, 2018, Hansen admitted he solicited national security information
from an intelligence case officer working for the DIA. Hansen admitted
knowing that the Chinese intelligence services would find the information
valuable, and he agreed to act as a conduit to sell that information to the
Chinese. He advised the DIA case officer how to record and transmit
classified information without detection, and how to hide and launder any funds
received as payment for classified information. He admitted he now
understands that the DIA case officer reported his conduct to the DIA and
subsequently acted as a confidential human source for the FBI.
meeting with the DIA case officer on June 2, 2018, and receiving individual
documents containing national defense information that he had previously
solicited. The documents he received were classified. The documents
included national security information related to U.S. military readiness in a
particular region -- information closely held by the federal government. Hansen
did not possess a security clearance nor did he possess a need to know the
information contained in the materials.
As a part of his plea
agreement, Hansen admitted he reviewed the documents, queried the case officer
about their contents, and took written notes which contained information
determined to be classified. He advised the DIA case officer that he
would remember most of the details about the documents he received that day and
would conceal notes about the material in the text of an electronic document he
would prepare at the airport before leaving for China. He admitted he
intended to provide the information he received to the agents of the Chinese
Intelligence Service with whom he had been meeting. He also admitted
knowing that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States
and to the advantage of a foreign nation.
As a part of the plea
agreement, Hansen has agreed to forfeit property acquired from or traceable to
his offense, including property used to facilitate the crime.
The case was handled
by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Lund, Karin Fojtik, Mark K. Vincent and
Alicia Cook of the District of Utah, and Trial Attorneys Patrick T. Murphy,
Matthew J. McKenzie and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s
Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. Prosecutors from the U.S.
Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington assisted with this
The prosecution is the
result of an investigation by special agents of the FBI, IRS-Criminal
Investigation, U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Defense,
U.S. Army Counterintelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The Washington Times
published my piece on a suspected terrorist spy who was scouting targets in New
The Department of Justice
announced on Sept. 19 that Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown,
New Jersey, aka Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab and Rachid, was
charged in a nine-count indictment for offenses related to his surveillance of
possible targets for Hezbollah.
“According to the
allegations, while living in the United States, Saab served as an
operative of Hezballah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations
in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential
future attacks against the United States,” Assistant Attorney General for
National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “Such covert activities
conducted on U.S. soil are a clear threat to our national security and I
applaud the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this
investigation and prosecution.”
This indictment is the latest
case of a terrorist spy performing reconnaissance of American bridges, power
plants, shopping malls, military bases and other potential future targets.
An old al Qaeda manual
discovered by the Manchester Police in the United Kingdom back in 2000 revealed
the terrorist groups’ guidance to terrorists, as well as to terrorist spies.
The 180-page training manual’s 11th and 12th chapters dealt with espionage.
“The spy is called an eye
because his work is through his eyes or because of his excessive preoccupation
with observation, as if all his being is an eye,” the manual noted.
As a terrorist “Eye,” Saab surveilled dozens of
locations in New York City, including the United Nations headquarters, the
Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square and the Empire State
Building. According to the indictment, he provided detailed information and
photographs on these locations to the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), a
component of Hezbollah
responsible for the planning and coordination of intelligence,
counterintelligence, and terrorist activities on behalf of Hezbollah
outside of Lebanon.
Cronk at the Department of Defense offers the below piece:
It is not an exaggeration to
say China is the greatest long-term threat to the U.S. way of life, but China
also poses the greatest challenge to the Defense Department, DOD's policy chief
John C. Rood (seen in the
below photo), undersecretary of defense for policy, made the assertion during a
panel discussion today at the Center for European Policy Analysis Forum in
"The National Defense
Strategy very clearly lays out a blueprint for America's role in the world and
how we see it," the undersecretary said. "It starts with recognition
that in this highly complex, dynamic security environment, the great power
competition has returned," he said.
In the last 10 years, the
United States has witnessed a 750% growth in China’s defense spending, Undersecretary
of Defense for Policy John C. Rood said during a panel discussion at the Center
for European Policy Analysis Forum in Washington, Sept. 23, 2019.
The United States doesn't
seek a confrontational approach, nor is it destined to be adversaries with
China, Rood noted. "We want to trade. We
want to have interactions. But on the other hand, we want to protect our
intellectual property," he said. "We want to protect the rules-based
international order that we've both worked so hard to create since World War
II. And we want respect for the sovereignty of others. We want respect for the
role of individual in society."
We have to be serious about
protecting this international rules-based order ..."
Rood said it's important to
recognize the scale of China's ambitions. China wants not only to become the
world's largest and most influential economy, but also to be the world's
largest and most influential nation in all spheres of life.
The undersecretary talked
about China's ambitions to have a world-class military.
"[But] it's the way in
which China is challenging this international rules-based order, challenging
the individual freedoms that we support, challenging the free movement of
ideas, and people, trade," Rood said. "And promoting an authoritarian
model, one that doesn't respect the sovereignty of others, [is] what challenges
our way of life."
If it were simply an economic
competition, Rood said, America rather likes competition. "And so I
wouldn't fear that at all," he added.
The U.S. innovation model
would beat China's innovation model 10 times out of 10 times, Rood told the
panel. "I really have tremendous confidence in it, he said, "and
the best proof I can give you that China's leaders recognize that is that they
are determined to steal from it."
The Chinese know they can't
win a head-to-head competition, the undersecretary said; they know they can’t
compete with that kind of entrepreneurship and innovation, so the state has to
exercise that level of control.
"You're starting to see
China develop overseas military bases, overseas intelligence collection
locations, and this is one of the areas in which to challenge
sovereignty," Rood said. In the last 10 years, the United States has
witnessed a 750% growth in China's defense spending, he noted.
"We have to be serious
about protecting this international rules-based order, protecting free trade,
protecting the free movement of ideas and the role of individual
society," Rood said.
The Washington Times
published my review of Bill Gertz’s Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s
Drive for Global Supremacy.
Back in 1971, when I was a
teenage sailor serving on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam
War, I recall when a Communist Chinese minesweeper came dangerously close to
the carrier as we sailed from “Yankee Station” off the coast of North Vietnam
to the Philippines.
The Chinese warship was
adorned with oversized white propaganda banners in Chinese, so most of the
American sailors couldn’t read them, but our captain had an intelligence
officer translate the banners. The captain announced over the ship’s public
address system that the banners read, “Down with U.S. Imperialism,” “Down with
Nixon” and “Down with U.S. Navy war criminals.”
The captain informed us that
he had sent the Chinese a message in response to the banners, “Since you are so
down with everything, up yours!”
The Chinese made no secret
that America was their avowed enemy in 1971, and according to Bill Gertz’s
“Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global
Supremacy,” we remain their avowed enemy today.
Mr. Gertz, a Washington Times
national security columnist and author of several books on intelligence, the
military and national security threats, offers a sobering look at the growing
threat from Communist China
and its ambition to replace the United States as the world’s No. 1 military and
economic power in the world.
In “Deceiving the Sky,” a
follow-up to Mr. Gertz’s “The China Threat: How the People’s Republic Targets
America,” which was published in 2000, Mr. Gertz notes that for more than 20
years, a willful blindness had descended over both Democratic and Republican
administrations that operated on a false assumption: They believed that by
simply conducting business with China, the Communist
Chinese would eventually evolve into a free market and democratic system.
“Today, however, the failure
of that decades-long policy has resulted in an expansive hard-line Communist
regime headed by a supreme leader with unchecked powers matching those of Mao —
General Secretary Xi Jinping,” Mr. Gertz writes. “The new leader who took power
in 2012 has ruled with an iron fist and made Communist ideology the centerpiece
of a Chinese drive for world domination, not just China.”
How that failure came about
is the subject of “Deceiving the Sky.”
As a U.S. Navy veteran, I
recall being angry over the murder of Robert Stethem, a 23-year-old Navy diver,
who was beaten and shot during the hijacking of a TWA airliner in 1985.
I was later told by a naval
intelligence officer that the terrorists murdered Robert Stethem because they
believed that he was a Navy SEAL. But he was in fact a construction diver, and not a
So I was glad to read that a
suspect in the hijacking was finally arrested after all this time.
The Washington Times
published my piece on the return of the federal death penalty.
What kind of man rapes and
murders a 16-year-old girl and then dismembers, burns and disposes of her body
in a septic pond?
The kind of man, in my view,
who ought to be executed.
Thankfully, President Trump
and his attorney general agree.
On July 25, 2019, Attorney
General William M. Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a
proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol, which clears the way for
the federal government to resume capital punishment after nearly two decades.
The order will deliver final justice to the victims of the most horrific crimes
and their families.
According to a Justice
Department statement, “the Attorney General also directed the Acting Director
of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row
inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the
most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly.
“Congress has expressly
authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s
representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” noted
Mr. Barr in the statement. “Under Administrations of both parties, the Department
of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including
these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a
full and fair proceeding. The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and
we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence
imposed by our justice system.”
I learned of an online conservative satire magazine in today's Washington Times.
The Babylon Bee, the right's answer to the Onion, offers a funny take on the comedian that Saturday Night Live hired and then fired for telling offensive jokes (which SNL, when it was funny years ago, used to do every week).
The United States Justice
Department released the below information:
The United States
today filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) and contractor for the National Security Agency
(NSA), who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of
the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA.
The lawsuit alleges
that Snowden published his book without submitting it to the agencies for
pre-publication review, in violation of his express obligations under the
agreements he signed. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Snowden has given
public speeches on intelligence-related matters, also in violation of his
The United States’
lawsuit does not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent
Record. Rather, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, Snepp v.
United States, the government seeks to recover all proceeds earned by
Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication
review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations.
The lawsuit also names
as nominal defendants the corporate entities involved in publishing Snowden’s
book. The United States is suing the publisher solely to ensure that no funds
are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction, while the court resolves the
United States’ claims. Snowden is currently living outside of the United
“Edward Snowden has
violated an obligation he undertook to the United States when he signed
agreements as part of his employment by the CIA and as an NSA contractor,” said
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil
Division. “The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security
information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure
agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations. This lawsuit
demonstrates that the Department of Justice does not tolerate these breaches of
the public’s trust. We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves,
at the expense of the United States, without complying with their
pre-publication review obligations.”
information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” said G.
Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This
lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from
breaching the trust placed in him.”
This lawsuit is
separate from the criminal charges brought against Snowden for his alleged
disclosures of classified information. This lawsuit is a civil action, and
based solely on Snowden’s failure to comply with the clear pre-publication
review obligations included in his signed non-disclosure agreements.
This matter is being
handled by the Department of Justice’s Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney’s
Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The claims asserted by
the United States are allegations only; there has been no determination of
John Wilkens at the San Diego
Union-Tribune offers a good piece on Joseph Wambaugh, one of my favorite
Joseph Wambaugh laughed at
the question. “Am I done writing?” he said.
“Hell, I’m almost done living. I’m 82.”
His last book, “Harbor Nocturne,”
came out in 2012. It was the fifth of his Hollywood Station novels, full of the
bawdy insider cop talk that first made him famous and populated with memorably
quirky characters like the badge-wearing surfers Flotsam and Jetsam. A couple
of TV studios are looking at turning the books into a series.
“I’d be thrilled to see that
happen before I kick the bucket,” he said.
This is not the first time
Wambaugh has seemingly stopped writing. He went six years in between
“Floaters,” a 1996 novel set in San Diego during the America’s Cup, and “Fire
Lover,” a 2002 non-fiction account of a serial arsonist. And then it was another
four years before he published “Hollywood Station.” But then he wrote four more
novels, all in a period of six years.
So it seems like a fair
question: Maybe some story will come along that moves him to add to his
catalog? “Not this geezer,” he said.
Even if he is done, his
influence will continue. Legions of crime novelists in San Diego and elsewhere
cite Wambaugh among their earliest influences. That’s because he broke the
mold, moved police officers from the “Dragnet” realm of clean-cut heroes into the
real world of complicated, flawed human beings. "All I did was turn things
around,” he said. “Instead of writing about how cops worked the job, I wrote
about how the job worked on the cops.”
Wambaugh came to that
approach naturally. His dad was a policeman, and then he became one, too, after
a stint in the Marines. He rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police
Department to detective sergeant. In his off-hours, he pursued English degrees
in college and nurtured a passion for writing.
His first novel, “The New
Centurions,” came out in 1971 and follows police newbies as the idealism they
had in the academy evolves into a street-wise cynicism.
… Ask him how he’d like to be
remembered, though, and he has a quick answer. Short, too.
My wife and I recently
watched the eight-part Netflix series Unbelievable.
The series, based on a true story, is a serious study
of rape and aftermath, as well as a fascinating and dramatic police
investigation, was outstanding.
Kaitlyn Dever portrays “Marie,”
an 18-year-old woman raised in the foster care system in Washington State, who
was raped in her apartment. Confused and traumatized, she offers conflicting statements
about the rape and she is disbelieved by the detectives investigating the rape.
The detectives have her recant
her story and later charge her for false reporting the rape to the police. Dever,
whose performance was excellent, shows Marie’s subsequent spiral downfall.
The series also depicts the
two women detectives, portrayed by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, who
investigate other rapes that they tie to a serial rapist in Colorado.
Dever, Collette, Wever and
the other cast members are first-class, as are the direction and writing of
this initially sad and depressing, but ultimately uplifting series.
If one is looking for a fine
drama series to watch, I recommend Unbelievable.
The Washington Times published
my review of Lincoln’s Spies: Their Secret War To Save a Nation:
Much has been written about
the Civil War and students of military history know much about the great
battles and the generals who led and fought those bloody battles.
But perhaps less well known
are the Civil War spies who fed those generals the intelligence they required
to engage their enemy. Douglas
Waller, a former reporter for Time magazine and Newsweek, and the
author of “The Commandos: The Inside Story of America’s Secret Soldiers,” “Wild
Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage”
and other books on intelligence and the military, offers a comprehensive look
back at the men and women who risked their lives to provide vital intelligence
to the Union Army during the Civil War.
In Mr. Waller’s
Spies: Their Secret War to Save a Nation,” readers learn about the Civil War’s
military intelligence officers, counter-intelligence officers, secret agents
and informants. Although there are numerous historical characters portrayed in
the book, Mr. Waller
stated he wanted to write an ensemble biography of four Union spies during the
Civil War. According to Mr. Waller,
two of the spies were heroes, one was a failure and one was a scoundrel.
Spies” is the story of Allan Pinkerton, Lafayette Baker, George Sharpe and
Elizabeth Van Lew — important Union agents who operated mainly in the Civil
War’s Eastern Theater, which included Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. The U.S. government, of course, ran
intelligence operations elsewhere — against Confederates in the Deep South and
the western campaigns, for example, and to root out pro-Confederate subversives
in the northeastern and northwestern states. To cover all the spying that went
on in the Civil War would consume several volumes,” Mr. Waller
writes in his note to readers.
“This book focuses on the
espionage and counter-espionage of these four operatives in what became a
crucial region for the war. The Eastern Theater, in which these agents fought
in secret and the Union Army of the Potomac battled the Confederate Army of
Northern Virginia in the open, included the capitals for the two belligerents,
Washington and Richmond. On its fields and in its towns and cities were waged
many of the largest, costliest, and most consequential battles, which helped
determine the outcome of this tragic conflict and the fate of a nation.”
The Washington Times
published my review of Craig Johnson’s Land of Wolves.
I first became acquainted
with Craig Johnson’s fictional modern-day Western sheriff by watching the
A&E TV series “Longmire,”
which is based on Mr. Johnson’s novels. (The show is now on Netflix).
Australian actor Robert
Taylor portrayed Walt Longmire
and Katee Sackhoff portrayed his deputy, Victoria “Vic”
a transplanted South Philly Italian-American and former Philadelphia cop. Lou
Diamond Phillips portrayed Henry Standing Bear, Longmire’s
best friend, and the series also offered a good number of other fine cast
I liked the Walt Longmire
character, a big man who is tough, taciturn, intelligent, fair, and possesses a
dry sense of humor. I also liked the rural crime stories, so I began reading
the series of novels.
In his last outing in the
novel “Depth of Winter,” Walt Longmire,
the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, headed to Mexico to take on Tomas
Bidarte, the head of a vicious drug cartel, who had kidnapped the sheriff’s
daughter. He rescued her and killed the drug lord in a brutal fight, which left
the sheriff’s body, as well as his mind, scarred.
In “Land of Wolves” we find a
thinner, weaker and more reticent sheriff, who loses himself in moments of
staring off into space. But the hanged body of a migrant Chilean shepherd,
Miquel Hernandez, which may be a case of suicide or murder, moves the sheriff
and his deputies to investigate. … “When you see a wolf, you
can’t help feeling impressed,” Walt Longmire,
the novel’s narrator tells us. “Maybe it’s because we’re so used to being
around their more domesticated cousins, but this animal is something else.
Aside from all the crap that you see on TV and in the movies or even in badly
written books, they’re not the slathering beasts just outside the glow of the
campfire; there’s only one word that comes to mind when I’ve ever seen one in
the wild: empathic.
“It’s like they’re reading
your mind, because they have to know what you’re thinking to simply survive.”
Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime. He has written extensively about organized crime, street crime, sex crime, cyber crime, drug crime, white collar crime, crime fiction, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. His 'On Crime' column appears weekly in the Washington Times. He is also a regular contributor to Counterterrorism magazine. His work has also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and other newspapers, magazines and online publications. As a writer, he has attended police academy training, gone out on patrol with police officers, accompanied detectives as they worked cases, accompanied narcotics officers on drug raids, observed criminal court proceedings and visited jails and prisons. He has covered street riots, mob wars and murder investigations. Paul Davis' online "Crime Beat" column offers his Q&As with cops, crooks, crime writers and others. Paul Davis has been a student of crime since he was a 12-year-old aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 in 1970 and served on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. He also served two years on the Navy harbor tugboat USS Saugus at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. He went on to perform security work as a Defense Department civilian employee and he later became a full-time writer. Paul Davis' On Crime and Crime Beat columns, crime fiction and magazine and newspaper pieces can be read on this website. His full bio can be read by clicking on the above photo.