Thursday, July 9, 2020

George Anastasia: Dracula Meets The Sons Of Anarchy

Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia (seen in the below photo) offers a piece at Jerseyman magazine of the discovery of an outlaw biker’s murder victim in another’s person’s cemetery crypt.

They buried the body in the cemetery, dumping it in a crypt that belonged to someone who had died decades earlier. 

And it might not have been the first time. 

That’s just one of the macabre twists in the ongoing murder investigation of Keith Palumbo whose remains were found in a crypt in the historic Mount Mariah Cemetery in Southwest Philadelphia back in April. Palumbo, an artist and musician, had been shot in the head.

Authorities believe his murder is linked to a dispute with some members of the Warlocks, a notorious local motorcycle gang active in Philadelphia and Chester and Delaware Counties. What’s more, it appears the biker gang has been using the cemetery, which dates back to the 1850s and has been closed to the public since 2011, as a dumping ground. 

The body of an alleged Warlock associate who had been killed earlier was also found in the crypt where Palumbo had been dumped. Authorities are now wondering whether the remains of other victims have been scattered around the sprawling 200-acre cemetery located off Kingsessing Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway. 

Dracula meets the Sons of Anarchy

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

You can also read my On Crime column on George Anastasia and the South Philly mob at the Washington Times via the below link: 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

FBI Director Wray: The Threat Posed By The Chinese Government And The Chinese Communist Party To The Economic And National Security Of The United States

FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at the Hudson Institute on July 7, 2020 on China’s Attempt to Influence U.S. Institutions.

Below are his remarks, which the FBI released:
Good morning. I realize it’s challenging, particularly under the current circumstances, to put on an event like this, so I’m grateful to the Hudson Institute for hosting us today.
The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China. It’s a threat to our economic security—and by extension, to our national security.
As National Security Advisor O’Brien said in his recent remarks, we cannot close our eyes and ears to what China is doing—and today, in light of the importance of this threat, I will provide more detail on the Chinese threat than the FBI has ever presented in an open forum. This threat is so significant that the attorney general and secretary of state will also be addressing a lot of these issues in the next few weeks. But if you think these issues are just an intelligence issue, or a government problem, or a nuisance largely just for big corporations who can take care of themselves—you could not be more wrong.
It’s the people of the United States who are the victims of what amounts to Chinese theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.
If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data.
In 2017, the Chinese military conspired to hack Equifax and made off with the sensitive personal information of 150 million Americans—we’re talking nearly half of the American population and most American adults—and as I’ll discuss in a few moments, this was hardly a standalone incident.
Our data isn’t the only thing at stake here—so are our health, our livelihoods, and our security.
We’ve now reached the point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours. Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China. And at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.
But before I go on, let me be clear: This is not about the Chinese people, and it’s certainly not about Chinese Americans. Every year, the United States welcomes more than 100,000 Chinese students and researchers into this country. For generations, people have journeyed from China to the United States to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their families—and our society is better for their contributions. So, when I speak of the threat from China, I mean the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party.
The Chinese Regime and the Scope of Its Ambitions
To understand this threat and how we must act to respond to it, the American people should remember three things.
First: We need to be clear-eyed about the scope of the Chinese government’s ambition. China—the Chinese Communist Party—believes it is in a generational fight to surpass our country in economic and technological leadership.
That is sobering enough. But it’s waging this fight not through legitimate innovation, not through fair and lawful competition, and not by giving their citizens the freedom of thought and speech and creativity that we treasure here in the United States. Instead, China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.
A Diverse and Multi-Layered Approach
The second thing the American people need to understand is that China uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques—everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders. They’ve even engaged in outright physical theft. And they’ve pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors—including not just Chinese intelligence services but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.
Economic Espionage
To achieve its goals and surpass America, China recognizes it needs to make leaps in cutting-edge technologies. But the sad fact is that instead of engaging in the hard slog of innovation, China often steals American intellectual property and then uses it to compete against the very American companies it victimized—in effect, cheating twice over. They’re targeting research on everything from military equipment to wind turbines to rice and corn seeds.
Through its talent recruitment programs, like the so-called Thousand Talents Program, the Chinese government tries to entice scientists to secretly bring our knowledge and innovation back to China—even if that means stealing proprietary information or violating our export controls and conflict-of-interest rules.
Take the case of scientist Hongjin Tan, for example, a Chinese national and American lawful permanent resident. He applied to China’s Thousand Talents Program and stole more than $1 billion—that’s with a “b”—worth of trade secrets from his former employer, an Oklahoma-based petroleum company, and got caught. A few months ago, he was convicted and sent to prison.
Or there’s the case of Shan Shi, a Texas-based scientist, also sentenced to prison earlier this year. Shi stole trade secrets regarding syntactic foam, an important naval technology used in submarines. Shi, too, had applied to China’s Thousand Talents Program, and specifically pledged to “digest” and “absorb” the relevant technology in the United States. He did this on behalf of Chinese state-owned enterprises, which ultimately planned to put the American company out of business and take over the market.
In one of the more galling and egregious aspects of the scheme, the conspirators actually patented in China the very manufacturing process they’d stolen, and then offered their victim American company a joint venture using its own stolen technology. We’re talking about an American company that spent years and millions of dollars developing that technology, and China couldn’t replicate it—so, instead, it paid to have it stolen.
And just two weeks ago, Hao Zhang was convicted of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and conspiracy for stealing proprietary information about wireless devices from two U.S. companies. One of those companies had spent over 20 years developing the technology Zhang stole.
These cases were among more than a thousand investigations the FBI has into China’s actual and attempted theft of American technology—which is to say nothing of over a thousand more ongoing counterintelligence investigations of other kinds related to China. We’re conducting these kinds of investigations in all 56 of our field offices. And over the past decade, we’ve seen economic espionage cases with a link to China increase by approximately 1,300 percent.
The stakes could not be higher, and the potential economic harm to American businesses and the economy as a whole almost defies calculation.

Clandestine Efforts
As National Security Advisor O’Brien discussed in his June remarks, the Chinese government is also making liberal use of hacking to steal our corporate and personal data—and they’re using both military and non-state hackers to do it. The Equifax intrusion I mentioned just a few moments ago, which led to the indictment of Chinese military personnel, was hardly the only time China stole the sensitive personal information of huge numbers of the American public.
For example, did any of you have health insurance through Anthem or one of its associated insurers? In 2015, China’s hackers stole the personal data of 80 million of that company’s current and former customers.
Or maybe you’re a federal employee—or you used to be one, or you applied for a government job once, or a family member or roommate did. Well, in 2014, China’s hackers stole more than 21 million records from OPM, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management.
Why are they doing this? First, China has made becoming an artificial intelligence world leader a priority, and these kinds of thefts feed right into China’s development of artificial intelligence tools.
Compounding the threat, the data China stole is of obvious value as they attempt to identify people for secret intelligence gathering. On that front, China is using social media platforms—the same ones Americans use to stay connected or find jobs—to identify people with access to our government’s sensitive information and then target those people to try to steal it.
Just to pick one example, a Chinese intelligence officer posing as a headhunter on a popular social media platform recently offered an American citizen a sizeable sum of money in exchange for so-called “consulting” services. That sounds benign enough until you realize those “consulting” services were related to sensitive information the American target had access to as a U.S. military intelligence specialist.
Now that particular tale has a happy ending: The American citizen did the right thing and reported the suspicious contact, and the FBI, working together with our armed forces, took it from there. I wish I could say that all such incidents ended that way.
Threats to Academia
It’s a troublingly similar story in academia.
Through talent recruitment programs like the Thousand Talents Program I mentioned just a few moments ago, China pays scientists at American universities to secretly bring our knowledge and innovation back to China—including valuable, federally funded research. To put it bluntly, this means American taxpayers are effectively footing the bill for China’s own technological development. China then leverages its ill-gotten gains to undercut U.S. research institutions and companies, blunting our nation’s advancement and costing American jobs. And we are seeing more and more of these cases.
In May alone, we arrested both Qing Wang, a former researcher with the Cleveland Clinic who worked on molecular medicine and the genetics of cardiovascular disease, and Simon Saw-Teong Ang, a University of Arkansas scientist doing research for NASA. Both of these guys were allegedly committing fraud by concealing their participation in Chinese talent recruitment programs while accepting millions of dollars in American federal grant funding.
That same month, former Emory University professor Xiao-Jiang Li pled guilty to filing a false tax return for failing to report the income he’d received through China’s Thousand Talents Program. Our investigation found that while Li was researching Huntington’s disease at Emory, he was also pocketing half a million unreported dollars from China.
In a similar vein, Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, was indicted just last month for making false statements to federal authorities about his Thousand Talents participation. The United States has alleged that Lieber concealed from both Harvard and the NIH his position as a strategic scientist at a Chinese university—and the fact that the Chinese government was paying him, through the Wuhan Institute of Technology, a $50,000 monthly stipend, more than $150,000 in living expenses, and more than $1.5 million to establish a laboratory back in China.
Malign Foreign Influence
There’s more. Another tool China and the Chinese Communist Party use to manipulate Americans is what we call malign foreign influence.
Now, traditional foreign influence is a normal, legal diplomatic activity typically conducted through diplomatic channels. But malign foreign influence efforts are subversive, undeclared, criminal, or coercive attempts to sway our government’s policies, distort our country’s public discourse, and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values.
China is engaged in a highly sophisticated malign foreign influence campaign, and its methods include bribery, blackmail, and covert deals. Chinese diplomats also use both open, naked economic pressure and seemingly independent middlemen to push China’s preferences on American officials.
Just take one all-too-common illustration: Let’s say China gets wind that some American official is planning to travel to Taiwan—think a governor, a state senator, a member of Congress. China does not want that to happen, because that travel might appear to legitimize Taiwanese independence from China—and legitimizing Taiwan would, of course, be contrary to China’s “One China” policy.
So what does China do? Well, China has leverage over the American official’s constituents—American companies, academics, and members of the media all have legitimate and understandable reasons to want access to Chinese partners and markets. And because of the authoritarian nature of the Chinese Communist Party, China has immense power over those same partners and markets. So, China will sometimes start by trying to influence the American official overtly and directly. China might openly warn that if the American official goes ahead and takes that trip to Taiwan, China will take it out on a company from that official’s home state by withholding the company’s license to manufacture in China. That could be economically ruinous for the company, would directly pressure the American official to alter his travel plans, and the official would know that China was trying to influence him.
That would be bad enough. But the Chinese Communist Party often doesn’t stop there; it can’t stop there if it wants to stay in power—so it uses its leverage even more perniciously. If China’s more direct, overt influence campaign doesn’t do the trick, they sometimes turn to indirect, covert, deceptive influence efforts.
To continue with the illustration of the American official with travel plans that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like, China will work relentlessly to identify the people closest to that official—the people that official trusts most. China will then work to influence those people to act on China’s behalf as middlemen to influence the official. The co-opted middlemen may then whisper in the official’s ear and try to sway the official’s travel plans or public positions on Chinese policy. These intermediaries, of course, aren’t telling the American official that they’re Chinese Communist Party pawns—and worse still, some of these intermediaries may not even realize they’re being used as pawns, because they, too, have been deceived.
Ultimately, China doesn’t hesitate to use smoke, mirrors, and misdirection to influence Americans.
Similarly, China often pushes academics and journalists to self-censor if they want to travel into China. And we’ve seen the Chinese Communist Party pressure American media and sporting giants to ignore or suppress criticism of China’s ambitions regarding Hong Kong or Taiwan. This kind of thing is happening over and over, across the United States.
And I will note that the pandemic has unfortunately not stopped any of this—in fact, we have heard from federal, state, and even local officials that Chinese diplomats are aggressively urging support for China’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Yes, this is happening at both the federal and state levels. Not that long ago, we had a state senator who was recently even asked to introduce a resolution supporting China’s response to the pandemic.
The punchline is this: All of these seemingly inconsequential pressures add up to a policymaking environment in which Americans find themselves held over a barrel by the Chinese Communist Party.
Threats to the Rule of Law
All the while, China’s government and Communist Party have brazenly violated well-settled norms and the rule of law.
Since 2014, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping has spearheaded a program known as “Fox Hunt.” Now, China describes Fox Hunt as some kind of international anti-corruption campaign—it is not. Instead, Fox Hunt is a sweeping bid by General Secretary Xi to target Chinese nationals whom he sees as threats and who live outside China, across the world. We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations.
Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that they target live right here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders. The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking. For example, when it couldn’t locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target’s family here in the United States. The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide. And what happens when Fox Hunt targets refuse to return to China? In the past, their family members both here in the United States and in China have been threatened and coerced, and those back in China have even been arrested for leverage.
I’ll take this opportunity to note that if you believe the Chinese government is targeting you—that you’re a potential Fox Hunt victim—please reach out to your local FBI field office.
Exploiting Our Openness
Understanding how a nation could engage in these tactics brings me to the third thing the American people need to remember: that China has a fundamentally different system than ours—and it’s doing all it can to exploit the openness of ours while taking advantage of its own closed system.
Many of the distinctions that mean a lot here in the United States are blurry or almost nonexistent in China—I'm talking about distinctions between the government and the Chinese Communist Party, between the civilian and military sectors, and between the state and the “private” sector.
For one thing, an awful lot of large Chinese businesses are state-owned enterprises—literally owned by the government, and thus the Party. And even if they aren’t, China’s laws allow its government to compel any Chinese company to provide any information it requests—including American citizens’ data.
On top of that, Chinese companies of any real size are legally required to have Communist Party “cells” inside them to keep them in line. Even more alarmingly, Communist Party cells have reportedly been established in some American companies operating in China as a cost of doing business there.
These kinds of features should give U.S. companies pause when they consider working with Chinese corporations like Huawei—and should give all Americans pause, too, when relying on such a company’s devices and networks. As the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei has broad access to much that American companies do in China. It’s also been charged in the United States with racketeering conspiracy and has, as alleged in the indictment, repeatedly stolen intellectual property from U.S. companies, obstructed justice, and lied to the U.S. government and its commercial partners, including banks.
The allegations are clear: Huawei is a serial intellectual property thief, with a pattern and practice of disregarding both the rule of law and the rights of its victims. I have to tell you, it certainly caught my attention to read a recent article describing the words of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, about the company’s mindset. At a Huawei research and development center, he reportedly told employees that to ensure the company’s survival, they need to—and I quote—“surge forward, killing as you go, to blaze us a trail of blood.” He’s also reportedly told employees that Huawei has entered, to quote, “a state of war.” I certainly hope he couldn’t have meant that literally, but it’s hardly an encouraging tone, given the company’s repeated criminal behavior.
In our modern world, there is perhaps no more ominous prospect than a hostile foreign government’s ability to compromise our country’s infrastructure and devices. If Chinese companies like Huawei are given unfettered access to our telecommunications infrastructure, they could collect any of your information that traverses their devices or networks. Worse still: They’d have no choice but to hand it over to the Chinese government if asked—the privacy and due process protections that are sacrosanct in the United States are simply non-existent in China.
Responding Effectively to the Threat
The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency. They’re calculating. They’re persistent. They’re patient. And they’re not subject to the righteous constraints of an open, democratic society or the rule of law.
China, as led by the Chinese Communist Party, is going to continue to try to misappropriate our ideas, influence our policymakers, manipulate our public opinion, and steal our data. They will use an all-tools and all-sectors approach—and that demands our own all-tools and all-sectors approach in response.
Our folks at the FBI are working their tails off every day to protect our nation’s companies, our universities, our computer networks, and our ideas and innovation. To do that, we’re using a broad set of techniques—from our traditional law enforcement authorities to our intelligence capabilities.
And I will briefly note that we’re having real success. With the help of our many foreign partners, we’ve arrested targets all over the globe. Our investigations and the resulting prosecutions have exposed the tradecraft and techniques the Chinese use, raising awareness of the threat and our industries’ defenses. They also show our resolve and our ability to attribute these crimes to those responsible. It’s one thing to make assertions—but in our justice system, when a person, or a corporation, is investigated and then charged with a crime, we have to prove the truth of the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. The truth matters—and so, these criminal indictments matter. And we’ve seen how our criminal indictments have rallied other nations to our cause—which is crucial to persuading the Chinese government to change its behavior.
We’re also working more closely than ever with partner agencies here in the U.S. and our partners abroad. We can’t do it on our own; we need a whole-of-society response. That’s why we in the intelligence and law enforcement communities are working harder than ever to give companies, universities, and the American people themselves the information they need to make their own informed decisions and protect their most valuable assets.
Confronting this threat effectively does not mean we shouldn’t do business with the Chinese. It does not mean we shouldn’t host Chinese visitors. It does not mean we shouldn’t welcome Chinese students or coexist with China on the world stage. But it does mean that when China violates our criminal laws and international norms, we are not going to tolerate it, much less enable it. The FBI and our partners throughout the U.S. government will hold China accountable and protect our nation’s innovation, ideas, and way of life—with the help and vigilance of the American people.
Thank you for having me here today.

A Look Back At Ulysses S. Grant, President And Great Civil War General, On The History Channel

Theodore Roosevelt said that Washington, Lincoln and Grant are the three greatest American heroes. 

Washington was the indispensable man during the War of Independence and the creation of the United States. Lincoln was the great man who led our country during the Civil War and kept us together as a nation. Grant was the great Union general who won the Civil War on the battlefield. 
Grant was one of the greatest generals in history. 

I recently viewed Grant, the three-part miniseries on U.S. Grant on the History Channel. The series, part reenactment with actors and part historians and military people talking about Grant and his life and times, was excellent. 

The History Channel describes the miniseries:
At the time of his death, Ulysses S. Grant was the most famous man in the world and stood alongside men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the pantheon of American heroes. However, today Ulysses S. Grant is largely forgotten, his rightful legacy tarnished by a fog of myth, rumor and falsehood.
Grant tells the remarkable and quintessentially American story of a humble man who overcomes incredible obstacles, rises to the highest ranks of power and saves the nation not once, but twice. With a seamless blend of dramatic scenes, expert commentary and beautifully enhanced archival imagery, this three-part miniseries uncovers the true legacy of the unlikely hero who led the nation during its greatest tests: the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Born into a humble family of abolitionists, Ulysses S. Grant was never destined for greatness. At a time when the nation is being ripped apart over the issue of slavery, Grant marries into a slave-holding family and is forced to confront his own feelings about equality. As the country falls apart around him, Grant bounces from job to job, at one point selling firewood on the streets to buy food for his family. Just a few years later, this quiet, unassuming man is in command of a million men, and it is his ingenious strategy and bulldog determination that wins the Civil War, re-unifies the Nation and helps bring freedom to 4 million former slaves. 
Widely regarded as the greatest general of his generation, Grant is called to duty again to serve as president. In the face of huge obstacles, Grant reunifies a fractured nation, battles the KKK and emerges as a champion of civil rights and equality for all Americans. Grant’s meteoric rise is one of the unlikeliest stories in American history, but it wasn’t luck, it didn’t just happen by accident and it wasn’t easy. With gritty depictions of brutal battles, risky gambles, crushing setbacks and triumphant victories, Grant will take the viewer inside the moments that defined Grant and forever changed our nation. 

You can watch the miniseries via the below link: 

Note: To learn more about U.S. Grant I recommend Ron Chernow's Grant.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

John Lehman: Navy's Plan For Future Hijacked By Defense Department's Bureaucracy

Former Secretary of the Navy and Navy pilot John Lehman writes in the Washington Times that the Defense Department hijacked the Navy's plan for the future. 

After many years of confusion and drift after the Cold War victory, the Navy has at last provided a serious plan for its future, as requested by Congress. It re-emphasizes the national requirement for a fleet of 355+ ships, it provides a clear logic for the need, a strategy for its employment in re-establishing the command of the seas necessary to deter our adversaries and prevent war. 

It provides for the necessary budgetary action and return to competitive business policy that could make it a reality within a decade, as Congress and the president have directed. It was completed on time and provided to the Defense Department for submittal to Congress with the Defense budget.

But where is it? It never made it to Congress. It was hijacked by the Defense bureaucracy and dropped in the memory hole. Instead, the Pentagon sent Congress a budget with only five Navy combatants and two tugboats, fewer than planned by the Obama administration. 

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

You can also read my Washington Times review of John Lehman’s book, Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War At Sea, via the below link: 

And you can read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with John Lehman via the below link:  

West Virginia Woman Admits To Willful Retention Of Top Secret National Defense Information And International Parental Kidnapping

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
Elizabeth Jo Shirley, of Hedgesville, West Virginia, has admitted to unlawfully retaining a document containing national defense information and committing international parental kidnapping, the Department of Justice announced.
Shirley, 47, pled guilty to one count of “Willful Retention of National Defense Information” and one count of “International Parental Kidnapping.”  Shirley admitted to unlawfully retaining a National Security Agency (NSA) document containing information classified at the TOP SECRET/SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (TS/SCI) level relating to the national defense that outlines intelligence information regarding a foreign government’s military and political issues.  Shirley also admitted to removing her child, of whom she was the non-custodial parent, to Mexico with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the custodial father’s parental rights.
“When Shirley took classified information from her work with the Intelligence Community and later fled to Mexico, she violated the confidence placed in her by the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “She doubled down on this betrayal when she sought to offer classified information to the Russian government.  We are grateful for our law enforcement partners’ timely work to locate and arrest the defendant in Mexico.  Given Shirley’s troubling conduct after fleeing the United States, the damage to national security could have been far greater had law enforcement not acted swiftly.  Shirley will now be held accountable for betraying the trust of the American people.”
“High level security clearance requires a commensurate level of trust.  Shirley breached that trust and attempted to put our country at risk.  National security is one of our highest priorities and always will be.  Shirley will now face the consequences of her actions,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Powell.
"Federal government employees and contractors with high level security clearances pledge to protect classified information from foreign adversaries. It's an essential responsibility in guarding our country’s national security," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "Ms. Shirley had a duty to safeguard classified information. Instead, she chose to break the law and trust placed in her and made plans to pass national defense information to Russian officials, which could have put our citizens at risk. The FBI does not take these violations lightly and will work to hold wrongdoers accountable to keep our country safe."
Shirley served on active duty with the United States Air Force, and in August 1994, the Air Force granted Shirley her first TS/SCI security clearance.  After leaving active duty, Shirley served in the United States Air Force Reserves and later in the United States Navy Reserves.  While serving in the Air Force, she worked on assignments with the NSA.  From May 2001 to August 2012, Shirley held various positions with the United States Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, and at least five different cleared defense contractors.  In connection with these positions, Shirley held TOP SECRET/SCI security clearances at various times.
In July 2019, Shirley took her six-year-old daughter to Mexico with the intent to make contact with representatives of the Government of Russia to request resettlement in a country that would not extradite her to the United States.  Shirley took with her to Mexico national defense information, which she had unlawfully retained.  While in Mexico, Shirley prepared a written message to Russian Government officials, referencing “an urgent need” to have “items shipped from the USA related to [her] life’s work before they are seized and destroyed.”
On Aug. 13, 2019, the United States Marshals Service and Mexican law enforcement located Shirley and her daughter at a hotel in Mexico City.  Mexican authorities arrested Shirley pursuant to an arrest warrant the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) had obtained on a charge of concealment of a minor from a custodian.
The FBI subsequently executed search warrants on numerous of Shirley’s electronic devices, including devices she took to Mexico in July 2019 and devices the FBI seized from her Martinsburg storage unit in August 2019.  Pursuant to the search of the storage unit, the FBI located the NSA document underlying the Willful Retention of National Defense Information offense.  In addition, pursuant to searches of the electronic devices, the FBI found an Office of Naval Intelligence PowerPoint presentation containing information classified at the SECRET level and messages Shirley had drafted to Russian Government officials while in Mexico, the latter of which the Central Intelligence Agency has determined to include information classified at the SECRET level.
Shirley faces up to ten years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the national security charge and up to three years of incarceration and fine of up to $250,000 for the kidnapping charge.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Lara K. Omps-Botteicher and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon with the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, National Security Division, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.  The FBI and WVSP investigated.  The Webster County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Get Up On The Floor: A Look Back At A Taste Of Honey's Great 1978 Dance Song 'Boogie Oogie Oogie'

I just listened to video of a Taste of Honey's great dance song from 1978 Boogie Oogie Oogie on YouTube.

Silly name, but this song had us up and dancing at the Loft, the Roman Gardens, the OBL and La Dolce Vita in South Philly in the late 1970s.

Good times and good memories.

You can listen to the song via the below link:

Note: As I was 27 in 1978, I recall vividly our dancing to this song at clubs. In South Philly, we called it "clubbing," never "disco."

Babylon Bee: Redskins Change Name To 'Lizard People' To Better Represent Population Of Washington, D.C.

The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at the Washington Redskins, as the football team is thinking of changing their name for a more politically correct one.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—There has been much talk about renaming the Washington Redskins, since their offensive name has no place in our modern, enlightened society that has done away with all other immorality and sin. 

The District of Columbia informed the team that they cannot return to playing within the district until they have a name that is more fitting for a team representing the capital of our country. To that end, the team officially announced today they would be renaming themselves to "The Washington Lizard People."

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

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ralph Cipriano: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw: Not On Vacation And Not Into Sound Bites

The late, great conservative writer, editor and TV host of Firing Line was once asked why then-Senator Bobby Kennedy did not appear on Firing Line.

“Why does baloney reject the meat grinder?” Buckley replied.

So you have to respect Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (seen in the above photo) for agreeing to be interviewed by Ralph Cipriano (seen in the below photo), a veteran reporter and frequent and harsh critic of Mayor Kenney, Philly D.A. Larry Krasner and the commissioner herself. 

The interview appeared at

Every few weeks, a new rumor sweeps through the Philadelphia Police Department about new Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

In May, one of the earliest rumors had Outlaw heading back to the West Coast, to take over as police chief in her native Oakland. Other rumors had an unhappy Outlaw negotiating a buyout, and packing her bags for other locales.

This week, the big rumor was that Outlaw was supposedly out of the office on a two-week vacation sandwiched around the July 4th holiday, when all days off for cops have been canceled for Saturday, because a fresh round of protests is expected in the birthplace of democracy. As a joke, somebody sent around a photo of a milk carton with the police commissioner's face on it, under the caption, "Missing. Have You Seen Me? If found, contact Philly Police."

"Bullshit rumors trying to undermine her," snapped Managing Director Brian Abernathy, when asked about the Outlaw on vacation rumor; he referred further comment to the police department.

But today, instead of having a department flack issue a statement, Outlaw decided to address the latest rumor personally. Not true about that vacation, she stated firmly in a phone interview today. "As you know there's rumors that just run amok" at the Philly P.D. But contrary to rumors, Outlaw said, "I'm here and I'll be working this weekend."

In her first four months on the job, Outlaw has had to deal with an officer getting murdered in the line of duty, a pandemic, and the George Floyd protests that the department clearly was unprepared for. The protests quickly devolved into riots, looting and arson fires that left the city with hundreds of millions of dollars in property damages.

As one crisis after another hit the P.D., Outlaw came under steady criticism from inside and outside the department for not being visible enough on the job, at venues like crime scenes, press conferences, and the front lines when protesters were storming the city. 

As one veteran police commander put it, "A police commissioner is expected to be seen by the troops, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, fighting alongside them. Not sitting in the comfort of her office, which is apparently all she does all day."

Asked about the visibility issue, Outlaw says that mugging for the cameras is not her style. And instead of hiding in her office, she's says she's out and about in the city, but on her own terms.

"I'll drive around and pop up at precincts," she said. "It's not planned. It's more authentic. When I show up I don't travel with cameras, I don't do things for cameras." 

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

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Celebrating The 4th Of July 2020

Today we celebrate on the 4th of July the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of America in 1776.

In the 1972 film 1776 the late, great actor Howard de Silva, portraying the late, great Ben Franklin, describes how we have spawned a new race, Americans.

You can watch the clip via the below link:

Friday, July 3, 2020

Rescuing Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse: FBI Programs Support A Global Effort To Save Children From Harm

The FBI released the below information:

With every report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and every law enforcement investigation dealing with child sexual abuse material, a largely unseen—but urgent—effort begins to identify and aid the child or children being harmed in the images.

It is an effort that relies on technology and painstaking investigative work—where details as small as a baseball cap or a soda cup have provided the clues that allowed investigators to find a child.

At the FBI, the Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) works alongside Operation Rescue Me to explore every possible avenue in identifying a child victim of sexual abuse. Operation Rescue Me is focused on rescuing the child victim from further abuse and exploitation. In pursuit of that same goal, ECAP seeks national and international exposure of unknown adults whose faces and/or distinguishing characteristics are visible in images of child sexual abuse.

Special Agent Karen Jurden, who heads both programs within the FBI’s Violent Crime Section, explained the two programs this way: “Our goal is to identify victims. But if we’ve exhausted everything we can do on the child, and we have an image where an adult does appear, we will pursue that angle.”

She stressed that the adults featured on ECAP are not always suspected of wrongdoing. “We know that person has knowledge of the victim,” she said.

“There is nothing better than knowing publicity has helped our agents solve one of these cases and identify a child,” said Chris Allen, chief, FBI Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit.

With a larger number of eyes on these pictures, there is a greater likelihood that someone will spot a person or item they recognize and help point law enforcement in the right direction.

“Every time we have a new case, it draws people’s attention to older cases as well,” Jurden said. “People have helped us solve older cases that way.”

“For every ECAP case we work on, we use every available publicity tool to ensure the maximum number of people will see the images,” said Chris Allen, chief of the FBI’s Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit. “There is nothing better than knowing publicity has helped our agents solve one of these cases and identify a child.”

The Effort to Identify Every Child Victim 

When the FBI (or any law enforcement agency) seizes child sexual abuse material from an offender—and Jurden said many offenders have hundreds or thousands of files—the FBI brings the material to NCMEC.

NCMEC runs a digital scan that checks the material against images and videos that already exist in their system, explained Shelley Allwang, manager of NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program. The process allows NCMEC to see which victims are already known to them. These children have either already been reached or NCMEC is actively working with law enforcement both domestically and internationally to identify them. The most pressing goal, Allwang said, is to find “the children we have never seen before, because these could be children who are being victimized right now.”

Allwang said NCMEC has a number of high-tech and human tools to help in the process of identifying these victims, but if they reach a dead end, they return the case to the investigators who brought them the material. “We are not law enforcement,” Allwang stressed, “so we can only use the tools we have.”

If the file began with an FBI case, the charge of identifying that still unknown victim comes back to FBI agents and becomes an active case within the Operation Rescue Me program and possibly ECAP.

Jurden and Allwang both acknowledge that the number of these cases and the volume of images can give rise to feelings of both fury and hopelessness. But while the scale of the crime is daunting, these cases are not being lumped together by law enforcement or by NCMEC. The two groups are committed to the heartbreaking work of cataloging each image and finding the children in them.

“If you look at the totality, you won’t sleep at night,” Jurden said. “The answer is to take it case by case. It is rewarding to wake up each day and know you’re doing something. And to know I’m not the only one doing this.”

Allwang also said she is comforted both by thinking of her impact on individual children and by the knowledge that there is a global network of people who are fighting alongside her. “So many people from so many different professions are invested in solving this problem—technology companies, law enforcement, advocates, media, prosecutors, judges,” Allwang said. “They are all motivated by the mission.”

Allwang said she is also moved by the bravery and resilience she sees in survivors of child sexual abuse. “I see the worst of humanity,” she said. “But I also see the best.”

The FBI's Operation Rescue Me has identified more than 600 children since 2008. ECAP was created in 2004 and it has investigated 41 cases. The program has successfully identified 28 of the individuals profiled and found 45 child victims. The remaining cases remain active investigations. And the FBI will stay on them—case by case, child by child.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Powerful: LeBron James Pulls Over To Lecture Homeless Man On His White Privilege

The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at LeBron James and the Black Lives Matter movement.

LOS ANGELES, CA—We all know LeBron James is an amazing human being, but seriously. Just when we thought he couldn't get any better, local media caught this powerful moment and WE CAN'T EVEN. Cameras caught the inspiring, heartwarming moment LeBron approached a homeless man last week at one of LA's many tent cities. 

… LeBron James then proceeded to lecture the lucky panhandler on his white privilege.

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

The Real Donnie Brasco: Legendary Undercover FBI Special Agent Joe Pistone's Video Interview

Legendary retired FBI Special Agent Joseph Pistone, who went undercover with the New York Bonanno Cosa Nostra organized crime family, was interviewed by Patrick Bet-David on

You can watch the video interview via the below link:

I interviewed Joe Pistone for the Philadelphia Inquirer when I reviewed his book The Way of the Wiseguy and I later interviewed him for my Crime Beat column.

You can read my Philadelphia Inquirer review below and you can read my Crime Beat column on Joe Pistone via the below link:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

'Oh, God. The Sixties Are Coming Back,' Says Conservative Writer And Humorist P.J. O'Rourke

Former Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra Crime Boss Ralph Natale's Video Interview

Former Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra crime family boss Ralph Natale discussed Jimmy Hoffa's murder and the history of organized crime in Philadelphia with Patrick Bet-David on YouTube. 

You can watch the video interview via the below link:

I reviewed Ralph Natale’s book, Last Don Standing for the Washington Times and I interviewed the former mob boss-turned government witness.

You can read my Crime Beat column and Q&A with Ralph Natale via the below link: 

Chinese National Guilty Of Laundering Millions For Mexican Drug Cartels

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
A Chinese national pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with laundering more than $4 million in drug proceeds generated by large-scale cocaine trafficking in the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Wendy C. Woolcock of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Special Operations Division and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey T. Scott of the DEA Louisville Field Division; Jason Crosby, Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); and Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago, Illinois, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea.
According to court documents, Xueyong Wu, 40, cultivated relationships with Latin American drug trafficking organizations to transport and launder their United States-based drug proceeds.  Wu is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 29.
Much of this money was repatriated to Mexico through a complex series of international financial transactions. Wu received a percentage of the money involved in these transactions as compensation for organizing these laundering activities.  Much of this money was generated through movement of cocaine or payment for cocaine that took place within the Eastern District of Virginia.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Ben’Ary and David A. Peters, along with Trial Attorneys Steve Sola and Kerry Blackburn of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are prosecuting the case.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Retired Navy SEAL Jack Carr On 'Savage Son' And His Navy SEAL Character James Reece

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on retired Navy SEAL Jack Carr and his character former Navy SEAL James Reece.

With the publication of “Savage Son,” the third novel in the series that features former Navy SEAL James Reece, Jack Carr has become an established top-notch thriller writer.

“As a former Navy SEAL. Reece had recently proven himself particularly skillful at adapting; he’d outwitted a national security apparatus set on killing him and then unraveled a plot that put the president of the United States in the crosshairs,” Jack Carr writes in the beginning of “Savage Son.” 

“A man named Vic Rodriguez led the paramilitary branch of the Central Intelligence Agency as the director of the Special Activities Division. He’d then recruited Reece for the mission that had saved the president’s life and spared Ukraine from a chemical weapons attack. Vic recognized Reece’s aptitude for aggressive problem solving and wanted to bring the frogman further into the fold.”  

Jack Carr is the pen name of a retired Navy SEAL. He served from 1996 to 2016 and he went from an enlisted SEAL sniper, to a junior officer leading assault and sniper teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, to a platoon commander practicing counterinsurgency in the southern Philippines, to commanding a Special Operations Task Unit in the most Iranian influenced section of southern Iraq throughout the tumultuous drawdown of U.S. Forces.

As Mr. Carr notes in the preface of “Savage Son,” he was first introduced to Richard Connell’s great short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” in junior high school. The short story, which appeared in Collier’s Weekly in 1924, was about a mad hunter on an island who hunted men.

“Upon that initial reading the story, I was determined to one day write a modern thriller that paid tribute to this classic tale, exploring the dynamic between hunter and hunted. Fast-forward thirty years. As I prepare to leave the SEAL Teams, I laid out my ideas for what would become my first novel, ‘The Terminal List.’” 

I reached out to Jack Carr and asked him how he would describe his character James Reece and his three thrillers; “The Terminal List,” “True Believer” and “Savage Son.”

“James Reece is a man on a journey. He is a likable guy you’d want to have a beer with but who can also flip a switch to get the job done. He has the training and experience to do the things he does in the novels. He is a student of war and of the hunt,” Mr. Carr replied. 

You can read the rest of the column via the below link:
You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with Jack Carr via the below link: 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Chinese Citizen Convicted Of Economic Espionage, Theft Of Trade Secrets, and Conspiracy: Defendant Stole From U.S. Companies To Benefit Instrumentality Of The Chinese Government

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
Hao Zhang, 41, of China, was found guilty of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and conspiring to commit both offenses today, announced the Department of Justice.  The ruling was handed down by the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Judge, following a four-day bench trial.
Evidence submitted during the course of the trial demonstrated that from 2010 to 2015, Zhang conspired to and did steal trade secrets from two companies: Avago, a designer, developer, and global supplier of a broad range of analog, digital, mixed signal and optoelectronics components and subsystems with a focus in semiconductor design and processing, headquartered in San Jose, California, and Singapore; and Skyworks, an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts.  Judge Davila found that Zhang intended to steal the trade secrets for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China.
“The defendant plotted with Tianjin University to take trade secrets from two U.S. companies, including his own employer, to China for the benefit of the Chinese Government,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “Today’s guilty verdict on all counts is an important step in holding accountable an individual who robbed his U.S. employer of trade secrets and sought to replicate the company’s technology and replace its market share.  The Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting these cases should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone considering doing the same.”      
“A free nation is naturally innovative.  No nation is more innovative than the United States.  Countries without freedom cannot match our innovation, and inevitably must resort to theft.  Theft is not innovation.  By combatting theft, we protect innovation and freedom,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California.
“Economic Espionage is a pervasive threat throughout the United States, particularly to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley which is the center of innovation and technology,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  “While this case exemplifies how easily a few motivated employees can conspire to misappropriate intellectual property for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang’s conviction should serve as a warning to our adversaries that the FBI and our partners remain committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”
According evidence presented during the bench trial, Zhang stole trade secrets relating the performance of wireless devices.  Specifically, Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) and Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) filters are used in wireless devices to eliminate interference and improve other aspects of device performance.  Film Bulk Acoustic Resonators (FBAR) are one type of BAW filter.  The most common and most profitable application of FBAR technology is as a radio frequency (RF) filter for mobile phones and other wireless devices.  Technological advances in FBARs have played a substantial role in creating smaller, more efficient wireless devices for both consumer and military applications.  Avago, one of the victims of Zhang’s theft, was the leading company in the United States manufacturing and selling FBARs.  Zhang’s other victim, Skyworks, was developing its own BAW technology.
Evidence at trial further showed that in October 2006, Zhang and his co-conspirators started a business in China to compete with Avago and Skyworks.  One of Zhang’s co-conspirators, Wei Pang, started working at Avago at the same time.  Zhang and Pang illicitly shared trade secrets with each other and with co-conspirators in China while they worked for the U.S. companies.  Zhang and Pang then connected their venture to Tianjin University (TJU) in China, an instrumentality of the Chinese government.  By 2009, they left their work in the United States to relocate to China, following a plan laid out by TJU officials to form another company, Novana, in the Cayman Islands.  Along the way, Zhang obtained patents in his own name using trade secret information he knew was stolen from Avago.  Zhang also worked with stolen trade secrets in a lab he founded at TJU while developing his new FBAR business. The FBAR processes that Zhang and his co-conspirators stole took Avago over twenty years of research and development to build.  Additional evidence during the bench trial demonstrated that Zhang engaged in economic espionage to help TJU and Zhang’s Chinese company unfairly compete in the multi-billion dollar global market for cell phone RF filters. 
Zhang was charged in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 1, 2015.
Zhang is currently released on a $500,000 secured bond. 
Zhang’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2020, before Judge Davila in San San Jose.  The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1831 is 15 years in custody and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate.  The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832 is 10 years in custody and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Michelle J. Kane and Susan Knight are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rebecca Shelton, Susan Kreider, and Laurie Worthen.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.