Monday, May 31, 2021

Former U.S. Navy SEAL And Congressman Dan Crenshaw: The Story Of A Gold Star Wife - This Is The Real Memorial Day.

Congressman and Former U.S. Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw, who was severely wounded in combat, offers a touching piece on Memorial Day at on the widows of American servicemen who died in action. 

She wakes up from a pleasant dream, for once. Usually, they are nightmares. He was in it this time, as if nothing was wrong and life was just as it was. Boring. Perfectly boring. They were laughing about something, watching TV together just as they used to. For a split second she is still in the dream as she reaches her hand across the bed to touch him. But he isn’t there.  

She remembers now. And with that realization comes the gut-wrenching wave of grief that she is all too familiar with. Tears well up. She squeezes her eyes shut and clutches her fists tightly in front of her face. She wants to scream but she knows from experience it doesn’t really help, and it scares her son, who is still too young to understand what’s going on. His dad was killed in action a year ago, when he was just 2 years old. He misses him, she can tell, but it’s obvious he doesn’t know how to process death yet.   

… To miss someone profoundly is to wonder what life would be like if they were still there. To know that every moment would be better if they were back in your arms. Every morning would be normal, instead of a crushing blow to the soul. Every evening would be full of laughter, instead of just … empty. Even some marital bickering would be welcome. What she would give, even for a fight over the obnoxious way he loaded the dishwasher.   

For those of us who have lost our brothers to war, we grieve. We miss them. We never forget. But we are not broken by it. We know this is the life we chose, to be on the front lines, to serve in the most dangerous of ways. Crazy, maybe, but true nonetheless.   

But for the Gold Star widow, she never pursued war. She was asked by her husband and her country to remain behind and remain strong, often not knowing whether or not her soulmate was even in danger. She learned to get through the nights while he was on deployment by imagining what he was doing, picturing him bored and playing Call of Duty instead of prepping for a mission. She had practice, given they had been through four deployments together.   

… This is the real Memorial Day. It is the day that never goes away, with no real beginning and no end. It isn’t one day a year, but a constant ache deep down in the soul of those who understand what real sacrifice is. For everyone else it is only once a year, a time to recall that these sacrifices happened at all and that we should remember them. For too many, it’s just a day off work, a day to slash prices, a day to throw a party.   

For the Gold Star families, it’s a day they observe with a mix of gratitude and dread: grateful the country remembers, grateful for the opportunity to speak openly about their loss without getting an awkward look, but dreading the culmination of emotion the day brings with it.   

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

Rep. Dan Crenshaw: The story of a Gold Star wife | Fox News

Note: I plan to interview Congressman Crenshaw for the upcoming issue of Counterterrorism magazine.

Memorial Day 2021: Honor And Remember Those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines And Airmen Who Gave The Supreme Sacrifice Of Their Own Lives For Our Country


Sunday, May 30, 2021

"Flags In": Flags Placed On Headstones At Arlington National Cemetery For Memorial Day

In the above and below Defense Department photos, soldiers assigned to the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as "The Old Guard," place American flags at headstones in Arlington National Cemetery on May 27th.

The tradition, known as "Flags In," is held prior to Memorial Day to honor the nation's fallen veterans.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Not Just A Job, The Navy Was An Adventure


On This Day In History Ian Fleming, The Creator Of James Bond, Was Born

On this day in 1908 Ian Fleming, the former British naval intelligence officer and journalist who created the world-famous iconic character James Bond, was born. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - With the release of latest James Bond film “No Time to Die” postponed from April to November due to the COVID-19 outbreak, millions of Bond fans around the world will have to be content to watch the older Bond films, or perhaps they should go back to the original source — Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. 

They could also read some of the many books written about the popular character and his creator, such as two fine biographies of the late Ian Fleming, John Pearson’s “The Life of Ian Fleming” and Andrew Lycett’s “Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond.”


Ben Macintyre, a columnist for the London Times and the author of “The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War,” (which I reviewed in these pages) “A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal” and “Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal,” also wrote an interesting book called “For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond.”


He wrote the book in 2008 as a companion to the Imperial War Museum exhibition that was held to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth. The exhibition examined the late thriller writer and his fictional character in historical context. The exhibition also looked at Ian Fleming’s experiences as a naval intelligence officer in World War II and how they informed his plots and characters.


Ben Macintyre was chosen to write the companion book because of his nonfiction books on espionage and his many columns on Ian Fleming and James Bond, including one column that revealed that there was a Nazi plot to rob the Bank of England, which perhaps inspired Ian Fleming to use a similar plot to rob Fort Knox in his great thriller “Goldfinger.”


Ian Fleming admitted his plots in the novels were fantastic (the films much more so), but he also said they were often based on the real world of intelligence.  


I recall Ben Macintyre telling me that his book on Fleming and Bond was a personal investigation of two lives, one real and one fictional.        


Sans gun and fistfights, Ian Fleming led a life at least as interesting than Bond. He was a reporter for Reuters prior to WWII and covered the Soviet espionage show trial of British engineers. During WWII he was a naval commander and served as the personal assistant to the director of naval intelligence.

After the war he became the foreign manager for the London Sunday Times, wrote a column and many articles, and traveled around the world for the newspaper.


I asked Mr. Macintyre how his work in journalism played a role in his novels, and he replied, “His ability to write to deadline, to get the facts right, and ensure a pacey narrative can all be traced directly to his early journalistic training.”


As for the line between fact and fiction in Ian Fleming’s thrillers, Mr. Macintyre said, “Fleming always based his books firmly in reality. “Everything I write has a basis in truth.” True, Bond is able to carry out exploits that would be hard to believe in fact, yet the world of spying quite often beggars’ belief: Agent Zigzag being a good example. All novelists find inspiration in reality, but Ian Fleming, more than any writer I know, anchored the imagined world of James Bond to the people, things and places he knew.”


Ben Macintyre said that espionage was a shadow trade between truth and untruth, and it is a complex interweaving of imagination, deception and reality.


In a recent column in the London Times, Ben Macintyre wrote about a Russian hit squad that murdered and attempted to murder former Russian intelligence officers in the United Kingdom.

“If the idea of a ruthless spy-killing unit sounds like the stuff of fiction, that’s because it became precisely that,” Mr. Macintyre wrote. “In the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming portrayed Smersh (director of operations: Rosa Klebb) as a massive counterintelligence network that more closely resembled the KGB.”


The column went on to explain that the real Smersh, or Smert Shpionam, meaning Death to Spies, murdered traitors, innocent or not, and instilled terror among potential enemies as well as Soviet citizens.


Mr. Macintyre said that according to his intelligence sources, the Russian counterintelligence unit that inspired Ian Fleming was now operating in Europe under a new name: Unit 29155, an elite sub-unit of the GRU. 


“As a former officer in naval intelligence, Fleming thought like a spy and wrote like one,” Mr. Macintyre told me. “This book is an attempt to explore a remarkable double life and to establish, as nearly as possible, where the real world of Ian Fleming ended, and the fictional world of James Bond begins.”


• Paul Davis’ On Crime column covers true crime, crime fiction and thrillers. 


You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming’s WWII experiences via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Piece On The 30 Assault Unit, The British WWII Commando Group Created By Ian Fleming, The Creator Of James Bond 

And you can read my online Crime Beat column on Ian Fleming and James Bond via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: The Ian Fleming and James Bond Phenomenon 

The Real Donnie Brasco: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column on Legendary Undercover FBI Agent Joe Pistone

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on legendary undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone.

Joe Pistone discussed his Philadelphia connections and Deep Cover - The Real Donnie Brasco, the podcast he does with Philly native actor/writer/producer Leo Rossi.

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages (click on them to enlarge):

  The real Donnie Brasco - Philadelphia Weekly

You can also read my previous online column on Joe Pistone via the below link:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Little Humor; Birthday Wishes

 Last week was my birthday.  

My wife didn’t wish me a happy birthday and my children did not acknowledge my special day. 

I went to work and none of my co-workers wished me a happy birthday. 

I felt sad. 

But when I entered my office, my personal assistant called out, “Happy birthday, boss!”  

That was lovely.  

My assistant then asked me to go to lunch with her. 

We stayed at the bar after lunch and then we went to her apartment.  

While at her apartment, she said, “Do you mind if I go change into something more comfortable? 

“Sure,” I replied.

My birthday had gone from a sad morning to a hope-filled evening

After a minute or two, she came out of her bedroom.

She held a birthday cake, and she was accompanied by my wife, my children, my friends, and my co-workers, all screaming, “Surprise!”  

I certainly was surprised. 

I was sitting on the couch - naked. 

Note: The above photo is of the late, great comic Rodney Dangerfield. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

How ‘Hill Street Blues’ Made Us Care About The Police

Michael Starr at the New York Post looks back at a TV cop drama that I and my wife enjoyed watching, Hill Street Blues. 

By the end of its first season in May 1981, “Hill Street Blues” was already a television classic — renowned for breaking barriers and forging a new path in police procedurals that still resonates 40 years later. 

The series, created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll, set the gold standard for its “docudrama” approach: its innovative use of handheld cameras and quick-cut editing and the way in which it portrayed the personal and professional lives of cops in an unnamed metropolitan city. 

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

Gritty police TV show 'Hill Street Blues' turns 40 ( 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Mike Pompeo Says He’s ‘Convinced’ COVID-19 Began As Lab Leak In China

Joshua Rhett Miller at the New York Post offers a piece on Mike Pompeo’s view that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a Communist Chinese laboratory.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is “convinced” that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese lab — and is accusing the Communist government of covering up the leak.

“There are many things the United States government could do to impose real cost on the Chinese Communist Party until they come clean about what they know and what they did,” Pompeo told Fox News.

“We know for sure they covered up this virus. I am confident that we will find that the evidence that we have seen to date is consistent with a lab leak and I’m convinced that’s what we’ll see. If I am wrong, I hope the Chinese Communist Party will come forward and make a fool of me.”

Pompeo, now a Fox News contributor, made the pointed comments following a report in the Wall Street Journal that three workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and seasonal illness.

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

Mike Pompeo 'convinced' COVID-19 began as lab leak in China ( 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

A Little Humor: Eating Healthy Is Easy

 An overweight man saw his doctor for a physical. 

He was told that his blood pressure and cholesterol were high, and that he had gained weight. 

The man said that he was not surprised, as he had not been feeling well. 

The doctor told him that his health problems were due to his not eating healthy. 

“Eating healthy does not have to be complicated,” his doctor told him. “Just think of colors. Fill your plate with bright colors: greens, yellows, and reds, and keep a balance between all colors.” 

The next day the man called his doctor.  

“Like you said, I thought of colors and after I ate, I felt better immediately,” the man said joyfully. “I never knew eating right could be so easy.” 

The doctor asked the man what he had eaten. 

“I filled a bowl with equal amounts of green, yellow and red M&M peanuts,” the man replied.

Note: The above photo is of the late, great comic W.C. Fields. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

'We've Reached A Tipping Point:' UFOs Go Mainstream, Suspense Builds Ahead Of Major Pentagon report

Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times, where my On Crime column appears, offers a piece on the upcoming Pentagon report on UFOs. 

In 1973, future President Jimmy Carter went public with a claim he had seen a UFO years earlier in the skies over rural Georgia. 

Nearly five decades later, former President Barack Obama went on late-night TV this week and admitted there are “objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are.” 

The two admissions, professional UFO researchers and alien hunters say, were met with wildly different receptions and underscore what’s been a gradual shift in public attitudes that is now hitting its peak. 

Mr. Obama’s comments — much like former President Trump last year marveling at the “hell of a video” showing Navy pilots encountering strange objects in the sky — weren’t dismissed, ridiculed or cast aside as science fiction-inspired nonsense. On Capitol Hill, in the media, and across the country, UFOs have gone mainstream, putting unprecedented pressure on the Pentagon, CIA, and other arms of the government to level with American citizens and finally disclose information locked up in a century’s worth of classified files. 

“There is this manifest interest in the subject. And let’s face it: It’s not because it might be Chinese or Soviet drones or secret technology,” said Mark Rodeghier, scientific director at the Center for UFO Studies who has spent decades researching the subject. “All the real interest is because, yes, it might be aliens or something incredibly strange.” 

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

FBI Employee Indicted For Illegally Removing National Security Documents, Taking Material To Her Home

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

WASHINGTON – An employee of the FBI’s Kansas City Division has been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally removing numerous national security documents that were found in her home. 

Kendra Kingsbury, 48, of Dodge City, Kansas, was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday, May 18. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Kingsbury’s arrest and initial court appearance in the District of Kansas. 

“As an intelligence analyst for the FBI, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials," said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Kingsbury is alleged to have violated our nation’s trust by stealing and retaining classified documents in her home for years. Insider threats are a significant danger to our national security, and we will continue to work relentlessly to identify, pursue and prosecute individuals who pose such a threat.” 

“The breadth and depth of classified national security information retained by the defendant for more than a decade is simply astonishing,” said Alan E. Kohler, Jr. Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The defendant, who's well trained in handling classified information, put her country’s sensitive secrets at risk. The FBI will go to great lengths to investigate individuals who put their own interests above U.S. national security, including when the individual is an FBI employee.”

“Our community’s safety and our nation’s security were jeopardized by this criminal behavior,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri. “Those entrusted with such grave responsibility must be held accountable if they violate their oath and betray their country. I appreciate the diligence and professionalism with which the FBI thoroughly investigated one of their own and brought the perpetrator to justice.” 

“Every FBI employee swears to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan of the FBI Kansas City Field Office. “With that oath comes the obligation to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure to safeguard our national security. Kingsbury’s actions are a betrayal of trust not only to the FBI but also the American people. They can be reassured that the FBI takes any and all allegations of wrongdoing by employees with the utmost gravity and remain committed to investigating these allegations to the fullest extent.” 

The federal indictment alleges that Kingsbury improperly removed sensitive government materials – including national defense information and classified documents – from June 2004 to Dec. 15, 2017. Kingsbury allegedly retained these materials in her personal residence. 

Kingsbury worked as an intelligence analyst for more than 12 years in the Kansas City Division of the FBI, until she was placed on suspension in December 2017. She was assigned to several different FBI squads during that time, including squads that focused on illegal drug trafficking, violent crime, violent gangs, and counterintelligence. Kingsbury, who held a top secret security clearance, had access to national defense and classified information. 

The federal indictment charges Kingsbury with two counts of having unauthorized possession of documents relating to the national defense. 

Count one of the federal indictment relates to numerous documents classified at the secret level that describe intelligence sources and methods related to U.S. government efforts to defend against counterterrorism, counterintelligence and cyber threats. The documents include details on the FBI’s nationwide objectives and priorities, including specific open investigations across multiple field offices. In addition, there are documents relating to sensitive human source operations in national security investigations, intelligence gaps regarding hostile foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations, and the technical capabilities of the FBI against counterintelligence and counterterrorism targets. 

Count two of the federal indictment relates to numerous documents classified at the secret level that describe intelligence sources and methods related to U.S. government efforts to collect intelligence on terrorist groups. The documents include information about al Qaeda members on the African continent, including a suspected associate of Usama bin Laden. In addition, there are documents regarding the activities of emerging terrorists and their efforts to establish themselves in support of al Qaeda in Africa. 

According to the indictment, Kingsbury was not authorized to remove and retain these sensitive government materials, nor did she have a need to know most, if not all, of the information contained in those materials. Kingsbury knew the unauthorized removal of classified materials and transportation and storage of those materials in unauthorized locations risked disclosure and transmission of those materials, and therefore could endanger the national security of the United States and the safety of its citizens. She also knew that violating the rules governing the handling of classified information could result in criminal prosecution. 

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence. 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick C. Edwards and David Raskin in the Western District of Missouri, with the assistance of DOJ Trial Attorney Scott Claffee with the Counterintelligence & Export Control Section of the National Security Division. It was investigated by the FBI Field Office in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Philadelphia Weekly: It's Up To Chuck Now To Defeat Philly DA Larry Krasner

Philadelphia Weekly notes that since Carlos Vega was defeated in the Democratic primary, it is up to Chuck Peruto, the Republican candidate for Philadelphia DA, to defeat incumbent DA Larry Krasner in the general election.

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Best 'Jack' In Town: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Two Assistant U.S. Attorneys Who Took Down South Philly Drug Gang

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on the two federal prosecutors who took down a South Philadelphia drug organization that operated 24/7.

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages (click on it to enlarge):

The best ‘jack’ in town - Philadelphia Weekly

Philadelphia Electrical Contractor Sentenced To Two Years On Charges Of Tax Fraud And Theft Of Employee Benefits

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Donald Dougherty, 55, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to two years in prison, one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay approximately $358,000 in restitution and a $125,000 fine by United States District Judge Michael M. Baylson for filing a false income tax return and theft from an employee benefit plan. 

In January 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charges, which arose from his ownership of Dougherty Electric Incorporated (DEI), an electrical contracting firm located in Philadelphia. The false income tax return charge related to Dougherty’s diversion of DEI resources for his personal benefit. In 2015, he used the resources of DEI to pay for $237,100 in personal expenditures, including a Dougherty family vacation at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Miami; repairs to his home; condominium association fees for his wife’s New Jersey condominium; expenses for beer delivery; and $25,000 transferred from the DEI operating account and deposited into the defendant’s personal account. Dougherty failed to report the receipt of these benefits on his personal income tax return for 2015. 

The charge of theft from an employee benefit plan resulted from Dougherty’s failure to pay benefits over to a labor benefit plan as required by a collective bargaining agreement between the national Electrical Contractors Associations and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 5 in Pittsburgh. The agreement required DEI to file payroll and remittance reports with Local 5 that identified DEI employees working in Pittsburgh, the hours worked, the wages they earned, and to then make corresponding contributions to the Local 5 benefit plans. 

Dougherty skirted around the agreement by using non-union labor to work on a contract project in Pittsburgh. He concealed his use of non-union labor by using his brother’s pass-through company to pay non-union electrical workers on DEI’s Pittsburgh projects. The deception enabled him to avoid making total contributions of $266,000 to Local 5’s benefit fund.  

“Donald Dougherty’s schemes to enrich himself backfired, and now he has received a just punishment as the consequence of his actions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “This is an important reminder for those who might consider filing false returns: the government is very good at detecting this type of fraud – and you will be found out and prosecuted.” 

“Mr. Dougherty not only stole from the Government, he put his own interests ahead of honest and hard-working union members,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Such greed and corruption cannot go unchecked.  The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the Government’s resources and dedicated laborers everywhere.” 

“Today’s sentence sends a clear message that the laws of the land apply to everyone,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “No matter who you are, it is unacceptable to purposely underreport your income. If you intentionally file fraudulent tax returns, your status will not protect you from federal prosecution.” 

“The U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, will pursue to the fullest extent of the law those who unlawfully profit by failing to make required contributions to employee benefit plans,” said Michael Schloss, Regional Director of EBSA’s Philadelphia Regional Office. 

The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard P. Barrett and Frank Costello.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

'Just Like Vietnam': Worries Mount Over U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times offers a piece on the concerns that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will resemble our disastrous withdrawal from Vietnam. 

The U.S. military exit from Afghanistan is beginning to look “just like Vietnam,” a key lawmaker warned Tuesday as questions grow about the Biden administration’s short-term strategy to ensure U.S. civilian personnel and Afghan allies aren’t slaughtered by the Taliban and the long-term prospect that the country’s pro-Western government may collapse without international support. 

A heated hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday underscored the mounting chaos surrounding the withdrawal of the remaining 3,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which President Biden has ordered to be completed no later than Sept. 11. 

Thousands of more NATO-allied troops are also heading for the exits in the wake of Mr. Biden’s decision. 

Pentagon officials say the physical withdrawal is proceeding on schedule with little difficulty, but the broader picture is troubling. 

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

Philly DA Larry Krasner Defeats Carlos Vega In Democratic Primary - Faces Chuck Peruto In General Election

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, an anti-cop and leftist reformer, defeated Carlos Vega in the Democratic primary yesterday.

He now faces Republican Chuck Peruto in the upcoming general election.

I interviewed Chuck Peruto for a two-part series at Philadelphia Weekly.

You can read my two Crime Beat columns on Peruto via the below links:

Paul Davis On Crime: 'I'm Going To Kick Krasner's Ass': My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On Chuck Peruto's Run For Philadelphia District Attorney

Paul Davis On Crime: Peruto Means Business: Part Two Of My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On Chuck Peruto's Run For Philly DA 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Speaking With Actor, Writer And Producer Leo Rossi

I interviewed actor, writer and producer Leo Rossi today for my upcoming Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat column. 

I asked Leo Rossi about his popular podcast with legendary undercover FBI Special Agent Joe Pistone, Deep Undercover - The Real Donnie Brasco, which can be heard at  Deep Cover: The Real Donnie Brasco | Podcast on Spotify    

I also asked him about his growing up in Philly and about his long and varied career in TV and the movies. He appeared in the mini-series In Cold Blood, and in films such as Relentless, The Accused, Gotti, 10th and Wolf and Analyze This. 

Below is a photo of Leo Rossi with Robert De Niro and Pat Cooper from Analyze This. 

The second photo from Analyze This shows Leo Rossi on the right, with Joe Viterelli on the left and Billy Crystal in the center.

The third photo from 10th & Wolf shows Leo Rossi between James Marsden and Brian Dennehy:

You can read about his career via the below link:

Leo Rossi - IMDb

Leo Rossi, like me, is a person that the Italians call a chiacchierone, a chatterbox, so my interview with him should make a good column. 

I'll post the column here when it comes out in about two weeks. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Former Army Green Beret Sentenced For Russian Espionage Conspiracy

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

WASHINGTON – A Virginia man and former Army Green Beret was sentenced today to 188 months in prison for conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives to provide them with U.S. national defense information. 

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, of Gainesville, admitted to conspiring with agents of a Russian intelligence service. According to court documents, from December 1996 to January 2011, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia. 

“Debbins violated his oath as a U.S. Army officer, betrayed the Special Forces, and endangered our country’s national security by revealing classified information to Russian intelligence officers, providing details of his unit, and identifying Special Forces team members for Russian intelligence to try to recruit them as spies,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department's National Security Division. “His conduct is a personal betrayal of colleagues and country, and it reflects the threat of Russian intelligence operations targeting our military. Today’s almost 16-year sentence reflects the seriousness of his conduct. It should also serve as a warning to those who would be tempted to do the same.”  

“Debbins flagrantly and repeatedly sold out his country, including while he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The defendant’s brazen disclosures to Russian intelligence agents jeopardized U.S. national security and threatened the safety of his fellow servicemembers. This prosecution underscores our firm resolve to hold accountable those who betray their sworn oath and bring them to justice for their exceptionally serious crimes.”  

“The betrayal of fellow U.S. citizens and servicemembers is inexcusable, and today Debbins was sentenced for his reprehensible and dangerous actions,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono for the FBI Washington Field Office. “He was entrusted to serve his country and protect his fellow Special Forces team, but instead he chose to provide classified national defense information to his own country’s adversary. This investigation which led to today’s sentencing is a reminder that the FBI and our partners will continue to diligently and doggedly counter national security threats to the U.S.” 

“The Green Berets epitomize heroics, leadership, and bravery, but Debbins was just the opposite,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “Debbins' actions in this case show a complete disregard for his fellow soldiers and for his country. The FBI will do everything in its power to identify those who choose to betray our country and bring them to justice.” 

From 1998 to 2005, Debbins served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in chemical units before being selected for the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Russian intelligence agents encouraged him to join and pursue a career in the Special Forces, which he did, where he served at the rank of Captain. 

Over the course of the conspiracy, Debbins provided the Russian intelligence agents with information that he obtained as a member of the U.S. Army, including information about his chemical and Special Forces units. In 2008, after leaving active duty service, Debbins disclosed to the Russian intelligence agents classified information about his previous activities while deployed with the Special Forces. Debbins also provided the Russian intelligence agents with the names of, and information about, a number of his former Special Forces team members so that the agents could evaluate whether to approach the team members to see if they would cooperate with the Russian intelligence service. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas W. Traxler and James L. Trump for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Parekh and Assistant Attorney General Demers greatly appreciate the assistance of Army Counterintelligence, the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service and MI5.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Best ‘Jack’ In The City: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On The Two Assistant U.S. Attorneys Who Took Down A South Philly Drug Gang.

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on two assistant U.S. attorneys who took down a South Philly drug gang. 

Basil Bey – the leader of a major drug trafficking gang in South Philadelphia – was sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison, Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams’ office announced recently.

Bey was convicted in 2017, but legal appeals delayed his sentencing. Several of his criminal associates were also convicted and sentenced. 

I reached out to the two veteran assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecuted this case, Jason Bologna and Kevin Jayne, to find out some details. 

“I believe it was a significant prosecution. A total of 10 people were indicted for operating a drug business 24/7,” Bologna said. 

“Basically, the drug business was organized around a phone. People would call the phone and agree to a price and time to meet the drug dealer, and they would purchase either heroin, laced with fentanyl, crack cocaine, or some combination of those. The scope of running this operation day in and day out was staggering. It was, to be blunt, a blight upon the South Philadelphia community.”

Jaynen added: “I made the point at Mr. Bey’s sentencing that the number of contacts on the drug phone being used for this business were on the order of something close to 400,000.” 

The large volume of calls, Jayne noted, was indicative of the level of business the operation was doing in South Philadelphia. 

Bologba said a good number of confidential sources were used by the FBI to make more than 35 drug buys, which were videotaped. 

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

The best ‘jack’ in town - Philadelphia Weekly 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Defense Contractor Employee And O.C. Man Arrested On Complaint Alleging Theft And Sale Of Government-Owned Technical Orders

 SANTA ANA, California – Law enforcement today arrested an employee of a Department of Defense contractor on a criminal complaint alleging he unlawfully sold United States Air Force technical data to an Orange County man who then illegally resold the data to customers. 

Sarfraz Yousuf, 43, of Miramar, Florida, was taken into federal custody this morning. Also arrested today was Marc Chavez, 53, of Trabuco Canyon. 

Yousuf is expected to make his initial appearance in United States District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chavez is expected to appear in federal court in Santa Ana. Each man is charged with one count of theft of government property. 

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, during an investigation into a U.S. Navy employee’s unlawful sale of government-controlled technical drawings to a Newport Beach-based company, Newport Aeronautical Sales Corp. (NASC), law enforcement discovered NASC also illegally obtained U.S. Air Force technical orders from the users of an email account used by Yousuf, an employee of Summit Aerospace Inc., a Miami-based aircraft maintenance company. 

The technical orders at issue in this case are documents that cover installation, operation, maintenance, and handling of Air Force equipment and material, according to the affidavit. 

During the investigation, law enforcement also discovered Chavez illegally acquired Air Force technical orders from Yousuf on behalf of LTC Products, a Trabuco Canyon-based company selling technical aerospace data that Chavez ran out of his home, the affidavit states. 

From January 2015 to July 2020, Chavez allegedly unlawfully acquired at least 1,875 Air Force technical orders from Yousuf in exchange for at least $132,280. Yousuf was not authorized to sell the technical orders and Chavez was not authorized to receive them. 

In June 2020, Yousuf allegedly sold 34 Air Force technical orders to Chavez, including one marked with a distribution statement reserved for “technical data of such military significance that release…may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States” and containing overhaul instructions related to a “Rate Gyro Assembly Flight Control,” for $2,170. Chavez allegedly resold the orders to customers for a profit. 

If convicted, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. 

A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

In a related case, Mark Fitting, 54, of Berlin, New Jersey, an engineer employed by the Navy at a facility in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in December 2020 to one count of conspiracy to steal government property and one count of aiding and abetting the theft of government property. Fitting admitted in his plea agreement that he downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to U.S. military weapons systems and sold the items to NASC, which later resold the documents to domestic and foreign customers. Fitting’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 18 in Santa Ana. 

This case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Homeland Security Investigations; the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. 

Assistant United States Attorney Keith D. Ellison of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is prosecuting this case.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Speaking To The Real Donnie Brasco - Legendary Undercover FBI Special Agent Joseph Pistone

I interviewed the real Donnie Brasco today - retired legendary undercover FBI Special Agent Joseph Pistone. 

I interviewed Joseph Pistone for my Crime Beat column, which appears in Philadelphia Weekly. 

Joseph Pistone went undercover for six years with the New York Cosa Nostra Bonanno crime family. His later court testimony put many wiseguys in prison. 

He later wrote a book called Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, which was later made into a film with Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. 

Along with Goodfellas and A Bronx Tale, Donnie Brasco is one the three most realistic modern mob movies, in my view. Forget about it, as they say in the film.  

I interviewed Mr. Pistone in 2004 for the Philadelphia Inquirer (see below) and I wrote an online column about him:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: Wiseguys, Goodfellas and Godfathers: Gangsters in Fact and Fiction

Today, I was interested in Mr. Pistone's Philadelphia connections, one of which is his friendship with actor/producer Leo Rossi, who is from Northeast Philly. 

The two friends are now doing an interesting podcast called Deep Cover - The Real Donnie Brasco, which can be heard free on a number of outlets.  

My Crime Beat column on Joseph Pistone will come out next Thursday and I'll post it here.


Monday, May 10, 2021

National Police Week: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Honors Nation’s Law Enforcement

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

In honor of National Police Week, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. This year, the week is observed Sunday, May 9 through Saturday, May 15, 2021. 

“This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said Attorney General Garland. “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer. To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recognize your service and sacrifice. On behalf of the entire Department of Justice, you have our unwavering support and eternal gratitude.” 

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.   

Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty, and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities that they have sworn to serve. 

During the Roll Call of Heroes, a ceremony coordinated by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), more than 300 officers will be honored. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), of the law enforcement officers who died nationwide in the line of duty in 2020, nearly 60% succumbed to COVID-19. 

Additionally, according to statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 46 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts and 47 died in accidents in 2020. LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website.  

The names of the 394 fallen officers who have been added in 2020 to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Thursday, May 13, 2021, during a Virtual Candlelight Vigil, which will be livestreamed to the public at 8:00 pm EDT. The Police Week in-person public events, originally scheduled for May, have been rescheduled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns to Oct. 13-17, 2021. An in-person Candlelight Vigil event is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2021. 

Those who wish to view the Virtual Candlelight Vigil on May 13, 2021, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at The FOP’s Roll Call of Heroes can be viewed at To view the schedule of virtual Police Week events in May, please view NLEOMF’s Police Week Flyer.    

To learn more about National Police Week in-person events scheduled for October, please visit