Friday, July 30, 2021

Navy Charges USS Bonhomme Richard Sailor With Setting Blaze That Destroyed Ship

Wyatt Olson at Stars and Stripes offers a piece on a sailor assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard being charged with setting the fire that destroyed The USS Bonhomme Richard.

A crewmember of the Navy’s fire-decimated USS Bonhomme Richard has been charged with starting the blaze under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the service said Thursday.

The charges “were brought forth against a Navy Sailor in response to evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire” that began July 12, 2020, while the amphibious assault ship was docked in San Diego, according to a statement by Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the Navy’s 3rd Fleet.

The statement did not identify the sailor, and Robertson did not respond to a emailed query by Stars and Stripes.

“Evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system,” Robertson said in the statement.

Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, the commander of 3rd Fleet, is considering court-martial charges, he said. 

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

Stars and Stripes - Navy charges USS Bonhomme Richard sailor with setting blaze that destroyed ship

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A Little Humor: The Most Dangerous Thing We Eat

A renown doctor and author of a book on healthy food was speaking to a crowd in a conference room in a Philadelphia hotel. 

“The food we eat every day is mostly poison,” the doctor said. “Red meat, certain vegetables, and even water due to the chemicals in it." 

The doctor then stated that there is thing that is the most dangerous of all. 

“Does anyone know what is the most lethal food we eat.” 

A drunk wandered in from the hotel bar and heard the doctor’s question. 

“Wedding cake,” the drunk said.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Former Intelligence Analyst Sentenced To 45 Months In Prison For Disclosing Classified Information To Reporter

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

A Tennessee man was sentenced today to 45 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for illegally obtaining classified national defense information and disclosing it to a reporter. 

According to court documents, Daniel Everette Hale, 33, of Nashville, began communicating with a reporter beginning in April 2013 while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the National Security Agency (NSA). Hale admitted to meeting with the reporter in person on multiple occasions and communicating with the reporter via phone, text message, email and, at times, an encrypted messaging platform. 

In February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work at NGA and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter. Each of the six documents printed were later published by the reporter’s news outlet. 

According to court records, while employed as a cleared defense contractor for NGA, Hale printed 36 documents from his Top Secret computer, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA. Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were marked as Top Secret or Secret. 

According to court records, in August 2014, Hale’s cell phone contact list included contact information for the reporter. He also possessed a thumb drive that contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document that Hale had printed in February 2014 and had attempted to delete from the thumb drive. In addition, Hale possessed on his home computer another document that he had stolen from NGA. 

Hale pleaded guilty to retention and transmission of national defense information on March 31.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko of the Justice Department’s National Security Division made the announcement. 

The FBI’s Baltimore Field Office investigated the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon D. Kromberg and Alexander P. Berrang for the Eastern District of Virginia and Senior Trial Attorney Heather M. Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.

A Look Back At The Birth Of The FBI

Although the leadership of the FBI has come under fire for inappropriate actions of late, this should not distract from the rank-and-file special agents who do a fine job of combating crime and protecting American citizens.   

I’ve covered the FBI for many years, and I’ve interviewed a good number of special agents, including legendary FBI undercover agent Joseph Pistone and legendary FBI profiler John Douglas, so I was interested in reading FBI historian John F. Fox, Jr.’s piece on the birth of the FBI. 

You can read about the FBI’s rich and dramatic history via the below link:   

The Birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation — FBI 

You can also read my Washington Times review of Willard M. Oliver's The Birth of the FBI via the below link:

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

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

Paul Davis On Crime: My Q&A With Legendary FBI Profiler John Douglas 

And you can read my Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat column on Joseph Pistone via the below link:

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

Monday, July 26, 2021

Fifty Years On, How Frederick Forsyth’s Assassination Classic 'The Day of the Jackal' Transformed Thrillers Forever

I’ve been a huge fan of Frederick Forsyth’s thrillers since I read The Day of the Jackal in 1972.  

I like that Forsyth uses his skills as a journalist to infuse his thrillers with true facts and details about crime, espionage, terrorism and war. Forsyth also offers a good, thrilling and suspenseful story. 

I also enjoyed reading his memoir, The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue. Frederick Forsyth has led an interesting life as a journalist and novelist. 

I recently reread The Day of the Jackal and it still holds up as a great thriller. John MacLeod at the Scottish newspaper the Sunday Post offers a piece on The Day of the Jackal.    

It was Friday, January 2, 1970. He was just back from Biafra, sacked by the BBC and smeared by the Government. He had no savings, no place of his own, no job, and no prospect of one.

But a girl put him up in her flat – well, let him doss on the sofa – and the 31-year old’s “situation was so miserable that I decided to do something that even then was seen as crazy by all I knew…I might get out of this mess by writing a novel”. 

And an idea had been rattling in his head for over seven years: what might have happened had the Organisation Armée Secrète – France’s far-right lunatic fringe – hired a top, off-the-radar professional assassin to take out President Charles de Gaulle, instead of blundering endeavors to do it themselves? 

One of which, indeed, he had witnessed. He now set up a rickety card-table, plonked his beloved portable typewriter atop – there was even a bullet-hole in its case – rolled in a sheet of paper, and typed THE JACKAL. He typed every day for the next 35 days – 10 pages a day – until he had a complete 350-page manuscript. 

Then he looked at the first page again, rolled it back into the machine, and made one alteration – THE DAY OF THE JACKAL. “If I say it myself,” he recalled in 2015, “not a single word has been changed since.” 

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

Day of the Jackal 50th anniversary: How classic transformed thrillers (

You can also read my Washington Times piece on Frederick Forsyth via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Piece On Frederick Forsyth's 'The Fox' - Cyberspace Is The New Crime Zone, The New Battlefield 

Standing Watch In The Navy: The 11 General Orders Of The Sentry

Prior to covering crime, espionage, terrorism and other security issues as a writer and a crime columnist for the Washington Times and Philadelphia Weekly, I performed security work in the U.S. Navy as a young sailor and later as a Defense Department civilian for more than 37 years. 

For the last 21 of my 37 years of service, I was the civilian administrative officer of a Defense Department command in Philadelphia. I oversaw all security programs and served as an investigating officer and performed security briefings and seminars for the military personnel and civilian employees of the command.    

But my very first security job was when I was 17-years-old and stood watch as a sentry in the barracks at the Naval Recruit Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois in 1970. In Boot Camp we had to memorize the 11 General Orders of a Sentry (see below) and we had to recite them to any drill instructor who happened to visit us while on watch. 

I recall being visited while on watch at 0500 by a particularly surly drill instructor. He looked me up and down, shook his head and called me a candy ass and a puke excuse for a sailor. (I stood rigid and said nothing, but I thought about punching this old man's lights out if I ever encountered him outside the base).   

The instructor then placed his ugly, twisted face nearly up against mine and screamed, “What is the 5th Order of a Sentry?” 

Thankfully, I knew the correct answer. The instructor looked disappointed. 

I saw much older recruits draw a mental blank through nervousness, and some broke down and stammered, and some even cried when the instructors screamed, cursed, waved their hands about, and stomped their feet in an effort to confuse the sentry.   

But being raised by a former Navy chief, a WWII UDT frogman who ran our house like a ship, I felt like I grew up in the Navy. So someone screaming orders at me was nothing new or especially intimidating.      

I would go on to stand less stressful security watches on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War and on a Navy tugboat, the USS Saugus, at the nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. 

I thought of my time as a Boot Camp sentry when I came across the 11 General Orders of a Sentry on the Internet. 

I’m sure other Navy veterans have similar memories.  

Note: The top photo is of me on watch as a sentry at Boot Camp in February 1970. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

'The Sack Of Palermo': Buried In Concrete: How The Mafia Made A Killing From The Destruction Of Italy’s South

I have fond memories of visiting Palermo, Sicily in 1975 when I was a young sailor assigned to a U.S. Navy tugboat stationed at the nuclear submarine base in Holy Loch, Scotland. 

I took two weeks leave and visited the place where many years before my maternal grandparents, named Guardino, left the island and sailed for South Philadelphia.    

So I was interested in reading Roberto Saviano and Lorenzo Tondo’s piece at on organized crime in Palermo, Sicily and the south of Italy. 

It is the result of a building frenzy of the 1960s and 1970s, when Vito Ciancimino, a mobster from the violent Corleonesi clan, ordered the demolition of splendid art nouveau mansions to make space for brutalist tower blocks, covering vast natural and garden areas with tonnes of concrete. It is one of the darkest chapters in the postwar urbanisation of Sicily and would go down in history as the “sack of Palermo.” 

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

Buried in concrete: how the mafia made a killing from the destruction of Italy’s south | Mafia | The Guardian 

Friday, July 23, 2021

On This Day In History The Late, Great Crime Novelist Raymond Chandler Was Born

On this day in 1888 the late, great crime novelist Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago. He died on March 26, 1959.  

Chandler was the author of The Big Sleep, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye and other classic crime novels that featured his iconic character, private investigator Philip Marlowe.

You can read about Chandler's life and work via the Chicago Public Library's web site:

 Raymond Chandler Biography | Chicago Public Library (

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

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: Raymond Chandler's Influence on Crime Novels and Films 

Electrical Engineer Sentenced To More Than Five Years In Prison For Conspiring To Illegally Export To China Semiconductor Chips With Military Uses

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

A California man was sentenced today to 63 months, or more than five years, in prison for his role in a scheme to illegally export integrated circuits with military applications to China the required filing of electronic export information. As part of his sentence, the Judge ordered Shih to pay $362,698 in restitution to the IRS and fined him $300,000. 

Yi-Chi Shih, 66, of Hollywood Hills, was convicted on July 2, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Shih also was convicted of four counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, one count of making false statements to an FBI agent, three counts of subscribing to a false tax return, and four counts of making false statements to the IRS about his foreign assets. 

According to court documents, Shih defrauded a U.S. company that manufactured broadband, high-powered semiconductor chips known as monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) out of its confidential and proprietary business information that was part of its MMIC manufacturing services, according to trial evidence. 

As part of the scheme, Shih accessed the victim company’s web portal after obtaining that access through an associate who posed as a domestic customer seeking to obtain custom-designed MMICs that would be used solely in the United States. In this way, Shih concealed his true intent to export the U.S. company’s MMICs to the People’s Republic of China. 

The victim company’s semiconductor chips have several commercial and military applications. MMICs are used in missiles, missile guidance systems, fighter jets, electronic warfare, electronic warfare countermeasures and radar applications. The MMICs Shih exported to China were intended for AVIC 607, a state-owned entity in the PRC. 

Shih was the President of Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC), a Chinese company that was building a MMIC manufacturing facility in Chengdu. In 2014, CGTC was placed on the Commerce Department’s Entity List, according to court documents, “due to its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States – specifically, that it had been involved in the illicit procurement of commodities and items for unauthorized military end use in China.” 

Shih used a Hollywood Hills-based company he controlled – Pullman Lane Productions, LLC – to funnel funds provided by Chinese entities to finance the manufacturing of the MMICs by the victim company. Pullman Lane received financing from a Beijing-based company that was placed on the Entity List the same day as CGTC “on the basis of its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” according to court documents. 

Shih’s associate, Kiet Mai, pleaded guilty in December 2018 to one felony count of smuggling and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation and a $5,000 fine.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison for the Central District of California made the announcement. 

The FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Office of Export Enforcement, and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case, with valuable assistance provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judith A. Heinz, Melanie Sartoris, Khaldoun Shobaki, William M. Rollins, James C. Hughes and Daniel G. Boyle of the Central District of California prosecuted the case with assistance from Elizabeth Cannon, Deputy Chief of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Walking Dead: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On Kensington, The Largest Open-Air Drug Market On The East Coast

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on Kensington's open-air drug market and the coordinated police action that took down a drug gang.

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages:

You can click on the above and below to enlarge.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

My Threatcon Column: FBI's InfraGard Program Celebrates 25 Years Of Protecting America

 My Threatcon column was posted online today at 

You can read the column below: 

This year marks a milestone for the InfraGard program, a critical partnership between the FBI and the private sector.

According to the FBI, the National InfraGard Program began as a pilot project in 1996 when the Cleveland FBI Field Office asked local computer professionals to assist the FBI in determining how to better protect critical information systems in the public and private sectors. From this new partnership, the first InfraGard chapter was formed to address both cyber and physical threats.

When InfraGard went national in 2001, then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh applauded the success of the program.

“Computer crime is one of the most dynamic problems the FBI faces today,” Freeh said. ‘I am proud of the progress we have made in dealing with this problem by establishing the InfraGard initiative and opening the lines of communication between the public and private sectors and the law enforcement community. I am confident that we will continue to work together to further develop the capabilities to meet the computer crime problem, in all its facets, head on. Our economy and public safety depend on it.”

The InfraGard program connects business owners within critical infrastructure to the FBI and provides education, information sharing, networking, and workshops on emerging technologies and threats. According to, vetted membership includes business executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, security personnel, military and government officials, IT professionals, academia and state and local law enforcement—all dedicated to contributing industry-specific insight and advancing national security.

The requirements to be an InfraGard member includes being a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older. One must be affiliated with a critical infrastructure sector. Members must consent and pass an FBI security risk assessment and periodic re-certifications. Members must notify the FBI of any pending criminal matters. Members must sign and adhere to a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement and agree to adhere to InfraGard’s Code of Ethics and Information Sharing Policies.

Member Benefits include:

Access to InfraGard’s Secure Web Portal,

FBI accredited website with secure messaging that promotes communication among members.

FBI and DHS threat advisories, intelligence bulletins, analytical reports, and vulnerability assessments in real time.

Access to iGuardian, the FBI’s cyber incident reporting tool designed specifically for the private sector Unique Networking Opportunities.

FBI and other government agency presentations to InfraGard Member Alliance events • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) • Peer-to-peer collaboration across InfraGard’s broad membership.

Information sharing and relationship building with FBI and law enforcement at all levels Training and Education • Information Sharing Initiative (ISI) training program.

FBI and other government security awareness training programs.

Local and online training and event discounts • Free or discounted local seminar.

Today, the InfraGard National Members Alliance (INMA), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is comprised of 77 chapters—aligned with local FBI field offices—and more than 75,000 members across the United States.

“As Americans, our lifestyle, economy, and national security are supported by a complex framework of businesses and services,” noted the INMA. “The central role of these critical infrastructures and key resources (CIKR), makes them especially vulnerable as targets for both physical and cyber-attacks. The mission FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution. Our vision is to remain ahead of the threat through leadership, agility and integration.

“In an era where threats to our country and risks to private enterprise are escalating and intersecting, building mutual respect and cooperation between the FBI and the private sector has never been more important. The majority of infrastructure in the U.S. is owned and operated by the private sector; therefore, cultivating partnerships and incorporating key industry stakeholders is crucial to support the government in protecting critical infrastructure. InfraGard provides a vehicle for seamless public/private collaboration; expedites the timely exchange of information; and promotes mutual learning opportunities relevant to CIKR defense.”

The INMA said it leverages the expertise of a wide range of private sector partners who own, operate, and hold key positions within approximately 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The INMA said its InfraGard’s subject matter experts include business executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, military and government officials, IT professionals, security personnel, academia, and state and local law enforcement. Each of them is dedicated to contributing industry-specific insight and advancing national security. Through this partnership, the INMA noted, both the FBI and private sector gain an improved understanding of the threatscape and share valuable intelligence.

“We are grateful to our hundreds of volunteers, our thousands of dedicated members and our FBI partners for making InfraGard the valuable organization it is and for being such an incredible asset to America’s national security,” said Maureen O’Connell, the President of the InfraGard National Members Alliance. In

Paul Davis, a longtime contributor to the Journal, writes the IACSP online Threatcon column.

Ralph Cipriano: As Philadelphia Hits 300+ Murders, DA Krasner Chokes Up, Fakes Tears & Lies

Ralph Cipriano (seen in the below photo) at offers a piece on the rising murder rate in Philadelphia and his take on the response of DA Larry Krasner and Police Commissioner Outlaw.   

A drive-by shooter on Saturday night sprayed the storefront of a West Philly deli with bullets. Inside, a couple of customers whipped out their guns and returned the fire. 

Meanwhile, a mother trapped inside started screaming when the one-year-old baby girl she was holding in her arms was hit in the leg with a stray bullet. 

This is how bad things are right now in Philadelphia. On Monday, the deli owner told 6ABC he was still haunted by those screams. "That night I couldn't even sleep because my mind was still hearing that voice, that crying of that mom," Majid Choudary said. 

The child was expected to recover. But it was another violent weekend in Philadelphia, with nearly 40 reported shootings and three murders, as our civic leaders remained completely clueless about how to stop the bloodshed. 

How bad is the current epidemic of gun violence in Philadelphia? The Inquirer reported that in July alone, an average of 10 people a day were being shot. So far this year, the city has racked up 1,264 shootings, a record pace. 

And how bad is the murder rate? On July 16th, the city set an all-time record when the body count hit 300 murders at the fastest rate in the city's history. In the past 33 years, only a half-dozen times has the city hit 300 murders as early as August.   

Such as last year on Aug. 29th, when the body count hit 300 on the way to a near-record 499 murders. The all-time record for murders was set in 1990, at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. The city hit 300 murders on Aug. 3, 1990, on the way to racking up a record 500 murders that year. 

But in the history of the city, Philadelphia has never hit 300 murders in July. Until now. At this current pace, with 304 murders to date, the city will set an all time record this year with 663 murders.  

And while the bullets were flying, what was the district attorney of Philadelphia up to? The city official most responsible for the local gun violence epidemic was choking up, and faking tears at a press conference while lying through his teeth. 

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

As City Hits 300+ Murders, Krasner Chokes Up, Fakes Tears & Lies | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

‘A Laughing Jury Never Convicts': Charles Peruto Wants To Bring His Unique Style To The Philly D.A.’s Office

Stu Bykofsky offers a good piece on Chuck Peruto, a well-known lawyer and Republican candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney at Philadelphia Weekly.

The man who wants to be your district attorney is willing to take a break from his 42-year career as one of Philadelphia’s best known and most successful defense attorneys.

His father, A. Charles Peruto, was a Philadelphia legal legend up until his death in 2013, a defense attorney famed for using folksy warmth to seduce juries into seeing things his way. Chuck’s tactic is to entertain. “A laughing jury never convicts,” he says seriously. In court, he is The Entertainer.

In one memorable case, he defended a county detective charged with beating his girlfriend, who happened to be a judge.

She claimed he had beaten her, but instead of calling 911, she first called a police captain friend of hers who rushed over to her apartment, to stage the scene, Peruto told the jury.

The judge then called 911, claimed to be in death throes and slipped unconscious to the floor at the conclusion of the call.

Peruto acted out her testimony, winding up on the floor, in mock unconsciousness, splitting his pants. The jury roared with laughter – and did not convict.

Behind closed doors, many of his colleagues say that Peruto is a hot dog, a term he would relish.

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

‘A laughing jury never convicts’ - Philadelphia Weekly

You can also read my Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat columns on Chuck 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 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Four Chinese Nationals Working With The Ministry Of State Security Charged With Global Computer Intrusion Campaign Targeting Intellectual Property And Confidential Business Information, Including Infectious Disease Research

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

A federal grand jury in San Diego, California, returned an indictment in May charging four nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China with a campaign to hack into the computer systems of dozens of victim companies, universities and government entities in the United States and abroad between 2011 and 2018. The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, alleges that much of the conspiracy’s theft was focused on information that was of significant economic benefit to China’s companies and commercial sectors, including information that would allow the circumvention of lengthy and resource-intensive research and development processes. The defendants and their Hainan State Security Department (HSSD) conspirators sought to obfuscate the Chinese government’s role in such theft by establishing a front company, Hainan Xiandun Technology Development Co., Ltd. (海南仙盾) (Hainan Xiandun), since disbanded, to operate out of Haikou, Hainan Province. 

The two-count indictment alleges that Ding Xiaoyang (晓阳), Cheng Qingmin (庆民) and Zhu Yunmin (朱允敏), were HSSD officers responsible for coordinating, facilitating and managing computer hackers and linguists at Hainan Xiandun and other MSS front companies to conduct hacking for the benefit of China and its state-owned and sponsored instrumentalities. The indictment alleges that Wu Shurong (吴淑荣) was a computer hacker who, as part of his job duties at Hainan Xiandun, created malware, hacked into computer systems operated by foreign governments, companies and universities, and supervised other Hainan Xiandun hackers. 

The conspiracy’s hacking campaign targeted victims in the United States, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Targeted industries included, among others, aviation, defense, education, government, health care, biopharmaceutical and maritime. Stolen trade secrets and confidential business information included, among other things, sensitive technologies used for submersibles and autonomous vehicles, specialty chemical formulas, commercial aircraft servicing, proprietary genetic-sequencing technology and data, and foreign information to support China’s efforts to secure contracts for state-owned enterprises within the targeted country (e.g., large-scale high-speed railway development projects). At research institutes and universities, the conspiracy targeted infectious-disease research related to Ebola, MERS, HIV/AIDS, Marburg and tularemia. 

As alleged, the charged MSS officers coordinated with staff and professors at various universities in Hainan and elsewhere in China to further the conspiracy’s goals. Not only did such universities assist the MSS in identifying and recruiting hackers and linguists to penetrate and steal from the computer networks of targeted entities, including peers at many foreign universities, but personnel at one identified Hainan-based university also helped support and manage Hainan Xiandun as a front company, including through payroll, benefits and a mailing address. 

“These criminal charges once again highlight that China continues to use cyber-enabled attacks to steal what other countries make, in flagrant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The breadth and duration of China’s hacking campaigns, including these efforts targeting a dozen countries across sectors ranging from healthcare and biomedical research to aviation and defense, remind us that no country or industry is safe. Today’s international condemnation shows that the world wants fair rules, where countries invest in innovation, not theft.” 

“The FBI, alongside our federal and international partners, remains committed to imposing risk and consequences on these malicious cyber actors here in the U.S. and abroad,” said Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate of the FBI. “We will not allow the Chinese government to continue to use these tactics to obtain unfair economic advantage for its companies and commercial sectors through criminal intrusion and theft. With these types of actions, the Chinese government continues to undercut its own claims of being a trusted and effective partner in the international community.” 

“This indictment alleges a worldwide hacking and economic espionage campaign led by the government of China,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman for the Southern District of California. “The defendants include foreign intelligence officials who orchestrated the alleged offenses, and the indictment demonstrates how China’s government made a deliberate choice to cheat and steal instead of innovate. These offenses threaten our economy and national security, and this prosecution reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment and ability to hold individuals and nations accountable for stealing the ideas and intellectual achievements of our nation’s best and brightest people.” 

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

Four Chinese Nationals Working with the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaign Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information, Including Infectious Disease Research | OPA | Department of Justice 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

A Little Humor: Daddy Takes Daughter To The Zoo

Eight-year-old Mary rushed up to her father and asked him to take her to the zoo when he arrived for his weekend visitation. 

Her father, a notorious gambler and deadbeat dad, told his daughter that he didn’t like the zoo and he had other plans. 

“I’ve never been to the zoo,” Mary cried. “I want to see the animals.” 

His ex-wife, a stern woman, gave her ex-husband a dirty look. 

“Alright, I’ll take you to the zoo,” the father told his daughter. 

“Did you enjoy the zoo?” Mary’s mother asked her when she returned home. 

“It was great,” Mary said. “I loved seeing the animals.” 

“Did you and your father have a good time?” asked her mother. 

“Daddy did,” Mary replied. “Especially when one of the animals came in at 20 to 1!” 

Note: The above photo is of child actress Mary Jane Saunders and comedic great Bob Hope in the film Sorrowful Jones. The film was based on Damon Runyon’s classic short story Little Miss Marker. 

You can read Damon Runyon's short story Little Miss Marker via the below link:

Little Miss Marker (

The above photo is of Damon Runyon. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

I'm Proud To Be An American: The Singing Sergeants Collaboration Of 'God Bless The U.S.A.' With Lee Greenwood And Home Free Named The 'Most Viral Video'

 “With over 200 million views through all social media platforms, myself and Home Free are celebrating the 2021 Telly Award win for 'Most Viral Video,'" said singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood.

"I have been inundated with questions about the version of God Bless the USA with Home Free/The United States Air Force Band, and how it came together as people just love the feel of it. Now to win an award and know that almost one-third of our entire US population has heard this version is astounding to me."

 You can watch the video via the below link: 

Makes one proud to be an American.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Chinese National Sentenced To More Than Three Years In Federal Prison For Attempting To Illegally Export Maritime Raiding Craft And Engines to China

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

A Chinese national was sentenced Wednesday to three years and six months in federal prison for conspiring to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to export maritime raiding craft and engines to China fraudulently, and attempting to export that equipment fraudulently in violation of U.S. law. In addition, the Court ordered Songtao to forfeit $114,834.27, the amount caused to be wired to a U.S. manufacturer to purchase the raiding craft and engines. 

Ge Songtao, 51, of Nanjing, People’s Republic of China, pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2020. According to court documents, Ge was the chairman of Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd., a company headquartered in Shanghai, China. Beginning in 2018, Ge was interested in identifying a source of supply of U.S.-manufactured combat rubber raiding craft equipped with engines that could operate using gasoline, diesel fuel or jet fuel. These vessels and multi-fuel engines are used by the U.S. military and can be operated after being launched from a submerged submarine or dropped into the ocean by an aircraft. No comparable engine is manufactured in China. 

One of Ge's U.S.-based employees, co-defendant Yang Yang, attempted to order seven of the raiding craft equipped with these engines from a U.S. manufacturer. When the U.S. manufacturer suggested that Yang purchase cheaper gasoline-fueled engines, she insisted that she wanted to purchase the military-model multi-fuel engines. To induce the manufacturer to sell this equipment, Yang falsely represented that her customer was an entity called United Vision Limited in Hong Kong, rather than Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. in Shanghai. One of Yang’s Chinese co-workers had told her that American manufacturers would be more likely to sell to an entity in Hong Kong rather than one in mainland China. By misrepresenting what company was buying the equipment and where it was located, Yang caused the entry of false information in the Department of Commerce’s Automated Export System in violation of federal law. 

To facilitate the purchase of the raiding craft and engines, Ge arranged for wire transfers to a separate company in Hong Kong, Belt Consulting Company Limited, which in turn wired $114,834.27 to the U.S. manufacturer. He also coordinated plans to send an employee to Hong Kong to receive the raiding craft and engines and transship them to mainland China. The plot failed and authorities arrested Ge and his co-defendants before the raiding craft and engines were shipped overseas. 

On Sept. 15, 2020, Yang pleaded guilty to the same two charges to which Ge pleaded guilty, and on Dec. 9, 2020, was sentenced to a time-served sentence or the equivalent of approximately 14 months’ imprisonment. On Aug. 13, 2020, co-defendant Zheng Yan pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information and to export the raiding craft and engines fraudulently in violation of U.S. law, and on March 31, was sentenced to a time-served sentence or the equivalent of approximately 6 months’ imprisonment and 11 months’ home-detention. The trial of remaining co-defendant, Fan Yang, is scheduled to begin on August 2. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann for the Middle District of Florida made the announcement.

The FBI, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Heather Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Coolican of the Middle District of Florida prosecuted the case.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Real 'Vince Of Darkness': My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On Ralph Cipriano And Former PA Senator Vince Fumo

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on Ralph Cipriano and his book on former PA senator Vince Fumo. 

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages:

The real ‘Vince of Darkness’ - Philadelphia Weekly

(Click on the above and below to enlarge)

You can visit Ralph Cipriano's blog at Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog and his web site at Ralph Cipriano | Veteran Journalist & Author

And you can purchase Target: The Senator at Amazon via the below link:

Target: The Senator: A Story About Power And Abuse Of Power: Cipriano, Ralph: 9780692979730: Books 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Little Humor: Call To A Hospital

A nurse at a local hospital answered a call from a distraught woman. 

“I’m a diabetic and I think I had too much sugar today,” the woman said. 

“Do you have any symptoms?” the nurse asked. “Are you light-headed?” 

“No,” the woman replied. “I’m a brunette.” 

Note: Perhaps this will help balance all of the dumb blonde jokes that have appeared here. 

The above photo is of comedian Joanne Worley from the great 1960’s TV comedy show Laugh-In. 

Iranian Intelligence Officials Indicted On Kidnapping Conspiracy Charges: Iranian Intelligence Services Allegedly Plotted To Kidnap A U.S. Journalist And Human Rights Activist From New York City for Rendition to Iran

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

A New York federal court unsealed an indictment today charging four Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. A co-conspirator and California resident, also of Iran, faces additional structuring charges. 

According to court documents, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, aka Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of Iran, conspired to kidnap a Brooklyn journalist, author and human rights activist for mobilizing public opinion in Iran and around the world to bring about changes to the regime’s laws and practices. Niloufar Bahadorifar, aka Nellie Bahadorifar, 46, originally of Iran and currently residing in California, is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot. 

“Every person in the United States must be free from harassment, threats and physical harm by foreign powers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Through this indictment, we bring to light one such pernicious plot to harm an American citizen who was exercising their First Amendment rights, and we commit ourselves to bring the defendants to justice.” 

“As alleged, four of the defendants monitored and planned to kidnap a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin who has been critical of the regime’s autocracy, and to forcibly take their intended victim to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “Among this country’s most cherished freedoms is the right to speak one’s mind without fear of government reprisal. A U.S. citizen living in the United States must be able to advocate for human rights without being targeted by foreign intelligence operatives. Thanks to the FBI’s exposure of their alleged scheme, these defendants have failed to silence criticism by forcible abduction.” 

“As alleged in this indictment, the government of Iran directed a number of state actors to plot to kidnap a U.S.-based journalist and American citizen, and to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil - all with the intention to lure our citizen back to Iran as retaliation for their freedom of expression,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “We will use all the tools at our disposal to aggressively investigate foreign activities by operatives who conspire to kidnap a U.S. citizen just because the government of Iran didn’t approve of the victim’s criticism of the regime.” 

According to the indictment, Farahani is an Iranian intelligence official who resides in Iran. Khazein, Sadeghi and Noori are Iranian intelligence assets who also reside in Iran and work under Farahani. Since at least June 2020, Farahani and his intelligence network have plotted to kidnap a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin (Victim-1) from within the United States in furtherance of the government of Iran’s efforts to silence Victim-1’s criticisms of the regime. Victim-1 is an author and journalist who has publicized the government of Iran’s human rights abuses.

Prior to the kidnapping plot, the government of Iran attempted to lure Victim-1 to a third country in order to capture Victim-1 for rendition to Iran. In approximately 2018, Iranian government officials attempted to induce relatives of Victim-1, who reside in Iran, to invite the victim to travel to a third country for the apparent purpose of having Victim-1 arrested or detained and transported to Iran for imprisonment. Victim-1’s relatives did not accept the offer. An electronic device used by Farahani contains, among other things, a photo of Victim-1 alongside photos of two other individuals, both of whom were lured from third countries and captured by Iranian intelligence, with one later executed and the other imprisoned in Iran, and a caption in Farsi that reads: “gradually the gathering gets bigger... are you coming, or should we come for you?” 

On multiple occasions in 2020 and 2021, as part of the plot to kidnap Victim-1, Farahani and his network procured the services of private investigators to surveil, photograph and video record Victim-1 and Victim-1’s household members in Brooklyn. Farahani’s network procured days’ worth of surveillance at Victim-1’s home and the surrounding area, videos and photographs of the victim’s family and associates, surveillance of the victim’s residence, and the installation of and access to a live high-definition video feed of Victim-1’s home. The network repeatedly insisted on high-quality photographs and video recordings of Victim-1 and Victim-1’s household members; a large volume of content; pictures of visitors and objects around the house; and depictions of Victim-1’s body language. The network procured the surveillance by misrepresenting their identities and the purpose of the surveillance to the investigators, and laundered money into the United States from Iran to pay for the surveillance. Sadeghi acted as the network’s primary point of contact with private investigators while Noori facilitated payment to the investigators in furtherance of the plot. 

As part of the kidnapping plot, the Farahani-led intelligence network also researched methods of transporting Victim-1 out of the United States for rendition to Iran. Sadeghi, for example, researched a service offering military-style speedboats for self-operated maritime evacuation out of New York City, and maritime travel from New York to Venezuela, a country whose de facto government has friendly relations with Iran. Khazein researched travel routes from Victim-1’s residence to a waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn; the location of Victim-1’s residence relative to Venezuela; and the location of Victim-1’s residence relative to Tehran.    

The network that Farahani directs has also targeted victims in other countries, including victims in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked to procure similar surveillance of those victims. 

As alleged, Bahadorifar provided financial and other services from the United States to Iranian residents and entities, including to Khazein, since approximately 2015. Bahadorifar facilitated access to the U.S. financial system and institutions through the use of card accounts and offered to manage business interests in the United States on Khazein’s behalf. Among other things, Bahadorifar caused a payment to be made to a private investigator for surveillance of Victim-1 on Khazein’s behalf. While Bahadorifar is not charged with participating in the kidnapping conspiracy, she is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot and is charged with conspiring to violate sanctions against Iran, commit bank and wire fraud, and commit money laundering. Bahadorifar is also charged with structuring cash deposits totaling more than approximately $445,000. 

Farahani, Khazein, Sadeghi and Noori are each charged with: (1) conspiring to kidnap, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; (2) conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and sanctions against the government of Iran, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; (3) conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and (4) conspiring to launder money, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Bahadorifar is charged with counts two, three and four, and is further charged with structuring, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

The FBI’s New York Field Office, Counterintelligence-Cyber Division and Iran Threat Task Force are investigating the case. 

Trial Attorney Nathan Swinton of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Jacob H. Gutwillig and Matthew J.C. Hellman of the Southern District of New York are prosecuting the case. 

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.