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Air Force Vet Wakes Up in Federal Prison on Veterans Day

Despite official complaints filed by current agents regarding a rogue investigator, an ongoing Congressional inquiry, and circumstantial evidence, former firearms instructor and 20-year Air Force veteran Timothy Arnold was convicted on multiple gun-related charges. His first full day in prison was Veterans Day.

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Priscilla Jones
Priscilla Jones is a business writer and communications strategist based in Washington, D.C. The long arm of the government and its subsequent corruption, abuses, and self-serving bedfellows make for good old-fashioned journalistic fodder. Help the sun shine into the dark corners. Send leads to Priscilla.Jones@muckrack.com or @PatriotWriter on Twitter. Desired anonymity will be always be honored.

WASHINGTON, November 12, 2014–Decorated 20-year Air Force veteran and former firearms instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, Timothy Arnold, woke up this Veterans Day in federal prison. Arnold was convicted earlier this year in a civilian court in Brunswick, Georgia, of manufacturing firearms and embezzlement—charges Arnold and many of his colleagues openly dispute. Active duty Office of Special Investigations (OSI) agents filed numerous complaints with the Inspector General (IG) regarding lead investigator Wendell Palmer’s “unethical” practices while building the case against Arnold. The information about the affidavits and the pending IG investigation was withheld from the court, in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s Brady doctrine requiring prosecutor Fred Kramer to disclose it. Additionally, the testimony of the defense’s star witness was prevented by unsubstantiated allegations of his contempt of court—testimony the would-be witness claims would have exonerated Arnold.

Thanks to exclusive reports filed earlier on BenSwann, Arnold’s case is receiving national attention and is the subject of an official Congressional Inquiry into its handling. Those with knowledge about the case continue to come forward, outraged that this prosecutorial tragedy happened at all, much less to a man they consistently describe as “honest to a fault” and “full of integrity.”

Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he serves time in prison.
Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he serves time in prison.

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Before Arnold self-surrendered to the United States Penitentiary that currently holds him, he addressed several mischaracterizations made during the trial. Assistant United States Attorney Kramer accused Arnold of purchasing “stenciled golf balls” and other items “he and his friends thought were cool” using the government-issued credit card. “Yes, I bought golf balls! I also bought custom pins, pens, lighters, coffee cups, and shot glasses with the OSI insignia on them,” Arnold says, “That is what is known as swag. It is customary to give small tokens like these to visiting dignitaries, foreign agents attending training, and those you need to thank while on out-of-country assignments. In keeping with OSI regulations, I turned the swag over to the Commodities Custodian and would then ‘sign it out’ as needed.” Arnold said he was the recipient of such swag from the White Houses of both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. He says small gestures like these are traditional throughout the military.

Kramer accused Arnold of impersonating a law enforcement officer. Arnold says he used the AFOSI-issued badge and credentials provided to him, as he had done for years. He also willingly surrendered the badges to investigators for examination. The prosecution claimed Arnold wore various patches and pretended to be in different branches of the military. “I did wear different shirts depending upon what scenario I set up for my firearms and tactics classes,” Arnold said after the trial. “I never ran around town claiming to be an Army Ranger, a Marine sniper, or anything else.” Another detail not revealed in the trial was that during Arnold’s Air Force career, he was actually part of an elite Air Mobility Command. The jury heard a different story, however. “He’s a poser. He’s a fraud,” Kramer told them. “This is a man with no honor in him.”

Arnold refused to plead guilty to any of the charges during pre-trial negotiations and proceeded with a costly trial in order to clear his name. OSI agents who testified for the defense were shocked that a case with falsified evidence at the hands of who they believe to be an unethical fellow investigator sailed all the way through the legal system. Those who signed affidavits complaining about Palmer’s tactics are currently following up on them via every channel available. The Congressional inquiry is active. Arnold himself expects his record to be expunged once the truth is revealed. His last words before entering prison were, “I have only begun to fight.”

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