Tag Archives: investigation

Report: At Least 1,000 Police Officers Fired for ‘Sexual Misconduct’

About 1,000 police officers in the United States were fired from 2009 to 2014 for “sexual misconduct,” which includes charges of rape, sodomy, possession of child pornography, and propositioning citizens or having on-duty intercourse.

A yearlong investigation conducted by the Associated Press, which looked at the decertification records in 41 states, revealed that “flaws in law enforcement policies and a protective culture of policing can allow sexual predators in police ranks to go unnoticed or unpunished until it’s too late.”

The AP noted that no federal officers were included in the investigation and some states, such as California and New York, “had no records because they have no statewide system for revoking the licenses of officers who commit misconduct.”

[RELATED: Ex-Police Chief, Accused of Sexual Assault on the Job, Sentenced to Probation]

In several of the states that provided records, “some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were discovered in news stories or court records.”

Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida has been investigating the issue for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and she told the AP that she believes it is “happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country.”

[RELATED: Former CHP Officer Pleads No Contest, Sentenced To Probation For Stealing Explicit Photos]

“It’s so underreported, and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them,” DiPino said.

The investigation found that 550 of the officers who were fired lost their licenses for sexual assault offenses “including rape, pat-downs that amounted to groping, and shakedowns in which citizens were extorted into performing favors to avoid arrest.” The review revealed that 440 of the officers were decertified for misconduct such as possession of child pornography, “voyeurism in the guise of police work and consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.”

The AP described the case of former officer Sergio Alvarez, who spent six years working a night shift and was sued by six women who claimed that he sexually assaulted them between 2011 and 2012.

Alvarez was convicted of sexually assaulting the women while on the job, four of whom he abducted and raped. The women have been paid a total of $4.1 million in settlements, with $2.8 million coming from the city. Alvarez is now serving 205 years to life in prison.

Tom McDonald, a former captain for the Los Angeles Police Department who took over in West Sacramento after Alvarez’s arrest, told the AP that while it is hard to see the victims, it is even harder to think that he might be contributing to the problem.

“It hurts the heart to see victims,” McDonald said. “But it makes it even worse when you are, in one way, shape or form, a contributing factor to them being hurt.”

The report noted that “about one-third of the decertified officers were accused in incidents involving juveniles,” and the victims were “overwhelmingly women” who were often “the poor, the addicted, the young,” with many officers using the victims’ criminal record or search for help as a means for exploitation.

The AP stated that the issue was part of a problem stemming from policies and procedures which includes poor supervision and training, neglected “warning signs,” and a “good old boy culture in which inappropriate behavior was ignored or even condoned.”

FBI Refuses To Release Information In Hillary Clinton Email Investigation

Following a court-ordered inquiry, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to give the State Department any kind of update regarding information that has been recovered from the private email server used by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State, and has gone as far as to refuse to confirm whether an ongoing investigation is taking place.

Washington Times reported that the court-ordered inquiry came from Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who told the State Department to reach out to the FBI to find out if any information could be recovered from Clinton’s server.

[RELATED: Will Hillary Clinton Face Legal Trouble For Deleting Subpoenaed Emails?]

One week after the deadline set by the Justice Department to respond to the inquiry, FBI General Counsel James A. Baker replied with a brief letter on Monday.

[pull_quote_center]At this time, consistent with long-standing Department of Justice and FBI policy, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation, nor are we in a position to provide additional information at this time.[/pull_quote_center]

Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, is pursuing 16 open records cases seeking emails from Clinton and her top aides including Huma Abedin. Judicial Watch is questioning whether the FBI actually has possession of the server used by Clinton.

“We still do not know whether the FBI — or any other government agency for that matter — has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department,” Judicial Watch said.

[RELATED: Report: Dozens of Hillary Clinton Emails Were Classified From The Beginning]

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, whose panel oversees the FBI, criticized the agency for refusing to cooperate with Judge Sullivan’s request and accused the FBI of “behaving like it’s above the law.”

[pull_quote_center]The FBI is behaving like it’s above the law. Simply refusing to cooperate with a court-ordered request is not an appropriate course of action. This entire case, from Secretary Clinton’s ill-advised decision to use a non-government email server, to the FBI’s investigation about classified information, needs some transparency in order to assure the American people that getting to the bottom of this controversy is a priority.[/pull_quote_center]

Clinton turned a “blank” server over the FBI in August, containing around 30,000 emails she deemed “work-related” from her tenure as Secretary of State. These did not include about 32,000 emails she’d claimed she deleted because they contained personal information, and Sullivan ordered the Justice Department and the FBI to gain access to the missing emails.

[RELATED: Judge Orders Access To 32,000 ‘Personal’ Emails After Hillary Turns In Blank Server]

For more election coverage, click here.

Veterans Call on Drone Operators to “Refuse to Fly”

Forty-four veterans of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines have launched a campaign calling on drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance and attack missions. The veterans are working with KnowDrones.com to distribute a letter and airing a 15-second television commercial as part of the “Refuse to Fly” initiative.

The commercial has aired on CNN, FoxNews, MNBC and other networks in areas near drone intelligence and control centers, including Las Vegas near Creech Air Force Base, in northern California near Beale AFB, upstate New York near Hancock Air National Guard base outside Syracuse and the Air Guard base near Niagara Falls. The paid ads were partially covered by members of Veterans for Peace.

The 44 veterans who signed the letter are calling on “United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions.  These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

Some of the veterans include former U.S. Army Captain and CIA official Ray McGovern; former U.S. Navy Lt. Barry Ladendorf, president of Veterans for Peace; and former U.S. Army Sgts. Aaron Hughes and Maggie Martin, co-directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Regarding the legality of refusing military orders, the group says drone operators are legally allowed to refuse the orders.

 “Those involved in United States drone operations who refuse to participate in drone missions will be acting in accordance with Principle IV of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950,” that states:

 “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible.”

Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com, says the organizers feel “it is perfectly legitimate to advise military people to stop taking part in illegal activity that has killed thousands without due process, is terrorizing thousands more and is wracking their own ranks with moral injury and PTSD.”

In response to the letter and campaign, an Air Force spokesman said drone pilots are acting within the law when flying missions.

Our remotely piloted aircraft operators perform a critically important mission that contributes significantly to national defense,” Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email to Military Times. “They are professional and comply with applicable law, policies, and adhere to very exacting procedures.”

Lt. Col Karns also questioned the 6,000 deaths being touted by KnowDrones.com. It is difficult to know exactly how many civilians have been killed under the U.S. drone program since official numbers are not recorded, however Senator Lindsey Graham estimated that 4,700 people have been killed.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA carried out 27  drone strikes in Pakistan during 2013, and 38 in Yemen, including the now infamous attack on December 12, 2013 that killed 15 people at a wedding. TBIJ estimates over 2,400 deaths in the first 5 years of the Obama administration.

In March 2014 TruthInMedia reported that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights called upon the United States and other responsible governments to publicly investigate civilian deaths at the hands of drones.

In September 2014 TruthInMedia also spoke with Heather Linebaugh about her experience with United States Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. Linebaugh worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program in Iraq and Afghanistan. Linebaugh is suffering from PTSD and works to promote natural treatments such as Cannabis, Yoga, and meditation.

Watch: AP Reporter Grills Spokesman Who Admitted State Dept. Won’t Look Into Clinton Foundation Donors

By Al Weaver

The Associated Press’ Matt Lee called out the State Department Thursday after the agency announced it will not look into undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation which violated the Memorandum of Understanding.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters during Thursday’s briefing that the more than 1,100 undisclosed donors will not be reviewed as the department moves on.

“The State Department has not, and does not intend to initiate a formal review or to make a retroactive judgment about items that were not submitted during Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters during Thursday’s State Department briefing.

Right away, Lee called out Rathke, telling him that the only reason they are not looking into this is because they don’t want to find any thing that “might raise a flag.”

“It seems like you’re not aware of anything — and there may not be anything there, but the reason that you’re not aware of anything is because, and not you personally, but the reason you are not aware of anything is because the building is refusing to go back and look at it to see if there is anything that might raise a flag,” Lee told the spokesman.

“Again, these private donations were — there was never any expectation that they would be reviewed…” Rathke said, before being cut off by Lee.

“But there was an expectation that they would be made public and so that you could go and look…then they weren’t made public and so, now that they are being made public, wouldn’t it make sense to go back and take a look at them and see whether there’s any questions raised and any red flag that might get raised?” Lee asked. “I don’t understand why you would just close your eyes to it because they’ve admitted that they didn’t live up to their end of the M.O.U. on this.”

“Yeah, but they have subsequently taken steps to address this,” he said before Lee cut him off again.

“But you’re not going and looking at what they’ve done to address that to see if it brought them into compliance. It’s almost as if they had an agreement that they didn’t follow through on but since she is no longer the Secretary of State you’re saying—well, that doesn’t apply anymore and so it just doesn’t matter,” Lee said. “You don’t know if it doesn’t matter or not because you’re not looking into it.”

“I think what we’ve seen is speculation,” Rathke said. “We haven’t said we’re not aware of any actions taken that were influenced by those donations.”

“What has been put out there are questions, but you’re saying that the State Department either doesn’t have the same questions or isn’t interested in finding out what the answer to those questions is,” Lee said. “That’s what it sounds like you’re saying because you’re saying you’re not going to go back and look to see whether the violations of the M.O.U. might raise questions, or raise red flags, about what was going on. Right?”

“I don’t have anything to say beyond what I’ve said. We are not aware of any indication that there was influence by these donations. We have reviewed entities as I described under the M.O.U.,” Rathke said. “These private donations would not have been reviewed by the State Department, and we are not going back to do a retroactive examination of each of those cases and we’re not going to make a retroactive judgment on those items.”

Lee continued to appear incredulous at Rathke’s assertion, asking him time and time again why the State Department is not interested in finding out if there was, at least, the slightest bit of impropriety.


[h/t: Free Beacon]

Benghazi Committee Subpoenas Hillary Clinton’s Private Emails for Investigation

On Wednesday, the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, issued subpoenas for the emails of Hillary Clinton, who used her private email account for government business, during her four years as U.S. Secretary of State.

The Washington Post reported that the Committee is asking for all e-mails related to the Benghazi attack “from all Clintonemail.com accounts and any other staff members’ personal accounts.”

The Associated Press reported that Clinton had a personal email server, which could be traced back to her home in Chappaqua, New York, and that the “unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official running her own email server” would have given Clinton “significant control over limiting access to her message archives.”

Jamal Ware, the Committee’s communications director, released a statement on Wednesday, announcing the Committee’s decision:

The Select Committee on Benghazi today issued subpoenas for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation. The Committee also has issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”

According to the Washington Post, after finding evidence that Clinton was using her personal email address to conduct government business, the Committee also found evidence suggesting that “at least a small group of Clinton staffers” used personal emails to “conduct government work and correspond with the secretary.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, defended Clinton, saying that her use of private email has been public knowledge for several years. He said he sees this as “an effort to go after Hillary Clinton, period.”

Patrick Peterson, chief executive of the Cybersecurity company Agari, told the Los Angeles Times that Clinton’s use of her private email raised several red flags, in terms of security and vulnerability.

We pay taxes to guarantee entire staffs monitoring this stuff, and here they are running off and doing it on their own,” Peterson said. “The real irony is she might have made it harder for us as a populace and citizens to legally discover her email contents, but this potentially increases the chances that China and Russia can get in.”

Clinton’s use of her private email for government business during her time as Secretary of State was first revealed by the New York Times on Monday. According to the Times, it wasn’t until two months ago that Clinton’s advisors “reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.”

The Associated Press noted that the questions surrounding Clinton’s decision “left the Obama administration in an awkward position,” and that the White House has said it is Clinton’s responsibility to “make sure any emails about official business weren’t deleted from her private server.”


March 9, 2015: UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email

March 10, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Truth in Media Gets It Right, DOJ Says Policing for Profit Part of Ferguson Discrimination

A report from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.

While the full report has not yet been released, anonymous federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that it “chronicles discriminatory practices across the city’s criminal justice system, detailing problems from initial encounters with patrol officers to treatment in the municipal court and jail.

The investigation began weeks after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the city of Ferguson in August.

The officials told the Associated Press the investigation found that in a city that is 67 percent African American, “black were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge.”

The officials also found that 88 percent of the time use of excessive force was documented by police, it was being used against a black individual, and that out of the city’s 53 police officers, only three were black.

Investigative Journalist Ben Swann documented the clashes between the residents and local police when he visited the city of Ferguson in November.

Swann pointed out that while a lot of people would describe the moment Brown was shot by Wilson as the moment conflict began, some of the city’s residents would say the shooting was the highlight of something that has been building under the surface for decades.

Mark and Earl Banks, brothers who grew up in Ferguson, and now live in Detroit, told Swann that they aren’t surprised by this incident, and that the issues in Detroit are no different than the issues in Ferguson.

Joe Stevenson, who also grew up in Ferguson, told Swann that 30 years ago, just like today, the relationship between citizens and police was tense. He attributed this to the fact that police would look for anyone to write tickets for in order to obtain money from fines.

You could make the argument that this all comes back to social media and new media: the ability for people to rally together, to protest, to communicate, for information to rise to the surface,” Swann said. “Maybe this incident was a long time coming, but for many they’re glad that the moment is finally here.”

Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

NBC News anchor Brian Williams has announced that he will take a leave of absence from the network, as NBC launches an internal investigation, which stemmed from Williams’ revelation that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during invasion of Iraq in 2003.

On Saturday, NBC News released Williams’ announcement regarding his hiatus. In the statement, Williams said he has decided to take a leave of absence for “the next several days” and that NBC News anchor Lester Holt will take his place:

In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actionsAs Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

Williams’ news comes after NBC announced on Friday that it will be conducting an internal investigation regarding a report Williams gave about his time spent covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Associated Press reported that the probe will be led by Richard Esposito, who worked at ABC, the New York Daily News and New York Newsday prior to coming to NBC.

NBC News President Deborah Turness announced the investigation in an internal memo on Friday:

As you would expect, we have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired. We’re working on what the best next steps are.”

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote an editorial on Saturday claiming, “NBC executives were warned a year ago that Brian Williams was constantly inflating his biography.”

THIS was a bomb that had been ticking for a while,” wrote Dowd. “But the caustic media big shots who once roamed the land were gone, and ‘there was no one around to pull his chain when he got too over-the-top,’ as one NBC News reporter put it.”

Williams issued a public apology on Wednesday, for a report he gave on Jan. 30, in which he claimed that he was onboard a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In the original report, Williams stated that he was in the helicopter behind the one that was “almost blown out of the sky” by an RPG.

In 2007, during an interview with Emily Fitzmaurice at Fairfield University, Williams listed his coverage of Iraq as one of the stories that has had the biggest impact on his life. He claimed that he “looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired,” and had hit the chopper in front of the one he was in.

Williams’ story changed in 2013, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman, when he said, “two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in.”

Although the 2013 version of the story was false, Williams repeated it again on a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Jan 30. Williams stated that the helicopter he was flying in was “forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

Williams admitted his mistake after being called out on Facebook by soldiers who were on board the Chinook helicopter that was hit. He responded to one of the comments, and admitted that he “was in fact on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.” Williams then issued a public apology on Wednesday, claiming that he had “misremembered” the exact details of what had occurred during his time in Iraq.

The claim that Williams was in a helicopter that was in the same formation as the one that was shot down has been contested by crew members on board the helicopter, who told Stars and Stripes that Williams arrived at the scene an hour after the helicopter made its emergency landing, and only stayed for a few minutes to take pictures and to talk to the crew members.

With Williams’ credibility as a journalist being called into question, there is speculation he also lied about his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that the claim Williams made of watching a dead body “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter is not possible, due to the fact that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

According to the Associated Press, NBC News “refused to comment Saturday on when or whether Williams would return and who would decide his future.”

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

Investigation into MH17 crash claims Russians shot down the flight

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 fell from the sky over Ukraine and crashed with no survivors. Speculation flew surrounding the plane crash, some of which pointed the finger at Russia who had recently sent troops into Ukraine. Russia denied these claims and blamed Ukrainian separatists within Ukraine.

Now, months later, a German investigative group known as CORRECT!V, claims they have proof Russia is responsible for shooting MH17 out of the sky.

The CORRECT!V website focused on the investigation claims MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile. They claim the missile was fired by the 53rd Russian Air Defense Brigade, which displayed no national emblems while in Ukrainian territory. The brigade was initially tasked with protecting Russian tank units.

Various military experts spoke with the investigation team and said the BUK missile system could have only been operated by a group of “highly trained specialists acting as a close-knit unit…”

The reason these experts claim it could have only been trained specialists using the machinery is the operators would have only had seconds to switch on their machinery, fire the missile, then turn the machinery back off before they would have been found by other radar systems or targeted. At the time of the crash, no other radar signatures were reported. 

CORRECT!V sent investigators to the area of Ukraine where MH17 was downed, and the investigators spoke to witnesses of the crash as well as people who claim to have seen the BUK missile system responsible for the crash.

One witness said he had seen a vehicle launch the missile into the air, followed by a series of percussive “bang” sounds.

The missile flew from here,” said the witness. “I was in the yard and heard an explosion, a bang. It was a really loud bang. The tiles on my roof shook. Then there was a long sound. And then a very loud explosion: bang, bang. And just as I ran out into the road, the plane began to fall. Down the road, several kilometers from here. And you could see it burn.”

Aleksandr Khodakovskiy, a former SBU officer who is now a separatist commander, told Reuters months ago his initial unit was in possession of a BUK missile system, but he retracted this statement not long afterwards. He spoke with CORRECT!V saying after the MH17 crash, his unit was still in possession of a BUK, but he did not possess the personnel to operate the system properly or effectively. 

“I know for sure that the popular militia did not shoot down the Boeing,” said Khodakovskiy. “We don’t have and didn’t have specialists who can operate such high precision weapons systems.”

Russian authorities continue to claim they had no part in the downing of MH17.

The full report from CORRECT!V can be found here.

No Charges For California Officer Caught With 5 Pounds Of Marijuana

No charges are planned on being filed against a California police officer who was in possession of between four and five pounds of marijuana at his home in Oakley, California.

Officer Joe Avila, a 17-year-veteran of the Richmond Police Force (RPF), has been under investigation by the RPF since January, according to the Richmond Confidential.  It was around this time the RPF began to notice Avila was not filing any follow-up reports for about 37 calls of service he had gone on.

One of these calls was to a UPS Store in November, 2013, where it is suspected Avila had collected the marijuana and then failed to turn the drugs over to the department’s evidence department.

Robin Lipetzky, the county’s chief public defender, told the Raw Story, “They are cutting him some slack because he’s a police officer… Anybody else found with 5 pounds of marijuana in their possession, I don’t care who that is, that person is going to be charged with a crime.”

While he was under investigation, Avila said he had used two of the five pounds of marijuana to help train his police dog.  The other drugs though, he did not comment on.

When the investigation was under way, Avila was the key witness in a case where he had helped to secure a conviction.  However, Deputy Public Defender Elise McNamara who represented the defendant in this case, is saying this is an ethics violation.

They have a constitutional mandate to disclose exculpatory evidence to us prior to a trial,” said McNamara.  “If there’s an officer on the case who’s been discredited, then we have the right to know that.”

The DA’s office is taking the position that this officer did nothing wrong. And because they think he did nothing wrong, they are not turning over any information,” said Lipetzky.  “They have a vested interest in not having an officer’s credibility called into question, because then it impacts all the cases they’re trying to prosecute.”

As of now, Avila is on paid administrative leave.

Lois Lerner emails show DOJ and IRS were working together

The recovered emails Lois Lerner attempted to delete concerning the allegations against the IRS and their supposed targeting of conservative groups, show the Department of Justice was helping the IRS.

Some of the recovered emails show Lerner had met with the DOJ’s Election Crime Division about one month before the 2010 elections, according to Forbes.  This in and of itself isn’t damning, but this coupled with the DOJ’s refusal to show over 800 pages of documents concerning Lerner, citing “taxpayer privacy” and “deliberative privilege” as reason not to hand out the documents raises suspicions.

Even worse, a few internal DOJ documents were recovered which showed Lerner had discussed the possibility of prosecuting tax-exempt entities with the DOJ around the same time Lerner was meeting with DOJ officials.

According to the Examiner, other documents contained within the deleted emails show Lerner sent the DOJ a “1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations,” which included various classified tax records.

A FOIA filed by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch also  revealed how the DOJ was involved in the IRS scandal.  Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, said it was outrageous that the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, which is supposed to be investigating such abuses of power and authority, was shown to be involved in the IRS scandal as well.

“It is shameful how Establishment Washington has let slide by Obama’s abuse of the IRS and the Justice Department,” said Fitton according to Breitbart.  “Only as a result of Judicial Watch’s independent investigations did the American people learn about the IRS-DOJ prosecution discussions of Obama’s political enemies and how the IRS sent, in violation of law, confidential taxpayer information to the FBI and DOJ in 2010.”

Michael Brown’s stepfather may face criminal charges

Police and investigators are currently considering charging Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, for attempting to incite a riot after it was announced Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting death of Brown.

After the announcement against indictment came late on Nov. 24, various videos taken near protests in Ferguson show Head shouting “burn this bitch down.”

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told Sean Hannity, “We are pursuing (an investigation into) those comments, and there is a lot of discussion going on about that right now… But I really can’t get into that…”

Head is also not being singled out, according to CNN.  Ferguson spokesman Jeff Small said Head is one of many people currently being investigated for their part in the lead up to the riots, looting, and the various arson cases following the announcement.

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing Brown and his family, has called Head’s rants prior to the rioting inappropriate at the time.  However, Crump also said, according to USA Today, he does not condemn Head’s reaction to the announcement because of the large amount of emotional stress the family was under at the time.

Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, also told CNN she does not think her husband’s words or actions incited a riot, but said the emotions in the area were building up since her son was shot on Aug. 9.

Since the investigation has started, Head has come forth and said he apologizes for his comments after the announcement.  According to ABC News, Head said, “Something came over me as I watched and listened to my wife, the mother of Michael Brown Jr., react to the gut-wrenching news that the cop who killed her son wouldn’t be charged with a crime… My emotions admittedly got the best of me.”

Ben Swann reported from Ferguson this week and talked about the importance of understanding the proximity of Brown’s stepfather to the buildings that actually burned. In the video below, Swann explains why it would be very difficult to claim that the stepfather was “inciting a riot.”

EXCLUSIVE: Air Force Vet/Firearms Expert Convicted of Manufacturing Weapons Speaks Out

Arnold's Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military's best marksmen and one of the Air Force's best firearms instructors.
Arnold’s Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military’s best marksmen and one of the Air Force’s best firearms instructors.

WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014–Decorated Air Force veteran and firearms expert Timothy Arnold was convicted in the United States District Court of Southern Georgia on January 21 of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, transporting illegally-acquired firearms to a state in which he did not reside, dealing firearms across state lines without a license, and theft of government property by conversion. The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Fred Kramer, claimed Arnold was running a “black market operation” while he was a well-known firearms instructor with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. FLETC is part of the Department of Homeland Security and trains law enforcement officers for 91 federal agencies, including the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Marshals Service.

Tim Arnold instructs a class at FLETC
Tim Arnold instructs a class at FLETC

Arnold was employed as Chief of Firearms and Tactics for AFOSI while serving the last few years of his twenty-year career in the Air Force. Upon his retirement in 2009, the Air Force requested that he remain in his position in a civilian capacity and continue to perform all of his duties—tactical instruction, course development, equipment purchasing, and an extensive travel schedule. His activities and purchases were overseen and approved by his direct superiors on a monthly basis, as they had been for years. One thing that did change frequently, however, was the identity of his bosses. Turnover was routine and each department head arrived with very different ideas regarding the nature of their position. Arnold was known for having high expectations for his FLETC students and high standards for his training curriculum. Many witnesses in his trial testified that his training certainly saved lives during operations overseas. They said he was one of the best firearms instructors in the Air Force. Arnold prided himself on creating realistic scenes using costumes and props to simulate real-life scenarios that protective services agents might face in the field. His job required him to buy civilian equipment for those classes—and his superiors pressured him at the end of every fiscal year to spend all remaining funds of his operating budget, that sometimes totaled $120,000. This is common practice in federal agencies whose directors fear a surplus will cut their Congressional funding for future years.

Arnold demonstrates how to provide aid to a wounded victim by placing pressure on a wound site while engaging an active threat.
During the “Bullets and Bandages” class at the Sig Sauer Academy, Instructor Tim Arnold demonstrates how to provide aid to a wounded victim by placing pressure on a wound site while engaging an active threat. Photo Credit: FirelanceMedia.com

Firearms were not just Arnold’s profession, they were also his lifelong hobby. His expertise garnered countless unsolicited requests from co-workers, members of law enforcement, friends, and family to assemble guns for them. Most of the time, he would advise them as to what parts they should order and then Arnold would assemble them into a working firearm—as a favor or for a trade. “The investigators were not able to find a trail of money from me profiting from my supposed firearms business,” Tim Arnold says, “Because I never made any money off of it. I never claimed to be a business or advertise. I did it for fun and as a favor to people in my life.” However, a jury in a civilian court found Arnold guilty of illegally manufacturing and dealing firearms. Of note, the legal definition of manufacturing implies objects are created from raw material. What Arnold did, and what many other gun enthusiasts in this country do, is actually firearms assembly, a legal endeavor. A few months before the AFOSI investigation into Arnold’s activities began, he was busy working on customizing an AR-15 platform rifle to replace the outdated MP-5 sub-machine guns that protective service officers currently use in the field. “Obtaining new parts to service those military weapons is nearly impossible,” Arnold says, “And a weapon with more maneuverability in tight quarters would reduce training time, as well as cost of replacement parts, saving the Air Force money.” Arnold’s prototype made its way to a training in New Jersey where it was mistaken for an illegal weapon. A review of the investigation itself reads like a comedy of errors, which makes Arnold’s conviction all the more surprising. Lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer directly violated countless Air Force Policy Directives, including the interrogation of a subordinate as part of a criminal investigation, which is a conflict of interests; failing to read Arnold his rights during any of the interrogation sessions; ghostwriting statements from Arnold and all other witnesses; and failure to provide receipts for property, firearms, and records seized from Arnold, other witnesses, and even the Sig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire where Arnold worked as an adjunct instructor while on administrative leave.

Executive Director Adam Painchaud Instructs a Class at the Sig Sauer Academy
Executive Director Adam Painchaud Instructs a Class at the Sig Sauer Academy

Sig Sauer Academy Executive Director Adam Painchaud, also an AFOSI Special Agent, initiated a complaint against Palmer to the Air Force Office of Inspector General. Six witnesses signed separate affidavits detailing accounts of Palmer’s unethical conduct, including the Witness Statements riddled with errors, omissions, and misrepresentations that Palmer wrote himself. Several active OSI Agents offered to provide verbal testimony, afraid of the retaliation that a paper trail might bring. During the trial, Painchaud was slated to be the star witness for the defense. “I had the ability based on my firsthand, expert knowledge of the matters involved to dispute the charges against Arnold,” says Painchaud. Instead, he was prevented from testifying and Judge Lisa Godbey Wood threatened to charge him with contempt of court due to allegations from the prosecution that he inappropriately questioned another witness in the hallway outside the courtroom. “My testimony would have been instrumental,” Painchaud says, “The jury never got to hear it because I never got to testify. This is not how our system is supposed to work.” Painchaud was later cleared of the contempt allegations, as well as conduct unbecoming of an agent, after a separate investigation by AFOSI revealed his innocence.

Arnold was featured in several Sig Sauer advertisements.
Arnold was featured in several Sig Sauer advertisements.

Despite a Congressional inquiry into the handling of the investigation that resulted in Arnold’s conviction, his sentencing is set for this Thursday, October 9. Arnold faces up to 25 years in prison and a $300,000 fine. UPDATE: http://truthinmedia.com/exclusive-air-force-vetfirearms-expert-sentenced-to-prison/

Sgt. Bergdahl to be questioned on his capture

After returning to duty just a few weeks ago, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will start being questioning today in San Antonio, Texas,  by U.S. Army investigator Major General Kenneth Dahl.

The investigation surrounds the circumstances of Sgt Bergdahl’s capture in 2009, which resulted in his release in May in exchange for five Taliban detainees.

The BBC reports Sgt. Bergdahl has hired civilian lawyer Eugene Fidell, a Yale law professor, to aid in his defense.

Fidell has said Sgt. Bergdahl, who is currently not facing any charges, “will be as co-operative as possible with General Dahl.”  However, Fidell has declined to speculate as to what Sgt. Bergdahl will say to the investigating general.

Many people have surmised Sgt. Bergdahl intentionally left his post in 2009 which led to his capture by Taliban forces.  According to CNN, a fact-finding investigation held by the Army in the months after Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture, found he had “deliberately and of his own free-will,” left his outpost and fellow soldiers while on duty in Afghanistan.

Newsmax has also reported several members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s former unit have hinted Sgt. Bergdahl was either absent without leave or had abandoned his post in Afghanistan.

Military attorney Greg Rinckey, who has heard and handled similar cases to Sgt. Bergdahl’s, has stated the meeting between Sgt. Bergdahl and Gen. Dahl will not be adversarial, but rather informal.

“This … general is going to be talking to Sergeant Bergdahl, asking him several questions with his lawyer present,” Rinckey said according to Newsmax.  “It is really not an interrogation, it’s more of an interview.”

After the investigation of Sgt Bergdahl, Gen. Dahl will likely follow-up with fellow members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit and his superiors before making recommendations up the chain of command.  Depending on his findings, Gen. Dahl can either, according to NBC News, say he found no wrongdoing and recommend no further action on the case, or recommend a court-martial which could ultimately result in the death penalty.

Rinckey said, because of the questionable circumstances and general lack of clear insight of the case, he does not believe the death penalty would be considered if Sgt. Bergdahl were to face a court-martial.