Category Archives: Criminal Watch

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: WannaCry Savior Arrested; Ulbricht Hunters More Guilty Than First Admitted

Marcus Hutchins, the man who reportedly brilliantly slowed the WannaCry cyber attack on the U.K.’s National Health Service (and hundreds of thousands of computers around the world) was picked up by the FBI in Las Vegas on August 2. He was apparently leaving the Def Con hacking “conference.”


Hutchins (above), 22, is a British national who uses the alias MalwareTech on social media.


Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 12: NSA, “Exploits,” WannaCry and Whistleblowers

According to the U.K.’s Telegraph, the hero-turned-U.S. enemy of the state is out on $30,000 bail:

Hutchins, of Ilfracombe, Devon, is due to appear in court in Milwaukee on August 14, charged with six counts of creating and selling a malware known as Kronos.

While sprung from prison, he was made to wear a GPS monitor and forbidden from using the internet.

The Independent reports this is the culmination of a two-year investigation into Hutchins, whose “Trojan” software (the Kronos) infects computers and then steals banking passwords.

There is an as yet unnamed co-defendant in the case.

Hutchins faced a six-count indictment, which carries a possible 40 years in prison, on August 14 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin court. He pleaded not guilty and was given internet access. The trial is set for October 23.

International Business Times suggested the Feds may go easy on Hutchins given his recent usefulness to society.

Hutchins’ discovery of the “killswitch” for WannaCry, which slowed the spread of the ransom-demanding virus, apparently led to reporters camping out around his house back in May.


In other “citizens that actually know how to use computers are a threat to national security” big government crackdown news, one of the corrupt Federal agents that shamelessly choreographed a double life sentence for Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht (who was quietly moved to a maximum security prison in Colorado this summer, because nonviolent crime) pleaded guilty to money laundering. Again.

Shaun Bridges, formerly of the Secret Service, worked with former DEA thug Carl Mark Force on the Baltimore task force that took money and Bitcoins from the Silk Road investigation, likely framed Ulbricht for ordering assassinations…all the things good Federal agents add to society.

Rogue Silk Road Agent Admits to Stealing Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals

Bridges, 35, moved 1600 Bitcoins (worth $6.6 million) out of a Federal account. This is even more reprehensible because Bridges had already been sentenced in 2015 to 71 months in prison for money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Washington Times reported the taxpayer-funded thief had not even begun the initial sentence, and could get up to another 10 years in prison at his November sentencing.

Force was also arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and “extortion under color of official right.” He was sentenced to 6.5 years.

Ulbricht, who lost the May appeal of his convictions of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic and distribute narcotics, computer hacking and identity fraud, arguing that his investigators were using the case to commit their own crimes, will die in prison.

Thanks to our sources:

Security researcher Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty, returns to Twitter

FBI Agent Admits to Stealing Silk Road Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals–14-cr-00068/USA_v._Ulbricht/183/

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 25: Debbie, Derelict of Any Responsibility

Our contempt for payday loan guardian and 2016 primary scales-tipping Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz continues.

DNC Shakeup: The Usual Suspects

The latest disgrace from the hyperpartisan, seven-term Miami Beach maniac began in February. Long story Schultz schortz schort short, Wasserman Schultz continued to employ a House IT staffer for months after his family’s national security-jeopardizing, taxpayer-funded criminal activity was discovered:

Five House employees are under criminal investigation amid allegations that they stole equipment from more than 20 member offices and accessed House IT systems without lawmakers’ knowledge.

(Politico, 2/2/17)

The investigation has apparently been in progress since late last year.

Four men and a woman (then unnamed) had their access to the House network terminated in February, but the accused staffers’ individual jobs remained at the discretion of the multiple Congress representatives (reportedly all Democrats) who employed them.

Guess which representative kept the ringleader on payroll up to the minute he was caught fleeing the country by the FBI?

Imran Awan (below, with former president Bill Clinton) was intercepted at Washington’s Dulles International Airport on July 24 as he attempted to travel to Pakistan via Qatar. He surrendered his passport to FBI agents on “multiple charges of bank fraud” and was terminated by Wasserman Schultz the next day.

Links: Imran Awan used his social media account to boast of his access to top Democratic figures - and worked for Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a time when she ran the party's National Committee. It was hacked, allegedly by Russians, producing devastating leaked emails

According to CNN,

The complaint and affidavit against Awan accused him and his wife, Hina Alvi, of attempting to commit bank fraud by misrepresenting themselves on a loan for a rental property they had and then wiring the proceeds to two unnamed persons in Pakistan.

National Review:

According to the complaint filed in federal court in support of his arrest, Awan wired $283,000 in January from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to Faisalabad, Pakistan.

The Hill:

Awan and his family have reportedly worked for House Democrats for years. He declared bankruptcy in 2012, but has made millions of dollars on the House payroll over at least a decade of work for various members, according to a Politico report.

Awan reportedly used his Democratic connections to cultivate lucrative Congressional IT “staffer” jobs for himself, his brothers Abid (below, sweatpants) and Jamal, Abid’s wife Natalia Sova (below, red shirt), and Awan’s friend Rao Abbas.


Fired: Abid Awan and his wife Natalia Sova were also working for Dems but were fired as the investigation emerged 

As background, all five of the individuals under investigation are Muslims with strong family ties to Pakistan. Wasserman Schultz is under heavy fire for inappropriately continuing Awan’s employment through July to avoid the optics of destroying diversity on the Capitol workforce.

[Wasserman Schultz was hardly alone in dismissing the staffers’ presumption of guilt on such serious charges. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) as well as Rep. Meeks told Politico on March 1 the accused deserved due process, while confirming that Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, respectively, were no longer working for their offices. Meeks noted of the family’s Pakistani Muslim origins: “I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion.”]

Politico revealed in March that Imran Awan, Alvi, Abbas, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the probe. 

It is unclear where Natalia Sova fits into all this.

The gravy train opened up when Imran Awan got onto Wasserman Schultz’ payroll in 2005.

According to InsideGov, Abid Awan earned an estimated salary of $164,980 USD as a Shared Employee through the most recent House pay period. This was 2.4 times greater than the median for a House staff.

[our emphasis]

Rao Abbas “administered email accounts and computers” of eight members of Congress and brought home $93,151 annually, according to 2016 records from InsideGov. According to Daily Caller, he scored the IT job after being fired from McDonald’s.

Hina Alvi, 33, was also milking a “support staffer” position in the Capitol. She was terminated from Rep. Gregory Meeks‘ (D-NY) office on February 28 after banking either $126,225 (New York Post) or $168,300 (InsideGov) in 2016.

The Gateway Pundit reports the photos below show Imran Awan and Hina Alvi (since Alvi apparently has no self-aggrandizing shot with President Clinton, her online images are difficult to locate):

On March 5, investigators apparently bumped into Alvi, her three daughters, boxes of household goods, and over $12,000 in cash at Dulles boarding a flight to–get this–Pakistan via Qatar. They let her go. Andrew McCarthy at National Review insists moving more than $10,000 undeclared should have merited a felony charge on its own.


According to Daily Caller in May,

[A]s House authorities closed in on Imran Awan and his brothers, a laptop used by Imran was hidden in an unused crevice of the Rayburn House Office Building. […] The laptop was later found by Capitol Police and seized because it was relevant to the criminal investigation, the source said.

Suddenly concerned with national security, or something, Wasserman Schultz demanded that Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa return equipment belonging to her office that was seized as part of the investigation — or face “consequences”, according to New York Post.


Imran Awan’s bank fraud activities may intersect with his “stealing computers and government secrets” activities. Andre Taggart (below), a Marine veteran who rented Awan’s pad in Lorton, VA (it was suddenly posted for lease after the criminal probe emerged in February) found some hardcore gear that may have been procured from the U.S. House in the garage.

Andre Taggart found hard drives tied to Imran Awan and turned them over to the FBI. / Provided photo

“[W]ireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner. […] [were] in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry[.] It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”

Taggart told Daily Caller Awan then threatened to sue Taggart for return of the equipment and tried to enter the property (unauthorized) several times.


Imran’s stepmother reportedly filed a lawsuit in Virginia claiming abuse from Awan:

Samina Gilani alleges her stepsons of wiretapping her phones, threatening to kidnap family members in Pakistan, and preventing her from seeing her dying husband in a Virginia hospital unless she granted them power of attorney. She also accused them of trying to remove her as the beneficiary of her husband’s $50,000 life-insurance policy.


On August 3, Wasserman Schultz told the Sun-Sentinel:

“I believe that I did the right thing, and I would do it again. There are times when you can’t be afraid to stand alone, and you have to stand up for what’s right.”

She also blamed the “right-wing media circus fringe” for keeping the criminal investigation alive in the news, and confirmed she created new tasks for Awan so he could stay on payroll after being banned from the House IT network.

On August 17, Imran Awan and Hina Alvi were indicted on four charges including conspiracy, engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, and making false statements.

Daily Mail reported Awan is under a high-intensity supervision program and must wear a monitoring device and stay within 50 miles of his house and–apparently learning from his wife’s mistake–was holding just under the reporting requirement of $10,000 when he tried to flee to Pakistan.

They also got this picture:

Charged: Imran Awan was Debbie Wasserman Schultz's IT aide but now faces years in prison if found guilty of the four charges against her 


In a further denigration of Debbie and her abuse of party power, a federal court on August 25 dismissed a class-action lawsuit against the DNC, noting that while “the Court assumes […] that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent”,  the plaintiffs who brought the suit had not suffered sufficient “concrete injury” to allow the court to intervene.


It is unclear what impact the latest Debbie drama will have on the (as yet unsubstantiated but certainly concerning) rumors of DNC leadership involvement in the death of Shawn Lucas; or the intriguing circumstances of the demise of Beranton Whisenant Jr.

Whisenant, 37 (below), was a federal prosecutor found May 25 washed up on a Hollywood, FL beach with a bullet in his head.

Miami Herald reports that although the death investigation remains “shrouded in mystery,” Whisenant’s friends and family are not pleased with new conspiracy theories that stem from his body’s (apparently incidental) discovery in Wasserman Schultz’ district:

People close to Whisenant say they have seen the postings and are “disgusted” with the exploitation of his death, saying he had no connection to the DNC case.

Hollywood PD is investigating after the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office ruled out any connection between Whisenant’s federal prosecuting work and his death.

Thanks to our sources:

Hina Alvi: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

EXCLUSIVE: FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Wasserman Schultz IT Aide’s Home

Another Black Hawk Crash

A U.S. Black Hawk chopper went down off the Yemen coast in a reported training accident on August 25.

Although five service members were rescued, one is still missing. The incident is being investigated by Central Command, under the leadership of General Joseph Votel. Votel reportedly visited the Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border just days before.

Five Missing Army Aviators Now Sought in “Recovery” rather than “Rescue”–Hawaii

According to the Post [our emphasis]:

The U.S. military maintains a small special operations base near Yemen’s port of Mukalla to facilitate an ongoing campaign targeting al-Qaeda loyalists there. The Pentagon has conducted more than 80 airstrikes in Yemen this year, officials say.

Also, Stars and Stripes indicates this is the same Special Ops outfit that conducted the disastrous Yemen raid in January, leaving two Americans (usually cited as one because the Federal Government doesn’t want to emphasize we fatally shot Obama-executed Anwar al-Awlaki‘s eight-year old daughter in the neck), multiple civilian women and children, and an American MV-22 Osprey helicopter destroyed:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

Stars and Stripes reports our Horn of Africa operations are primarily waged against al-Qaeda.

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is reportedly the second-largest branch of al-Qaeda. According to Wikipedia, the branch is the most dangerous al-Qaeda arm currently, and emerged as central leadership of the terrorist organization weakened.

AQAP claimed responsibility for the fatal 2009 Little Rock, AR recruiting office shooting perpetrated by Abdulhakim Muhammad.

Grandma Kerry Shakes Head in Regret for Terrorist He Released with Kind Intentions

And [our emphasis again],

For more than two years, Yemen’s Saudi-backed government forces—with U.S. support and munitions—have been pitted against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, leading to a devastating humanitarian crisis.


Also this month, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia. The Marine Corps announced Friday it had recovered the bodies of three Marines killed in that crash.

The Post has a more basic explanation of our “double death and destruction” presence in Yemen:

While the U.S. has remained focused on striking al-Qaeda, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia — and backed by the Pentagon — has waged a parallel war against Iranian-backed Houthi militants.

Don’t forget about al-Qaeda rival ISIS, who also wage guerrilla warfare in Yemen:

ISIS Bombings

Thanks to our sources:

Bill Nye Sues Disney

HuffPost reported everyone’s favorite politically-correct prick, Bill Nye, has leveled a lawsuit at Disney. The entertainment giant produced Nye’s publicly-propped PBS production “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the 1990s.

A Nye-ordered audit of the Walt Disney Company from last year reportedly found the fake scientist was stiffed $9.3 million since 1993 under the distribution deal.


Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 21–Bill Nye the Gender Guy/Girl/Continuum Plugs for Eugenics, Orgies and Monsanto

HuffPost also found another $28 million is apparently due to “Nye and his partners” from Disney, offenses unspecified.

Disney started it: according to TMZ, they asked [Nye] to return $496,000 of a $585,000 check it issued him in 2008 for “back-end profits” because of an accounting error.

Nye proceeded to audit Disney to contest the claim. And here we are.

Thanks to our source:

State of Florida Kills Man

Mark Asay (below) was put to death this evening for committing a racially-motivated double murder 30 years ago.

This was reportedly the first use of etomidate by the state of Florida to replace midazolam, a sedative that has come under scrutiny for not sufficiently knocking out prisoners before their heart is stopped with the rest of the drug cocktail sequence.

Asay had challenged his execution due to the unproven nature of etomidate as an anesthetic, but was denied stay.

According to Washington Post:

Etomidate has never been used in an execution before, Jen Moreno, a lethal injection expert who works as a staff attorney at the University of California at Berkeley Law School’s death penalty clinic, told the AP. It will be administered first, followed by the paralytic rocuronium bromide. Finally, the potassium acetate will stop the heart.

The etomidate is made by Jannsen, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told the Post“We do not condone the use of our medicines in lethal injections for capital punishment.”

The drug also burns and irritates veins if the person being injected has damaged their veins with IV drugs or is old, according to anti-capital punishment surgery professor Jonathan Groner of Ohio State University.


The 1976 Supreme Court case Gregg vs. Georgia confirmed the constitutionality of the death penalty. Over 1,400 inmates have since been put to death nationwide, according to Wikipedia.

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 11–NFL Updates and United States Still Killing People


Asay, 53, is the first white murderer of a black victim executed since Florida brought back the death penalty in 1976, although “at least” eighteen black Florida men have reportedly been executed for murdering white victims in the same period.

Adora Obi Nweze, a death penalty opponent and president of the Florida State Conference of NAACP, told the Post the death penalty reliably punishes men of color disproportionately.


Asay reportedly used racial slurs specific to the mens’ race around the time he murdered Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell in 1987 in Jacksonville, FL. Both Booker and McDowell were initially identified as black; McDowell was later found to be white and Hispanic instead.

The Post reports Asay and his crew were scouring for prostitutes after a night of drinking. Asay called both victims “nigger” in the minutes around their murders. Asay’s friend had promised to buy him oral sex, and at least one of the victims was apparently in negotiations for this purpose when Asay killed him.

McDowell, known to friends and acquaintances as Renee Torres and identified by them as white and Hispanic at trial, was initially labeled “a black man dressed as a woman” in court documents. This was thought to erroneously categorize McDowell’s slaying as racially motivated, but Asay’s death sentence was upheld.

Asay spent 36 years in prison.

Thanks to our sources:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 18: Crime and Punishment


Mohamed Noor (above) offered condolences via his defense attorney to the family of Australian/American dual citizen Justine Damond (below), who Noor fatally capped on July 15.

Noor is maintaining his silence and continues to exercise his legal right not to be interviewed by investigators probing Ms Damond's death 

(Ms. Damond’s actual surname was Ruszczyk, but she reportedly took her fiancé Don Damond’s name before their marriage–scheduled for August 2017. We’re going with “Damond.”)

The 40-year-old yoga instructor reportedly called “9-1-1” (twice!) that Saturday evening to notify police of a suspected assault behind her home.

Apparently, Damond ran up and “slapped” the back of the patrol car, whose lights were off as it moved through the alley looking for the assailant. (Noor’s partner, one-year veteran Matthew Harrity, was driving, and described being “startled” by the noise.)

At that point, Noor fired from the passenger seat, across Harrity’s body and into the abdomen of Damond, who was at the driver’s side window.


According to Associated Press,

Noor was one of several Somali-Americans hired by the department in recent years as part of the city’s public effort to diversify so it better reflects the city.

On July 25, Minnesota Public Radio obtained a search warrant (???) from Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that revealed:

“Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad … After that, it is unknown to BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.”


Interestingly, Minnesota is the only state that requires a two-year college degree of all police officers. (Most departments prefer a four-year degree, according to Associated Press.)

Noor, 31, with a four-year degree in business administration and economics from Augsburg College, completed the certificate program recommended for non-criminal justice degree holders looking to get into law enforcement (see below).

Judicial Watch on Somali Immigrants

According to the Star Tribune, Noor completed a seven-month “accelerated police cadet program” in 2015.

James Densley, criminal justice teacher at Metropolitan State University, told the Star Tribune: “The cadet program is rigorous, no doubt, but it is also an immersive paramilitary experience, taught by practitioner faculty without advanced degrees, and I suspect it leaves students with a limited view of the profession.”

[our emphasis]

Minneapolis Police Department has reportedly run into difficulty filling police officer slots after ( fully recognizes there are plenty of outstanding “public servants” across the country that do not necessarily take government jobs solely for the benefits, especially those that will presumably be paid to their families should the applicant lose their life in a riskier “public service” job such as police officer) [a] pension change that spurred a wave of retirements among peace officers statewide in 2014.

According to Star Tribune, advocates commend the “fast-track” cadet program as “a way to attract more diverse people with broader life experiences.”

Critics believe it is lacking in instructing common sense approaches to slowing down confrontations and defusing hostile situations.

Nate Grove of the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board maintains the fast-track curriculum includes “teaching and modeling de-escalation techniques.”


Of note, Noor is obliged to offer any information possible to the internal investigation if he wants to keep his job. And that information will by definition never make it to the courtroom, according to Daily Mail:

[Under] the Garrity Warning in Minnesota […] public employees under internal investigation are given the option to provide information or face disciplinary action.

‘Because you are being required to provide information under the threat of disciplinary action, the information you provide, and any evidence resulting from the information you provide, cannot and will not be used against you in any subsequent criminal proceeding,’ the warning reads.

CNN reported:

Department records indicate [Noor] had three complaints filed against him, the details of which are not public. One was closed without any disciplinary action and two are still open.


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Police Chief Janee Harteau (above), reportedly the first female, first lesbian and first Native American head of Minneapolis Police Department, resigned at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Hodges was shouted out of her press conference announcing Harteau’s replacement, Assistant Chief Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo (below, white shirt), on July 21.


Harteau said of Noor’s credentials the day before she was forced to resign: “We have a very robust training and hiring process. This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer. He was very suited to be on the street.”

On July 24, CNN reported Damond’s fiance and other family hired Robert Bennett to sue the city. Mr. Bennett most recently negotiated a settlement for the family of another Minnesota resident killed by a local government employee: Philando Castile.


Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 16: Philando Castile Update


Also on July 18, an otherwise law-abiding father of four was wrenched from his Ohio home and deported to Mexico. Crime: not a citizen.

PHOTO: Jesus Lara Lopez, 37, of Willard, Ohio, comforts his sons before he is deported back to Mexico, July 18, at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. (Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer via Barcroft )

Jesus Lara Lopez, 37,  had been in America for 16 years, working and paying taxes. Immigration authorities got their opening to harass him through a police tip in 2008 after [Lopez] was stopped by police for driving without a license.

Lopez was then allowed to remain in America and authorized to work, despite a federal judge ordering his removal in 2011.

However, federal authorities dribble out favors to maintain a veneer of benevolence: Lopez scored a stay in 2014.

“[I]n a further exercise of discretion, the agency has allowed [Lopez] to remain free from custody to finalize his departure plans. The agency will continue to closely monitor his case to ensure compliance.”

ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls. [our emphasis]

Many Americans should be able to relate to Lopez, if only through their kitchen cabinets:

The New York Times reported in June that Lopez worked “the graveyard shift packing Milano cookies and Goldfish crackers” at Pepperidge Farm.

[our emphasis]

Lopez’ work permit came through third-party company Spherion, who hired him for Pepperidge Farm in October 2016.

His wife and children set up a Go Fund Me page to support the family Lopez left behind in Willard, OH.


Tears at the Airport


Thanks to our sources:–abc-news-topstories.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

The Hill learned that recently-dismissed FBI Director James Comey sprinkled some classified details into “private memos” he transcribed after meeting with his former boss, President Donald Trump. How many of these so-called “personal recollections” contained classified information? More than half, per unnamed sources.

That Comey’s office pursued a criminal investigation into Trump’s chief rival for the presidency last year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for a similar practice–an angle many Democrats (and Hillary herself) continue to credit for the failure of her elitist campaign amidst a sordid history of political thuggery and personal enrichment–was not lost on The Hill.



As we have extensively covered, the eleventh-hour “reopening” of the Hillary email investigation in the campaign’s final weeks was widely cited by Hillary and her allies (along with Russian hacking, sexism, racism and “fake news”) as tipping the November 2016 election to President Trump.


Comey testified [in June] he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a Columbia University lawyer friend. He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director. 

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

[our emphasis]

The “Russia case” refers to the FBI probe into possible collusion between Trump and Russia, who reportedly attempted to hack the 2016 U.S. national elections. Comey’s leadership of the case coincided with highly-publicized testimony to Congress prior to his firing.


BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

The Russia investigation continues under former FBI head Robert Mueller.

Thanks to our source:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 7: DHS Saving Us From Terrorism by Adding to National Debt Via Software They Don’t Use

Note: On July 31, John Kelly, DHS Secretary since January, became Trump’s Chief of Staff. Elaine Duke (below) succeeded Kelly to manage the clusterfuck agency as its Acting Secretary.

Elaine Duke official photo.jpg

It’s not quite the $12,000,000 IRS email system that was never used, or the $18,000,000 fraud prevention program they still can’t operate,

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 10: IRS Takes From Little People; Squander Millions on Unused Email, Faulty Fraud Detection

but the Department of Homeland Security is doing its damnedest to stay in stride with the rival agency as they strive to justify their multi-billion dollar molestation of taxpayers.

Inspector General John Roth (appointed by Obama in 2013 as the second-ever IG for the George W. Bush-created monstrosity) released a report on June 30 detailing DHS’s pissing away nearly $25 million since 2013 on software called “Performance and Learning Management System” (PALMS).

Background: in May 2013, DHS entered a blanket purchase agreement (sounds financially sound!) with Visionary Integration Professionals to spend a “ceiling” of $95,000,000 on PALMS to track employee performance and…manage employee learning? it’s unclear. 

Business InsiderThe contract held out the promise of savings of more than $52 million over five years.

The PALMS was supposed to go live in December 2013, but only became “partially operational” nearly two years later, in October 2015.

The Government Accountability Office warned in 2016 that DHS had not monitored the costs of the PALMS, used risk management or documented milestones. (The rosy title of that report was literally: “Oversight of Neglected Human Resources Information Technology Investment Is Needed.”)

[our emphasis]

Business Insider (our emphasis):

 DHS is the third largest federal department – behind only the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs — and employs more than 240,000 people.

Beyond the $24.2 million in expenditures on the overall contract, DHS spent more than $5.7 million for unused and partially-used subscriptions to the software, $11 million to extend contracts of existing learning management systems and $813,000 for unexpected, increased program management costs.

With multiple “learning management systems” in place, DHS might have at least “learned” by now how to implement a new one!

Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg

The DHS budget request for fiscal year 2017 was $40,600,000,000.

Some other highlights from the Roth report:

-Of 481 operational requirements, PALMS program officials did not test 97 requirements, accepted 21 requirements despite failed test results, and did not verify 13 requirements for compliance with system specifications.

-Before it tried to go live in 2015, PALMS’ readiness was openly doubted by representatives of DHS’s component agencies: ICE, TSA, the Secret Service, FEMA, the Coast Guard, and DHS headquarters.

**Note: some of TSA’s recent good work:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 26–TSA Festivities

DHS Shakes Down Reporter

TSA Shakes Things Up

-Despite these issues and recommendations, a September 2016 acquisition decision memorandum, based on a June 2016 acquisition review board decision, directed the Chief Information Officer to stop further development of three critical performance management requirements and allow DHS components to implement PALMS ‘as is.’

-As part of the agile development approach, the PALMS contractor developed a requirements management plan in August 2013 to manage PALMS operational requirements including conversion of requirements into “user stories.”

[To repeat: the government contractor’s original plan was dubbed “agile development” and sought to create “user stories“.]

In October 2015, the Department approved and accepted this plan as complete even though the contractor did not develop user stories for 99 percent of the requirements

-The contractor’s “migration of headquarters data” was completed nine months behind schedule. The IG notes DHS “should have received $72,901.68” towards subscription costs, but it is unclear if this money was recovered.

DHS incurred more than $11.8 million in additional costs due to PALMS implementation delays. The majority of this waste was incurred because PALMS was scheduled to overlap with the Learning Management Systems contract that expired in 2012, BUT DHS paid for multiple extensions and simply extended the existing (“legacy”) contracts while the new PALMS went unused.

**Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection did not know the number of legacy LMS contract extensions or the amount; therefore, OIG [Office of Inspector General] could not include their extension costs.”**

-Of 345,685 PALMS subscriptions purchased, 67% were unused. The remainder were partially used. Per the IG: DHS wasted more than $5.7 million for PALMS subscriptions.

[all emphasis ours]

DHS requested a budget of $44,100,000,000 for fiscal year 2018, a 1.01% increase.

[Of note, this includes: $1.6 billion for 32 miles of new border wall construction, 28 miles of levee wall along the Rio Grande Valley, and 14 miles of new border wall system that will replace existing secondary fence in the San Diego Sector, where apprehensions are
the highest along the Southwest Border, and where a border wall system will deny access to drug and alien smuggling organizations.]

Can anyone say “face-PALMS”?

Thanks to our sources:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 29: Michigan Congressman Bucks Party on Ex-Im Bank

Justin Amash (R-MI), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, introduced a resolution to abolish the crown jewel of crony capitalism in the United States: the Export-Import Bank.

Seal of the United States Export-Import Bank.svg

When President FDR shit out this thuggery in 1934, it was marketed on the premise of helping American small businesses thrive. Instead, big businesses and foreign companies get loans backed by the average taxpayer.

By 2013 data, the vast majority of loans went to ten large corporations who apparently need a little boost from the Federal Government to stay competitive; these include BoeingCaterpillar, and General Electric.

According to Veronique de Rugy at Mercatus Center, George Mason University, companies may be propped up by both Ex-Im and the Department of Energy.

U.S. tax dollars: for funding French electricity!

For example, Abengoa, a Spanish company, [PUN ALERT] “banked” $2.8 billion in assistance from the Department of Energy, $203.9 million in help from the Export-Import Bank, and significant money from the Department of Treasury for its project in Minnesota and another project in Arizona.

Abengoa and other “green energy, renewable energy and sustainability” companies got fed real nice during the Obama years, as de Rugy’s full article details.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (who was forced to withdraw as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce nominee amidst a federal investigation of his shady financial rewards to campaign donors using New Mexico state contracts) recently sat on Abengoa’s International Advisory Board and the 2013 Advisory Committee for Ex-Im, which decides who gets the goodies. Conflict of interest?

Richardson was President Clinton‘s Secretary of Energy from 1998 to 2001. Everyone wins, as long as you’re in the club.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who continues to lecture us on the dangers of air conditioning, reportedly bought up 7% of Abengoa back in 2007.

Bill the taxpayers. When the Bank’s charter temporarily lapsed in 2015, GOP Senators Marco RubioRand Paul and others called for its immediate liquidation.

Guess what didn’t get liquidated, but instead reauthorized through 2019 as part of the $305,000,000,000Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act easily passed and signed by Obama in December 2015?


Ex-Im Bank Updates

[This was an interesting decision for a man who previously (rightfully) characterized the outfit as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”]

Rubio and Paul voted against the bill.

President Trump, a longtime populist critic of the Bank, nominated Scott Garrett as its next president. The confirmation is still before the Republican-majority Senate, who reportedly refused to confirm bank heads previously nominated by Obama, curtailing the Bank’s ability to make issue loans of $10 million or more (see our link above). Lawmakers were stressing out that certain favored small businesses in their districts wouldn’t get dribbles of pork without the massive government subsidies to Boeing and others.

Scott Garrett official congressional photo.jpg

Mr. Garrett was born in New Jersey.

It will be interesting to see how Rubio and Paul handle this vote.

Amash introduced H.R. 3114, the Export-Import Bank Termination Act of 2017, with support of several co-sponsors (mostly fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus).

He also broke with his party on June 29 to join most of the House Democrats against “Kate’s Law” (passed 257-167), which reportedly raises the sentences of multiple-occasion deportees who return and commit felonies. According to The Hill, the law is named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by a man who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.

Amash was one of seven GOP representatives to vote against pulling some federal grants from so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to hold suspected illegal immigrants for ICE officials when they are picked up for non-immigration crimes. The others were Carlos Curbelo (FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Dan Donovan (NY), Peter King (NY), Dave Reichert (WA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL).

[Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American member of Congress, recently announced her retirement for the end of 2018.]

The “sanctuary city” bill also passed, 228-195.


Thanks to our sources:

Rep. Justin Amash introduces a bill that would shut down the Export-Import Bank

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 19: Rice Winning Obfuscation Battle

Judicial Watch had their latest FOIA lawsuit batted away by the National Security Council.

Documents detailing Susan Rice‘s admitted criminal unmasking of Trump campaign people using illegal wiretaps will be shielded from the public for another five years: they were conveniently sealed and stowed in the Obama presidential library.


Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 3–Susan Rice Returns

NSC told the conservative government transparency group (our emphasis):

“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”

Also according to CNS News, intelligence on the big, bad Russians who reportedly stole the election for Trump is not to be shared with the little people. Put it in the library, they’ll stop asking questions!

The NSC also informed Judicial Watch that it would not be turning over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency regarding the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers, or the any suspected communication between Russia and the Trump campaign or transition officials.

Thanks to our source: