DS Agent David Root Starts Fund for Mustafa Akarsu’s Family, Guard Killed in Embassy Ankara Suicide Attack – You Can Help

We’ve blogged recently about the passing of Mustafa Akarsu, the local guard at the US Embassy in Ankara who was killed  in the suicide attack last February 1 (see US Embassy Turkey: Suicide Bomber Kills Local Guard Mustafa Akarsu, Wounds One and also US Embassy Turkey: Mourning Mustafa Akarsu).

Now, David Root his supervisor at the embassy has started a fund-raising drive for Mustafa’s family.  David  is a Special Agent with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and is the Assistant Regional Security Officer at Embassy Ankara. He was also Mustafa’s American supervisor.  He is using Indiegogo for the funding process, and while we have seen a similar response in the aftermath of Sean Smith’s death, this is the first time we are aware that this is used to support a local USG employee.

And what an extraordinary response!  ARSO Root started a funding goal of $3,000 for 60 days and on its second day the amount raised is already over $34,000.  In explaining the original funding goal, he wrote that  he was “petrified that not enough people would show their support and I would have to explain to Mustafa’s wife and children that we failed.”

In a separate post, he explains:

“Our hopes are that Mustafa’s family will not have to survive only off of Mustafa’s meager pension and give up Mustafa’s dream of his children attending college (goals we have for our own children). Mustafa is no longer here to work towards that dream. It is up to us to ensure his dream does not die with him.”

Screen Shot 2013-02-08

Click on image to visit the Akarsu Family Fund Project in Indiegogo

Here is what David wrote on the funding page:

The United States Embassy in Ankara, Turkey was attacked by a suicide bomber on Friday, February 1st, 2013.  Carrying a handgun, a hand grenade, and 6 kilograms of TNT, it is clear that the terrorist’s plan was to kill and do considerable harm to Americans and American Embassy employees inside.

His plan failed.

One of our own armed Embassy Guards, Mustafa Akarsu, immediately recognized the danger and stopped the bomber before he could get into the compound and begin his attack.  The suicide bomber, realizing his plan was failing, detonated the device, killing Mustafa instantly.

Unfortunately, the Turkish government’s retirement program will only support Mustafa’s widow and children for a short time (as a Turkish citizen, Mustafa paid into the Turkish system, not the American).  Despite Mustafa’s over 22 years of service protecting the American Embassy and sacrificing his own life for ours, his family will struggle on Mustafa’s meager pension for the remainder of theirs (in Turkish culture, the husband is traditionally the sole “bread-winner”).  Even more tragically, Mustafa had applied and was being approved for a Special Immigrant Visa (a Visa reserved only for those who have dedicated the many number of years that Mustafa did).  He planned on becoming an American citizen with his family and hoped to send his children to college in the U.S. (Mustafa’s 19-year old son is pictured with him in the photo above).

Our Local Embassy Guards around the world, oftentimes overwhelmed and outgunned, are frequently forced to flee from attackers rather than stand and fight.  We saw this in the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya where a number of Americans were killed in a similar attack.  In holding his ground and knowingly placing his own body literally between the bomber and us, Mustafa truly demonstrated his selflessness and acted as courageously as any hero we have ever known.

If you are able to help us in this sad yet worthy cause, please donate what  you can.  ALL donations collected will go directly to the fund established for Mustafa’s family.

We know that there are a lot of people suffering during this economic downturn, but if you are able and willing to help, please go to  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mustafa-akarsu-family-fund?c=home.  Also, we are reminded by one of our readers (thanks D!) that official embassy/consulate websites and social media arms will not be pushing this campaign because there are FAM/FAH restrictions on fund raising.

Thank you for whatever help you can extend …. teşekkür ederim … feel free to link or pass along.

Photo of the Day: Ceremonial Swearing In With VPOTUS

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in John Kerry as Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 6, 2013.

jfk_ceremoniall swearing in

Photo via state.gov/Flickr
(click on image for slideshow)

A video of the swearing in complete with the speeches are here.  A text transcript of the remarks at the swearing in is available here.

-> DS

DS Agent David J. Rainsberger Pleads Guilty to Receiving Unlawful Gratuities, False Statements


ALEXANDRIA, Va. – David J. Rainsberger, 32, a law enforcement officer with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, pleaded guilty today to receiving unlawful gratuities while stationed at the U.S. embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, and making false statements to the United States government on a national security questionnaire required to maintain his security clearance.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Gregory B. Starr, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service for the U.S. Department of State, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.

Rainsberger faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison on the gratuities charge and five years in prison on the false statements charge when he is sentenced on April 19, 2013.

According to court records, Rainsberger served as an assistant regional security officer for investigations at the U.S. embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, from 2009 to 2011.  While there, Rainsberger befriended a well-known Jamaican musician whose entry to the U.S. had been barred because of allegations of criminal conduct.  Rainsberger’s investigation of this individual resulted in the reinstatement of his visa, which allowed the individual to travel to the U.S. to take advantage of performance and recording opportunities.  On account of the assistance Rainsberger provided him with respect to his U.S. visa, the musician purchased for Rainsberger two luxury watches worth approximately $2,500.  In addition, Rainsberger received free admission to nightclubs, backstage access to concerts, and a birthday party hosted by the musician.

At the same time, Rainsberger, who was already married, became engaged to a Jamaican national and intentionally withheld disclosure of the relationship from the U.S. government on Office of Personnel Management Standard Form 86, a national security questionnaire that requires disclosure of close and continuing contact with foreign nationals.  Rainsberger also repeatedly accessed, without authority, Department of State visa and passport databases for personal purposes.

This case was investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service.  Assistant United States Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and G. Zachary Terwilliger are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia athttp://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

We could be wrong on this but we don’t think this guy is going to get the maximum prison time of seven years for $2500 watches, concert freebies and lying about his engagement while still married to somebody else.  But for sure, his career with Diplomatic Security is now over and he’s only 32.