Folks might find that section and the rest of this interesting. Hat tip @HavenLabs
I’m blessed to be leading the finest diplomatic corps in the world. The @StateDept team puts its heart and soul into the service of our nation. Susan and I appreciate these patriots’ and their families’ commitment to the mission, and wish all Americans a Happy #Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/WM359vMcDg
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2018
On #Thanksgiving, USAID says thank you to the staff, partners and individuals who help families around the world thrive and be self-reliant. We are grateful for your commitment to advancing the #DevJourney. #USAIDTransforms pic.twitter.com/1XPE74I7RI
— USAID (@USAID) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Commercial Service (@USCommercialSvc) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) November 22, 2018
#HappyThanksgiving2018 from your #USNavy!
Today and every day, we’re thankful for all our Sailors and their families who support them. We couldn't maintain our #NavyReadiness without every single one of you. One team, one fight! pic.twitter.com/1P9U2ARnAR
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) November 22, 2018
— CIA (@CIA) November 22, 2018
Posted: 2:19 am ET
We’ve followed the case of Sabrina de Sousa in this blog since 2009. She previously worked as an FSO for the State Department from 1998 to 2009. In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan, Italy.
- Sabrina De Sousa: “Patriots” till investigations and prosecutions by foreign courts… Nov 2016
- CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy April 2016
- De Sousa v. Dept of State, et al. – Diplomatic Immunity Whiplash Jan 2012
- 23 US Officials: Rendered Guilty in Italy Nov 2009
- Tough Dance at the Podium May 2009
According to the Guardian, the office of Italian President Sergio Mattarella issued a statement late Tuesday saying that De Sousa had been granted a partial pardon. It means a reduction of her four-year sentence of detention by one year. The statement cited by media reports indicate that De Sousa “would be able to serve her sentence with “alternative measures” to detention, meaning that she could avoid spending any time in jail.”
Posted: 12:12 am ET
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We’ve previously blogged about the case of Sabrina De Sousa, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in India who served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department from 1998 to 2009. In August 1998, she was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy as a Political Officer, Second Secretary. In May 2001, she was transferred to the U.S. Consulate in Milan as a Consular Officer for a tour of duty scheduled to end in May 2004. In dismissing the case against De Sousa filed against the State Department, United States District Judge, Beryl A. Howell on January 5, 2012 issued an opinion –here’s the important part:
“The facts underlying this case are troubling in many ways. The plaintiff served the government and the people of the United States in the Foreign Service for a decade. During the course of her service to this country, she was accused and convicted in absentia of committing a crime in a foreign nation, not for any personal gain, but at the alleged behest of the United States government. According to her allegations, she requested the government’s assistance to counter the charges against her in Italy, but received none and was instead “[e]ffectively abandoned and left to fend for herself.” Am. Compl. at 2. Following her foreign conviction, she faces the risk of arrest and imprisonment if she travels outside the United States, which is a particular hardship in her case both because of the impact on her professional options and because she is a naturalized citizen with family members living abroad. Then, when the plaintiff sought judicial review in this Court, the government did little to minimize the “logistical obstacles” presented by the need to protect against the inadvertent disclosure of classified information, but rather denied her counsel the use of a secure computer to draft filings and “threatened” the continuation of her counsel’s security clearance. ECF No. 63 at 13 n.6. The message that this scenario sends to civilian government employees serving this country on tours of duty abroad is a potentially demoralizing one.”
- CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy (2016)
- De Sousa v. Dept of State, et al. – Diplomatic Immunity Whiplash (2012)
In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan.
Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Among the allegations made by De Sousa in a series of interviews with McClatchy:
– The former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, whom she called the mastermind of the operation, exaggerated Nasr’s terrorist threat to win approval for the rendition and misled his superiors that Italian military intelligence had agreed to the operation.
– Senior CIA officials, including then-CIA Director George Tenet, approved the operation even though Nasr wasn’t wanted in Egypt and wasn’t on the U.S. list of top al Qaida terrorists.
– Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, also had concerns about the case, especially what Italy would do if the CIA were caught, but she eventually agreed to it and recommended that Bush approve the abduction.
“I don’t have any of the cables with me. Please put that down,” De Sousa added with a nervous laugh, her unease reflecting the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks of classified information to journalists.
De Sousa, 57, a naturalized U.S. citizen from India’s state of Goa, was one of 23 Americans convicted in absentia in 2009 by a Milan court for Nasr’s abduction. She received a five-year sentence. An appeals court in 2011 added two more years, and Italy’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Nineteen of the Americans, De Sousa said, “don’t exist,” because they were aliases used by the CIA snatch team.
The case drew fresh attention this month when Panama detained Robert Seldon Lady, the CIA’s former Milan station chief, whom the Italian court had sentenced to nine years in prison. But Panama released him within 24 hours and allowed him to fly to the United States, rather than wait for Italy to request his extradition.
Another convicted American, Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who oversaw security at Aviano, the U.S. base from which Nasr was flown out of Italy, received a seven-year term. But Italian President Giorgio Napolitano pardoned him in April under U.S. pressure.
The Bush and the Obama administrations, however, have refused to ask Italy to do the same for De Sousa, who insists that she qualified for diplomatic immunity as a second secretary accredited to the U.S. Embassy in Rome.
[H]er treatment, she said, provides a warning to U.S. employees serving around the world. If they get prosecuted while doing their jobs, she said, “You have no protection whatsoever. Zero.”
An old piece from 2013 but worth reading again, given that the new CIA appointee called officials who waterboarded patriots. Ms. De Sousa writes on Twitter, “Patriots” till investigations and prosecutions by foreign courts…then abandoned. #milanrendition #scapegoatery
Posted: 1:26 am ET
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On September 1, 2016, the State Department updated its 12 FAM 250 policy on the use of the polygraph to examine Department employees (including employees on the General Schedule, the Foreign Service, on Personal Service Contracts, Limited NonCareer Appointees, and Locally Employed Staff).
Per 12 FAM 251.2-2, the Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence (DS/DO/ICI) Counterterrorism Vetting Unit (CCV) administers the polygraph program and is responsible for hiring polygraph examiners, responding to requests for polygraph support, deploying polygraph examiners, and maintaining relevant records.
- Streamlines the polygraph examination process by removing a requirement to seek pre-approval before a DS or OIG agent can ask an employee if s/he is willing to submit to a polygraph.
- Authorizes a DS agent or Department OIG investigator to alert an employee or contractor, currently subject to a criminal, personnel security, or counterintelligence investigation, that s/he has the option to undergo an exculpatory polygraph examination, rather than limiting exculpatory polygraphs to cases where it is initiated by the individual under investigation.
- Allow polygraphs of Department employees detailed to federal agencies (in addition to the NSA, CIA, and DIA) when the relevant agency requires a polygraph to be detailed to the position. Polygraphs of employees detailed to agencies other than the NSA, CIA, or DIA will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require approval from the Under Secretary for Management.
- Limits the scope of polygraph examinations of Department detailees to other federal agencies to counterintelligence topics for all detailees.
- Formalize existing processes for polygraph examination of certain locally employed staff, in accordance with the approvals specified in the polygraph policy
Back in May 2015, we questioned the use of the CIA’s polygraph exams of State Department employees (see AFSA Elections: What’s Missing This Campaign Season? Fire, Ice and Some Spirited Debates, Please).
Do you know that Department employees who take the CIA’s polygraph examination for detail assignments will have the results of their polygraph provided to DS and HR for security clearance and assignment purposes? A source told us that “In and of itself, it does no harm if the CIA retains them for its clearance purposes, but it can have an unanticipated negative impact when indiscriminately released by the CIA to third parties, like DS and HR, who use them in violation of the CIA’s restrictions to the Department and assurances to the examinees.” If this affects only a fraction of the Foreign Service, is that an excuse not to do anything about it, or at a minimum, provide an alert to employees contemplating these detail assignments?
We’ve recently discovered a newly posted grievance case dated March 2010. We don’t know why this is currently on display upfront on fsgb.gov. In any case, this is related to the subject of polygraph examination.
On June 24, 2009, grievant, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer, appealed to the FS Grievance Board the State Department’s (Department) denial of his grievance with respect to the use of the results of a polygraph exam he took in 2003 in conjunction with a detail to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Grievant claims the improper handling and use of the results of that exam violated the Department’s own regulations (12 FAM 250) and resulted in his having been denied a Presidential Appointment as a Chief of Mission (Ambassador). The ROP includes some interesting interrogatories:
#1: Has the Department ever obtained a Department employee’s polygraph examination results from the CIA for a personnel security background investigation based on the employee’s SF-86 signed release? If so, please describe the circumstances under which this would occur.
The Department objected to answering this interrogatory on the grounds that is was overbroad, immaterial, and irrelevant.
IR #6e for Diplomatic Security Case Ofﬁcer for the second background investigation: Have you ever requested an employee’s polygraph results from the CIA before? If so, under what circumstances‘?
The Department found this interrogatory overbroad, irrelevant, and immaterial.
Ruling on IR #6e: Under the more ample concept of relevance applied at the discovery stage, the Board ﬁnds that the information requested is sufficiently relevant to grievant’s claims or likely to lead to the discovery of information relevant to such claims to compel discovery. The information requested may help to clarify the Department’s practice in applying the regulations governing the use of polygraphs that are issue in this case. We do not ﬁnd the request to impose such a burden on the Department as to outweigh the potential usefulness of the information requested. The Department is directed to respond.
IR # 7h for Diplomatic Security: Does DS routinely request and receive polygraph examination results on all Department employees who have taken polygraph examinations at the CIA as part of their routine background security investigations?
The Department objected to this interrogatory as irrelevant and immaterial in all respects.
The Department was directed to respond to grievant’s Interrogatories 6e and 7h not later than 20 days after receipt of the order but we have been unable to find the decision on this case.
On June 24, 2009, grievant filed a grievance appeal, claiming improper use by the Department (Department, agency) of the results of a polygraph examination he had taken in conjunction with a detail from the Department to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The grievant makes several specific claims:
1) that the CIA provided the results of the polygraph to a Diplomatic Security (DS) agent in the Department, in violation of Department regulations and CIA policy;
2) that the Department requested and/or received the polygraph results from the CIA, in violation of its own regulations;
3) that the Department improperly used the polygraph results in the course of security update investigations; and
4) that the Department improperly provided information drawn from the polygraph to the Director General (DG), which resulted in the DG withdrawing grievant’s nomination to be a chief of mission. The FSGB Board finds that it has jurisdiction over the claims presented by the grievant.
Posted: 1:20 am ET
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The media has taken to calling the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte as “Duterte Harry” after Hollywood’s Dirty Harry. The Guardian says that the Philippine president is exploiting the rivalry of China and the US to wage a ‘ war on drugs’ that is cover for a tide of extrajudicial killings. A Philippine newspaper is now attempting to document the names and other particulars of the casualties in the Duterte administration’s war on crime with a KILL LIST. The list is updated every Monday and Thursday.
One day, President Duterte told reporters that the military exercise next month with U.S. troops will be the last. His Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay had to walk it back the following day. Another day, he told reporters that he is “about to cross the Rubicon” with the U.S. and FM Yasay had to play it down.
Within the last 24 hours, President Duterte has also accused the CIA of planning to kill him.
As if that’s not enough to break the foreign ministry’s news traffic, he apparently has now likened himself to Hitler and wants to kill millions of drug users. Below according to Reuters:
Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said: “There are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them.
“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.
Read through the tweets below, and take this as fair warning for November.
Let’s hear it from the Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay:
FM Yasay playing the let’s downplay this Rubicon crap, shall we?
Here is President Duterte getting potty-mouth with the European Union, though attempting to be civilized, he only used “F” not the word.
Here is FM Yasay trying to calm the waters:
Now, Duterte Harry has reportedly received reports that the CIA is planning to kill him. Yup, the CIA.
FM Yasay may have to hire creative writers for his shop in Manila to help him explain the Philippine president’s often intemperate comments. And he may need new pairs of shoes for all the walking back he has to do in the next fews years.
And because telling reporters that the CIA is out to kill you is not exciting enough for the news cycle, let’s see how Duterte Harry will top that? He brought up, Hitler, because why not?
Apparently, investors did not like what they were hearing. And that was before the Hitler comment.
Posted: 3:27 am ET
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We’ve previously posted about this case here: Ex-Fox News Commentator Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Dents Benghazi Cottage Industry. On July 15, USDOJ announced that Wayne Shelby Simmons was sentenced to 33 months in prison “for major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.” The sentence also includes three years of supervised release, forfeiture of two firearms and $175,612 in criminal proceeds, and restitution to his victims.
Via USDOJ | CIA Imposter Sentenced to Prison for Fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense. Simmons was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, to forfeit two firearms and $175,612 in criminal proceeds, and to pay restitution to his victims.
“Wayne Simmons is a fraud,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons has no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his frauds. He is quite simply a criminal and a con man, and his fraud had the potential to endanger national security and put American lives at risk in Afghanistan. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their efforts on this complicated case.”
“With this sentencing, Simmons now faces the consequences of his criminal activity, deceit, and dishonesty,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “He fraudulently obtained positions with the U.S. government by lying about his previous employment and history, and further, defrauded a victim through a bogus real estate investment scheme. Simmons abused people’s trust for his own selfish gain, and in doing so placed lives at risk and jeopardized national security.”
“Mr. Simmons never worked at CIA and we are pleased that justice was served in this case,” said Dean Boyd, Director of CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.
Simmons pleaded guilty on April 29. According to court documents, Simmons defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, in 2009 when he attempted to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT). To obtain these positions and the security clearances they required, Simmons made false statements about his financial, employment, and criminal history, including that he had worked for the CIA, that he had previously possessed a top secret security clearance, and that his prior criminal convictions related to his supposed clandestine work. In order to obtain the CAAT position, Simmons also lied about the nature of the work he had done just a year earlier with the Human Terrain Systems program, a program from which he had been forced to resign prior to deployment. The government’s investigation determined that Simmons was never associated with the CIA in any capacity and that during the years he claims to have worked for the agency, he was instead working in a variety of capacities and having various run-ins with the law. His work activities from 1973-2000 include: defensive back for the New Orleans Saints NFL team, nightclub doorman, manager at a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, bookie, operator of a limousine business and an AIDS-testing business, mortgage broker, and employment at an anti-graffiti business. During that time, the defendant was also convicted of state firearms, assault, and gambling charges and federal firearms charges.
Simmons also defrauded an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment. As part of the fraud, Simmons sent E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised and repeatedly lied to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud. There was never any actual real estate investment project, and Simmons simply spent the funds.
Finally, when Simmons was arrested in this case, he was found to be in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and James L. Trump prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1: 15-cr-293.
Click file to read the indictment (PDF) via USDOJ/USAO/Eastern District of Virginia.
This is a guy who was part of the Pentagon’s Retired Military Analysts program whose members, the um… “message force multipliers” were given regular briefings from Donald Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense. Read the wild story on how this con unraveled: The Plot to Take Down a Fox News Analyst via NYT mag.
Posted: 12:05 am ET
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On April 29, 2016, DOJ announced that Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense. This individual reportedly made an unsuccessful attempt in 2009 to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.
Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.
“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone. His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country. This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”
“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain. I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team. Simmons admitted making false statements about his financial and criminal history, and admitted that there are no records or any other evidence that he was ever employed by or worked with the CIA, or ever applied for or was granted a security clearance by that agency. Simmons also admitted that in order to obtain the senior intelligence advisor position, he lied about work he had done a year earlier as a team leader on the Human Terrain Systems program. Simmons admitted to making similar false statements in 2009 as well, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.
As to the wire fraud charge, Simmons admitted to defrauding an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment. Simmons admitted to sending E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised, and to repeatedly lying to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud. As Simmons admitted, he simply spent the funds on personal purposes and there was never any actual real estate investment project.
As to the firearms charge, Simmons admitted that at the time he was arrested in this case, he was unlawfully in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions, including a prior Maryland felony conviction and two prior federal felony firearms convictions.
Simmons was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the major fraud against the government count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the felon-in-possession of a firearm count when sentenced on July 15. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This announcement is available on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1: 15-cr-293.
Posted: 1:33 pm ET
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More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of a four-year prison sentence for the abduction — an outcome that a former agency historian describes as “unprecedented.”
Sabrina De Sousa, 60, was one of 26 Americans convicted in absentia by Italian courts for her alleged role in the February 2003 rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
De Sousa’s extradition and potential imprisonment would be an astonishing turn of events for a case that raises major questions about how much diplomatic protection CIA case officers abroad possess when carrying out operations sanctioned by their superiors. During her CIA tenure, De Sousa was registered in Italy as a State Department officer at the U.S. consulate in Milan. She did not work as a “NOC” — a non-official cover operative.
“Those of us who were convicted were accredited diplomats and declared to the Italian government,” De Sousa said. “We instead find ourselves treated like NOCs with our U.S. government affiliation disavowed. I would have never joined the CIA if I was told there was a remote possibility that I would never see my mother in Goa again and not travel abroad. This has set a terrible precedent. This rendition was funded by Congress with approval of senior government officials in the U.S., Italy and Egypt.”
It all began on Feb. 17, 2003, when two men snatched Omar while he was walking to a mosque in Milan and stuffed him into a van. The cleric was flown to Egypt where he was beaten and subjected to electric shock , but eventually released. It wasn’t until early 2005 when reports surfaced that Italian authorities were investigating the CIA officers for breaking local laws against detaining terrorist suspects in Europe.
In early 2009, De Sousa resigned from the CIA, after failed bids to persuade the State Department to grant her immunity.
Posted: 3:10 am EDT
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The New Yorker recently launched its new video series for Amazon Video with Lawrence Wright, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Looming Tower, Ali Soufan, Former FBI Special Agent and author of The Black Banners and others discuss what the CIA knew about the 9/11 hijackers—before 9/11. The Wright piece is an old one from 2006, but the video is new, brief and concise. The film includes ex-CIA M. Scheuer who said something particularly shocking (mark 10:26) about FBI agent John O’Neill during a post – 9/11 congressional hearing. O’Neill was among the 2,753 who died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center site. We’re posting this here for that sobering part, when interagency cooperation goes exceptionally wrong. The embed video is a little buggy, if you have issues watching it, you can also see it here or available to stream here via Amazon.