Posted: 7:01 pm ET
This is not a new case but we have not been aware of this case until we started digging around. In 2009, a Policy Analyst with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worked as a liaison to the State Department (the Agency).
According to EEOC records, in and around May 2009, the DHS employee (Complainant) was on a tour of duty in Germany, working as an Agency employee. Complainant asserts that, on May 10, 2009, while visiting a friend outside of duty hours, she was sexually assaulted by an individual who, at the time, was a State Department contractor. The incident took place in a State Department-leased apartment in Prague, Czech Republic. The EEOC decision dated June 16, 2011 notes that the accused individual subsequently became a permanent employee of the Agency.
The complainant had to make several attempts to report the sexual assault. She was eventually directed to contact the EEO office at DHS, who took no action, and refused to take her case because the attacker was not a DHS employee. She was sent to the Violent Crimes Unit of Diplomatic Security, who investigated the case and referred it to DOJ for prosecution. DOJ took no action. A DS investigator advised her to contact State/OCR. She interacted with that office for 6-7 months but these “activities focused primarily on resolving the matter as opposed to exploring or clarifying the extent of any EEO implications” according to the EEOC.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
Then State/OCR dismissed the case for failure to state a claim and untimely contact with an EEO counselor.
Sexual assault is a crime punishable by law. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same. Sexual assault describes the catch-all crime that encompasses unwanted sexual touching of many kinds, with links to state penal code and federal law on related crimes. It includes rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (including unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact) or attempts to commits these acts.
FindLaw notes that Federal law directs judges to examine a number of factors, including the defendant’s criminal history and his or her acceptance of responsibility, when setting a punishment. The federal law criminalizing sexual assault sets a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and also provides for fines. In addition, federal law provides that those convicted of sexual assault must compensate their victims for any expenses directly related to the crime. This can include costs for medical care, physical or occupational therapy, attorney’s fees, and other related expenses.
But first, you’ve got to investigate, charge the perpetrator and find him or her guilty.
The complainant here alleged that she was sexually assaulted in USG-leased housing, why did people send her to an Equal Employment Opportunity office for godsakes? Why did DOJ take no action? If there was probable cause for Diplomatic Security to refer this case to DOJ for prosecution, how did the contractor become a State Department employee? This incident happened in 2009, the victim did not get to file her case until a year later, and the EEOC did not make a decision until 2011. At some time during this lengthy process, the victim resigned from federal service. The unnamed alleged attacker may still be in the bureaucracy.
Sure, we could call this abysmal systems failure.
But just about every part of this process was deplorably bad. And the people who worked in the system made it so.
Excerpts below from the EEOC decision (we underlined some parts for emphasis):
Reporting sexual assault — Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
In and around May 2009, Complainant was on a tour of duty in Germany, working as an Agency employee. Complainant asserts that, on May 10, 2009, while visiting a friend outside of duty hours, she was sexually assaulted by an individual who, at the time, was an Agency contractor.1 This individual subsequently became a permanent employee of the Agency. The record does not indicate in what capacity he was employed or the date his employment began.
After making several attempts to report the sexual assault and being redirected to various components in DHS, Complainant was eventually directed to contact DHS’ EEO office, which she did on June 1, 2009. The record suggests that DHS engaged in limited EEO counseling, but took no action to process Complainant’s allegations as a potential EEO complaint. Instead, approximately a week after her June 1 contact, DHS effectively dismissed Complainant from the EEO process, concluding that it could not entertain her issues because the alleged attacker was not its employee. DHS then advised Complainant to contact the Agency, which she did on June 11, 2009.
Soon thereafter, a criminal investigation was initiated by the Violent Crimes Unit of the Agency’s Office of Diplomatic Security. Complainant was cautioned to refrain from discussing the May 10 incident until the investigation was complete. In October 2009, the Agency referred the matter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for prosecution upon finding probable cause to believe Complainant’s allegations were true. For reasons not reflected in the record, DOJ took no action.
On October 23, 2009, pursuant to the advice of the Violent Crimes Unit investigator, Complainant contacted the Agency’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). During the next six or seven months, she interacted with various OCR representatives whose activities focused primarily on resolving the matter as opposed to exploring or clarifying the extent of any EEO implications. On May 24, 2010, Complainant filed a sparsely worded formal complaint which contained a single averment of discrimination relating to the sexual assault and several items of requested relief.
In a September 28, 2010 FAD, the Agency dismissed the May 24 complaint upon finding that it failed to state a claim and that Complainant failed to timely contact an EEO counselor. The instant appeal followed. We note that Complainant is pro se.
Contentions on appeal
In a statement accompanying her appeal, Complainant argues that the chronology of relevant events belies the Agency’s finding that she was untimely in initiating EEO counseling. She also appears to raise questions regarding the trustworthiness of the FAD (final agency decision) by noting several errors of fact reflected in the Agency’s reasoning. The Agency filed no response.
EEOC reversed the State Department’s dismissal
The Agency does not dispute that the alleged assault occurred on May 10, 2009. Nor does it dispute that Complainant first sought counseling on June 1, 2009 with DHS. The Agency’s finding that Complainant was untimely is premised on the apparent view that her DHS contact had no significance under subsection 105(a)(1). We conclude that it did. To rule otherwise would require the Commission to ignore the plain wording of the subsection, which provides only that aggrieved individuals contact “a” Counselor within the stated time. There is no requirement that the Counselor be from the agency that receives the complaint.3 In this case, Complainant logically initiated contact with a Counselor in the agency where she was employed.
It is self-evident that June 1, 2009 is within 45 days of May 10, 2009. We, therefore, find that Complainant’s counseling contact was timely and reverse the Agency’s dismissal on this ground.
Alleged perpetrator went from contractor to employee
The Commission’s regulation at 29 C.F.R. § 1614.107(a)(1) authorizes an agency to dismiss a complaint that fails to state a claim that can be remedied through the EEO process. In its FAD, the Agency concluded that Complainant failed to assert a remediable claim because neither she nor her alleged attacker was functioning in work status when the “event in question” occurred. The non-work status of Complainant and her alleged attacker, on May 10, 2009, would likely be dispositive of this appeal were we to find that the “matter” in question, when the complaint was filed, was clearly confined to the alleged assault.4 Such a finding cannot be made, however, on the basis of the current record.
We are mindful, initially, that the counseling process was unduly erratic and prolonged in this case. Indeed, more than a year had elapsed before Complainant was provided the opportunity to file a formal complaint. Several events occurred, in the interim, which are potentially relevant to the sufficiency of her complaint.
For instance, by the time the complaint was filed, there had been a change in status of the individual the Agency believed had “probably” assaulted Complainant. He went from being an Agency contractor to an Agency employee. Although it is not clear whether, as a DHS “liaison” to the Agency, Complainant had (or would have) been required to work with (or for) this individual, we find it significant that, at some point prior to filing the complaint, Complainant resigned from federal service. The record suggests that the resignation was under duress and may have related to a requirement that she refrain from discussing her ordeal. See Complaint File, April 21, 2010 email from Complainant to named Agency official (“I don’t want to be forced to keep [the attacker’s] secret when I’m the one being hurt and losing.”)
At this juncture, we do not know how (if at all) Complainant’s employment may have been affected by the May 2009 incident. The record is wholly undeveloped in this regard. However, we can say that, if the Agency had directed Complainant to remain silent in order to protect the alleged attacker or facilitate his employment, it could hardly be found (as the Agency did) that the incident did not “involve” any term or condition of her employment. Without suggesting that the known facts in this case, by necessity, implicate a potential claim of “sexual harassment,” it is relevant to note that the Commission has recognized that harassment which occurs outside of work may state a claim when the effect of the off-duty incident creates an “intolerable influence on the employee’s working conditions.” Kokangul v. Department of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 01A61380 (July 6, 2006)
Deficient EEO processing — looking at you S/OCR
We make no finding with regard to the existence of a viable discrimination claim arising from the May 2009 incident. We merely find that deficiencies in processing, as well as the record, render it impossible to determine the full measure of the concerns Complainant sought to pursue through the EEO process. The quality of the EEO counseling, provided by the Agency and DHS, left much to be desired in terms of ensuring the record would be adequate to assess the sufficiency of any formal complaint that Complainant might file.
It is unclear, for example, why the Complaint File does not include the Violent Crime Unit’s report, given its obvious relevance to the matter that prompted Complainant to seek EEO counseling. Also inexplicably missing from the record is a “statement” Complainant apparently prepared during the course of the counseling process.6 The absence of this and other information renders the record insufficient to determine the nature of any claim Complainant may have sought to assert.
Should have – what, whose contractor?
Finally, we note that the Agency also relied on 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(a) as a ground for dismissing the complaint, finding that Complainant should have filed it against DHS because the alleged attacker was a DHS contractor.7 This ground is also found to be without merit. There is nothing in the record that contradicts the statements made by Complainant and others that her attacker was a contractor (and later an employee) of the Agency—not DHS.
The complainant here would have been under chief of mission authority in Germany where she was assigned a tour of duty. We don’t know what would have been her status in the Czech Republic where the alleged attack took place. But the incident occurred in a State Department-leased apartment. So we expect that the State Department would have been the investigating authority. This case happened in 2009 and decided by the EEOC in 2011. This got us thinking on what procedure is in place for reporting sexual assault in the Foreign Service.
We’ve spent the last several days trying to locate the Foreign Service Manual or Foreign Affairs Handbook for the procedure in reporting sexual assault in the Foreign Service, but have been unsuccessful, so far. We were able to find 7 FAM 1940 REPORTING CRIME VICTIM CASES, but this section only apply to non-official, private Americans and the reporting covers only crimes reported to a consular officers abroad by victims, their families or by the host country government and which result in a consular officer or officers providing substantial assistance to the victim.
We’ve asked the State Department for its sexual assault regs and guidance; we’ve received a response but it deserves a separate post.
Posted: 3:01 am ET
Excerpted from CRS Insight (PDF), September 2016 via Secrecy News:
On July 16, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a premium rate increase for long-term care insurance policies purchased through the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). The new rates were established following an open competitive bidding process. That process awarded a new seven-year contract to the prior insurer and sole bidder, John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, to continue providing coverage. According to OPM, the higher premiums are based on an analysis that used updated assumptions of industry trends and claims experience. The analysis determined that current FLTCIP premiums were not sufficient to meet projected costs and benefits. Most federal workers enrolled in FLTCIP are affected by the premium increase (an estimated 264,000 of the 274,000 enrollees).
During OPM’s 2016 Enrollee Decision Period, enrollees affected by the rate increase have until September 30, 2016, to decide whether to:
(1) keep their current coverage and pay the increase;
(2) reduce coverage in order to maintain their current premium; or
(3) allow their policies to lapse (i.e., drop coverage in the program).
Rate increases are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2016.
According to news sources, premiums are expected to increase by 83%, on average. Some Members of Congress have expressed their concerns to OPM leadership and John Hancock about such dramatic increases, calling for more time for enrollees to assess options as well as for congressional hearings on the issue.
Rate Stability and Long-Term Care Insurance
Federal workers are not the only policyholders to face LTCI premium increases. Over the past two decades, annual LTCI premiums have increased significantly overall for both current and new policyholders. Higher average premiums reflect increased demand for more comprehensive benefit packages (including inflation protection) and higher daily benefit amounts. Premium increases have also been driven by inadequate medical underwriting, premiums that were initially set too low, and insufficient growth in reserves to cover future claims. Thus, premium or rate stability depends largely on the ability of insurers to adequately predict future claims. Most policies issued before the mid-2000s have incorrectly predicted claims, necessitating changes to key pricing assumptions. For example, rising claims, lower mortality rates, lower-than-predicted voluntary termination (lapse) rates, and lower-than-predicted rates of return on investments have been cited as key reasons for LTCI premium increases. Nevertheless, large rate increases, such as those proposed by the FLTCIP, are likely to have a continued effect on consumer confidence in these products, possibly leading to further reductions in consumer demand.
Posted: 2:33 am ET
Extracted from CRS #R44616 – FATCA Reporting on U.S. Accounts: Recent Legal Developments via Secrecy News:
Enacted in 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is intended to curb U.S. tax evasion occurring through the use of offshore accounts. Key among its provisions is the requirement that foreign financial institutions (FFIs), such as foreign banks and hedge funds, report information on their U.S. account holders to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). FFIs that fail to comply will have tax withheld at a rate of 30% on many payments made to them from U.S. sources, including interest and dividends.
Since FATCA’s passage, there has been international criticism of the FFI provisions, generally focused on whether the United States was correct to take FATCA’s unilateral approach. Questions have arisen about whether FATCA’s requirements are inconsistent with existing U.S. treaty obligations; how to handle potential conflict of law issues arising when an FFI is faced with complying with FATCA or its home country’s domestic (e.g., banking and privacy) laws; and whether the United States has intruded into other countries’ sovereignty.
Recognizing that these concerns could affect the success of FATCA, the United States has entered into bilateral intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with numerous countries in order to implement the FFI requirements. Under some of these agreements, FFIs report information on their U.S. account holders to their home country, which then provides the information to the IRS. In general, for those FFIs that are not covered by such an agreement, FATCA requires that they report the information directly to the IRS.
As of August 1, 2016, there are 63 IGAs that are currently in force. Additionally, the United States treats certain countries as having an IGA in effect even though the country has not taken all the steps necessary to actually bring the agreement into force. In July 2016, the IRS made a significant announcement regarding these countries: they will stop being treated as having an IGA in effect in 2017 unless they comply with certain requirements by December 31, 2016. Among other things, the country must explain why the IGA is not yet in force and provide a step-by-step timeline for doing so. The Treasury Department and the IRS will then decide whether it is appropriate to continue to treat the country as having an IGA in effect.
Posted: 4:14 am ET
The State Department recently sent an agency-wide message from the Under Secretary for Management which provide timelines for job applicants and employees who are in the process of applying or renewing their security clearances. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security adjudicates security clearances and renewals for all State Department employees but we understand that contractors are mostly processed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The message notes that OPM currently has a backlog of more than 500,000 clearances government-wide.
In terms of length of adjudication, apparently 60% of the Department’s initial Top Secret investigations are completed within six months while 66% of its initial Secret investigations are completed in four months. When compared government-wide, the Department adjudicates security clearances much faster than the government-wide average. So that’s good, except, of course, if you’re the one waiting for it, six months is a loooong time. We don’t know what is the average wait time for the remaining 40% awaiting their TS clearance or the 34% awaiting for their Secret clearance?
But the OPM backlog of more than 500,000 clearances government-wide? Not so good. With a new administration transitioning in next year, waiting for a security clearance may just be like Beetlejuice waiting at the DMV without an appointment.
In related news, OPM is also in the news because the House Oversight and Reform Committee released its report yesterday on The OPM Data Breach: How the Government Jeopardized Our National Security for More than a Generation (read PDF or read below). The report details the exfiltration by two hacking teams of the security background data on 21.56 million individuals, the personnel files of 4.2 million former and current US government employees and the fingerprints for 5.6 million of them.
You will not be surprised to hear that OPM/OIG has warned since at least 2005 that the information maintained by OPM was vulnerable to hackers. US-CERT had also warned the department of a malware operating on its servers in 2012, and again in 2014, CERT warned that a hacker had managed to get information out of the OPM servers. The report notes that the damage could have been mitigated if the security of the sensitive data in OPM’s critical IT systems had been prioritized and secured.
Read the report here:
Posted: 2:24 am ET
We’ve featured a quote from him here in 2009 (Quote: I’m actually a bad man who happens to have a limit…). Craig Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. If you don’t remember him, The Guardian’s 2004 piece, The envoy who said too much, would refresh your memory. Quick excerpt with some of his quotable lines:
“There is no point in having cocktail-party relationships with a fascist regime.” He says he advocates a new style of ambassadorship, one that is more down to earth and less stuffy. “You don’t have to be a pompous old fart to be an ambassador.”
“I joined the Foreign Office, not a monastery,” Murray explains. “I have no intention of living like a monk – not that I have anything against monks. It has been put to me that this is perhaps not what ambassadors do…”
At the Foreign Office there are some who feel Murray should have drawn a line under his battle with London, quietly returning to work, stiff upper lip intact. One FCO official suggested in his correspondence with Murray, that the ambassador should have just called the abuses “horrid”, sat down, and then toed the line. Murray replied: “As you may know I have a slight speech impediment and cannot call anything ‘howwid’.”
On September 5, the former ambassador writes in his blog that he has been refused entry clearance to the U.S. under the visa waiver program:
I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.
It is worth noting that despite the highly critical things I have published about Putin, about civil liberties in Russia and the annexation of the Crimea, I have never been refused entry to Russia. The only two countries that have ever refused me entry clearance are Uzbekistan and the USA. What does that tell you?
I have no criminal record, no connection to drugs or terrorism, have a return ticket, hotel booking and sufficient funds. I have a passport from a visa waiver country and have visited the USA frquently before during 38 years and never overstayed.
Below from US Embassy London’s Visa Waiver page:
Citizens of the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan (passport must have been issued on or after December 29, 2008 and contain a National ID number) holding a valid, full validity e-passport with an electronic chip who are traveling
- for business, pleasure or transit for less than 90 days. Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain in the United States for more than 90 days;
- are not ineligible to receive a visa under U.S. visa law. Travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
Plus, if entering the United States by air or sea are:
- holding a return or onward ticket. If traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to U.S. immigration at the port of entry. Note: Travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas;
- entering the United States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program. This includes aircraft of a U.S. corporation that has entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program. Note: Other private or official aircraft or vessels do not meet this requirement; and
- have received travel authorization under ESTA;
Posted: 2:30 am ET
Posted: 12:15 am ET
Via DOJ | Defendant Collected and Caused Sensitive FBI Information to be Provided to the Chinese Government
Kun Shan Chun, a native of the People’s Republic of China and a naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty today to a criminal information charging him with acting in the United States as an agent of China without providing prior notice to the Attorney General.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge Diego P. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office made the announcement.
Chun, aka Joey Chun, 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV of the Southern District of New York. He was an employee of the FBI until his arrest on March 16, 2016.
“Kun Shan Chun violated our nation’s trust by exploiting his official U.S. Government position to provide restricted and sensitive FBI information to the Chinese Government,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Holding accountable those who work as illegal foreign agents to the detriment of the United States is among the highest priorities of the National Security Division.”
“Americans who act as unauthorized foreign agents commit a federal offense that betrays our nation and threatens our security,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “And when the perpetrator is an FBI employee, like Kun Shan Chun, the threat is all the more serious and the betrayal all the more duplicitous. Thanks to the excellent investigative work of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, the FBI succeeded in identifying and rooting out this criminal misconduct from within its own ranks.”
“No one is above the law, to include employees of the FBI,” said Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez. “We understand as an agency we are trusted by the public to protect our nation’s most sensitive information, and we have to do everything in our power to uphold that trust.”
According to the complaint, the information and statements made during today’s court proceeding:
In approximately 1997, Chun began working at the FBI’s New York Field Office as an electronics technician assigned to the Computerized Central Monitoring Facility of the FBI’s Technical Branch. In approximately 1998, and in connection with his employment, the FBI granted Chun a Top Secret security clearance and his duties included accessing sensitive, and in some instances classified, information. In connection with a progressive recruitment process, Chun received and responded to taskings from Chinese nationals and at least one Chinese government official (Chinese Official-1), some, if not all, of whom were aware that Chun worked at the FBI. On multiple occasions prior to his arrest in March 2016, at the direction of Chinese government officials, Chun collected sensitive FBI information and caused it to be transmitted to Chinese Official-1 and others, while at the same time engaging in a prolonged and concerted effort to conceal from the FBI his illicit relationships with these individuals.
Beginning in 2006, Chun and some of his relatives maintained relationships with Chinese nationals purporting to be affiliated with a company in China named Zhuhai Kolion Technology Company Ltd. (Kolion). Chun maintained an indirect financial interest in Kolion, including through a previous investment by one of his parents. In connection with these relationships, Chinese nationals asked Chun to perform research and consulting tasks in the United States, purportedly for the benefit of Kolion, in exchange for financial benefits, including partial compensation for international trips.
Between 2006 and 2010, Chun’s communications and other evidence reflect inquiries from purported employees of Kolion to Chun while he was in the United States, as well as efforts by the defendant to collect, among other things, information regarding solid-state hard drives.
In approximately 2011, during a trip to Italy and France partially paid for by the Chinese nationals, Chun was introduced to Chinese Official-1, who indicated that he worked for the Chinese government and that he knew Chun worked for the FBI. During subsequent private meetings conducted abroad between the two, Chinese Official-1 asked questions regarding sensitive, non-public FBI information. During those meetings, Chun disclosed, among other things, the identity and potential travel patterns of an FBI Special Agent.
In approximately 2012, the FBI conducted a routine investigation relating to Chun’s Top Secret security clearance. In an effort to conceal his relationships with Chinese Official-1 and the other Chinese nationals purporting to be affiliated with Kolion, Chun made a series of false statements on a standardized FBI form related to the investigation. Between 2000 and March 16, 2016, Chun was required by FBI policy to disclose anticipated and actual contact with foreign nationals during his international travel, but he lied on numerous pre- and post-trip FBI debriefing forms by omitting his contacts with Chinese Official-1, other Chinese nationals and Kolion.
On multiple occasions, Chinese Official-1 asked Chun for information regarding the FBI’s internal structure. In approximately March 2013, Chun downloaded an FBI organizational chart from his FBI computer in Manhattan. Chun later admitted to the FBI that, after editing the chart to remove the names of FBI personnel, he saved the document on a piece of digital media and caused it to be transported to Chinese Official-1 in China.
Chinese Official-1 also asked Chun for information regarding technology used by the FBI. In approximately January 2015, Chun took photos of documents displayed in a restricted area of the FBI’s New York Field Office, which summarized sensitive details regarding multiple surveillance technologies used by the FBI. Chun sent the photographs to his personal cell phone and later admitted to the FBI that he caused the photographs to be transported to Chinese Official-1 in China.
In approximately February 2015, the FBI caused an undercover employee (UCE) to be introduced to Chun. The UCE purported to be a U.S. citizen who was born in China and working as a consultant to several firms, including an independent contractor for the Department of Defense, among other entities.
During a recorded meeting in March 2015, Chun told the UCE about his relationship with Kolion and Chinese nationals and later explained to the UCE that Kolion had “government backing,” and that approximately five years prior a relative met a “section chief” whom Chun believed was associated with the Chinese government.
In another recorded meeting in June 2015, Chun told the UCE that he had informed his Chinese associates that the UCE was a consultant who might be in a position to assist them. Chun said that he wished to act as a “sub-consultant” to the UCE and wanted the UCE to “pay” him “a little bit.” In July 2015, after coordinating travel to meet Chun’s Chinese associates, Chun met with the UCE in Hungary twice. During one of the meetings, Chun stated that he knew “firsthand” that the Chinese government was actively recruiting individuals who could provide assistance and that the Chinese government was willing to provide immigration benefits and other compensation in exchange for such assistance. The UCE told Chun that he had access to sensitive information from the U.S. government. Chun responded that his Chinese associates would be interested in that type of information and that Chun expected a “cut” of any payment that the UCE received for providing information to the Chinese government.
The count of acting in the United States as an agent of China without providing notice to the Attorney General carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
The FBI’s Counterintelligence Division investigated the case. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emil J. Bove III and Andrea L. Surratt of the Southern District of New York’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, with assistance provided by Trial Attorneys Thea D. R. Kendler and David C. Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
Posted: 12:03 am ET
U.S. agencies allocated approximately $6.5 billion for security-related assistance to Egypt in fiscal years 2011 through 2015. As of September 30, 2015, over $6.4 billion of the $6.5 billion total had been committed or disbursed. The majority of the funding (99.5 percent) was provided to Egypt through the Department of State’s (State) Foreign Military Financing (FMF) account. The funds from this account were used to purchase and sustain a wide variety of military systems, including F-16 aircraft, Apache helicopters, and M1A1 tanks.
The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State implemented end-use monitoring for equipment transferred to Egyptian security forces, but challenges including obtaining Egyptian government cooperation hindered some efforts. DOD completed all required end-use monitoring inventories and physical security inspections of storage sites for missiles and night vision devices (NVD) in fiscal year 2015, but DOD lacked documentation showing that it completed physical security inspections for these sensitive items in prior years. Despite agreeing to give access, the Egyptian government prevented DOD officials from accessing a storage site to verify the physical security of some NVDs prior to 2015, according to DOD officials and documents. State conducted 12 end-use checks of U.S. equipment exported to Egypt in fiscal years 2011 to 2015, but State data indicate that the Egyptian government’s incomplete and slow responses to some inquiries limited U.S. efforts to verify the use and security of certain equipment, including NVDs and riot-control items. Despite this lack of cooperation, since 2008, State has not used outreach programs in Egypt that are intended to facilitate host country cooperation and compliance with State’s monitoring program. According to State officials, this was due to the small number of end-use checks conducted in Egypt and the lower priority assigned to Egypt than to other countries.
The U.S. government completed some, but not all, human rights vetting required by State policy before providing training or equipment to Egyptian security forces. State deemed GAO’s estimate of the percentage of Egyptian security forces that were not vetted to be sensitive but unclassified information, which is excluded from this public report. Moreover, State has not established specific policies and procedures for vetting Egyptian security forces receiving equipment. Although State concurred with a 2011 GAO recommendation to implement equipment vetting, it has not established a time frame for such action. State currently attests in memos that it is in compliance with the Leahy law. However, without vetting policies and procedures, the U.S. government risks providing U.S. equipment to recipients in Egypt in violation of the Leahy laws.
Read in full here.
Posted: 12:03 am ET
Via USDOJ: Former Bosnian Army Prison Guard Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Procuring U.S. Citizenship
A Jacksonville, Florida, man pleaded guilty today for unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship by failing to disclose during his naturalization process his membership in the Bosnian Army and crimes that he committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian Conflict in the 1990s, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.
Slobo Maric, 56, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Klindt of the Middle District of Florida. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
According to the plea agreement, in 1993, Maric served as a shift leader, the second in command to the warden, of a detention facility in Bosnia that housed captured Bosnian-Croat soldiers. Many of the guards in the facility routinely subjected detainees to serious physical abuse and humiliation, including by referring to them with ethnic slurs and spitting on them. According to the plea agreement, Maric selected detainees for other guards to abuse; directly participated in abusing several prisoners; and sent prisoners on dangerous and deadly work details on the front line of the conflict. The Bosnian government charged Maric for his criminal conduct and, after Maric immigrated to the United States, Bosnia indicted and convicted Maric in absentia for war crimes against prisoners. According to the plea agreement, Maric knew about the Bosnian court proceedings, yet he failed to disclose the proceedings and lied about his conduct on his application for U.S. citizenship. Maric became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Oct. 31, 2002.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jacksonville Field Office investigated the case under the supervision of the HSI Tampa Field Office with support from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center.
Trial Attorneys Clayton O’Connor, Sasha Rutizer and Christina Giffin and Historian David Rich of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale Campion of the Middle District of Florida are prosecuting the case.