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Tag: spokesman

Ex-DEA Spokesman Pleads Guilty to Posing As CIA Operative in Elaborate $4 Million Fraud Scheme

Garrison Courtney

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former DEA spokesman is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to posing as an undercover CIA operative to defraud government contractors out of more than $4 million.

Garrison Kenneth Courtney, who served as a DEA spokesman between 2005 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old Florida resident posed as a covert CIA officer serving on a highly classified task force, whose mission was to enhance the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government.

No such task force existed, and Courtney had never worked for the CIA, prosecutors said.

“Courtney went to extraordinary lengths to perpetuate the illusion that he was a deep-cover operative. Among other things, he falsely claimed that his identity and large portions of his conduct were classified; directed victims and witnesses to sign fake nondisclosure agreements that purported to be from the United States government and that forbade anyone involved from speaking openly about the supposedly classified program; told victims and witnesses that they were under surveillance by hostile foreign intelligence services; made a show of searching people for electronic devices as part of his supposed counterintelligence methods; demanded that his victims meet in sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) to create the illusion that they were participating in a classified intelligence operation; and repeatedly threatened anyone who questioned his legitimacy with revocation of their security clearance and criminal prosecution if they ‘leaked’ or continued to look into the supposedly classified information,” federal prosecutors said in a news release. “Courtney further created fake letters, purporting to have been issued by the Attorney General of the United States, which claimed to grant blanket immunity to those who participated in the supposedly classified program.”

As part of the scheme, Courtney convinced several public officials that he was a CIA operative and told them they had been chosen to participate in the program, using “those officials as unwitting props falsely to burnish his legitimacy,” prosecutors said. The government officials unwittingly repeated those claims to the companies, giving his scheme an air of legitimacy.

The investigation was carried out by multiple law enforcement agencies.

A Top Homeland Security Official Was Using Thousands of Tax Dollars on Personal Meals

Andrew Meehan

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security’s top spokesman, who plans to leave his post today, has been under investigation for spending large amount of tax dollars on personal dining expenses, the Washington Examiner has found.

Homeland Security acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Andrew Meehan announced last month that he was resigning, but his reasoning was never made public. Some senior administration officials suggested he was stepping down because of disagreements with the White House.

Turns out, Meehan federal authorities called for his termination after it was revealed he had spent thousands of dollars on meals. It’s not clear why he was allowed to stay in his position for nearly a month after announcing his resignation.

Homeland Security officials have declined to comment.

Top Homeland Security Aide, Spokesman Meehan Resigns Amid Tensions

Andrew Meehan

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Andrew Meehan, a spokesman and top aide to Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan, is reportedly leaving the Trump administration over trust issues.

Meehan became acting assistant secretary of public affairs just four months ago to serve with former CBP boss, McAleenan, who promoted to acting secretary in April.

The White House had become frustrated with Meehan’s strategy in rolling out policy changes and his timing on announcements, Axios reports.

“Meehan, who was in Panama in advance of the secretary’s visit during the Flores rollout, made the decision to leave government a couple of weeks ago,” a senior DHS official told Axios.

Homeland Security and White House officials had not responded to questions about Meehan’s departure as of Thursday night.

ICE Spokesman Resigns Over Trump Administration’s ‘Misleading’ Statements on Raid

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco resigned over what he called “false” and “misleading” statements by the Trump administration and top-ranking immigration officials.

James Schwab told media outlets on Monday evening that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan were peddling a false narrative that hundreds of “criminal aliens” eluded arrest because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned immigrants of a forthcoming ICE raid.

Schwab said his concerns about the misleading statements were dismissed, and ICE instructed him to “deflect” questions from the media.

“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”

After 232 people were detained in the raid, Sessions and Homan claimed as many as 800 “criminals” evaded arrest and were a danger to the public.

Schwab said top officials painted a misleading portrait by inflating the number of people who may have avoided arrest and sensationalizing the danger that each poses.

“I didn’t feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against her actions was the way to go about it,” Schwab said. “We were never going to pick up that many people. To say that 100% are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong.”

In fact, Schwab told Oakland Fox affiliate KTVU that the raid netted more arrests than initially planned.

Dallas FBI Agent Set to Plead to Hiring Illegals for Deli She Owned

dallas-map1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Dallas FBI agent who was fired after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges last month claiming she hired illegal immigrants for a restaurant she owned is expected to plead guilty to the charges next week, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed misdemeanor charges on July 28 against agent Ann Cox, accusing her of employing six illegal immigrants from 1997 to 2008 at Schlotzsky’s restaurant Rockwall, Tex., the Dallas Morning News reported.

“While operating the deli, Cox engaged in a pattern and practice of hiring and employing aliens in the United States while knowing that they were unauthorized for such employment,” court documents stated, according to the newspaper.

Cox signed a plea agreement on July 28, the same day a criminal information was filed in U.S. District Court, according to court records. She expected to enter her plea Aug. 27 and is likely to get probation. The paper reported that her husband is  an FBI agent, but is not involved in the case.

The Dallas FBI spokesman Mark White declined comment, according to the paper.

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