LEGAL REALITY CHECK – A Case in Point Regarding Judicial Transparency (among other things)

This is a follow-up to my previous BFP piece about the lack of transparency in the so-called justice system.

OPB recently broke a story about unique developments in the Bundy/Malheur Refuge case that provide several perfect examples of the kind of lack of transparency that I’ve been talking about, not to mention common distortions by the mainstream media.

I’ll start out by discussing the media distortion issue first.   In the article, the OPB headline asserted that the Bundy defendants had received “special privileges” to have unmonitored meetings with their attorneys to help prepare for their upcoming trial.  From my perspective, this characterization is a total distortion of what is really going on.

The reality is, Judge Jones was making reasonable accommodations to help ensure compliance with constitutional requirements.  A more appropriate description would have been “Judge grants special accommodations under circumstances to ensure constitutional right to legal counsel.”  Another way to phrase it might have been: “Court takes action to help ensure that, under the unique circumstances of the case, Defendants’ civil rights are not violated,” (and hopefully avoid appealable errors).  Or, here’s yet another possibility:  “Based on Multnomah County Jail’s questionable attorney/client communications practices, judge takes action to help ensure effective right to legal counsel.”

One of the biggest challenges is with the characterization “privileges.”  The distorted notion that these defendants received some special privilege in this regard doesn’t hold water.  And it is not consistent with what Judge Jones said.  He said they received “special accommodations.”  To characterize what happened as special privileges is the functional equivalent of making special accommodations, under applicable circumstances, for someone with a hearing impairment or other physical handicap, etc., and call such accommodations “special privileges.”  As in this case, such a description is a distorted and misguided characterization.

Granted, the Bundy/Malheur case is unique.  It involves multiple defendants, and multiple attorneys.  It will require special accommodations to ensure compliance with constitutional requirements.  Special accommodations are not the same as special privileges. This isn’t doesn’t even involve “privileges.”  It involves fundamental constitutional rights. Everyone is entitled to such accommodations as are reasonably necessary to ensure constitutional compliance and protection of these rights.  Moreover, because it appears that these particular defendants are being treated essentially as political prisoners and enemies of the state, they are apparently  concerned about obvious government eavesdropping (which everyone knows is already happening at level, let alone a high-interest situation like this one), and their ability to have unmonitored, confidential communications with their attorneys.

And just to explore this issue a little deeper, it is my understanding that any and all attorneys or other parties (including me) who have had anything to do with this particular case (the Bundy/Malheur case) or related parties are subject to very invasive electronic surveillance.  Speaking of transparency, because of this unprecedented level of electronic spying – even on attorneys’ communications with their clients – from what I understand, the government has purportedly undertaken the unusual step of implementing what is referred to as a “taint team” that is supposed to be scrubbing all information made available to the prosecutors to supposedly prevent the disclosure of confidential communications between the defendants and their attorneys.  So in short, one team of federal domestic spies are monitoring all the parties’ communications, including the communications of court-appointed attorneys, while another team of federal good Samaritans are trying to make sure the information the other team has access to isn’t being misused for criminal prosecution purposes.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?

I’ll have to confess that the thought that regardless of what I might want to think, I have zero privacy, and it’s not just God watching my every move gives me a lot to think about.  But I try to take comfort in the fact that to the extent any of my communications with any of the subject parties or their attorneys are covered by attorney/client privilege, there is someone out there who will dependably and good-naturedly ensure that those communications won’t be shared with the prosecutors.  It gives me warm and fuzzies just thinking about it.

Despite all the legitimate justifications for the communications arrangements, in attempting to finally disclose and explain the special attorney/client communication arrangements made available to the Bundy defendants, Judge Jones has now said some things that ought to be a concern for a number of reasons, and in this part of his explanation he does use the words “privileges,” and “special treatment,” which I find to be both troublesome and problematic. He said:

“Initially, I chose to keep these special accommodations off the record to avoid publicity based on advice from the Multnomah County Sheriffs office and the USMS suggesting that the special treatment might pose a danger to these defendants and influence other inmates at the jail to request similar privileges.

So, in a nutshell, what we have here is a federal judge making off-the-record legal decisions, based on secret meetings, and ex parte advice from a county sheriff’s office, and the US Marshall Service, and keeping the whole thing under wraps “for weeks.”   It looks more like months actually.  And a big question revolves around why on August 4th, over two months later, Judge Jones would finally provide a carefully worded “declaration” disclosing the whole thing.  There is no question that how he has handled the whole situation has a tendency to raise suspicion, prompt speculation, and make the whole situation appear to be much more “special” than it actually is, and raises all kinds of questions.  It is genuinely unclear why he didn’t just take an open, transparent, straight-forward approach.  But of course that would have deprived quite a few people of something “special” to fuss about.

Regardless of all those issues, this is a perfect example of lack of transparency in the judicial system, and why it is so problematic.  In my view, the explanation Judge Jones provided raises more questions than answers, and the approach he chose to take has caused more problems and issues than he was purportedly seeking to avoid.  While we’re talking about Judge Jones, however, I also want to say something about one of his other rulings.

During a recent hearing addressing pre-trial detention, Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Marcus Mumford, outlined some of the defenses and legal theories he intended to assert, including adverse possession.  He said that the Malheur occupiers, including Bundys, were seeking to stake an adverse possession claim at the refuge.  My understanding of the argument was that he was seeking to assert the fundamental principles involved in an adverse possession claim, and then seeking to attempt to apply those principles and concepts to the situation at the refuge, in the form of a defense explaining why Bundys were doing what they were doing at the refuge.  Judge Jones quickly, and seemingly off-the-cuff, rejected the argument, however, and ruled that it is not possible to make an adverse possession/use claim against the government.

The point I want to make in that regard is that Judge Jones’ blanket observation is not entirely true, and he seemed to be very hasty in rejecting the conceptual principles.  It is worth noting that these principles were not being asserted affirmatively, seeking to have the court issue a ruling that the occupiers were legally entitled to some sort of decree of adverse possession.  Instead, the principles were being asserted as a defense, to help explain their motives and what they were thinking – which seems to be relevant, especially in light of latent assertions that they were not only seeking to impede federal officers, but that they were also conspiring to overthrow the federal government.   If, however, they can show that what they were really trying to do was assert an adverse possession claim -- even if they were wrong in their reasoning -- it could change the equation, particularly with respect to intent.

In terms of exploring and applying the principles involved in an adverse possession claim, it is useful to note that the whole concept of RS 2477 rights-of-way across federal land is based on grandfathered adverse use and prescriptive rights principles. So there is some precedent for application of the principles.

But if all this leaves you scratching your head, you’re not the only one.

# # # # #

Todd Macfarlane, Newsbud- BFP Legal Analyst & Commentator, is an attorney, rancher, writer, political activist, conservationist and commentator.  Although he is comfortable wearing several different hats, beyond faith, family and grass-fed livestock ranching, his primary interests include natural law, property rights, western land-use, political policy, and what he often refers to as the “so-called justice system.”  

LEGAL REALITY CHECK – It’s High Time the Court System Takes a Serious Look at Transparency — by Todd Macfarlane

This is one of those issues that should quickly become self-evident.

Our legal system goes by a number of different names.  Some call it the “Justice System.”  Others call it the “Court System” or the “Judicial System.”  Still others refer to it as the “Legal System.” Based on my experience and observations, I often refer to it as the “so-called justice system,” for a variety of reasons.  But whatever label is used, there is no question, to the casual, outside observer, our legal system is completely shrouded in secrecy and mystery.  It is the functional equivalent of the Holy Bible, printed in Greek and Latin, prior to William Tindale’s English translation, so that normal people could read and understand it.

For some time I have been talking about another piece I’m working on about how the federal court system is the epitome of the fox guarding the hen house – especially when it comes to handling cases involving the federal government.  One of the basic tenets of natural law is that a party cannot be an impartial arbiter of a dispute in which that party (in this case the federal government) is involved.

While this piece addresses broader issues of judicial transparency beyond the federal court system, it seems to coincide with a lot of other information recently reported, including articles about the Nevada Federal Court’s protective order preventing disclosure of almost all information in the “Bundy Standoff” case, and Katie Aguilera’s recent piece about the complete lack of transparency in federal plea bargaining (http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2016/07/14/how-sentence-enhancements-increase-plea-deals-reduce-transparency-in-the-u-s-justice-system/).

Wouldn’t the public be interested to know that in many federal plea bargain arrangements, including virtually all the Oregon Stand-off Plea Deals, there is almost no negotiation.  The defendants have virtually no say in the “take–it-or-leave-it” terms that are offered.  The playing field is anything but level.  The carrot they are offered is little or no incarceration, if they will expressly admit that they participated in a conspiracy to impede federal officers. If there was some sort of conspiratorial agreement – whatever that means – between some of the parties, I seriously doubt many of these defendants had given the possibility of impeding federal employees a second thought,  let alone were aware of the purported terms of any such purported conspiratorial pacts  I have had an opportunity to observe this process up-close and personal and I don’t see how the defendants could not have felt coerced to accept and admit to language and terms that they would have never even considered, let alone agreed to, on a level playing field – all in the name of creating leverage for the government’s case.

And the same thing often applies to the flood of “friendly” federal sue-and-settle lawsuits pursued by environmental special interest groups under the Equal Access to Justice Act.  They have learned that this process often allows them to profit financially while essentially dictating federal land-use policy, in a process that is typically applies public tax dollars to advance private agendas – with a woeful lack of transparency in the negotiation and deal-making process.

Other prime examples include both secret FISA Courts, and the entire grand jury process by which indictments are obtained.  There is zero transparency.  No wonder, as an old saying goes, even ham sandwiches are so susceptible to indictment.  But in reality, the secrecy and lack of transparency goes much deeper and is a big part of the entire system.  In the federal court system protective orders limiting access to information are common place.  And in the vast majority of cases, it is the other branches of government which are seeking to keep as much as possible under wraps. This approach should leave any thinking person seriously scratching their head, and asking questions.

While there have arguably been vast improvements in overall governmental transparency over the last few years, for the most part this does not apply to the court system.  The court system is still very antiquated and mysterious – especially when it comes to transparency.   Just as an example, many courts will not even allow pictures to be taken in the courtroom, let alone audio or video recording. And they often apply double standards to these restrictions and limitations.

Consequently, most people’s perception of what happens in the court system comes from movies and television.  Movies like My Cousin Vinnie, LA Law and Drop Dead Diva inform their understanding (and have actually also been cited and referred to by supreme court justices).  Even most attorneys think the best lawyer they know is Gregory Peck, playing Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

In the day and age in which we now live, one of the biggest things that has allowed people who are really interested in such things to become better informed about governmental processes is live-streaming of other governmental functions, including legislative sessions and committee meetings, whether it be Congress, state legislatures, or local municipal and county governments.  This contributes substantially to transparency in government, and allows average, “normal” people better opportunities to see and better understand what is going on.

Why shouldn’t the same concepts apply to the judicial branch?  Given the fact that many courts don’t even allow the taking of pictures in the court room – no actual images of anything – while other courts do, what is the policy justification for such rules?  Back in the day, frontier court trials were major public events.  Everyone wanted to see for themselves what was happening.   For the most part today court sessions are still considered “public” and are fully accessible to the public, but how many members of the public are in a position to participate in person?

Transparency benefits everyone.  The same principles that apply to law enforcement dash-cams and body cams also apply in the courtroom – transparency enhances understanding and accountability.  What can possibly be the reason why the Judicial branch should not be subject to the same concepts and requirements of transparency and accountability?

Most court proceedings are already recorded several different ways.  One of the recordings is for security purposes.  Another entirely different set of recordings is used to help preserve the “record” of the proceeding for possible appeal.  When I was recently in a state courtroom observing a jury trial, I counted at least seven cameras – seven.  What would be wrong with having one more camera, with a live stream that would allow the public to follow the proceedings, remotely, just like they do with so many other government functions?

This sort of discussion and suggestion will almost undoubtedly be viewed as unwelcome boat rocking of the status quo.  Something that some may find interesting to know is that the very stiff, stodgy and tradition-bound legal system does not look kindly on boat rocking.  Bar associations and their rules discourage attorneys from criticizing the system and applicable status quo.

Obviously, there would be some cost associated with implementing such transparency.  And undoubtedly there will be those who say that the cost of transparency is just too high. But what I’m thinking is that if more people had an opportunity to watch and observe the system in action, they could and would suggest a myriad of ways to help stream-line and make the system more efficient and effective.

Seriously, wouldn’t more transparency be in everyone’s (except perhaps the lawyers’ and judges’) best interests?

# # # #

Todd Macfarlane, Newsbud- BFP Legal Analyst & Commentator is an attorney, farmer/rancher, writer, political activist and commentator.  Although he is comfortable wearing several different hats, beyond grass farming, his primary interests include natural law, property rights, western land-use, policy, and what he often refers to as the “so-called justice system.”  He also has a keen interest in waves – making a few, riding some, and being content to simply watch and admire others.  For Newsbud-BFP, he alternates between several columns, including Legal Reality Check, and The Tug-o-War (over public lands and resources in the West). In this particular column, he's wearing his cowboy hat (or lawyer suit)

Newsbud Report with Peter B. Collins- Episode #2

Did we just finish Mainstream Media Malpractice Week? We examine the media’s premature projection of Hillary Clinton as Democratic nominee. We report on the FBI’s expanding use of paid informants in “domestic terrorism” cases, like the recent convictions in Minneapolis; and the FBI’s push for expanded powers to monitor internet activity. We examine NY Gov. Cuomo’s order to punish supporters of boycotts of Israel, and journalist Max Blumenthal comments in our interview. In our Newsbud Exclusive, Prof. Filip Kovacevic reports on Russia’s plan to counter NATO expansion with its Alliance of Neutral States. We also cover Brazil’s deepening crisis, and the US role in the 2009 coup in Honduras.

*We need your support to make Newsbud a reality. Please pledge today for a 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity.

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- “The War on Terror Sham: Mindboggling Comparison of Scales & Proportions!

This will be a brief presentation on the sham called The War on Terror and the involved costs- in terms of scales in methods, dollars and lives. The price tag for the US War on Terror sham is placed at over $4 Trillion. We’ll be looking at mindboggling facts presented via comparison of scales and proportions when it comes to US Military-Intelligence vs. The Supposed Borderless Terrorists in the Middle East. A massive never-ending war against a fantastical network of technologically and militaristically dwarfed terrorists. Don’t you see who wins in this synthetically created perpetual war?

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud- A 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

The $5 Trillion War on Terror

Exactly How Big Is This So-Called Al Qaeda?

For Afghan troops, donkeys are the new helicopters

The IED: The $30-Bombs That Cost The U.S. Billions

1,600 US bombs dropped in Syria and Iraq during March cost $8.5m a day

About M1 Abrams Tanks

Cost of Camels

Cost of Donkeys

Do the Math: Global War on Terror Has Killed 4 Million Muslims or More

Timeline: Terror Attacks Linked to Islamists Since 9/11

NSA recording 'nearly all' phone calls in Afghanistan

Five Reasons Why Drones Are Here to Stay

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- “Kill First, Ask Later … Wait! Never mind! Don’t Ask or Answer Whatsoever!”

In this episode I provide a brief presentation on our dangerous and Kafkaesque world where our nation claims a 100% right to kill with no reason or explanation needed, a 100% right to kidnap and torture, and a 100% right to blacklist and surveil without having to show any justification. We are going to talk about a US code of operation that confidently says “Kill First, Ask Later … Wait! Actually never mind! Don’t Ask or Answer Whatsoever!” We’ll discuss our murders by drones, our secret no fly lists, secret surveillance target lists, and much more. You may consider yourself immunized from these factual absurdities, but I can assure you: You Are Wrong!

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud- A 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

Almost 2,500 Now Killed by Covert US Drone Strikes Since Obama Inauguration

Nearly 90 Percent of People Killed in Recent Drone Strikes Were Not the Target

Naming the dead: Only 10 of scores killed by US drones in Pakistan last year have been identified

Terror Suspects Are Frequent Targets of U.S. Drones

U.S. ‘Reasonably Certain’ Drone Strike Killed ‘Jihadi John’

‘Am I on the ‘No Fly’ List?’—and Other FAQs to the FBI

Why the no-fly list was declared unconstitutional

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds: Syria & the Real Winners of a Synthetic Conflict

In this episode we are going to briefly discuss synthetic conflicts. In particular we’ll be looking at the real gains and the real winners- rather than getting lost in the distortion maze that has been designed by the deep state, and implemented via their propaganda tentacles-Media. With all the talk on the ISIL conflict, and with all the speculations surrounding Russia’s in-and-out of Syria maneuver, it is time to put aside the lenses provided by the media (aka the deep state propaganda machine), bring out the magnifier, and search for the truth of these matters by following the money.

With every war, battle and conflict we must engage in the following inventory-taking process: what will be gained, by whom; what are the dollars involved and who gets these dollars. Join me and let us explore the answers to these questions.

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud- A 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

Syrian Campaign Pays Off as Moscow Lands Military Contracts

How much money will Russia make off operations in Syria?

Who Will Profit From the Wars in Iraq and Syria?

Bombs Away! Lockheed Expanding Missile Factories, Quadruples Bomb Production for ISIS Long Haul

Book: The Lone Gladio- By Sibel Edmonds

Operation Gladio B

Corbett Report: Operation Gladio B Series with Sibel Edmonds

Secret Warfare Operation Gladio & NATO’s Stay Behind Armies

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- False Flag Ops, the Morning After & the Profiteers

Terrorism: The Needed Juice that Expands Wars, Police-Surveillance State

This is our third episode in our coverage of the recent Belgium Bombing as another synthetic terror event carried out under Operation Gladio B. In this episode we’ll begin looking at reactions, events and actions that are taking place since the execution of this recent plot, and the ones that took place before that. We’ll look at objectives that are being pursued and pushed, and who benefits from it all.

We look at the chain of events following a synthetically created terror action. And with that we see the needed juice that expands our wars, and expands our police and surveillance practices. The existence and expansion of the Military and Intelligence industrial Complexes depend on terrorism. And what wouldn’t they do to ensure that we have plenty of that?

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud- A 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

Ex-Brussels mayor: We need a pan-European FBI to counter terror threat

How the Brussels attacks affect the global fight against terror

Terror Threats Thaw Budgets Across Europe

Brussels attacks rekindle privacy vs. security debate in Europe

How private firms have cashed in on the climate of fear since 9/11

The End of the Rainbow: The Intelligence-Industrial Complex

Booz Allen Hamilton: 70% of the U.S. Intelligence Budget Goes to Private Contractors

Operation Gladio B

 

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- Belgium Bombing: All the Gladio’s Protected Terror Men

Full-immunity for & protection of terror implementers combined with scripted forewarnings issued by Operation Gladio hubs

This is a follow-up to our previous overview of the recent Belgium Bombing carrying every single hallmark of Operation Gladio B. I present one of the common trademarks present in all Gladio B synthetic terror operations since 9/11, and illustrate how Gladio’s terror operations always come with multiple forewarnings, and how, despite all the scripted and on-the-record forewarnings, the operatives are allowed to travel, communicate, and execute the intended and synthetically-created terror plots.

There will be more to discuss and analyze on this latest Operation Gladio B synthetic terror event. In our next episode I’ll be looking at what has already been taking place since the execution of the plot, which objectives are being pushed, and who benefits from it all.

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud- A 100% People-Funded Media with Integrity a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

Operation Gladio B

Corbett Report: Operation Gladio B Series with Sibel Edmonds

Belgian Stay Behind Network

Secret Warfare Operation Gladio & NATO’s Stay Behind Armies

Algerian Killed in Belgium Terror Raid Matches ISIS Recruitment File

Khalid & Brahim El Bakraoui: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ibrahim El Bakraoui was on US counterterrorism watch list before Paris attacks

Belgium terror incompetence laid bare

Who is Salah Abdeslam and who were the Paris terrorists? Everything we know about the Isil attackers

Corbett Report- Sibel Edmonds Shines A Light on the Brussels Attacks

Sibel Edmonds of Boiling Frogs Post & Newsbud.com joins us to discuss the Brussels attacks. We discuss Belgium's central role as the base of NATO/EU/Gladio headquarters and how the script of this event follows the script of previous false flags almost precisely. We also talk about the public's reaction to these events and how both the mainstream and alternative media are being divided and conquered to keep people from questioning the true roots of these events.

*SHOW NOTES & MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=18217

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- Belgium Bombing: The Missing Context, Facts & Interests

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- Belgium Bombing: The Missing Context, Facts & Interests

This is a brief presentation on several important angles and facts on the recent bombings in Belgium. As always, the deep-state-mouth-piece media is presenting the entire incident with twists and omissions, so I am going to bring up at least a few things quickly here, and later, follow up with more in-depth analyses. There are, and will be, lots to discuss and analyze on this latest Operation Gladio B synthetic terror event. Also, keep in mind, what will take place afterwards, whether it is expanding the existing wars or starting new ones, whether it is furthering police state practices, is equally if not more important than the bombing itself.

* Please do ‘Your’ share: Pledge and help us activate others to make Newsbud a reality.

Listen to the full audio version here (BFP Subscribers Only):

Show Notes

Operation Gladio B

Corbett Report: Operation Gladio B Series with Sibel Edmonds

Belgian Stay Behind Network

Secret Warfare Operation Gladio & NATO’s Stay Behind Armies

Belgium Has Become Center for Extremists

Belgium Warned of Attacks

Who’s Behind ISIS?

Brussel Attack Suspects’ Images

NarcoNews: DEA Prostitute Scandal Isn’t Agency’s Only Trick

Drug-War Agency’s Latin America Operations Tarnished by a Pattern of Unaddressed Corruption Allegations

Bill Conroy

The current scandal over Colombian narco-traffickers paying prostitutes to provide sex services to DEA agents has an even deeper footprint in the agency than the current head of the DEA has conceded, court records stemming from past DEA operations reveal.

A March report by the Department of Justice Inspector General’s office that first revealed the allegations publicly indicates the sex parties with DEA agents and prostitutes in Colombia played out between 2005 and 2008. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart wasn’t made aware of those activities until around 2012, according to the IG report.

“This has been a very difficult week for DEA, with members of Congress and the media asking tough questions and sharing our outrage about the disgraceful conduct of a few individuals several years ago,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart states in an email sent to employees earlier this month.“This employee misconduct has upset me for many reasons, but especially because it calls into question the incredible reputation DEA has built over more than 40 years.”

The House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the charges, recently released a report based on DEA documents that indicates some of the illicit activities in Colombia actually date back to 2001 but involved only a handful of agents.

Court records reviewed by Narco News, however, show DEA agents in Latin America were hooking up with prostitutes as far back as the late 1990s as part of a much broader pattern of alleged corruption involving DEA’s operations in Colombia.

A 2002 internal DEA report filed as an exhibit in a DEA agent’s wrongful termination lawsuit includes claims that a narco-trafficker and money launder turned DEA informant “prepaid the services of prostitutes” for as many as five DEA agents in Panama in the late 1990s. Those agents were assisting an operation that was making use of one of the more interesting characters in the shadows of the drug war.

That individual, Baruch Vega, served as a “foreign intelligence source” for the CIA, litigation documents reveal, while also doing work for the DEA and FBI in Latin America. As part of his work for the DEA in the late 1990s, Vega played the role of a broker of sorts charged with convincing key narco-trafficking figures in Colombia to negotiate favorable plea deals with the US government, court records reveal. Some of those narco-traffickers then went on to serve as cooperating sources for U.S. agencies, according to Vega.

Many of the negotiations with the Colombian narco-traffickers took place in Panama with DEA agents present, Vega claims. He described the DEA agents’ liaisons with prostitutes as a “very normal” part of the process.

“We would go for dinner with these narco-traffickers to negotiate their surrender to DEA, and after they would say, ‘Lets invite some girls,” Vega recounted in a recent interview with Narco News. “Then everyone would go out somewhere and the narco-traffickers would hire prostitutes to mingle with the agents, and the narco-traffickers would pay for it. This happened on several occasions in Panama, and in Colombia as well.”

Vega said the prostitutes didn’t know their clients were DEA agents, “but it’s possible when the narco-traffickers hired the girls, they told them they were agents.” He added that the ironic part of the arrangement was that the narco-traffickers would be “dating beautiful models” while the DEA agents would “be with the prostitutes.”

The 2002 DEA internal report is a small puzzle piece in a much larger web of intrigue and alleged corruption involving DEA’s operations in Colombia. Another piece of the puzzle surfaced in a leaked memo drafted in 2004 by a DOJ attorney named Thomas Kent. In that memo, Kent referred to DEA operations carried out in Colombia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He alleged that DEA agents in Bogota were on the payroll of narco-traffickers, engaging in money laundering for Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups, and conspiring to murder their own informants to protect their corrupt schemes.

Mike Levine, a former deep undercover DEA agent who now serves as an expert court witness, said the rot inside DEA is far deeper than the current “sexcapade” scandal. In a legal case involving Colombian narco-traffickers as DEA targets that Levine recently investigated as an expert witness, he said he “documented something like $20 million in funds stolen by DEA and/or task force agents.” …

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: CIA Veteran Sees Big Hole in Sterling Espionage Conviction

Retired Counterintelligence Officer Claims Intelligence Agency’s Office of Security Dropped the Ball

By Bill Conroy

A former CIA spy manager is raising a serious question about the way the intelligence agency handled the national-security risk raised in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who was recently convicted on espionage charges for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.

Leutrell Osborne is a 27-year veteran of the CIA who as a case officer oversaw spies and assets in 30 countries. He said he befriended Sterling, who like Osborne is African American, during the course of a discrimination lawsuit Sterling initiated against the CIA in 2000. That litigation was ultimately dismissed by the courts in early 2006 due to the government’s national security claims.

“I decided to assist Jeffrey [Sterling] in his discrimination case because I had respect for him because he was a black man, an attorney and a spy manager, and part of the reason I worked at the CIA was so people like him could follow me,” said Osborne, a CIA employee from 1957-1984. [Video: Leutrell Osborne: Black Man in the CIA]

Osborne, who now runs a business-consulting firm, had numerous interactions and conversations with Sterling, which he said should have been of interest to the CIA’s Office of Security in the course of any internal agency investigation of potential classified-information leaks.

However, Osborne said the CIA never contacted him about Sterling, prior to or during the course of the criminal investigation targeting Sterling. That criminal investigation, which led to Sterling’s indictment in 2010, was initiated by at least 2008 — when reporter Risen was first subpoenaed in the case. Osborne also said that, to date, the CIA has not returned a call he made to the agency shortly after Sterling’s conviction in late January.

If the CIA was truly concerned that Sterling was leaking classified information, then the agency should have vetted anyone who had his confidence, particularly current and former CIA personnel, to determine the extent of his alleged espionage activities, Osborne contends.

“The CIA investigated Sterling, and they knew I knew him, or should have known, yet they did not talk to me,” Osborne said. “Is the CIA that incompetent in security? The CIA is supposedly the best security organization in the world, and yet they didn’t care that there were holes in their investigation? That raises a red flag for me.”

A federal court jury in Virginia found Sterling guilty earlier this year on nine criminal counts related to charges that he provided classified documents to Risen sometime between 2001 and 2005 that were made public in a book that the journalist published in early 2006. Risen’s tome, “State of War,” included a chapter detailing a CIA covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear-weapons development capabilities.  Sterling, now 47, was assigned from 1998 to mid-2000 as an operational officer in the unit overseeing that Iran program, dubbed Operation Merlin in court records.

The government’s case against Sterling was made with circumstantial evidence — primarily records of phone calls and emails exchanged between Sterling and Risen between 2003 and 2005, none of which contained a smoking gun proving conclusively that Sterling leaked classified information. Sterling’s lawyers argued that the trail of emails and phone calls dovetailed in time with his discrimination lawsuit against the CIA and dealt with that matter, which Risen had written about in the New York Times previously. In addition, the defense argued that there were a number of other potential sources for Risen’s book, including Senate Select Intelligence Committee staffers, given Sterling in 2003 provided information to them legally as a whistleblower on what he deemed flaws in the covert Iran program.

The Department of Justice engaged in a controversial battle across the Bush and Obama administrations to force Risen to reveal his sources on Operation Merlin. Ultimately, though, the Department of Justice backed down as Sterling’s trial got underway in mid-January and did not call Risen to testify. Government attorneys argue that Sterling was a disgruntled former CIA employee motivated to strike back at the agency and that convictions based on strong circumstantial evidence are not out of the ordinary in the judicial system.

But Osborne’s criticism has more to do with CIA internal procedures than Sterling’s criminal case itself, though he argues that there is some pause for concern that the agency may have pushed the criminal case against Sterling in retaliation for his whistleblowing and discrimination lawsuit against the agency.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represented Sterling in the discrimination case, said Osborne “gave media interviews” during the course of Sterling’s discrimination litigation, including for national outlets such as CNN, “and was very supportive of Jeff [Sterling],” though he never testified in the case. Osborne said the CIA certainly was aware of his relationship with Sterling, or at least should have been as the world’s premier intelligence agency. In addition, Osborne said he placed a call to the CIA in early February, shortly after Sterling’s conviction, but still has not been contacted by the agency.

Osborne points out that CIA attorneys do not try criminal cases and the CIA itself has no arrest powers. Once a suspect in a classified-information leak is identified, he said, the case is normally turned over to the FBI and Department of Justice attorney’s to pursue via the criminal justice system.

However, that does not absolve the CIA, he said, of conducting its own thorough internal investigation to determine the extent of the leak and how extensive the problem is and what other agency operations might have been affected or compromised. Because he had a relationship with Sterling, the CIA should have had an interest in determining what information was exchanged between them, Osborne said.

The CIA unit responsible for protecting classified information from disclosure, and for investigating such breaches, is the Office of Security.

“That unit [the Office of Security] should have been on the job. I was a potential hole in the security, and yet no one from CIA contacted me,” Osborne stressed. “The Office of Security’s job is to look for the dirty laundry, and possibly share what they find with the FBI. I should have been contacted.”

Osborne said the fact that CIA investigators did not question him prompts a suspicion that Sterling was not the national-security threat the agency portrayed him to be and that some individuals at the CIA may have “manipulated” the Department of Justice into pursuing an espionage case against him. Alternatively, another possible implication of the agency’s failure to vet Osborne is equally troubling. That lapse, he said, points to a potential serious weakness in the CIA’s internal “security protocols” for containing espionage threats.

Dean Boyd, director of the CIA Office of Public Affairs, when asked about Osborne’s allegations, provided the following response via email:

“The criminal investigation of Jeffrey Sterling and his unauthorized disclosure of classified information was conducted by the FBI. The criminal prosecution was handled by the Department of Justice. As you may know, determinations on potential witnesses or interviews to be conducted in connection with a criminal investigation and prosecution are the purview of the FBI and Department of Justice.”

When asked in a follow-up email to address the specific concern Osborne raised about the failure of CIA investigators to contact him as part of the agency’s internal security protocols, Boyd replied: “We have no further information for you.”

“There are valleys between DOJ, FBI and the CIA,” Osborne said. “CIA uses DOJ attorneys for criminal cases, but it doesn’t’ make sense that CIA did not contact me or that DOJ should have handled that,” given any compromise of classified information potentially threatens broader CIA operations possibly not even known to DOJ. Osborne added that neither the DOJ or FBI contacted him about Sterling — nor did he reach out to them.

“This discussion just accentuates how stupid this situation is,” Osborne added.

For the record, Osborne said Sterling never shared any classified information with him.

“I did not inquire about what he did for the CIA,” Osborne said. “And he had too much respect for me to involve me in his garbage. Sterling never shared with me anything he did clandestinely for the CIA.”

Past Deceptions

This isn’t the first time the CIA Office of Security has been called out for failing to do its job properly.

In March of last year, US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), lashed out publicly at the CIA, accusing the agency and its top lawyer of illegally spying on the Senate staff charged with investigating the George W. Bush-era terrorism practices. She accused the CIA of seeking to intimidate the Senate committee by asking the Justice Department to investigate those same staffers based on what she described as “inaccurate information” provided to the Justice Department.

Although Feinstein did not then publicly identify the CIA lawyer she accused of helping to orchestrate the alleged attack on the Senate staff — via his referral of charges to DOJ — White House spokesman Jay Carney subsequently confirmed that it was then-Acting CIA General Counsel Robert Eatinger.

The Senate staff was utilizing secure computers set up by the CIA that allowed them to examine millions of documents to prepare a 6,000-page report on the terrorism-detention and interrogation program. An abbreviated version of that report, some 500 pages long and released in December of last year, determined the CIA’s use of torture to obtain information from suspects held in secret prisons didn’t work, yet the agency lied repeatedly in claiming it was effective.

In the course of preparing their report for Feinstein’s committee, the CIA alleges the Senate staffers illegally hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain information — creating the basis for Eatinger’s request for a DOJ criminal investigation. Senate staffers maintain the information in question was contained in trove of records made available to them by CIA for examination.

A five-member CIA Accountability Board, which included three CIA officials, was assembled to investigate the matter and determined in findings issued this past January that CIA personnel did nothing illegal, that it was all essentially an honest misunderstanding.

However, Feinstein took issue with the findings of the board and issued a blistering critique.

“Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” she said in a press release published on Jan. 27. “…The CIA IG [Inspector General, in a separate report] found the CIA criminal referral against SSCI staff was based on inaccurate information provided to Acting General Counsel Bob Eatinger by personnel in CIA’s Office of Security. The actions of these individuals were ignored by the CIA Accountability Board, which is shocking and unacceptable.” [Emphasis added.]

So, essentially, a US senator claims the CIA’s Office of Security lied to the Department of Justice as part of an effort to launch a criminal investigation into Senate staffers

…………………………………………………

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: Torture Report Reveals CIA’s Manipulation of US Media

Agency Used Classified Information as Currency for Deception
By Bill Conroy

The recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report pillorying the CIA’s Bush-era detention and interrogation program is replete with lurid details of what would commonly be called torture, if those practices were carried out on you or me.

Waterboarding, rectal feeding, sleep deprivation, coffin-size cells and forcing detainees to stand in stress positions, even with broken bones, is the stuff of a horror movie. But there is another revelation in the long-awaited, and controversial, Senate committee report that so far seems to have slipped past much examination in the public spotlight.

The Senate report makes clear that CIA officials attempted to play the media like a fiddle by selectively releasing classified information about the detention and interrogation program.

“The CIA manipulated rules on classified information to serve its own interests,” Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said. “And the Senate report cites several examples of that.”

In fact, one of the findings of the report is quite blunt on that front:

“The CIA's Office of Public Affairs and senior CIA officials coordinated to share classified information on the CIA' s Detention and Interrogation Program to select members of the media to counter public criticism, shape public opinion, and avoid potential congressional action to restrict the CIA's … authorities and budget. These disclosures occurred when the program was a classified covert action program.”

This finding is troubling in light of the ongoing efforts to prosecute well-known whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden of NSA-leak fame, and some half dozen others in separate cases, all of whom could face (or are facing) years in prison for allegedly disclosing classified information to the media. To be sure, there are nuances in each of the cases and the comparison is not perfect, but at the heart of it all is a set of rules on the release of classified information that are marked with double standards.

“If you have no security clearance, and there is not a need to know, then you’re not supposed to get classified information,” Aftergood said. “The Senate committee found that CIA officials leaked classified information [to the media] and no further investigation was conducted.”

The Senate report describes the practice as follows:

“In seeking to shape press reporting on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, CIA officers and the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided unattributed background information on the program to journalists for books, articles, and broadcasts, including when the existence of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was still classified. When the journalists to whom the CIA had provided background information published classified information, the CIA did not, as a matter of policy, submit crimes reports.”

One example illustrative of the practice, cited in the report, is found in correspondence penned by the deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center in 2005, as the torture program was beginning to unravel:

“We either get out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond the media. [C]ongress reads it, cuts our authorities. messes up our budget. …We either put out our story or we get eaten. [T]here is no middle ground.”

The same CIA officer explained to a colleague that "when the [Washington Post]/[New York T]imes quotes ‘senior intelligence official,’ it’s us ... authorized and directed by opa [CIA's Office of Public Affairs].”

And much of the information leaked to the media via these authorized leaks “on the operation of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program and the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques was inaccurate…,” the Senate report states.

So, in essence, the CIA operated as a propaganda machine, utilizing classified information as part of a larger effort to deceive the American public about the shortcomings of its torture program, if the Senate report is to be believed. Now, none of this is really new in the big picture of how the government and the media work with respect to classified information. The simple rule to remember is that the higher up in the government the leaker is, the less risk they face.

As far back as 1974, politicians were pointing out this basic flaw in the system. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released last year touches on the reality:

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: US Military’s Training of Mexican Security Forces Continues as Human-Rights Abuses Mount in Mexico

DoD Officials Claim Training is Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

By Bill Conroy

The U.S. government has spent more than $62 million since fiscal year 2010 providing highly specialized training to Mexican security forces, including some $16.3 million in fiscal 2013, as part of an effort to help Mexico better prosecute its war on drugs, records made public under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act show.

The spending has continued even as Mexico’s military and police forces continue to face accusations of pervasive human-rights abuses committed against Mexican citizens, leading some experts to question whether the U.S.-funded training is resulting in some deadly unintended consequences.

The news of the disappearance in late September of 43 students who attended a rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa, located in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, has sparked massive protests in Mexico. The students were allegedly turned over to a criminal gang after being abducted by Mexican police and they remain missing. The police fired on the three buses transporting the students along a stretch of road near Iguala, about 130 kilometers north of Ayotiznapa, and the abduction was carried out near a Mexican military base, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Ayotzinapa incident was preceded by a lesser-known attack this past June during which Mexican soldiers killed 22 people inside a warehouse in Tlatlaya, 238 kilometers southwest of Mexico City. At least 12 of those homicides were deemed extrajudicial executions, according to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission[CNDH in its Spanish initials].

Last year, the Mexican government conceded that at least 26,000 people had gone missing, or been disappeared, in Mexico since 2006 — the year the war on the “cartels” in that nation was launched. Over that same period, INEGI (the Mexican State Statistics Agency) reports, there were some 155,000 homicides in Mexico, most with a nexus to the drug war.

The U.S. Department of Defense insists that the relationship it has with Mexican security forces is based on “trust and confidence and mutual respect” and is critical to helping to reduce the violence sparked by criminal organizations in Mexico.

The U.S. training, funded through the DoD and to a lesser extent the U.S. Department of State, encompasses a wide range of military strategy and tactics and is carried out at locations in the United States and inside Mexico. Among the course topics on the menu are asymmetrical conflict, counter intelligence, international counterterrorism, psychological operations, counter-drug operations and urban operations. The training is being provided to a broad spectrum of Mexican security forces, including the Army, Navy and the federal police, according to data provided to Congress under the requirements of the Foreign Assistance Act and is current through fiscal year 2013.

Adam Isacson, senior associate for regional security policy with the Washington Office on Latin America, a nongovernmental organization promoting human rights and democracy in Latin America, says there is a lack of reliable public data on the fate of Mexican security forces after they receive U.S. military training.

“What happens to these trainees a year or two down the road after they are placed in areas dominated by organized crime?” Isacson asks. “We simply don’t have good after-training tacking of these people, and the amount they are paid can’t compete with the drug money. Plus, the risk of getting caught is small. The biggest risk for them isn’t jail, but rather running afoul of the drug organizations.”

From fiscal 2010 through 2013, U.S. military training was provided to some 8,300 members of Mexico’s security forces, according to Foreign Assistance Act data. That training is overseen by U.S Northern Command (Northcom), a Department of Defense branch created in 2002 that is responsible for U.S. homeland defense as well as security cooperation efforts with the Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.

Northcom officials contend that all Mexican security forces receiving U.S. training are well vetted and that data is maintained on all participants. The training is designed to compliment Mexico’s existing efforts to maintain security and stability in the country.

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: Millions Missing From DEA Money-Laundering Operation

… But No One With the Power to Investigate Seems to Care

By Bill Conroy

At least $20 million went missing from money seizures by law enforcers, critical evidence was destroyed by a federal agency, a key informant was outed by a US prosecutor — contributing to her being kidnapped and nearly killed — and at the end of the day not a single narco-trafficker was prosecuted in this four-year-long DEA undercover operation gone awry.

Those revelations surfaced in a recently decided court case filed in the US Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC.

“Throughout this protracted litigation, the agency [DEA] delayed producing documents until the 11th hour and destroyed potentially relevant evidence,“ states Judge Mary Ellen Coster Williams in an Aug. 30 ruling awarding the informant in the case, with the code name “Princess,” more than $1.1 million. “…The conclusion that there were missing trafficker funds is supported by … DEA documents, including a statement by [a] DEA confidential informant.”

The Princess, a former airline stewardess and mother of two, lived in the US but hailed from an upper-crust Colombian family. Though her two former husbands had ties to the drug trade, she had a clean record and was essentially “scammed” into working as an informant by the threat of prosecution, court records reveal. Consequently, she was completely out of her league in taking on an extremely dangerous undercover role in the world of transnational crime, where she was charged with posing as a money launder to rope in high-level Colombian narco-traffickers for the DEA.

During the course of her undercover assignment, which played out in the early to mid-1990s, she was the target of death threats and even a foiled plot on her life after her cover was compromised. It was blown both by DEA negligence in money-seizing operations and as a result of an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago disclosing her “status as a confidential informant to a criminal defendant whom the Princess had lured to the United States to be arrested,” the judge’s ruling reveals.

Even after all that, her DEA handlers still sent the Princess back into Colombia to meet with narco-traffickers, with her cover blown, leading to her being kidnapped and held for ransom for some three months “in a windowless, dirt-floor room where she slept on a straw mattress,” court records indicate.

She narrowly averted death due to the intervention of a “criminal associate of many high-level Cali mafia members” who also was a DEA cooperating source in Colombia. The source negotiated her release with a payment of $350,000 from his own funds, because DEA refused to negotiate officially with “terrorists.”

But the subtext to this story goes far deeper than a tale of a botched DEA operation — one that allegedly laundered in excess of $60 million for the narco-traffickers, with more than $20 million still missing, and which, in the end, produced no prosecutions (other than that of a Florida DEA agent, who was convicted of skimming some $700,000 from a money pick-up location in Houston and received a two-year sentence.)

Mike Levine, a former deep undercover DEA agent and supervisor who examined copious DEA documents related to this case as an expert witness for Princess’ lawyers, goes as far as to say in his report to the court that the law enforcers involved with the operation were likely stealing millions from the narco-trafficker funds seized in the operation and may well have been complicit in Princess’ kidnapping.

Princess’ [the informant's] undercover role posing as a money launderer made her the responsible party for money shortages, of which a large number were noted in reporting, including the theft of … trafficker funds by a corrupt DEA agent, Rene De La Cova, and likely other corrupt agents whom, due to an absence of DEA oversight, have managed to thus far elude identification. Each of these [money] shortages placed Princess, the one whom the traffickers would blame for the missing money, in clear and present danger of homicide and/or kidnapping, unless resolved.

… The Princess Operation, as a result of lax and/or non-existent oversight by DEA Headquarters, was utilized by corrupt [US law] officers to steal trafficker funds, pad expense accounts, indulge in heavy drinking and the taking of high-expense boondoggle trips, while the safety and security of Princess went entirely ignored, resulting with her predictable kidnapping.

Levine, when asked about the case by Narco News, also provided the following details concerning his testimony before the court:

At one point, the prosecutor cross-examined me by asking if I thought the agents handling Princess were plotting to kill Princess by exposing her to one deadly situation after the other until she was killed. I testified (paraphrased according to my memory) that with more than $20 million missing and unaccounted for, and in consideration of the way they were handling her, it was a reasonable possibility.

The judge later that day ordered that the case be investigated by the US Attorney General's office. …As you can see, the secrecy surrounding this thing is astonishing. I mean it is certainly not to protect Princess.

Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop

The so-called Operation Princess was overseen by the assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office and was a US Attorney General-sanctioned money-laundering sting. The DEA agents, operating in conjunction with local law enforcers via a task force, used Princess to convince Colombian narco-traffickers to provide her money to launder through her accounts. Princess would charge a fee (a percentage) for the service, and after taking that cut would deliver the laundered cash to accounts controlled by the narco-traffickers.

That was the pretense. In reality, the cash was being picked up at numerous points in the US by the DEA task-force agents and deposited in undercover bank accounts controlled by DEA and then sent to the narco-traffickers after extracting the fees, which were used to fund the DEA operation. Essentially, DEA was in the money-laundering business. The ostensible goal was to follow the money and build evidence to prosecute key figures in the narco-trafficking network.

The way it played out, though, according to Levine and court records, is despite the four years that the money-laundering operation was in play, from late 1991 to 1995, no prosecutions resulted and at least $20 million went missing, unaccounted for in DEA documents — which were either destroyed or nonexistent. Yet only one DEA agent was prosecuted — allegedly for skimming a tiny fraction of the missing cash, $700,000.

To date, DEA has failed to account for that missing money, Levine stresses, hence the judge’s request for an inquiry by the US Attorney General’s office, which oversees the Department of Justice under which DEA operates.

Princess’ lawsuit sought damages from DEA for the long-term serious consequences that her kidnapping had on her health. She claims the ordeal sparked a serious nervous-system disorder that has left her debilitated. The judge’s August ruling found in her favor, ordering DEA to pay out in excess of $1.1 million to cover the cost of the now-former informant’s future health-care costs.

One former federal agent explains that money-laundering operations, such as Operation Princess, are supposed to be under strict controls to prevent skimming. He says absent those controls, which include auditing the books regularly and assuring money from pick-ups or seizures is counted promptly and accurately, it’s not difficult for a greedy agent to skim money off the top.

“When you’re chasing people who are moving cash, and there’s two or three bags of money [at a pick-up location], it’s real easy to stick a bundle of cash in a brief case,” the federal agent explains.

And no one is the wiser — other than the narco-traffickers who provided the money in the first place. Once they check their accounts, after the money is laundered (by DEA), and see the amount is light by $1 million or $2 million, who are they going to blame? In this case, Levine says, they blamed the Princess, figuring she was either a thief or a DEA informant, or both.

It’s the perfect crime, so long as DEA brass decides to look the other way, for fear of embarrassing the agency or undermining a big-budget operation.

The Kent Memo

This isn’t the first time that alleged corruption within DEA has surfaced in relation to Colombian narco-traffickers, informants and money laundering. Similar allegations of DEA corruption were alleged in what is now known as the Kent Memo.

Narco News broke that story in 2006, based on a leaked memo drafted by Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent that referred to DEA operations carried out in Colombia and the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the memo, written in December 2004, Kent alleges that DEA agents in Bogotá, Colombia, assisted narco-traffickers, engaged in money laundering for Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups, and conspired to murder informants.

Kent’s memo also alleges that investigations into the alleged corruption carried out by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) were derailed and whitewashed by officials within those watchdog agencies.

A CIA “foreign-intelligence source” named Baruch Vega, key to DEA operations at the center of the Kent Memo, also says some of his informants, were, in fact, murdered due to leaks inside DEA and the US Embassy in Bogotá.

Vega claims he was used by multiple US law enforcement agencies simultaneously in the late 1990s and early 2000s to infiltrate and flip key narco-trafficking figures in Colombia — by convincing them to negotiate favorable plea deals with the US government. Some of those narco-traffickers went on to serve as assets for US agencies.

“I know exactly her [the Princess’] whole case.,” Vega claimed, in an interview with Narco News. “It’s exactly the same group [of allegedly corrupt US law enforcers involved]. Nothing changed at all. That was beginning of the North Valley Cartel [in Colombia]. The North Valley Cartel became very powerful immediately after the Cali Cartel was jeopardized by the same group [of US agents].”

Vega contends that the North Valley Cartel was a union of corrupt US law enforcers, including DEA agents; corrupt Colombian National Police; paramilitaries known as the AUC; and Colombian narco-traffickers. The NVC rose to dominance in Colombia in the late1990s and beyond with the demise of the Cali Cartel and traces its roots back to Los Pepes …

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews