Entries in Agents (5)


Another TSA Agent Accused of iPad Theft

Port Authority Police Department(NEW YORK) -- A TSA agent was arrested this week and charged with stealing from passengers traveling through New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, adding to the long list of TSA officers accused of theft of passenger belongings.

TSA baggage screener Sean Henry, 32, was arrested after a sting operation conducted jointly by the TSA and the Port Authority Police Department caught Henry leaving the airport with two iPads that had been planted as part of the sting, as well as numerous other electronic devices he had allegedly stolen from passengers. Just as in a recent ABC News investigation of thefts by TSA agents, the sting used the iPads' own tracking capabilities to follow the stolen tablets' movements.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman David Castelveter told ABC News that the TSA has "taken the steps to begin processing [Henry] for termination."

"TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," said Castelveter in a statement.

In September, an ABC News investigation revealed that 381 TSA officers had been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, including 11 up to that point this year.

As part of the investigation, ABC News purposefully left behind an iPad at an airport security checkpoint in Orlando, Fla., and, using the iPad's GPS tracking app, recovered it at the home of a TSA agent who was later fired for the alleged theft.

The ABC News investigation prompted Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to urge the TSA to conduct random sting operations on its employees "to test whether TSA agents are acting in a trustworthy manner to protect passenger property."

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told ABC News that authorities have recently stepped up their sting investigations, in part in response to these reports, and in part because they've received more claims from passengers about lost and possibly stolen items.

"These sting operations have been growing out there to try to curb this level of luggage theft, especially as the Christmas holidays are approaching," Coleman said.

In the sting that resulted in Henry's arrest, officers used GPS technology in the planted iPads to follow the tablets as they left JFK on the airport's AirTrain system. Officers allegedly found Henry on the train with the devices, according to Coleman.

After arresting Henry, Coleman said, investigators found more devices in his backpack that they have identified as stolen property, including a MacBook Pro and a pair of new Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones still in the box. They also found another set of Beats Headphones, an Apple iPad Mini, an Apple iPod and an iPhone, which were taken for further investigation.

A subsequent search of his house also turned up a black Apple Macbook that was identified as stolen property, Coleman said.

Henry was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance on Wednesday night and is due back in court in January. He has not yet entered a plea. According to Coleman, police are attempting to locate owners of the items they found, and more charges will be added when owners are located.

Coleman called the use of GPS tracking in its sting operations a "relatively new" tactic. The TSA declined to talk specifically about covert operations but did say that the agency has been conducting tests and cooperating with the Port Authority Police after the latest arrest.

Figures provided to ABC News by the TSA in October in response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed that JFK Airport ranked second in the nation in the number of TSA agents fired for theft, with a total of 27 fired from 2002 through December 2011.

"There's been an ongoing problem with luggage theft out of the airport, especially terminal 4, which is the international building," Coleman said.

The TSA disputes that theft is a widespread problem, saying the number of officers fired "represents less than one-half of one percent of officers that have been employed" by TSA.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CIA Identifies, Memorializes Fallen Covert Officers

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LANGLEY, Va.) -- The CIA has revealed the identities of 15 of its fallen officers, some of whose secret ties to the spy agency are being made public for the first time in almost three decades.

Engraved on a memorial wall at the CIA’s headquarters building in Northern Virginia are 103 stars, each representing a CIA officer who perished in the line of duty since the agency’s founding in 1947. For some, the star is all the public recognition they have -- many names have still not been made public out of concern for secret operations.

At a memorial ceremony Monday, CIA Director David Petraeus praised their service, saying the “103 souls represented by the stars on the wall behind me all heard the same call to duty and answered it without hesitation -- never for acclaim, always for country.”

The latest of the 103 was added this year, honoring Jeff Patneau, who was killed in a 2008 car crash in Yemen. Petraeus described Patneau as having “boundless talent, courage, and innovativeness to offer our country in its fight against terrorism.”

A CIA statement released Tuesday said Patneau was among the 15 names inscribed in the CIA’s Book of Honor this year, which allows “agency officers to publicly acknowledge those who have been represented by stars and whom we have silently mourned for years.”

Some of the individuals whose service as CIA officers was publicly confirmed Tuesday have been the object of speculation in the past as having worked for the spy agency.

For example, Matthew K. Gannon died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Officially listed as a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department, Gannon’s links to the CIA appeared in press reports at the time of the crash.  However, the agency never officially confirmed that he was a CIA officer until this week.

Leslianne Shedd died in November 1996 in the high-profile crash of a hijacked plane off the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean.  Videotape of the plane’s fatal attempted water landing just off of a crowded tourist beach was seen around the world.  Shedd was also described as being a Foreign Service Officer.  According to the CIA statement, “Survivors of that flight tell us that Leslianne -- an outstanding young woman -- spent her final moments comforting those around her. ”

Another victim of terror was Molly N. Hardy, who was killed in the August 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. According to the CIA, Hardy “used her keen situational awareness to warn colleagues to take cover. ”

A former intelligence official told ABC News the CIA takes “very seriously” the process of when to publicly release the names of its fallen officers and publicly acknowledge their ties to the agency.

According to the official, the agency conducts thorough reviews of a fallen officer’s work history and takes into account any security and operational considerations.  The official said another factor is “the possible impact that making public the officer’s name might have on current missions and overseas relationships. ”

The seriousness with which the CIA decides when to publicly acknowledge a fallen officer’s links to the agency may be a reason why five of the officers were not named until Wednesday, despite having been killed back in 1983 in a car bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut that killed 63.

The five who are listed as having worked for the agency are Phyliss Nancy Faraci, Deborah M. Hixon,  Frank J. Johnston, James F. Lewis and his wife Monique N. Lewis.

According to the CIA statement Faraci “was one of the last four Americans evacuated from the Mekong Delta when Saigon fell. She was an intensely devoted officer who volunteered to work in Beirut. ”

Monique Lewis “was only hours into her first day as an agency officer when the bomber struck that terrible day.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Secret Service Agents Fall in Colombia Scandal

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Secret Service will announce Tuesday night that two more agents are resigning under pressure as a result of the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitute scandal, and that the process has begun for a third employee to leave, ABC News has learned. Two others have been cleared.

Six Secret Service employees, including two supervisors, have already been forced out of the agency as a result of an investigation into a night of partying in Cartagena before President Obama's arrival, in which they allegedly drank heavily and mingled with prostitutes.

The Secret Service had said 12 employees were being investigated, and the military said another 12 of its service members were being looked at, too.

Republicans have tried to tie Obama to the scandal by arguing that he oversees government operations. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan didn't offer to resign when he briefed Obama recently on the investigation.

In an effort to cleanse itself from the scandal, Carney also announced that a White House lawyer conducted an internal and official review of Obama's "advance team" in Colombia over the weekend, and that the review found nothing improper to report. But Carney declined to discuss any details of the process, such as how many people were interviewed.

"I don't think it's useful to get into the details of how the review was conducted," Carney said.

The press secretary's refusal to talk about the review he himself announced sparked indignation among Capitol Hill Republicans, some of whom are already busy investigating the General Services Administration for a spending scandal.

Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday called for an investigation of White House staff members to be done by someone not in the White House.

"I'm not going to be satisfied until we get some independent look at this," the Iowa senator said.

Carney said Tuesday that he hadn't seen a letter from Grassley asking for details of the White House's review.

"I have no response to that letter," he said.

Obama called the agents who were implicated "knuckleheads" in an interview with the late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon.

"The Secret Service -- these guys are incredible," Obama said. "They protect me. They protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."

The Defense Department confirmed Monday that the latest military member to be investigated in the scandal works for the White House Communications Agency, a military group that gives information to the president and his staff members.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secret Service Agents Forced Out Amid Prostitution Investigation

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Three Secret Service agents have been forced out of their positions amid a scandal involving the alleged hiring of prostitutes and other questionable behavior during a presidential visit to Colombia.

"Although the Secret Service's investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia, is in its early stages, and is still ongoing, three of the individuals involved will separate or are in the process of separating from the agency," said Paul S. Morrissey, the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Government and Public Affairs, in a written statement.

In addition, some Secret Service personnel are now under investigation for possible drug use.

ABC News has learned that Secret Service investigators are probing reports from a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel worker, who said he saw a line of white powder, which he believed to be cocaine, on a table in a Secret Service agent's room. The hotel worker told the New York Post he responded to clean up the room after there was a dispute between a Secret Service agent and a prostitute over payment.

"When I went upstairs I walked into a messy room. The room was littered with two whiskey bottles -- and a line of white powder, I believed to be cocaine, was on top of a round glass table in the room," the staffer told the Post.

According to Rep. Peter King of New York, who was briefed by the Secret Service, the agency is taking the hotel worker's allegations seriously.

"This is one of the things the Secret Service is investigating," King told ABC. "Agents are randomly tested for drugs. I know the director will take further action if more information on this becomes available."

The Secret Service declined to comment on the records, but sources familiar with the investigation say inspectors in Colombia have yet to be told that information directly. However, sources said the agency will follow up anyway and question agents who travelled to Colombia about possible drug use.

According the New York Post story, the hotel worker described a chaotic, morning-after scene in the hotel lobby, with the prostitute screaming in the lobby that she had not been paid.

The worker said, "The agent was supposed to pay her a [bar] fine on top of the pay rate for her sexual services, but he didn't."

The worker explained that visitors to area strip clubs are expected to pay a fee to the club, and then pay the woman directly for any sexual services.

As part of the prostitution probe, agents have agreed to polygraph tests. It wasn't clear whether drug questions would be included.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ICE Agent Shot Dead at California Federal Building

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent is dead after a workplace dispute erupted into gunfire at the agency’s offices in a California federal building, officials said.

In the incident at the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach, Calif., an ICE agent allegedly opened fire on a colleague Thursday evening, leaving that colleague hospitalized in stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds, ICE officials told ABC News.

“This situation began with what we can characterize as an incident of workplace violence,” Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told reporters late Thursday Pacific Time.

However, a third ICE agent evidently intervened by firing at the initial shooter, Martinez said.

“This resulted in the death of the shooter,” Martinez said.  “At this time, we believe this was an isolated incident and the shooter was acting alone.”

The intervening ICE agent was unharmed, officials said.

Initially, multiple published reports citing Long Beach police described two agents dead and a third wounded, but those reports were mistaken, ICE officials told ABC News.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. PT inside the ICE offices, according to a written statement by ICE, which added that the victims were with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

“One of the agents died at the scene,” the statement said.  “The second agent was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition.  The names of the agents are not being released pending notification of the next of kin.”

The FBI is leading the investigation, with assistance from the Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach Deputy Chief Robert Luna told reporters.

Police learned that shots had been fired at the federal building via a 911 call at approximately 5:54 p.m., Luna said.

“Officers were on scene within two minutes and quickly secured the scene,” Luna added.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio