Sequestration Will Impact Hawaii FBI’s Investigations

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon led the investigation into Loux's fraud
John Tucker

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – When FBI agents were alerted to a photo of a man abusing two young children with a Hawaii Island phone book beside him, they quickly solicited the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator.

Just hours later, they captured John Tucker, 56, of Pahoa, Hawaii, and charged him with production and distribution of child pornography. Tucker was the father of a 10-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl who appeared to be his victims.

When the University of Hawaii lost $200,000 to fake concert promoters promising to put on a Stevie Wonder fundraising concert at the Manoa campus this fall, the University called in the FBI. Within 180 days, the FBI arrested Sean Barreiro of Florida and Marc Hubbard of North Carolina for stealing the money. Barriero pled guilty and Hubbard is awaiting trial.

Sean Barriero

When Hawaii residents, reportedly some of the most gullible in the nation, regularly fall victim to get-rich-quick schemes, the FBI is the agency called in for clean up, sometimes in conjunction with other local and federal agencies.

These are just a handful of events that required FBI intervention in the last year.

The FBI receives thousands of tips each year related to drug trafficking and organized crime operations, potential terrorist activity and White Collar crime. But the ability of local agents to handle even a fraction of these calls will be hindered by the sequestration, which requires mandatory, across-the-board federal budget cuts beginning Friday, March 1.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, who in addition to specializing in White Collar crime investigations is in charge of community and media outreach, confirmed that every Honolulu FBI employee will be furloughed for 14 workdays during the 5-month period of May through September. That is a 12 percent decrease in FBI workdays, where agents won’t be on the streets conducting investigations, he said.

“The sequester will create immediate and significant reductions to the Honolulu FBI’s operations. There is no way around it,” Simon said. “The Honolulu FBI will be forced to do less with our criminal, cyber, and national security investigations in Hawaii.”

The sequestration also starts a hiring freeze at the FBI, so the agency, which is already shorthanded, won’t be able to backfill the senior agents who will choose to retire this year, rather than take pay cuts.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon

“The furloughs and pay cuts are a big deal to our employees, but they should also be a big deal to the people of Hawaii who rely on us to work with our law enforcement partners to make Hawaii a safe place to live and conduct business,” Simon said. “My colleagues and I are committed to our oaths of office, and we will continue to work hard for Hawaii. But lets get real here – you can’t send us home for 12 percent of our normal work hours and expect the same productivity. The math just doesn’t work.”

According to a Pew report, Hawaii will be one of the states hit hardest financially by the sequestration.

Hawaii has a higher number of government employees than any other state except Alaska, according to a recent Gallup report. That includes more than 100,000 federal workers — 57,000 enlisted and civilian military employees and 52,000 others.

A report from The White House issued this week details the impact of the sequestration on each state.

Federal agencies related to the environment, education, military, public health and law enforcement will all see cuts.

FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies outside of Hawaii will also “see a reduction in capacity equivalent to more than 1,000 Federal agents” – which “would significantly impact the ability to combat violent crime, pursue financial crimes, secure our borders, and protect national security,” the Obama administration said.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said she is hoping the sequestration can be avoided because they will be “devastating” to Hawaii’s families and economy.

Tulsi Gabbard
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

“Hawaii is one of the top 10 states that would take the biggest hit from these cuts,” Gabbard said. “A large percentage of our overall state economy and the impact on our local military-related companies and small businesses will also be significant…”

While many federal employees are understandably concerned about the impact of the sequestration, the Congressional Budget Office said the actual cuts in fiscal year 2013 are $44 billion. Additional cutbacks amounting to a 1 to 2 percent reduction in government spending will take place in 2014 or later.

Even with the sequestration, a recent Reason report notes the federal government will spend more this year than it did last year: $3.5 trillion in 2012 and $3.6 trillion in 2013.

President Barack Obama, who developed the concept of sequestration in August 2011, will meet Friday, the day the sequestration is set to begin, with House Speaker John Boehner, to continue their budget negotiations.







    • You got to wonder who the real perps are.
      Because the judge allowed Lesko to take a Alford plea he will not have to register as a sex offender.
      February 22, 2007

      SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. A F.B.I. analyst has been sentenced to seven years in prison for having sex with a young girl in Spotsylvania County.
      Forty-four-year-old Anthony John Lesko entered an Alford plea yesterday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to nine counts of felony indecent liberties upon a child. An Alford plea means Lesko doesn't admit guilt but believes there is enough evidence for a conviction.
      Authorities say Lesko engaged in a sex act with her nine times, beginning when she was nine years old.
      According to the plea, Lesko said he was a victim in the case. He said the girl initiated the contact.

      • Woodward claims White House threatened him
        By Jonathan Easley – 02/27/13 08:41 PM ET

        Bob Woodward said Wednesday that a “very senior person” at the White House told the veteran journalist and author “you will regret” faulting the Obama administration for the present fight over sequestration.

        “It was said very clearly: 'you will regret doing this,'” Woodward said on CNN’s "The Situation Room." “I’m not going to say [who], a very senior person. It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re going to regret doing something you believe in.”
        In an op-ed published over the weekend, Woodward accused the Obama administration first of inventing the sequester, and then of “moving the goal posts” by saying any deal had to include new revenue along with the agreed upon cuts.
        Democrats argue that the sequester was an last-ditch effort out from the 2011 debt-ceiling fight instigated by Republicans, and that since it was never meant to be implemented, it’s not moving the goal posts to try and replace it with spending cuts and additional revenue.
        “I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communications strategy, let’s hope it’s not a strategy, but just a tactic he’s employing, he’d say, ‘look, we don’t go around trying to say to reporters if you in an honest way present something that we don’t like, you’re going to regret this,'” Woodward continued. “It’s Mickey Mouse.”
        A White House official said Woodward misconstrued the exchange and that "no threat was intended."
        "Of course no threat was intended," the aide said. "As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide's email in a friendly manner."
        It’s the latest turn in the souring relationship between the White House and Woodward.
        Earlier in the day, on MSNBC, Woodward called the president’s sequester strategy “madness,” saying a stronger leader would merely circumvent the Budget Control Act.
        And at the height of the 2012 election, the White House was on the defensive after Republicans seized on Woodward’s book, "The Price of Politics," as evidence President Obama was in over his head on the economy.

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        In the column at the center of the storm, Bob Woodward writes the White House has been deliberately disingenuous about its role in the sequester, and accused Obama of “moving the goal posts” by insisting Republicans agree to new tax revenue as part of any substitute for the sequester. “That was not the deal he made,” he says.
        Woodward’s report has rankled administration officials, particularly since it undermines the narrative the White House has been pushing ahead the March 1 sequester deadline. Democrats claim the automatic cuts were mutually agreed upon and never intended to be enacted, making Obama’s demand for new revenue a legitimate one. Republicans claim the sequester was Obama’s idea and that any replacement plan was to be entirely cuts.
        Now, Woodward alleges that he was bullied even ahead of publishing his report. He told Politico Wednesday that one Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour” and in an email message delivered a veiled threat.
        “It was said very clearly: ‘you will regret doing this,’” Woodward told CNN. “I’m not going to say [who], a very senior person. It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re going to regret doing something you believe in.”
        “I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communications strategy, let’s hope it’s not a strategy, but just a tactic he’s employing, he’d say, ‘look, we don’t go around trying to say to reporters if you in an honest way present something that we don’t like, you’re going to regret this,’” he said.
        BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, citing unnamed sources, says the official with whom Woodward had the tense exchange was the director of the White House Economic Council Gene Sperling.


      Bob Woodward says President Barack Obama got some of his facts wrong on sequester at Monday night’s debate.
      Woodward’s book “The Price of Politics” has been the go-to fact check source for the president’s answer, in which he claimed the idea of using deep, automatic, across-the-board domestic and defense spending cuts to force Congress to address the nation’s burgeoning federal deficit originated from Congress, not from the White House.
      “What the president said is not correct,” Woodward told POLITICO Tuesday. “He’s mistaken. And it’s refuted by the people who work for him.”
      Woodward, a Washington Post journalist who was a key reporter on the initial coverage of the Watergate scandal, said he stands behind his reporting in the book, which drew upon sources involved in last year’s deficit talks and detailed notes taken in the meetings.
      “What the president said is not correct,” Woodward told POLITICO Tuesday. “He’s mistaken. And it’s refuted by the people who work for him.”

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  1. FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse
    Tuesday February 17, 2004
    The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for what became a two-decade career.

    John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last week to 12 years in prison in Tarrant County court in Fort Worth, Texas, after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before he began his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.

    • FBI Workers Suspected of Secretly Taping Teens in Dressing Room

      April 20, 2009

      Two FBI workers are accused of using surveillance equipment to spy on teenage girls as they undressed and tried on prom gowns at a charity event at a West Virginia mall.

      The FBI employees have been charged with conspiracy and committing criminal invasion of privacy. They were working in an FBI satellite control room at the mall when they positioned a camera on temporary changing rooms and zoomed in for at least 90 minutes on girls dressing for the Cinderella Project fashion show, Marion County Prosecutor Pat Wilson said Monday.

  2. Buffalo FBI Agent Busted
    Dec 10, 2012

    BUFFALO, NY – A Special Agent working in the Buffalo office of the FBI is due in Eden Town Court later this month, after being arrested by New York State Police last Friday night, charged with exposing himself to a fellow motorist on the New York State Thruway.

    State Police Lt. David Denz confirmed for WGRZ-TV that John A. Yervelli Jr., 48, of Lakeview, was charged with Public Lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

    According to Denz, a truck driver from central New York was traveling in the right lane while east bound on the Thruway near mile marker 442, between Exits 57 and 57A, when he noticed a grey minivan pull alongside him in the passing lane.

    The trucker told police that when he looked down, he noticed the driver of the other vehicle (who had turned his dome light on) was not wearing pants.

  3. CNN exclusive: FBI misconduct reveals sex, lies and videotape

    By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit
    January 27, 2011

    Washington (CNN) — An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made.

    A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while "satisfying himself."

    And an employee in a "leadership position" misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours.

    These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years

  4. Former top FBI agent charged with child porn distribution

    May 15, 2012

    (CNN) — A former supervisory FBI agent has been arrested and jailed on child pornography charges.

    Donald Sachtleben was taken into custody and charged Monday after a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet.

    A federal complaint alleges 30 graphic images and video were found on Sachtleben's laptop computer late last week when FBI agents searched his home, about 23 miles north of Indianapolis.

    Sachtleben is currently an Oklahoma State University visiting professor, according to his online resume. He is director of training at the school's Center for Improvised Explosives, but all references to his work have now been removed from the university's website. There was no indication from the school as to whether it had suspended him. Calls to the university and his Indianapolis attorneys were not immediately returned.

    He had been an FBI special agent from 1983 to 2008, serving as a bomb technician. He worked on the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber investigations, according to his university biography.

    A separate LinkedIn profile filled out by Sachtleben says he is an "accomplished investigator with more than 25 years of experience in FBI major case management, counter terrorism investigations, bombing prevention, post blast investigations and public speaking."

  5. FBI agents caught sexting and dating drug dealers

    Dating drug dealers, harassing ex-boyfriends with naked pictures, and pointing guns at pet dogs: these were just a few of the offences committed recently by serving FBI agents, according to internal documents.
    The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

    22 Feb 2013

    Disciplinary files from the Bureau's Office of Professional Responsibility record an extraordinary range of transgressions that reveal the chaotic personal lives of some of America's top law enforcers.

    One male agent was sacked after police were called to his mistress's house following reports of domestic incident. When officers arrived they found the agent "drunk and uncooperative" and eventually had to physically subdue him and wrestle away his loaded gun.

    A woman e-mailed a "nude photograph of herself to her ex-boyfriend's wife" and then continued to harass the couple despite two warnings from senior officials. The Bureau concluded she was suffering from depression related to the break-up and allowed her to return to work after 10 days.

  6. Nichols says bombing was FBI op

    Detailed confession filed in S.L. about Oklahoma City plot

    By Geoffrey Fattah, Deseret News
    Thursday, Feb. 22 2007

    The only surviving convicted criminal in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is saying his co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, told him he was taking orders from a top FBI official in orchestrating the bombing.

    The only surviving convicted criminal in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is saying his co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, told him he was taking orders from a top FBI official in orchestrating the bombing.

    A declaration from Terry Lynn Nichols, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, has proven to be one of the most detailed confessions by Nichols to date about his involvement in the bombing as well as the involvement of others.

    The declaration was filed as part of Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue's pending wrongful death suit against the government for the death of his brother in a federal corrections facility in Oklahoma City. Trentadue claims his brother was killed during an interrogation by FBI agents when agents mistook his brother for a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.

    The most shocking allegation in the 19-page signed declaration is Nichols' assertion that the whole bombing plot was an FBI operation and that McVeigh let slip during a bout of anger that he was taking instruction from former FBI official Larry Potts.

  7. FBI agent convicted of daughters' abuse
    July 11, 1993|

    An FBI agent who lives in Carroll County has been convicted of sexually abusing his daughters over a 14-year period.

    The agent, as part of an agreement with prosecutors, pleaded guilty Friday before Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold to two counts of second-degree sexual offense and two counts of child abuse.

    The agent's name is being withheld to protect the privacy of the victims.

    In exchange for the agent's plea, the state dropped 18 other counts against him, ordered a presentence investigation and agreed to let him remain free on $125,000 bond pending sentencing .
    The victims said their father performed sexual acts ranging from fondling to intercourse beginning when each was preschool age. The abuse lasted until the girls were in their early teens, said Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill in a statement of facts presented in court.

  8. May 25, 2007
    FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

    Posted by, Marissa Pasquet KOLD News 13 News Editor

    FBI Special Agent Ryan Seese, 34, is facing sex offense charges after a cleaning woman said she found him masturbating in a women's lavatory on campus, according to a University of Arizona police spokesman.

  9. Dog Killing FBI Agent Gets a “Slap on the Wrist”
    July 12th, 2009

    Lovett Leslie Ledger indicted for shooting dead of neighbor's dog .There are times when I’m not sure why I ever actually expect more from our justice system. Last February, a Waco, TX FBI agent, a sniper and member of the FBI SWAT team, Lovett Leslie Ledger, Jr. shot and killed a neighbor’s little 3-lb chihuahua named Sassy, with a pellet rifle and although indicted for felony animal cruelty the only ones who paid for this crime were the dog with its life and the family who lost their tiny little furry family member.

    Cyndi Mitchell, who lives across the street from FBI agent, Lovett Leslie Ledger, told authorities that she witnessed Ledger shoot the dog in front of her house with a pellet rifle on Feb. 29.

    Mitchell has said that her dogs were barking and she went to the door and saw Sassy walking on Estes Road in front of her house.

    The dog lurched to one side upon being shot, then rolled into a yard where she died, she has said.

    “I’ve never heard a noise like that from an animal,” Mitchell said, describing it as “a screaming sound.”

    As neighbors gathered around the fallen dog, Ledger took the pellet gun, turned and walked inside his house with one of his children.

    Initially when confronted by authorities about the crime, Ledger lied but changed his story when witnesses came forward.

    He was later indicted by a grand jury for cruelty to animals, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $10,000 fine.

    Pleading no contest, Judge Matt Johnson in 54th District Court sentenced Ledger to two years deferred probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. Not only that, if he completes the term of probation, the conviction will be expunged from his record.

    Accoding to news station KCEN, another couple that lives down the street is saying Ledger shot and killed their lab mix 5 years ago.

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