During basic training in the military, one of the first things you learn about espionage is written on a small business card (not sure if they still hand them out to recruits).
What is told to every recruit is that if you’re ever asked to do something by a foreign national, authority figure, or liaison from an organization or group, you should automatically say “no” and report it to your superior officer.
The military teaches that every man and woman is different and each have different “triggers” that will work on the individuals, provided they are leaning toward undermining their outfit and their country for personal gain.
The triggers are money, gifts, and sex. The foreigner plies the target with alcohol or drugs and befriends him/her. After a few weeks, they ask the target for a simple favor. It could be as mundane as asking for a copy of a phone list at the base for purposes of business or as complex as information about military operations.
Once the person bites, the favors continue, becoming more involved and more dangerous.
All the time, the target is bribed with money, gifts, or sex or a combination thereof. If, at any time, the target refuses a favor, the photos or video are broken out to show the target cooperating with a foreign power. That is the final hook for the target who then can refuse and go to jail, or do the favor and continue to be on the hook.
In the US Navy, a contractor nicknamed Fat Leonard managed to “hook” 21 Navy officials, including two admirals, one of whom has just received the largest penalty of any Naval officer: US Navy Commander Bobby Pitts!
The Daily Caller:
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bobby Pitts was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail for his role in the largest fraud scheme to ever plague the service.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino scolded Pitts on Friday and told him he had “betrayed the Navy and betrayed the country,” the Associated Press reports.
“Pitts deliberately and methodically undermined government operations and in doing so, diverted his allegiance from his country and colleagues to a foreign defense contractor, and for that, he is paying a high price,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said.
Singapore-based defense contractor Leonard Francis perpetrated the fraud scheme, termed Fat Leonard, which involved numerous high-ranking Navy officials handing him favors in exchange for bribes like cash, prostitutes, Cuban cigars and wild parties.
The scheme allowed Francis to overcharge the Navy on services provided, namely fuel and food, among other things.
Pitts is the latest sentence to be handed down in the case. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to sending internal information to Francis that indicated he was being investigated for his work in government contracting.
Pitts will also have to pay $15,000 in fines to the government and $7,500 in restitution.
The Department of Justice believes that Francis overcharged the Navy by $35 million. Up to this point, the government has charged 28 people, two of whom are admirals, in addition to 19 other Navy officials.
A Navy commander committing these types of crimes surely puts into doubt the tactical readiness of his/her unit. In this case, despite the fact that Pitts was the one who was at fault, it begs the question of the absent leader and how it has affected the rest of his command.
Is this a rampant problem that Secretary of Defense James Mattis will have to look into through investigators and, if so, how dangerous is this situation now that the North Korea scenario appears to be ramping up? Are we ready for war? Let’s hope that this was an isolated incident to just these 20-odd naval officers and personnel.
Source: The Daily Caller