PDA

View Full Version : DEA Whistleblower Agent on Time Magazine Blackout List for Exposing US Complicity in Trafficking



Magda Hassan
06-22-2009, 01:06 PM
DEA Special Agent Sandalio Gonzalez on Time Magazine's blackout of four whistleblowers 'exclusive' on U.S. agents drug-trafficking in Colombia...
Guest Blogged by Sibel Edmonds
As noted in its announcement (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7181), 'Project Expose MSM' invites all members of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC (http://nswbc.org/)), other active (covert or overt) government whistleblowers, and reporters, to publish their experiences in regard to their own first-hand dealings with the media, where their legit disclosures were either intentionally censored/blacked out, tainted, or otherwise met with a betrayal of trust.
The first report, exposing Michael Isikoff and Newsweek was posted here (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7200).
This second project report is based on the first-hand documented experience of Mr. Sandalio Gonzalez, retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent in Charge. Time Magazine reporters Tim Burger and Tim Padgett had an opportunity to speak at length with Mr. Gonzalez and several other veteran DEA agents with direct knowledge of a major corruption case involving several DEA agents on drug traffickers' payrolls in Colombia. The involved corrupt US officers were also directly involved in helping Colombia's paramilitary death squads launder drug proceeds. Further presented at the meeting with Time's reporter was the documented cover up of this major scandal by the DEA and Dept. of Justice Inspector General (OIG) offices. Despite direct corroboration by a number of other sources, including several veteran DEA agents and other government officials with first-hand knowledge of the case; documented evidence disclosed and provided; and despite being given an 'exclusive' to the story as insisted on by the magazine, Time never published the story, and no reasons were ever provided...


Name, title, and/or background:
Name: Sandalio Gonzalez
Title: Special Agent in Charge (Ret.), DEA
Background: Mr. Gonzalez retired from the DEA as Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso, Texas Field Division in January 2005 after 32 years in law enforcement. He began his career in 1972 at the local level in Los Angeles, California and joined the DEA in 1978.
For more detailed background information see here (http://www.fhleoa.org/board/sandalio_gonzalez.html).
Name of Publication and/or Editor and/or Reporter:
Publication: Time Magazine
Reporters: Tim Padgett & Tim Burger
Editor: Unknown
Method:
Complete blackout. No reason provided. The disclosure was supported and corroborated by three other highly credible veteran DEA agents, officials, and documents.
Description of Disclosure and Significance:
By Sandalio Gonzalez
In late fall of 2005, Time Magazine's DC Office was provided with detailed information and documents regarding a major story involving the DEA. The story had not been broken publicly before, and several publishers were competing to get what they referred to as an 'Exclusive Scoop', since they had been briefed generally and shown sample documents. Time Magazine seemed anxious to see and hear it all, and we were told they'd run it 'big time' if they were given documents, provided with access to witnesses, and all this 'exclusively.' Well, Time Magazine was in fact given everything they asked for; exclusively.
After Time's DC office reporter Tim Burger received the initial/sample documents and statements (with NSWBC acting as coordinator and third party), they sat on the story for more than a month. Later we were told that the story was transferred to their Miami Office. After follow ups and pressure by NSWBC on the status of this 'exclusive story' with Time, one last meeting was set up with Tim Padgett, Time's Miami bureau reporter.
The meeting with the Time reporter in Miami was attended by several other current and former DEA agents as sources and witnesses. Some of these witnesses had to travel to attend the meeting and provide the Time reporter with their reports. The three agents disclosed their account and documented information involving the never-public-before scandal and the subsequent cover up by the US government. Sibel Edmonds, Director and Founder of NSWBC, and Professor William Weaver, Senior Advisor for NSWBC, had also flown to Miami to attend and monitor the interview.
The center of the report dealt with 'never-before-public' documents and first hand witness statements, the Kent Memo [PDF] (http://www.narconews.com/docs/ThomasKentMemo.pdf), and related subjects and information. This case and its facts, statements, and documents, given to Time Magazine before and during that meeting, involved one of the most serious allegations ever brought against DEA officers.
On Dec. 19, 2004, Thomas M. Kent, an attorney in the wiretap unit of the Justice Department's Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS), submitted his memo [PDF] (http://www.narconews.com/docs/ThomasKentMemo.pdf) to his section chief Jody Avergun, who would soon thereafter leave the DOJ to become the Executive Assistant to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, with full knowledge of the reported corruption and cover up, and did nothing to correct it. The copies of this memo were forwarded to several high-level officials within DOJ and DEA.
In his memo, Mr. Kent reported several corruption allegations involving the DEA's office in Bogotá, Columbia. The allegations in the memo were supported by several credible DEA agents in Florida with impeccable records. These agents - witnesses - were muzzled and retaliated against after they attempted to expose the corruption. Based on Mr. Kent's report, supported by other DEA agents, the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) covered up the report and the corruption charges and sabotaged investigations by the Florida DEA office.
Here are the major points covered by Mr. Kent in the memo:


Several DEA agents in Colombia are in fact on drug traffickers' payrolls.



Some of these corrupt US officers are directly involved in helping Colombia's paramilitary death squads launder drug proceeds.



The implicated agents have been protected by "watchdog" agencies within the Justice Department.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Kent's Memo:

"As discussed in my (prior) memorandum dated December 13, 2004, several unrelated investigations, including Operation Snowplow, identified corrupt agents within DEA. As further discussed in my memorandum, OPR's handling of the investigations into those allegations has come into question and the OIG investigator who was actively looking into the allegations has been removed from the investigation."
And here is another regarding other agents and witnesses who had come forward:

"As promised, I am providing you with further information on the allegations and evidence that is already in files at OPR and OIG. Agents I know were able to vouch for my credibility and several individuals close to the prior investigations that uncovered corruption agreed to speak with me…Having been failed by so many before and facing tremendous risks to their careers and their safety and the safety of their families, they were understandably hesitant to reveal the information I requested, including the names of those directly involved in criminal activity in Bogotá and the United States. They agreed to reveal the names to me on the condition that I not further disseminate these for the time being. They are prepared to provide the Public Integrity Section with those names and everything in the files at OPR and OIG, and then some, if called upon to do so".
According to the report, one of the corrupt agents from Bogotá was actually caught on a wiretap in 2004 while he was discussing criminal activity related to the paramilitary group called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The group is known to be involved in narco-trafficking and arms dealing at the highest levels (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/comments/2004/12/29/151855/62/4), and has been involved in death squads responsible for murdering thousands of Colombians. Kent reports that during the wiretap, this DEA agent discusses his involvement in laundering money for the AUC. However, despite being caught on tape the agent faced no reprimand. Just the opposite, according to Kent, the agent was promoted: "That call has been documented by the DEA and that agent is now in charge of numerous narcotics and money laundering investigations."
The memo also alleged that DOJ officials shut down a money laundering investigation because they knew it was connected to the DEA corruption case in Bogotá:

"In June 2004, OPR and DEA, the two agencies embarrassed by the prior allegations (involving the Bogotá agents) and likely to come under tremendous scrutiny for their own actions in response, demanded that my case agent turn all of the (investigation) information ... over to OPR," Kent states in the memorandum. "One week after submitting the (information) to OPR, the money laundering investigation was shut down."
In addition to the facts included in Kent's reports, Time Magazine was also provided with corroborated reports on related cases, including a case of major leaks from the US Embassy in Bogotá that contained extremely sensitive intelligence.
That meeting gave Time Magazine one last chance, and the benefit of the doubt, to live up to its word given to us previously; to expose this major case and even more serious cover up by the Justice Department's IG. We made it clear that after waiting for Time Magazine for months they had to give us a response within a day or two as to whether they were running the story, and if so when. The reporter, Tim Padgett, did seem genuinely interested, and made it clear that he had to persuade the editors and magazine management. He appeared to have his reservations as to the magazine's willingness and or courage to 'touch' a story of this magnitude. We never heard back from him, or Tim Burger, or anyone else from the magazine. Time Magazine never delivered the 'exclusive scoop' given to them, all packaged with credible DEA witnesses and envelopes containing official documents. In fact, the MSM has never thoroughly covered this story. The only coverage of Kent Memo was given by web-based publisher, Narco News (http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1543.html).
Response by Tim Padgett, reporter, Time Magazine, Miami Office:
Mr. Padgett was contacted twice via e-mail, and replied as follows after the second request:

For the record, I had no reservations about Time Magazine's "willingness
and or courage to 'touch' a story of this magnitude." Time regularly takes on controversial stories; we simply decided in the end, after examining the material at hand, not to pursue this one.
Tim Padgett
Miami & Latin America Bureau Chief
TIME Magazine
Reponse by Tim Burger, reporter, Time Magazine, DC Bureau:
Despite several requests for response, Mr. Burger did not reply.
Response by Time Magazine:
Despite several requests for response, Time Magazine editor(s) did not reply.
Statement from Professor William Weaver (http://nswbc.org/nswbc_staff.htm), Senior Advisor, NSWBC:

This disheartening episode is, unfortunately, very familiar, and the story of DEA corruption and entanglement with Colombian drug cartels appears to have been ignored after initial interest for a variety of reasons.
First, it is not easily digestible and therefore runs afoul of editors' and reporters' prejudice toward stories that may be quickly and simply related to the public. Emphasis on simplicity instead of on what the public should know about cuts down on research and reporter time, which are expensive, and feeds into the common belief that the public is largely incapable of understanding, or uninterested in, complicated stories.
Second, running such a story may anger sources of information from government that reporters have come to rely upon. As great as any one story may be, a reporter's career in these areas often depends on keeping friendly relations with cultivated sources. Ultimately, sometimes these sources end up dictating what shall and shall not be published.
Finally, a story must make it past editors and staff who have interests that conflict with the goal of getting important news to the public. Considerations of effects on advertisers, sources of information, how shareholders and management will view decisions to publish particular stories, and other matters unrelated to "newsworthiness" affect a potential story's fate.
We need only look to The New York Times' decision to delay reporting the existence of the probably unconstitutional Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) for an example of how forces inside MSM may outflank the newsworthy nature of a story. The story concerning the Bush Administration TSP was set to break just before the presidential election in 2004, but apparent appeals by Bush Administration officials and President Bush himself to The New York Times delayed publication until December 2005. And the story only came to light because of a whistleblower and the fact that the matter appeared destined to emerge in other forums. The refusal of The New York Times to publish the story in 2004 very possibly is the only reason that Bush prevailed over John Kerry. Time Magazine's failure to investigate the events outlined in the Kent Memo and by veteran, decorated DEA agents concerning wide-ranging government corruption is another abysmal example of how the public is ill-served by the MSM.
Statement from Sibel Edmonds (http://nswbc.org/nswbc_staff.htm), Founder and Director, NSWBC:

Our organization, NSWBC, persuaded these government sources and witnesses to come forward and provide the American people with this major report exposing corruption and cover-ups - which sheds light on the 'real' story of our government's so-called 'War on Drugs.' Despite their reservations and the risks they faced, these witnesses agreed to disclose their first-hand accounts and documented facts, and to do so only once through what they considered to be a 'major publication.'
During the interview, while listening to these agents and reviewing the sets of documents put in front of him, Time reporter, Tim Padgett, appeared flabbergasted and excited. At the end of the meeting he expressed it verbally and concluded that the story was incredible and highly explosive. This was a journalist's dream: to have four veteran agents with impeccable career records as sources, to have tons of printed documents (official letters, IG reports, and more), and a major scandal contradicting the illusion of the War on Drugs - which has been costing lives and billions of dollars.
I also have to add: Mr. Padgett expressed his reservations and pessimism regarding his editor(s) and Time's management having the resolve and or willingness to run this 'explosive' story.
http://www.bradblog.com/Images/ProjectExposeMSM_smalllogo.jpg (http://123realchange.blogspot.com/2009/05/announcement.html)Project Expose MSM is an experimental project created to provide readers with specific mainstream media blackout and/or misinformation cases based on documented and credible first-hand experiences of legitimate sources and whistleblowers. Those with direct knowledge and experience are encouraged to join the project, by sharing your stories. Please E-mail me (projectexposemsm@justacitizen.com) with your report, following the format described in the introductory announcement (http://123realchange.blogspot.com/2009/05/announcement.html). Private information, and the privacy of sources where needed, will always be full respected.
Cross-posted at 123 Real Change... (http://123realchange.blogspot.com/2009/06/project-expose-msm-report-2.html)

* * *
http://www.bradblog.com/Images/SibelEdmonds_SimplySibel_bioshot.jpgSibel Edmonds (http://nswbc.org/nswbc_staff.htm) is the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC (http://nswbc.org/)). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the assertion of "State Secret Privilege"; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms. Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. Her new blog site is 123 Real Change (http://123realchange.blogspot.com/).

Magda Hassan
06-22-2009, 01:26 PM
Here is the Thomas Kent Memo in pdf format. Here is described a story about an alleged ring of corruption involving the DEA’s office in Bogota, Colombia; North Valley Cartel narco-traffickers; Colombian paramilitary forces; and the Colombian National Police. And Time Magazine wouldn't touch it.

Here is Narco News breaking the news way back in 2006
http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1543.html
Leaked Memo: Corrupt DEA Agents in Colombia Help Narcos and Paramilitaries

Internal Justice Dept. Document Alleges Drug Trafficking Links, Money Laundering and Conspiracy to Murder


By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

January 9, 2006
The drug war is supposed to follow a very clear script: According to the official screenwriters, the U.S. justice system is pitted against corrupt players in foreign countries who are trying to flood American streets with illicit drugs. The narco-traffickers, crooked cops, and thieving politicians in the drug war are always over there, in Latin America, and elsewhere, and U.S. law enforcers and government officials are always the good guys battling these forces of evil.
But what happens when evidence surfaces that turns that script on its ear? What happens if proof emerges that it is the U.S. justice system that is corrupt? A document obtained recently by Narco News (http://www.narconews.com/docs/ThomasKentMemo.pdf) makes those questions more than hypothetical queries. In this document, Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent claims that federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Bogotá, Colombia, are the corrupt players in the war on drugs. (The DEA is part of the larger Justice Department.)
The information in that document is also corroborated by a number of other sources that spoke directly to Narco News, including former government officials who are familiar with the DEA’s Bogotá operations
Kent’s memorandum contains some of the most serious allegations ever raised against U.S. antinarcotics officers: that DEA agents on the front lines of the drug war in Colombia are on drug traffickers’ payrolls, complicit in the murders of informants who knew too much, and, most startlingly, directly involved in helping Colombia’s infamous rightwing paramilitary death squads to launder drug money.
The memo further claims that, rather than being simply a few “bad apples” who need to be reported to their superiors, these allegedly dirty agents are being protected by an ongoing cover-up orchestrated by “watchdog” agencies within the Justice Department.
These charges blow away the smoke concealing the pretense of the war on drugs. If they are true, there will be no brushing them aside at pre-scripted press conferences; everyone who becomes aware of these allegations will be forced to consider where we go from here in that so-called war.
The Kent Memo

On Dec. 19, 2004, Thomas M. Kent, an attorney in the wiretap unit of the Justice Department’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section (http://www.usdoj.gov/oarm/jobs/wiretapadndds.htm) (NDDS), sent off a memo to his section chief. Law enforcement sources tell Narco News that a number of other high-level officials within Justice and the DEA soon received copies of the same memo. In it, Kent raised a series of corruption allegations centering on the DEA’s office in Bogotá.
Kent says his claims are supported by a number of DEA agents in Florida who the agency muzzled and retaliated against after they tried to expose the corruption. Specifically, Kent contends that the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility (or OPR, essentially the agency’s Internal Affairs department) and elements of DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/) (OIG) have worked to keep a lid on the corruption charges. According to Kent, these offices – which are supposed to serve as watchdog agencies that investigate corruption – sabotaged investigations being carried out by the Florida DEA agents and by one of the OIG’s own agents.
From Kent’s memo:

As discussed in my (prior) memorandum dated December 13, 2004, several unrelated investigations, including Operation Snowplow, identified corrupt agents within DEA. As further discussed in my memorandum, OPR’s handling of the investigations into those allegations has come into question and the OIG investigator who was actively looking into the allegations has been removed from the investigation. As discussed in my email, dated December 17, 2004, I want to speak directly with the (DOJ) Public Integrity Section because I want to ensure that the allegations are fully investigated and acted upon if true. As promised, I am providing you with further information on the allegations and evidence that is already in files at OPR and OIG. Agents I know were able to vouch for my credibility and several individuals close to the prior investigations that uncovered corruption agreed to speak with me. I had a limited time frame in which to speak with them and ask questions. They were able to provide me with some of the highlights, but certainly not all of the information that is sitting at OPR and OIG. Such a debriefing, based on what I learned in a few hours, would take days.
Having been failed by so many before and facing tremendous risks to their careers and their safety and the safety of their families, they were understandably hesitant to reveal the information I requested, including the names of those directly involved in criminal activity in Bogotá and the United States. They agreed to reveal the names to me on the condition that I not further disseminate these for the time being. They are prepared to provide the Public Integrity Section with those names and everything in the files at OPR and OIG, and then some, if called upon to do so.
Why is an attorney within Justice afraid to reveal the names of the DEA whistleblowers out of fear that it might jeopardize their law enforcement careers and the lives of their families? And why, as Kent contends, is it all being covered up?
What do Glenn Fine (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/offices/oig.htm), the head of the DOJ’s OIG, and Rogelio E. Guevara, (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/agency/rguevarap.html) who currently oversees the DEA’s OPR, know about Kent’s charges, which were brought forth in his memo more than a year ago?
A look at the nature of the alleged corruption may give us some clues.
(Remember that all of these allegations come strictly from the Kent memo, though law enforcement sources have corroborated much of this information on condition of anonymity.)
Money Laundering and Paramilitaries

Kent alleges that one of the corrupt agents from Bogotá was caught on a wiretap some time in 2004 discussing criminal activity related to the huge right-wing paramilitary group known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC in its Spanish initials). The group is widely recognized to be involved in narco-trafficking and arms dealing at the highest levels (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/comments/2004/12/29/151855/62/4). Working closely with various sectors of the Colombian military, it has fielded death squads responsible for murdering thousands of Colombians.
The following is from a 2004 report (http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL32223.pdf) prepared for Congress by the Congressional Research Service:

The AUC targets real and perceived supporters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as political activists, police officials and judges. The group is known for its brutality and has killed more civilians than the leftist insurgencies have killed: in 2001, the AUC killed at least 1,015 civilians, compared to the 197 civilians killed by the FARC. The AUC also committed over 100 massacres in 2001, a tactic it used to displace large portions of the peasant population in order maintain firmer control over the major coca-growing lands. Kent contends, in the memorandum, that during the wiretap, the corrupt Bogotá DEA agent “discusses his involvement in laundering money for the AUC.” But despite being caught on tape admitting to helping the most murderous political force in the hemisphere today to launder the money from their extensive drug trafficking operations, the agent faced no punishment. In fact, says Kent, the agent was essentially promoted: “That call has been documented by the DEA and that agent is now in charge of numerous narcotics and money laundering investigations.”
Kent, in the memorandum, also alleges that DOJ officials shut down a money laundering investigation because they discovered that it was linked to the alleged DEA corruption in Bogotá. He claims that the nail in that coffin was driven in by OPR after it discovered that an OIG agent was investigating the Bogotá corruption and related money laundering operation
“In June 2004, OPR and DEA, the two agencies embarrassed by the prior allegations (involving the Bogotá agents) and likely to come under tremendous scrutiny for their own actions in response, demanded that my case agent turn all of the (investigation) information … over to OPR,” Kent states in the memorandum. “One week after submitting the (information) to OPR, the money laundering investigation was shut down.”
Kent details three further cases of extreme corruption in his memo, all involving Bogotá DEA agents persecuting or conspiring to kill Colombian informants who threatened to bring down their activities. Sources told Narco News that these corruption allegations involve cases launched in 1999 or 2000, but which resulted in investigations that carried on for months or years.
(Kent wrote his memo in late 2004 only after he became aware of the alleged corruption and then had exhausted other internal channels within DOJ for addressing the problems.)
Allegation One:
Corrupt DEA Agents In Bogotá Conspired to Murder Informants Who Betrayed Them

During the course of an investigation into a Colombian narco-trafficking operation, a group of DEA agents in Florida had zeroed in on several targets, with the help of several Colombian informants. Once the targets were identified as being part of the drug ring, they began to cooperate with the Florida-based agents.
“… They made startling revelations concerning DEA agents in Bogotá,” Kent writes. “They alleged that they were assisted in their narcotics activities by the agents. Specifically, they alleged that the agents provided them with information on investigations and other law enforcement activities in Colombia.”
The traffickers eventually gave the Florida agents copies of confidential DEA reports, which the Bogotá agents allegedly had handed over to the traffickers. After the Florida agents turned these documents over to the OPR and OIG, one of them was put on “administrative leave” — the first sign that a cover-up was underway.
While the Florida agent was out on leave, the Bogotá agents set up a meeting with one of the informants.
“As the informant left that meeting, he was murdered,” Kent states. “Other informants … who also worked with the DEA group in Florida were also murdered. Each murder was preceded by a request for their identity by an agent in Bogotá.”
Allegation Two:
Bogotá DEA Agents Imprison and Possibly Conspire to Murder Informants to Prevent Their Travel to U.S.

A separate DEA group, also based in Florida, ran into trouble with the same DEA office in Bogotá while investigating another Colombian narco-trafficking operation. Informants tipped off the Florida agents that that this drug ring had developed an ingenious method for smuggling cocaine into the United States, a method that seems to have been lifted right out of the script of the drug-war movie Traffic. (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_681500370/Traffic_%28motion_picture_2000%29.html)
“Specifically, the narcotics traffickers in Colombia were infusing acrylic with cocaine and shaping it into any number of commercial goods,” Kent states. “The acrylic was then shipped to the United States and Europe where, during processing, the cocaine was extracted from the acrylic.”
Informants working for the Florida agents sent samples of the cocaine-laced acrylic to the DEA, but the agency’s chemists couldn’t figure out how to extract the cocaine. As a result, the Florida agents decided to have the informants come to the United States with a sample of the acrylic, so they could walk DEA’s chemists through the extraction process.
“Agents contacted the Bogotá Country Office to discuss the informants’ planned travel and their bringing cocaine out of Colombia infused in acrylic,” writes Kent. “They were advised that the best tact was for the informants to carry it out themselves.”
But when the informants got to the airport to leave for the U.S., they were arrested. A DEA agent in Bogotá, it turns out, had told Colombian officials to “lock them (the informants) up and throw away the key,” according to Kent. The Bogotá agent then claimed that he had no idea the Florida agents had given the informants permission to transport the cocaine.
“His misrepresentations were backed by another agent in Bogotá,” Kent states. “The informants were imprisoned for nine months while the accusations flew back and forth. Once it was determined that the agents in Bogotá were lying, the informants were released. One of the informants was kidnapped and murdered in Bogotá where he had gone into hiding.”
Allegation Three:
Informant Outed by Traffickers with Ties to Bogotá Agents

In yet another case outlined in Kent’s memorandum, the second Florida DEA group was working with an informant in Colombia who claimed to have made contact with a FARC guerilla while in prison. Sources told Narco News that the informant is a wealthy Colombian businessman with investments in high-tech firms and ties to narco-trafficking. The FARC (Spanish initials for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest leftist insurgent group in that country’s civil war, accused by U.S. officials of drug and arms trafficking) was supposedly interested in buying communications equipment from him.
While this investigation eventually ended up in the hands of the National Security Agency, from the beginning it appeared to be related to drug trafficking and the Florida DEA agents decided to investigate. Agents from the Bogotá office promised to help, one of them assuring the Florida agents that the informant’s release from prison could be arranged. But when the Florida agents arrived in Colombia, another Bogotá DEA agent told them that the informant was going to stay in prison.
The Bogotá agents seemed obsessed with stopping the informant from working with the Florida agents, and began doing everything in their power to prevent the investigation from moving forward. “As the two sides argued back and forth, the informant was challenged by the Bogotá agents to prove his allegations,” the memorandum states. “He did so by making a videotape of a conversation he then had with a member of the FARC in jail in which they discussed their desire for him to provide them with communications equipment. When confronted with the actual tape that confirmed the informant’s story, the agents in Bogotá complained that what the informant and DEA group from Florida had done was illegal and they would be unable to obtain the informant’s release (from prison).”
The Florida agents kept trying to revive the investigation, but Bogotá agents continued to thwart it one way or another. Eventually, the informant was released from prison and tried to start working with the Florida agents again, but an agent from the Bogotá office traveled to Washington, D.C., and managed to convince DEA brass to derail the investigation.
When the informant approached the DEA once again with information, writes Kent, “the Bogotá agent that traveled to Washington, D.C., now claimed that the informant was a pedophile. The investigation was halted. The Bogotá agent was called on his claim and could not provide any evidence.” The agent then switched tactics, arguing that the DEA could not work with the informant because the FARC might end up with the communications equipment. He also claimed that one of the targets of the FARC-related investigation was not involved in narco-trafficking — even though the Bogotá office had previously identified that individual as a narco-trafficker.
“The (Bogotá) agent was unable to dissuade those involved in the investigation, and it finally took off with the assistance of the NSA,” the memo states. “The investigation continued until the informant was faxed a document that identified him as a DEA informant on the FARC. The document mirrored information the DEA group in Florida provided the corrupt agents in Bogotá previously.”
In other words, someone outed the Florida group’s informant, making him into a target for many dangerous people including the FARC guerrillas, and the tool used to expose him was proprietary DEA information that appeared to have come out of the Bogotá DEA office. The DEA agents in Florida looked further into the source of that information and followed the trail to several other DEA informants. The Florida agents then set up a wiretap and recorded conversations between their own informants and the other DEA informants who were tied to the leaked DEA information. The recordings revealed that a narco-trafficker had indeed obtained the internal DEA information that was used to expose the Florida group’s informant.
“That person (the narco-trafficker) is also a DEA informant,” the memorandum states, “and is believed to have been controlled by the Bogotá Country Office. Among other things, it was alleged that the informant (the narco-trafficker) had several agents on his payroll who provided him with classified information. The agents were believed to work in Colombia and Washington, D.C.”
The tape recordings that revealed this damning information were turned over to both the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General, Kent states in the memorandum. The agents in the Florida DEA office also tried to set up a sting targeting the allegedly corrupt agents from Bogotá and Washington, D.C.
“The meeting (the sting) was called off when it was learned the agents likely knew of the trap,” the memorandum states. “… The informant who was identified … as the narcotics trafficker with several agents on his payroll was eventually brought to Florida to take a polygraph test on the allegations that he was obtaining classified documents from agents in Bogotá and elsewhere.”
Kent says that the narco-trafficker passed the lie detector test in Florida, at which he was asked whether agents had passed him classified documents and he claimed that they hadn’t. But the OPR mysteriously ordered the polygrapher not to report on the test: “He was instructed (to say) that the test never took place.”

[[B]UPDATE 1/17/06: Narco News has found that the narco-trafficker did in fact admit to recieving confidential information; he “passed the test” because he did not “lie” about receiving secret DEA documents. See more at this link (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/1/17/1180/13661).] The Deluge

The corruption allegations raised in Kent’s memorandum are startling, but agents in the Bogotá DEA office are not the first to have been accused of participating in a narco-trafficking conspiracy. Similar tales of corruption (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/1/9/144456/7843) involving overseas DEA agents have surfaced in the past. And although the charges raised by Kent in his 2004 memorandum have now passed before many eyes, they have still not been addressed in the light of day. Instead, as in similar past cases, they have been buried in the contorted layers of the Justice Department bureaucracy.
Kent is no longer with the Washington, D.C.-based wiretap unit of NDDS. He has been transferred to Nashville, according to sources familiar with the memorandum. Ironically, the NDDS chief to whom Kent addressed the memorandum, Jodi L. Avergun, (http://judiciary.house.gov/HearingTestimony.aspx?ID=266) is now the chief of staff for DEA.
In addition, Kent’s request to send the Bogotá corruption allegations to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/pin.html) was denied, and his memorandum deep-sixed — until now.
A full investigation of his allegations may well prove that the DEA’s Bogotá office is clean as a whistle. But if that is indeed the case, then why has Justice chosen to silence and punish the whistleblowers in this case rather than look into their claims?
From Kent’s memorandum:

If we are unable to arrange for a sit-down between the reporting agents and those attorneys within the Department of Justice who are tasked with ensuring that corrupted agents and officials are held accountable, then I firmly believe that we will watch from the sidelines as the allegations play out in a courtroom, on the news, and/or on Capital Hill. The reporting agents have placed their trust in me. … I have assured them that I will lay the issue before you with a much more detailed accounting of the allegations and how the DEA and OPR, and now seemingly OIG, have failed to fully investigate the allegations and hold those responsible accountable. If we can put them together with the Public Integrity Section, they assured me that other agents who have to this point remained silent for fear of retaliation will come forward. Those agents have additional evidence not in the files maintained by OPR and OIG. I believe, based on their representations, that that new evidence alone would put the corrupt agents in prison.
Given the pretense that defines the war on drugs, Kent’s memorandum (which basically rewrites the script of that war) is not likely to be a hot seller in Washington, D.C., anytime soon—absent pressure from a major media blitz.
And what of the mainstream-media guardians of our liberty? Will they step up to the plate on this story, given their penchant for adhering to the standard drug-war script? The fact that Narco News is breaking this story first may tell us all we need to know on that front.
But the truth, like water, always brings the scum to the surface. And in this case, the dam holding back the truth in the so-called war on drugs may be close to breaking. For how much longer will nations in Latin America and around the world accept U.S. drug warriors’ imposing presence in their lands, when those same agents and bureaucrats get neck-deep in the very drug trade they are supposedly trying to wipe out, with complete impunity and protection from their superiors back home?
“The agents who reported the … allegations (of corruption) did so to correct wrongs committed by other members of the DEA and OPR,” Kent states in the memorandum. “Their attempts to do so led to retaliation. … The cracks in the lid DEA and OPR has attempted to place on this problem are getting bigger.
“It is only a matter of time before this thing explodes. …”

Magda Hassan
06-22-2009, 01:28 PM
These are the stories that Time Magazine wouldn't touch but which were covered by Narco News. Most recent at top.

The Bogotá Connection

Narco News Investigates DEA Corruption and Cover-Up in Colombia



Money Laundering & Murder in Colombia: Official Documents Point to DEA Complicity (http://www.narconews.com/Issue53/article3099.html)

Kent Memo’s Corruption Allegations Bolstered by FOIA Records, Leaked U.S. Embassy Teletype


By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

May 18, 2008


Bogotá Connection “Informant” Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against US Government (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1802)

Using the US Court System, Baruch Vega is Attempting to Force Both the Government and the Compliant Media to Confront DEA Corruption and Cover-Up in Colombia

By Bill Conroy
Via the Narcosphere

September 24, 2007


Welcome to the Drug War ... pick a card, any card (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1522)

The Narco-Trafficking Shadow Lands: Complicity and Corruption

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

June 25, 2007


A Muse in the State of the Drug War (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1514)

“Our Own Government’s Insane Drug Policy... Seems to Reward, even Encourage, the Corruption and Death, From the Top Levels of Power Down to the Street”

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

June 22, 2007


Did “Bogotá Connection” Embassy Leaks Doom U.S. Spy Plane in Colombia? (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1890)

Claim: The Coordinates of Flights Over the Colombian Jungles Were Being Leaked Out of the U.S. Embassy to Drug Traffickers

By Bill Conroy
Via the Narcosphere

February 16, 2007


Mystery Man Baruch Vega Helps to Untangle More of the “Bogotá Connection” (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1889)

US Intelligence “Asset” and Fashion Photographer Speaks Again with Narco News

By Bill Conroy
Via the Narcosphere

en español... El hombre misterioso Baruch Vega ayuda a desenredar más de la “Conexión Bogotá” (http://www.narconews.com/Issue45/articulo2558.html)
en français... Le mystérieux Baruch Vega aide à démêler un peu plus la « Bogota Connection » (http://www.narconews.com/Issue45/article_fr2558.html)


February 16, 2007


Colombian Narco-Trafficker's Pending Extradition Puts "Kent Memo" Back in Focus (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1879)

Major Player Involved in the Bogota Connection Appears to be Headed for the United States

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

February 9, 2007


The Bogotá Connection on WNUR (http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/article1847.html)

Listen to the Interview with Narco News Journalist Bill Conroy on Corruption of U.S. Agents in Colombia from Chuck Mertz’ This Is Hell Radio Program

WNUR 89.3 Chicago

May 26, 2006


Leaked Report: Drug Traffickers Obtained Classified DEA Documents from U.S. Embassy in Bogotá “At Will” (http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/article1816.html)

Informant Told Lie Detector that Corrupt U.S. Agents Helped Narcos Protect Drug Crops from Fumigation Raids

By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

May 15, 2006


Colombia’s Secret Narco-Police (http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/article1747.html)

Claims of Collaboration with Drug Traffickers and Paramilitaries Sting the Country’s DAS Security Service and Support Allegations of DEA Corruption Published in Narco News

By Dan Feder
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

en español... La narco-policía secreta de Colombia (http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/articulo1747.html)


April 29, 2006


DEA, FBI, CIA Informant Weighs In on U.S. Law Enforcement Corruption in Colombia (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1226)

Baruch Vega: Narcos, Colombian Police, DEA and U.S. Customs Collaborate in a “Devil’s Cartel”: Baruch Vega

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

en español... Informante da su perspectiva sobre la corrupción de las entidades de seguridad estadounidenses en Colombia (http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/articulo1686.html)


March 19, 2006


Bogotá DEA Corruption Allegations Intersect with Covert FBI, CIA Activity in Colombia (http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1662.html)

New Document Unravels More Mysteries in Kent Memo; Narco-Trafficker, Informant Drop the Dime on Suspected DEA Foul Play

By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

March 6, 2006


http://www.narconews.com/images/zguerra5_sm.jpg New Documents Shed More Light on Alleged DEA Corruption in Colombia (http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1637.html)

Names of Two of the Whistleblowers in the “Kent Memo” Are Revealed; DEA’s Former Bogotá Chief May Be Involved in Cover-Up

By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

en español... Nuevo documento deja entrever más luz sobre supuesta corrupción en la DEA en Colombia (http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/articulo1637.html)


February 22, 2006


DEA is Caught in the Chicken Coop in Bogotá Corruption Case (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1125)

Spokesman’s Letter Claiming that Internal Investigations Cleared the Agency from Allegations of Collusion with Narcos Doesn’t Add Up

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

January 22, 2006


Semana Magazine Claims Colombia DEA Corruption Story As Its Own (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1120)

By Dan Feder
Via The Narcosphere

January 18, 2006


DOJ Shadow Man Strikes at Nashville Scene in DEA Scandal Story (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1122)

“Anonymous” Source Refutes Allegations Published in Narco News, but Claims of an Internal Investigation Don‘t Add Up

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

January 18, 2006


Doubt Cast on AP Story's Claim of “No Wrongdoing” in DEA Corruption Scandal (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1118)

Reporter Claims Internal Investigation Cleared Bogotá Agents of Allegations They Worked with Narcos and Paramilitaries

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

January 18, 2006


Sources Offer New Tip in Bogotá DEA Corruption Case (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1117)

Claim: Narco-Trafficker Told Lie-Detector Test He Received Secret Documents from Dirty Agents, But the Test Results Were Buried

By Bill Conroy
Via The Narcosphere

January 17, 2006


Nuevo Herald on DEA Colombia Scandal (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/1/14/172947/226)

January 14, 2006



DEA to Investigate Agents in Colombia Alleged to Protect Drug Traffickers and Paramilitaries (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1109)

“The allegations that are reported in the Narco News Bulletin are extremely serious,” Says the Agency, in an Email Memo

By Dan Feder
Via The Narcosphere

en español... La DEA investigará a sus agentes en Colombia acusados de proteger a narcotraficantes y paramilitares (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/1/16/95818/9622)


January 13, 2006

David Guyatt
06-22-2009, 01:51 PM
Spiking important stories by the MSM is, sadly, standard fayre. They have no balls, less integrity, zero ethics and as a profession bend over for payment.

Fuck 'em, but all power to Sibel Edmond's website.

Magda Hassan
06-23-2009, 12:22 AM
Spiking important stories by the MSM is, sadly, standard fayre. They have no balls, less integrity, zero ethics and as a profession bend over for payment.

Fuck 'em, but all power to Sibel Edmond's website.

Well, yes. Their job to be their Master's Voice and manage the news not report the news. Heaven forbid. But that is not what we do. We don't have to support them in their censorship and cover ups and white washing. These guys have decided to go public not just with their story but the cover up and we can do something to help publicize both.

Magda Hassan
06-23-2009, 12:46 AM
Kent alleges that one of the corrupt agents from Bogotá was caught on a wiretap some time in 2004 discussing criminal activity related to the huge right-wing paramilitary group known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC in its Spanish initials). The group is widely recognized to be involved in narco-trafficking and arms dealing at the highest levels (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/comments/2004/12/29/151855/62/4). Working closely with various sectors of the Colombian military, it has fielded death squads responsible for murdering thousands of Colombians.

The highest levels may include President Uribe who was identitified by the DEA as one of the most important narco-traffickers since he was a senator in 1991. He is described as a "close personal friend of Pablo Escobar" and "working for Medellin cartel" Document available here:
http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121&highlight=uribe

Magda Hassan
06-23-2009, 01:12 AM
Then there Is Johnny 'House of Death' Sutton, once again allegedly working for John Ashcroft in Ashcroft’s consulting company, the Ashcroft Group which sucks up the tax payers money in 'consultancy' fees. Who says crime doesn't pay?
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/bill-conroy/2009/05/ex-us-attorney-johnny-sutton-back-justice-game

Also somehow still in comfortable employment are Karen Tandy and Catherine O’Neil. Read the following emails obtained by Narco News under FOI and weep. They seem to show the cover up by these DEA officials of the perpetrators of the 'House of Death' and the persecution of the whistleblower Sandalio Gonzalez.

A dozen people were tortured and murdered between August 2003 and mid-January 2004 in a house in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The murders were carried out as part of a criminal enterprise overseen by Heriberto Santillan-Tabares, who U.S. prosecutors claim was a top lieutenant in Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ (VCF’s) Juárez drug organization.
The reason we know this is because federal agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office in El Paso had an informant inside of Santillan’s criminal syndicate. The federal agents, along with a U.S. prosecutor in El Paso, were using the informant to snare Santillan.
The other reason we know this is that a high-ranking DEA agent, Sandalio Gonzalez, who served as the head of that agency’s field office in El Paso when the murders took place, blew the whistle on an alleged criminal cover-up in the ICE operation. Gonzalez exposed the fact that the ICE agents and a U.S. prosecutor knew their informant was participating in the homicides, yet allowed the murder spree to continue to assure the informant was not exposed – so they could continue to use him to make their case against Santillan.
http://www.narconews.com/images/hod21.jpg
The House of Death in Ciudad Júarez, Mexico
Photo: D.R. 2005 Klaas WollsteinNarco News has been reporting on this story (http://www.narconews.com/Issue33/article962.html) since April 2004. For those of you who have been following this ugly saga of the pretense called the war on drugs, the details of the alleged corruption are well known to you by now. However, some startling revelations have recently surfaced that indicate the cover-up in the House of Death mass murder case extends much further up the food chain in the Department of Justice than previously reported.
Gonzalez first spoke out against the corruption in the House of Death investigation in early 2004, within weeks of a DEA agent and his family being confronted by Santillan’s death squad, who had mistaken the agent for a competing smuggler.
In the wake of that confrontation, and after discovering that the ICE informant was a participant in the House of Death murders, Gonzalez sent an internal letter (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2005/3/23/23412/6076) on Feb. 24, 2004, to the top ICE official in El Paso and to Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney in San Antonio, Texas. In that letter, Gonzalez dropped the dime on the whole sordid tale.
But rather than investigate the charges, officials within the Department of Justice (DOJ) went after Gonzalez, seeing to it that he was reprimanded and his career tarnished with a negative job-performance review. Gonzalez also was ordered to remain silent on the whole matter.
According to Gonzalez, the retaliation (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2005/3/26/23653/8069) he experienced after writing the whistleblower letter was initiated at the behest of Sutton, who wanted to bury the letter to avoid compromising a career-boosting death-sentence case against a major narco-trafficker. That means, according to Gonzalez, that a U.S. Attorney is now implicated in the cover-up of a U.S. government informant’s participation in mass murder.
When contacted by Narco News, Sutton’s office declined to comment on the allegations or the House of Death case.
However, Narco News recently obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (see links at end of story (http://www.narconews.com/Issue39/article1445.html#foialinks)) that pull the dark shroud over the House of Death back even further. The documents were released by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (http://www.mspb.gov/) (MSPB), an administrative body that adjudicates cases brought by federal employees who claim they have been retaliated against for whistleblowing activity. Gonzalez currently has a case pending before the MSPB that focuses on the House of Death cover-up.
Documents released as a result of Narco News’ FOIA request include internal Department of Justice e-mails concerning the House of Death case. In general, the FOIA documents are heavily redacted, based in part on alleged privacy-protection exemptions. However, Narco News has access to sources who were able to fill in some of the critical missing words.
As it turns out, among the items redacted in the e-mails are the names of the high-ranking DOJ officials who drafted or received the e-mails as part of performing their public duties – on the taxpayers’ dime. That has led some law enforcers to speculate that the cover-up may now extend into the MSPB itself.
Narco News has filed a FOIA appeal seeking the release of all the documents in Gonzalez’ MSPB case and has asked that all the names of public officials in those documents be “un-redacted.”
Well-placed law enforcement sources familiar with the House of Death case tell Narco News that the individuals who either wrote the e-mails or received copies of the e-mails included the following: Karen Tandy, Administrator of the DEA; Catherine M. O’Neil, (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/INS/a0403/app8.htm) Associate Deputy Attorney General; and the number two person at DOJ, Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey – who earlier this summer took a job as general counsel for defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.
The First E-mail

Following are two emails, drafted in early March 2004, shortly after Gonzalez sent his whistleblower letter to U.S. Attorney Sutton exposing the alleged complicity of ICE agents in the murders of more than a dozen people in Juárez. Again, although some information in the first e-mail and other document excerpts below is redacted in the FOIA records, most of the missing information has been obtained from Narco News’ very reliable sources (in the excerpts below, text that had been redacted is inside text brackets).

Drafted March 4, 2004 From: Catherine M. O’Neil, Associate Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ocdetf.html) (OCDETF)
To: Jeff Taylor (http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2002/May/02_ag_268.htm), Counsel to the Attorney General for Criminal and National Security Matters; David Ayers (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/0306/appA.htm), Chief of Staff to the Attorney General; and James B. Comey (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8853002/site/newsweek/), Deputy Attorney General
CC: Karen Tandy (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/agency/administrator.htm), Administrator of DEA
Subject: Possible press involving the DEA (Juárez)-ICE informant issue
We just heard from Johnny Sutton that the DEA SAC in El Paso [Special Agent in Charge Gonzalez] wrote a rather lengthy and inflammatory letter to the ICE SAC regarding the “mishandling of the [Santillan] investigation that has resulted in unnecessary loss of human life in the Republic of Mexico and endangered the lives of (DEA agents).” [REDACTED] and I are getting a copy of the letter, as well as an ICE response. I am also speaking with [Sutton] at 8 pm (CST) tonight on this matter. (He was driving and could not talk at length.)
Please be aware that, according to [Sutton], [REDACTED] has reached out to get a copy of certain reports of interview of the CI [confidiential informant] in the investigation. The [REDACTED] Times apparently had enough information to ask for the report which states that the CI [known as “Lalo”] “supervised the murders” of certain individuals. (Sutton) was not sure who was talking, but we are certainly concerned that there may be press and there may be inquiries here in DC as well.
I have been unable to reach [Mike Furgason (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea//agency/wfurgasonp.html), chief of operations at DEA] to find out whether DEA HQ knew anything about the SAC’s [Gonzalez’] letter. I’d be surprised if HQ saw it, since, in our meeting on [Tuesday, Furgason] did not mention any letter and, in fact, said they were finalizing the reports of interview from the team that was looking into the matter. I will keep following up.
[REDACTED]: once I talk with [Sutton] and get a better handle on what’s going on in (El Paso), I’d be happy to try to get you up to speed on whatever you may need, in case you need to have a statement prepared to respond to any inquiries. My sense is, we don’t want to be saying much, since we don’t have all the facts yet. However, these are serious allegations between the agencies, including a Justice agency, so we may need to be ready to say something.
Catherine O’Neil
Associate Deputy Attorney General
And Director OCDETF
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20530
The Second E-mail

The next day, March 5, 2004, DEA Administrator Tandy sent off an e-mail to O’Neil, Comey, Ayers and Taylor.
Others within DOJ who received a copy of Tandy’s e-mail included: Michele Leonhart (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/agency/administrator.htm#leonhart), Deputy Administrator of DEA; Stuart Levey (http://www.treas.gov/organization/bios/levey-e.html), former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General who is now Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial and Intelligence; Chuck Rosenberg (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txs/Rosenberg.html), former Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General, who is now U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas in Houston; and Mark Corallo (http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2003/September/03_ag_521.htm), Director of Public Affairs for the Justice Department.
Strangely, the version of the e-mail provided to Narco News through the FOIA request was heavily redacted, including, as in the first e-mail sent by O’Neil, all of the names of both the senders and the receivers.
However, Narco News recently obtained an unredacted copy of Tandy’s e-mail. It was filed earlier this month by a U.S. prosecutor as an exhibit in an employment discrimination case (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2005/2/18/02845/5390) Gonzalez has pending in U.S. District Court in Miami against the Department of Justice.
Why government censors decided to redact the FOIA version of the e-mail, but failed to do the same for the court-exhibit version is not clear. You can be the judge of this bit of bureaucratic bumbling.
The unredacted text of the email follows; the El Paso SAC is Gonzalez:

Subject: Re: Possible press involving the DEA Juárez /ICE informant issue DEA HQ officials were not aware of our el paso SAC’s inexcusable letter until last evening – although a copy of the letter first landed in the foreign operations section sometime the day before. The SAC did not tell anyone at HQ that he was contemplating such a letter, and did not discuss it or share it with HQ until we received the copy as noted above, well after it was sent.
I apologized to Johnny Sutton last night and he and I agreed on a no comment to the press.
Mike Furgason, Chief of Operations, notified the El Paso SAC last night that he is not to speak to the press other than a no comment, that he is to desist writing anything regarding the Juárez matter and related case and defer to the joint management and threat assessment teams out of HQ – and he is to relay these directions to the rest of his El Paso Division.
The SAC, who reports to Michele, will be brought in next week for performance discussions to further address this officially.
It is important to note that to this day no one in the e-mail chain above, including Sutton, has announced any investigation into Gonzalez’ charges that ICE agents and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in El Paso are complicit in the House of Death murders. Instead, DOJ’s energies appear to have been wholly focused on concealing Gonzalez’ allegations from the public and in retaliating against the whistleblower.
Also keep in mind that even though the e-mails and resulting scurry to deep-six Gonzalez’ whistleblower letter occurred under the reign of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently promoted Sutton to a policy-making post within DOJ.
From a prior Narco News story (http://www.narconews.com/Issue38/article1374.html):

Despite the allegations about a cover-up in the House of Death case, Attorney General Gonzales recently appointed Sutton to the post of vice chairman of his Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, which plays a key role in determining DOJ policies and programs.
Inside a Drug War Murder

http://www.narconews.com/images/hod05.jpg
The house’s backyard, where twelve bodies were found burried.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Klaas WollsteinSo what exactly are these government officials trying to keep under wraps? The raw statistic – a dozen people murdered – doesn’t get beneath the skin like the truth. So we need to meet the devil in the details.
For that, we turn to an account provided by the informant known as “Lalo.” Immediately after the murder of Mexican attorney Fernando Reyes at the House of Death, Lalo returned to El Paso to be debriefed by ICE agents. An ICE report based on that debriefing was generated on Aug. 25, 2003.
Following, from that report – obtained through the FOIA – is Lalo’s version of the first murder he “supervised”:

Date: [Aug. 25, 2003]
File [REDACTED]
From: Special Agent [REDACTED]
Subject: [REDACTED] The participants in the murder were [REDACTED] and [two Juárez Judicial Police officers]. [Lalo, the informant] supervised the murder and had minimal participation in the act.….
[Lalo] told [Santillan] that he would take his own vehicle because he was going to buy some lime and duct tape, and that he would meet the two Police officers at the residence [the House of Death in Juárez].
…At approximately 11:15 a.m. [on Aug. 5, 2003, Lalo] arrived at the house….
…[Lalo, now inside the house] walked towards the front door, at which time he observed [REDACTED] vehicle parked in front of the residence.
[Lalo] observed [REDACTED] walking toward the residence.
[Lalo] stated that at that time he felt a big wave of tranquility and calmness. [Lalo] stated he now knew that he was not going to be killed, and that it was [Mexican attorney Fernando Reyes] they were going to kill.
… As [Reyes] is sitting on the chair , [REDACTED] pulls out his weapon and places it up against the right side of [Reyes’] face.
[Reyes] sees the weapon and begins to scream, “Why, please don’t kill me, don’t kill me.”
The first Police officer came out from behind [REDACTED] and ran to [REDACTED]. The Police officer, already with the tape in his hand began to unwind it and forced a portion of the tape into [Reyes’] mouth. The Police officer began to wrap the tape around [Reyes’] head, and [Reyes] responded by trying to fight his way out.
The second Police officer appeared and began to assist [REDACTED] and the other Police officer. The first Police officer continued to wrap the tape around [Reyes’] head in an attempt to smother him with it. [Reyes] continued to fight, at which time the two Police officers and [REDACTED] push [Reyes] to the ground and began to tape his hands.
[Reyes] begins to kick his legs at which time [REDACTED] looked at [Lalo]. The look made [Lalo] feel uncomfortable. Based on the look, [Lalo] felt forced to assist in the restraining of [Reyes] by the legs.
The Police officers began to tape his feet together.
One of the Police officers then grabbed an extension cord and wrapped it around [Reyes’] neck.
The Police officer then began to violently pull on the cord in an attempt to choke out [Reyes].
During this time, the cord broke and part of the cord remained around [Reyes’] neck at which time one of the Police officer asked, “Now what?”
[REDACTED] then pointed to a plastic bag.
One of the police officers grabbed the plastic bag and placed it over [Reyes’] head.
[REDACTED] then began to wrap the duct tape around the bag, therefore, suffocating “Fernando” [Reyes].
They all stood around and watched [Reyes’] body as his movement became less and less.
One of the police officers then went and grabbed a shovel and began to strike [Reyes] in the back of the neck area.
[Lalo] stated that he believed the violent striking of the neck caused it to break.
…[Santillan] praised [Lalo] for his participation in the murder and that his participation could lead to his meeting with [Vicente Carrillo Fuentes].
They proceeded to a residence in the area …. The residence is considered to be a “safe-house.” The residence is for high-ranking [VCF] organizational members only.
[Santillan] introduced [Lalo] to certain people in the residence and told them that (Lalo) has permission to come to the residence, and for the people to be hospitable towards him.
[Lalo] stated that the house is where all the high-ranking organization members stay when in [Juárez] Mexico. They have everything they could need, stemming from groceries to women.
Cover-Up Hatched

In pleadings filed with the MSPB, Gonzalez, who retired from the DEA earlier this year, states that yet another ICE debriefing memorandum prepared on Aug. 6, 2003, “indicates the informant may have known ahead of time that [Reyes] would be killed on Aug. 5, 2003, because in a memorandum to the informant’s file authored by the ICE SAC [special agent in charge], it was reported that before going to the house where the victim would be killed, the informant ‘went to purchase duct tape and lime (a powder used to conceal odor).’”
http://www.narconews.com/images/hod17.jpg
Inside the now-abandoned House of Death, where the tortures and murders presumably took place.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Klaas Wollstein“Following his meeting with ICE officials on Aug. 5, 2003, the informant was allowed to return to the house in [Juárez] to check the grave site and pay $2,000 to other co-conspirators for their role in the murder of [Reyes],” Gonzalez’ pleadings assert.
After Lalo was debriefed about his participation in the murder of Reyes, ICE officials notified the DEA Assistant Regional Director in Mexico City that the informant had “witnessed” a murder, failing to note that Lalo had actually supervised the murder. DEA’s Mexican operations were not under Gonzalez’ chain of command, so he was not privy to the information at that time.
ICE officials also told Mexican officials, via the Customs Attaché in Mexico, about the murder, but also misled them about the true facts by failing to reflect in that communication that Lalo actually “participated” in the murder. The Mexican authorities also were led to believe that the informant did not know where Reyes was buried, even though Lalo had gone to inspect the gravesite in the backyard of the House of Death.
Following, obtained through the FOIA and translated into English, is the text of the letter sent to Mexican officials (emphasis added):

Aug. 15, 2003 Lic. Jorge Rosa Garcia
Acting Chief of the Office of Special Investigations on Organized Crime
Plaza de la Republica #3, Third Floor
Co. Tabaclarea
Mexico, D.F. CP 06200
Dear Lic. Rosas:
By way of this letter we would like to inform you that a source of information of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States traveled to the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, on [REDACTED] to meet with members of the [VCF] smuggling organization to discuss the transportation of a load of marijuana. On [Aug. 5, 2003] … the source of information [Lalo] was a witness to the murder of the owner of the drugs [Reyes].
In accordance with our conversation with you on [REDACTED] we agreed that the source would continue his work in [Juárez] Mexico, for the purpose of obtaining more information about the [VCF] drug organization, as well as to try to obtain information on the whereabouts of the body of the subject [Reyes] that was supposedly murdered. At the time that the Department of Homeland Security of the U.S. decides to discontinue this investigative work for security reasons or any other motive, we’ll make the source of information available to you so you can take his statements, along with intelligence regarding phone numbers, names of the persons involved, etc. that may assist to continue this investigation by Mexican authorities.
With nothing else at the moment, I take this opportunity to send you cordial greetings, and I remain at your service for any clarification in this regard.
Cordially,
Luis Alvarez
Customs Attaché of the Department of Homeland Security of the U.S.
Traffic

So, in effect, ICE officials and the U.S. prosecutor in El Paso sat on their hands after the first murder, hoping to continue running their informant to make that career-boosting case against Santillan. As a result, over the next six months, another 11 murders were committed at the House of Death in Juárez, with the informant present for at least five of them, according to FOIA records.
The stench of the whole drug-war nightmare hit the open air on Jan. 14, 2004, after Santillan’s thugs, including a Mexican state judicial police commander named Miguel Loya Gallegos, mistakenly pulled over the car of a DEA agent and his family, thinking the agent was a dope smuggler who had crossed Santillan’s turf.
From Gonzalez’ MSPB pleadings:

[I]The informant and the subjects under investigation by ICE were allowed to continue their illicit activities in Mexico following the August 2003 murder [of Reyes], and on January 14, 2004, DEA agents and their families stationed in [Juárez] were evacuated from their residences because hired killers that could and should have been taken into custody after the first murder in August 2003, tried to identify, through the informant [Lalo], two DEA agents under the ruse of a traffic stop. The informant had reportedly told his co-conspirators [Santillan and Loya] that he knew corrupt U.S. officials that could provide this information. This attempt at identifying the DEA agents occurred as a result of information received by traffickers during the torture and killing of three individuals that took place in Juárez earlier that same day [Jan. 14, 2004].
Following, obtained via the FOIA request, are several excerpts from a Timeline of Events report prepared by the DEA following that errant traffic stop.

CS [the informant Lalo, an ex-Mexican Highway Patrol Officer] is considered a well-placed associated of significant targets within the VCFO [the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization]. CS’ principal relationship is with [Santillan], a high level cocaine and marijuana trafficker who operates within the Mexican states of [Chihuahua, Durango and Torreon] and directly impacts trafficking activity within the states of Texas, Illinois and elsewhere. [Santillan] also participates in enforcement of VCFO territorial control of the [Juárez]/West Texas corridor by coordinating drug rip-offs, kidnappings and executions of traffickers unauthorized to transit loads within the corridor. These enforcement activities are coordinated with or directed by [Loya], a nigh shift commander for the Chihuahua State Judicial Police in [Juárez]. Investigation to date reflects that the referenced telephone calls and traffic stop [of the DEA agent] were, in fact, overt acts within a conspiracy between [Santillan and Loya] and others to identify and execute those responsible for the unauthorized transit or loss of approximately 4,000 pounds of marijuana. It is suspected that the conspiracy involved the kidnapping, torture and murder of three individuals on Jan. 14 [at the House of Death], which resulted in the subsequent identification and murder of a fourth subject occurring on January 16, 2004. … It is further suspected that the traffic stop of S/A [the DEA agent] was a misdirected attempt by co-conspirators to identify and located [another drug smuggler] and/or a related stash location.
…Further details reflected that VCFO associated [REDACTED] was attempting to identify a stash house in the vicinity of SA [the DEA agent’s] GLQ [government-leased quarters] and had initiated surveillance in the area [leading to the traffic stop].
Vanished

After it was clear to the DEA and the Mexican government that ICE agents and a U.S. prosecutor had allowed a dozen murders to occur, with their informant participating in many of them, an effort was launched to snare Santillan and Loya. With the informant’s help, Santillan was lured across the border and arrested. Eventually, though, as part of an apparent attempt to keep a lid on the scandal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio cut a deal (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txw/press_releases/2005/Santillan.sen.pdf) with Santillan that involved dropping the murder charges against him – and the threat of a death sentence.
The stonewalling, deal-making and cover-up strategy allegedly employed by ICE officials and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is all the more disturbing given that DEA officials wanted to arrest Santillan immediately after the first murder at the House of Death. However, ICE officials and the U.S. prosecutor overseeing the case in El Paso refused to cooperate because it would have jeopardized their drug-war prosecution against Santillan.
“… Following the August 2003 murder [of Reyes], ICE personnel and the prosecutor assigned to the case ignored, with no good reason, well-founded recommendations made by DEA agents to arrest the principal suspect [Santillan] and ‘take down’ the case, thereby allowing at least 13 other murders to take place in Juárez, in what can only be described as a display of total disregard for human life, and disrespect for the rule of law in Mexico,” Gonzalez asserts in his MSPB pleadings. “This was reportedly done to protect, what in comparison to murder, were relatively minor cases/prosecutions regarding drugs and a cigarette smuggling case in which the informant was a witness.”
After the dirty little secret of the murders at the House of Death had surfaced within law enforcement circles, according to the FOIA records, ICE officials and the Assistant U.S. Attorney in El Paso, Juanita Fielden, allegedly continued to advance the cover-up by obstructing the DEA’s efforts to capture Mexican state police commander Loya, the ringleader of the House of Death hit squad. As a result, Loya and several of his goons vanished and remain at large –- though they likely suffered the same bloody fate as their House of Death victims.
More from Gonzalez’ MSPB pleadings:

To make matters worse, ICE officials would not allow the informant to call one of the suspects [Loya] and arrange a meeting so that Mexican federal authorities could arrest him for his participation in the murders. Furthermore, the U.S. prosecutor refused the repeated requests by DEA for direct access to the informant so that at least attempts could be made to resolve the alleged threat against the DEA personnel and their families stationed in [Juárez]. In fact the U.S. prosecutor stated that she had ordered ICE personnel to refuse DEA access to tape recorded conversations of the informant, while expressing concern that DEA personnel would share information with Mexican federal authorities.
Blood on the Gate

But before Loya vanished, he took care of one other loose end on behalf of the VCF organization, FOIA records show. On Jan. 16, 2004, two days after the last of the dozen murders were committed at the House of Death in Juárez, Loya carried out yet another act of brazen brutality.
From the DEA Timeline document:

[Two individuals] in a white pickup truck were shot after being stopped by two subjects reportedly acting as police officers. The targets were stopped upon departing the gated residential subdivision identified as [REDACTED]. The subjects were asked for identification by one of two alleged officers who approached them. Immediately upon identifying the driver, one of the suspects fatally shot the driver in the face and head with [a 9 millimeter handgun]. The CJRO [Juárez DEA field office’s] Chihuahua State Police SOI [source of information] indicated that the subject was identified by their reporting as [REDACTED]. Further, the SOI reported that [Loya] directed the killing of [REDACTED] due to the loss of a 4,000-pound load of unspecified drugs. The other occupant of the vehicle, identified as [REDACTED] was shot in the mouth and neck. He remains in critical condition in a local hospital and has not been able or willing to give a statement.
Now that this whole misguided affair has been documented, by the government’s own records, we are left to wonder what will happen next to assure that the pretense of the war on drugs does not unravel in the eyes of the public.
Regardless of how the cover-up now plays out, the revelations contained in these new FOIA records are sure to raise even more questions, because the cobwebs of this horror story have been spun intricately through the U.S. Justice System.
But of all the questions that still remain unanswered, the biggest one, for me, is where is the outrage from our political leaders? Have we really become a nation that tolerates, maybe even condones, murder in the pursuit of career, power and money? That is an ugly thought, but then there is really nothing pretty about homicides.
As for former DEA agent Gonzalez, he is only asking for the truth to be told.
Maybe that’s a starting point; maybe it’s time someone starts listening to him.
“This is not about me,” Gonzalez says. “What happened to me is minor compared to the enormity of what took place here, and the fact that nobody is focused on it.
“We need an independent investigation of this by someone outside the Executive Branch. And then we can let the chips fall where they may.”
The FOIA Documents

Aug. 6, 2003, ICE memorandum regarding informant (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/Memotofileregardinginformant.pdf)
Aug. 25, 2003, ICE informant debriefing report (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/Memotothefilefromagent1.pdf)
Aug. 15, 2003, Customs Attaché’s letter to the Mexican government (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/LetterLic.JorgeRosasGarcia.pdf)
DEA Timeline of Events Surrounding Evacuation of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Resident Office (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/ExecutiveSummary.pdf)
March 4-5, 2004, Redacted Department of Justice e-mails (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/emails.pdf)
March 5, 2004, Unredacted Version of Second Department of Justice e-mail (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/emailunredacted.jpg) (DEA Administrator Tandy)
July 7, 2005, Motion to Compel Discovery in U.S. Merit Systems Protection board case (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/MotiontocompelDiscovery.pdf)
July 7, 2005, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board case pleadings (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/Statementsoffactandissues.pdf)
Other FOIA documents related to the House of Death can be found at this link (http://www.narconews.com/Issue36/article1248.html).