In Re: Michael Flynn

Writing this for a friend who wanted to know what I thought about Michael Flynn.

When I heard the news that Flynn was waiving indictment and pleading guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI, I didn’t need to be told that Flynn had agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

Here’s why:

TSDLEMA EC007Werner was arrested in 2005 in Greenwich, Connecticut after spending a few afternoons wandering up and down Greenwich Avenue buying watches at every jewelry store.He used a different credit card at each store. None had his name on it.

A clerk high up on the avenue grew suspicious – as will happen when you ask someone to charge four very upscale timepieces to four different credit cards and ‘oh, by the way, the magnetic strips are all messed up, would you mind terribly manually inputting the numbers?’

The clerk called the Greenwich Police Department, which at the time was conveniently located on Greenwich Avenue. They arrested Werner at his car, they found twenty-eight credit and ATM cards in different names, six California driver’s licenses in various names, and dozens of credit card slips in the trunk.

When they searched his house in Westport they found over a quarter million dollars worth of watches, dozens of fake credit cards, fake driver’s licenses, a credit card making machine, several PCs, a hundred or so blank cards. And a semi-automatic .22 pistol.

The pistol was an additional charge because Werner had a prior felony record. He had been arrested by the FBI in California in 1990 and was convicted, after a trial, of bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, false statements, currency structuring and using a fictitious name. He was sentenced to 98 months in Federal prison.

After his release, he ran out on his federal probation in California to settle in Connecticut and ‘start over’.

Werner was facing state and federal charges. I saw all his paperwork and listened to him at length for far more than anyone should ever have to listen to a narcissist who reveled in his narcissism. I knew with utter ‘I took this class in law school’ certainty that his plea negotiations with the feds were starting in the mid-100 month range.  The gun was the least of it, the names he had been buying high-end watches in had all been hacked. And, the federal probation office was somewhat displeased.

There were also state charges that were still piling up and, over all, his case was a mess that only promised to get messier and uglier over the next year or so it would take to fully investigate.

But, it didn’t go that way.

Werner was arrested in late September 2005, the matter was disposed of with a guilty plea the following February, five months is an ungodly quick turnaround on such a complicated matter. Unless.

Werner pleaded guilty to a single count – possession of a firearm by a felon. There were no other charges. He was sentenced to 27 months, he served 16, undoubtedly in a very comfortable camp.

The government got (eventually) the superhacker Max Butler, and a Wired.com editor got a bestselling book, Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground.

That’s how this always works. Since such deals are never predicated on giving up people down the chain …

Stalag 17, Rikers Island, and Bill de Blasio

CaptureThis photo was published last week in the midst of the NY Times expose of all things Rikers Island, right around the time it was announced that Rikers would make extensive changes to its solitary confinement practices – in 2016.

The disaster that is Rikers fits my month long rant about bullies and the bullying bullies who bully and has consistently reminded me of stuff I normally wouldn’t want to be reminded of but now need.

So, I ran across the Mayor visits prison photo op above and my immediate thought was, “what a load of unmitigated bullshit.” As everyone who has ever watched a WW II prison camp movie would know in a heartbeat.

You know, the International Red Cross is coming to inspect Stalag 17, the camp is made as immaculate as possible, books and food packages held for months are released, the sick are treated, etc.

IMG_0499Then every staff member from the Commandant on down tells every prisoner, repeatedly, not to even think of talking to anyone from the Red Cross, the ‘or else’ does not have to be spelled out in any facility that has something called ‘the hole.’

It’s the same in any contemporary prison, of course. But worse. There are no books or food packages held for just such an occasion; all work in prison is performed by inmates, so the fix-up for the visit is pure hell. It’s also the perfect opportunity for COs to clear away any or all contraband under the assumption the visiting dignitary may want to root around inmate lockers.

The admonishment to discuss nothing beyond weather and sports is not so much suggested as ordered. Problematic inmates with a history of grievance filings find themselves sitting in medical all day, inmates know that at least two of the dignitary’s traveling posse are watching and taking names of anyone who waivers a syllable from the institutional script.

Nice picture up top, but you can rest assured not a damn thing of substance was was uttered. Certainly the best outcome for the ‘rapt’ inmates.