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TBR News December 23, 2018

Dec 23 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. December 23, 2018:”Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait erupted and a tsunami did terrible damage along the coasts. The same thing happened in 1883 and will probably happen again. In America, primarily, and throughout the world, secondarily, we are cursed with the anti-American activities by a President who is alleged to be in the pocket of the Russians and who, in any case, is doing, and has done, terrible damage to the United States. The discovery of Russian intelligence documents concerning the turning of Donald Trump to an instrument of Russian policy is known but not yet in the public view. And if Trump does not show the common sense of a trapped Nixon and quietly resign, the public will certainly learn more about the concept of giving aid and comfort to an enemy.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Keep Your Eyes on the Narcissist: Donald Trump’s Latest Antics Are Driven by Fear of Robert Mueller
  • Chaos at home, fear abroad: Trump unleashed puts western world on edge
  • FBI spies and global spy centers
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • U.S. Air Force’s new housing dogged by construction flaws, imperiling tenants

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Narcissist: Donald Trump’s Latest Antics Are Driven by Fear of Robert Mueller

December 22, 2018

by James Risen

The Intercept

A malicious loner paralyzed one of the world’s great cities this week. Meanwhile, a drone operator shut down a major international airport.

Donald Trump and the drone enthusiast who halted flights out of London’s Gatwick Airport apparently have a lot in common. Both have been willing to wreak havoc with a callous disregard for the public.

The motivation behind Trump’s pre-holiday assault on Washington — sowing chaos, breaking promises, shutting down the federal government, changing his policies from one minute to the next, forcing out one top official after another, spooking the stock market – is easily explained. Trump is a psychopathic criminal who feels cornered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, so he is lashing out in every direction.

After two years in office, at least one thing about Trump has become predictable: He reacts violently whenever Mueller appears to be making progress in his investigation. When he hears Mueller’s footsteps, Trump has one go-to move that he cynically uses time and again: He returns to the issues and slogans that energize his base, no matter what the cost. He embraces his base because he believes it will provide him political protection from the fearful Mueller.

Trump has plenty of reason to worry about Mueller these days. The signs are everywhere that Mueller’s investigation is intensifying and closing in on Trump and the crooks around him. It is even possible that Mueller may soon complete his work and issue a final report – or even a criminal indictment of Trump. What’s worse, from Trump’s point of view, is that in January the Democrats will take over the House of Representatives from his Republican enablers, making it far more difficult for him to get rid of Mueller. In fact, the House Intelligence Committee, which has been a laughingstock under Republican rule, will soon have a Democratic chair with subpoena power to conduct an aggressive investigation of Trump, perhaps picking up where Mueller leaves off.

So it is not really surprising that Trump is throwing a tantrum.

In fact, there’s been so much news about the Mueller investigation and related inquiries recently that it has been difficult to keep up.

Just last Tuesday, Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who made his name with the Trump crowd by leading chants of “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Republican National Convention, was dressed down by a federal judge who harshly mused about whether Flynn had sold out his country and could be charged with treason. Flynn was in front of the judge to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition after the 2016 election, but his sentencing was delayed to give him an opportunity to cooperate more fully with Mueller’s office in order to win a more lenient sentence.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, has repeatedly been in the headlines in recent weeks, and is now emerging as one of Trump’s biggest potential legal problems. In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump project in Moscow. Cohen had told Congress in 2017 that the deal had been abandoned by January 2016, but in fact the project was still under consideration as late as June 2016, in the middle of the presidential campaign, when Trump was about to become the Republican nominee. In a separate case in New York in December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for a series of criminal acts, including violating campaign finance laws by making payments to two women to keep their past affairs with Trump from becoming public during the presidential campaign. Cohen says that Trump authorized the payments.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, meanwhile, faced Mueller’s wrath in late November, when the special counsel accused Manafort of violating his plea agreement by lying rather than cooperating fully.

In early December, Maria Butina, a young Russian gun rights activist, pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent by infiltrating the conservative movement in the U.S. on Russia’s behalf and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Butina previously worked with Alexander Torshin, a powerful Russian politician with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican operative and Butina’s boyfriend, may also be charged, the Daily Beast reported in December. Though not part of the Mueller probe, Butina’s prosecution sheds light on a related web of Russian influence operations aimed at promoting rightwing ideas championed by Trump and his allies.

In December, the parent company of the National Enquirer admitted that it had paid a woman to suppress the story of an affair with Donald Trump during the campaign and reached a deal to cooperate with federal prosecutors in order to avoid prosecution. David Pecker, the chief executive of the magazine’s parent company AMI, has reportedly been granted immunity in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee agreed to turn over to Mueller the transcripts of testimony by longtime Trump ally Roger Stone. That suggests that Mueller, who has been pursuing links between Stone and WikiLeaks during the campaign, may be considering charging Stone with lying to Congress.

To top it off, there were reports in recent days that an unidentified foreign company has been fighting a grand jury subpoena issued in connection with Mueller’s investigation. Although it’s not clear what role the company might play in Mueller’s probe, a federal appeals court ruled this week that the firm must cooperate with the grand jury, according to press reports.

With so many of his cronies facing serious legal trouble and ready to cooperate with Mueller, it’s no wonder that a weak and frightened Trump has started insulting them in public. He called Cohen a “rat” for being willing to talk.

Bottom line: Anyone who thinks that Trump’s frenzied troop pullouts and government closure this week have anything to do with substantive policy issues hasn’t been paying attention for the last two years. Anyone who thinks that Trump actually cares about immigration, border security, the well-being of American troops, or U.S. involvement in Syria or Afghanistan will be deeply disappointed when he suddenly reverses himself again a few days or weeks from now, if and when he believes such a reversal will help him survive Robert Mueller.

Never forget that everything Trump does is about saving his own skin.

 

Chaos at home, fear abroad: Trump unleashed puts western world on edge

While a government shutdown and a key resignation grabbed headlines, diplomats were stunned by US actions over Yemen

December 23, 2018

by Julian Borger in Washington

The Guardian

The US stumbled into the holiday season with a sense of unravelling, as a large chunk of the federal government ground to a halt, the stock market crashed and the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration announced he could no longer work with the president.

The defense secretary, James Mattis, handed in his resignation on Thursday, over Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria. On Saturday another senior official joined the White House exodus. Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis and the US official closest to America’s Kurdish allies in the region, was reported to have handed in his resignation on Friday.

That night, senators flew back to Washington from as far away as Hawaii for emergency talks aimed at finding a compromise on Trump’s demand for nearly $6bn for a wall on the southern border, a campaign promise which has become an obsession. The president tweeted out an illustration of a very pointy, very high metal fence which he called “our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful!”

Earlier in the week, it appeared a deal had been reached to allow the funding of normal government functions into the New Year. But Trump abruptly changed his mind, most likely after watching rightwing pundits criticise the fudge on television.

The immediate consequences were that 380,000 federal workers were placed on compulsory unpaid leave and another 420,000 would have to work through the holidays unpaid. About a quarter of government functions ceased for lack of funding. On Saturday the Senate adjourned without a solution, ensuring the shutdown will continue until Thursday at the earliest.

The mood of uncertainty accelerated an already precipitous stock market dive, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its worst December fall since 1987.

Trump was left to brood alone in Washington. The first lady, Melania, and their son, Barron, flew off on Friday to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private club in Florida.

“I am in the White House, working hard. News reports concerning the Shutdown and Syria are mostly FAKE,” the president tweeted

Trump has been spending an increasing amount of time in his private quarters, appearing for work in the Oval Office later and later in the morning. His aides call it “executive time” but it is clear from his Twitter feed it is mostly spent watching TV and responding viscerally to what he sees and hears.

With the departure of two retired generals, the chief of staff John Kelly and the defense secretary James Mattis, the administration has lost two war veterans not afraid of standing up to Trump. In 2019, that insulation between Trump’s impulses and the rest of the world will no longer be there.

The last straw for Mattis was a phone call on 14 December between Trump and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which the president upended US policy.

Instead of warning Erdoğan off a threatened offensive into Syria aimed at Kurdish forces, Washington’s closest allies against Isis, Trump was persuaded in a matter of seconds to abandon Syria and leave the Kurds to their fate. Unable to change Trump’s mind, Mattis handed in his resignation on Thursday, with a letter he clearly spent some time composing, citing respect for allies as the critical difference.

“Mattis clearly felt he had reached the end of the road,” said Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defence now at the German Marshall Fund. “Trump has no real clear objective but has a destructive America First perspective on the world, which will become more manifest now there aren’t people around him willing and able to stand up to him.”

Furthermore, as the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia heads towards a denouement, and the House of Representatives begins its own investigations once Democrats take control in January, Trump will have a growing incentive to look for new crises abroad to change the subject on his Twitter feed.

“We know from people who have worked with this man that when he feels out of control, he tends to create more chaos,” Farkas said. “That is what we are seeing now.”

‘Added room for misjudgment’

Accounts from inside the White House, such as Bob Woodward’s book Fear, confirm that Mattis had manage to steer the president from impulsive moves that would have turned the world on its head, like pulling the US out of Nato, or launching assassination strikes against Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

“With adversaries, Trump’s underlying unpredictability and lack of understanding of how to use the tools of American power will now be exacerbated by the lack of much in the way of experienced and judicious foreign policy advice and implementation,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a former deputy assistant secretary of state now at the Brookings Institution.

“So I think there’s added room for the kind of misjudgment and misinterpretation (on both sides) that leads small incidents to escalate into major international crisis.”

Trump’s top two remaining foreign policy aides, his national security adviser, John Bolton, and secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have shown themselves ready to go along with his orders without much effort to change his mind, even when those instructions directly contradict their own professed views.

Both men have increasingly focused their efforts on the one area where their instincts are in line with Trump’s: putting maximum pressure on Iran. Before taking his White House position, Bolton advocated air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. European diplomats in Washington say Pompeo is reluctant to engage with them on any other subject.

That focus has increased the importance administration puts on relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Estimates, which have egged Trump on against Iran, and downgraded alliances with European capitals, which have insisted on sticking by the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that Trump wants to destroy.

The new realities were brought home to British diplomats over the past week, when they were trying to get a United Nations security council resolution passed that would uphold a ceasefire in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, guarantee delivery of humanitarian supplies and threaten consequences for war crimes.

Having been promised support from Washington, the UK mission was stunned when the US began circulating a rival resolution, stripped of language about humanitarian supplies and war crimes, the Americans apparently acting on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition, which has fought any UN attempt to constrain its military operations.

As the week went on, the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, an important independent voice on US foreign policy who is also leaving the administration, declared herself unwell. Orders to the US mission came straight from Pompeo. Early on Thursday, American diplomats threatened their British counterparts with a veto, an almost unheard of step among allies.

“Utterly baffling behaviour from the US,” one diplomat said. “No one in the US-UN [mission] or state [department] able to give sensible advice to Pompeo who was obsessed with Iran and deleting all language which the Saudis and Emiratis disliked.”

‘Trump and Putin could end the world today’

The ever-present possibility of an unintended or unforeseen conflict flaring up increases fears among defence analysts over how Trump might respond without experienced figures like Mattis at his side.

“President Trump has yet to be faced with a true international crisis,” said Alexandra Bell, a senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-proliferation. “His behaviour and actions give little hope that he’ll react to pressure with calm resolve.”

Bell pointed out that under the US command and control system, there is no institutional brake on Trump ordering a nuclear launch.

“The world must also come to grips with the fact that we have placed an inordinate amount of faith in the ability of individual leaders to behave rationally. By choice or miscalculation, President Trump and President Putin could end the world today and there’s little any of us could do to stop them. What’s worse is that’s the way we designed it.”

 

FBI spies and global spy centers

December 23, 2018

by Christian Jürs

 

Just learned that someone bagged a long list of FBI legats, their posts, names, local addresses as well as a long list (ca 75,000) of registered FBI informants, to include names and addresses. It is rumored that all of this material will be published via the dark Internet.

There are 63 legal attaché offices—commonly known as legats—and more than two dozen smaller sub-offices in key cities around the globe, providing coverage for more than 180 countries, territories, and islands. Each office is established through mutual agreement with the host country and is situated in the U.S. embassy or consulate in that nation. To work in these offices, the FBI employs approximately 35,000 people, including special agents and support professionals such as intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, and information technology specialists

  • Berlin, Germany

American Embassy: 011-49-30-238-5174

Frankfurt Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-49-69-7535-0

Nations covered: Germany

  • Bern, Switzerland

American Embassy: 011-41-31-357-7011

Nations covered: Liechtenstein, Switzerland

  • Brussels, Belgium

American Embassy: 011-32-2-512-5519

Nations covered: Belgium, Luxembourg, U.S. Mission to NATO and the EU

  • Copenhagen, Denmark

American Embassy: 011-45-3341-7100

  • Stockholm, Sweden Suboffice

America Embassy: 011-46-8-783-5488

Nations covered: Denmark, Faroe Island, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

  • London, England

American Embassy: 0-11-44-207-894-0007

Nations covered: United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales), Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey)

  • Madrid, Spain

American Embassy: 011-34-91-587-2200

Nations covered: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain

Paris, France

American Embassy: 011-33-1-4312-2222

Lyon Suboffice (INTERPOL)

Nations covered: France, Monaco

  • Prague, Czech Republic

American Embassy: 011-420-2-5702-2000

Nations covered: Czech Republic and Slovakia

  • Rome, Italy

American Embassy: 011-39-06-4674-2710

Nations covered: Italy, Malta, San Marino, Vatican City

  • The Hague, Netherlands

American Embassy:  011-31-70-310-2264

Nations covered: Netherlands, U.S. Mission to Europol

  • Vienna, Austria

American Consulate: 011-43-1-313-39-2155

Nations covered: Austria, Croatia, Slovenia

  • Abu Dhabi, UAE

American Embassy: 011-971-2-414-2200

Dubai, UAE Suboffice

011-971-4-309-4000

Nations covered: United Arab Emirates

  • Amman, Jordan

American Embassy: 011-962-6-590-6000

Beirut, Lebanon Suboffice

American Embassy: 011-961-4-542-600

Nations covered: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria

  • Baghdad, Iraq

American Embassy: 1-240-553-0590

Erbil, Iraq Suboffice

Nations covered: Iraq

  • Cairo, Egypt

American Embassy: 011-202-2797-3300

Nations covered: Egypt

  • Doha, Qatar

American Embassy: 011-974-4496-6000

Kuwait City, Kuwait Suboffice

American Embassy: 011-965-2259-1001

Nations covered: Kuwait, Qatar

  • Islamabad, Pakistan

American Embassy: 011-92-51-208-0000

Karachi, Pakistan Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-92-21-3527-5000

Nations covered: Pakistan

  • Kabul, Afghanistan

American Embassy: 301-490-1042

Nations covered: Afghanistan

  • Muscat, Oman

American Embassy: 968-2464-3400

Nation covered: Oman

  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

American Embassy: 011-966-1-488-3800

Nations covered: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen

  • Tel Aviv, Israel

American Embassy: 011-972-3-519-7575

Jerusalem, Israel suboffice

+972-2-622-7127

Nations covered: Israel, Palestinian National Authority

  • Bogota, Colombia

American Embassy: 011-571-275-2000

Nations covered: Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela

  • Brasilia, Brazil

American Embassy: 011-55-61-3312-7000

011-55-61-3312-7400 (after hours)

Nations covered: Brazil

  • Bridgetown, Barbados

American Embassy: 1-246-436-4950

Nassau, Bahamas Suboffice

American Consulate: 1-242-322-1181

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

American Embassy: 1-868-622-6371

Nations covered: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, French West Indies, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Montserrat, Nassau (Islands of St. Barthelemy and French St. Martin), Netherland Antilles (islands of Bonaire and Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Dutch St. Maarten), St. Christopher, St. Kitts/Nevis (British West Indies), St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and…

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

American Embassy: 011-5411-5777-4300

Nations covered: Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay

  • Mexico City, Mexico

American Embassy: 011-52-55-5080-2000

Hermosillo Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-52-662-289-3500

Guadalajara Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-52-33-3268-2100

Juarez Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-52-656-227-3000

Monterrey Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-52-81-8047-3100

Tijuana Suboffice:

American Consulate: 011-52-664-977-2000

Nations covered: Mexico

  • Ottawa, Canada

American Embassy: 1-613-238-5335

Toronto Suboffice

American Consulate: 1-416-640-8650

Vancouver Suboffice

American Consulate: 1-604-685-4311

Nations covered: Canada

  • Panama City, Panama

American Embassy: 011-507-317-5000

Nations covered: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua

  • San Salvador, El Salvador

American Embassy: 011-503-2501-2999

Guatamala City, Guatamala Suboffice

American Embassy: 011-502-2326-4000

Tegucigalpa, Honduras Suboffice

American Embassy: 011-504-2236-9320

Nations covered: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

  • Santiago, Chile

American Embassy: 011-56-22-330-3000

Nations covered: Bolivia, Chile, Peru

  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

American Embassy: 1-809-221-2171 or 1-809-567-7775

Nations covered: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica

  • *Bangkok, Thailand

American Embassy: 011-66-2-205-4000

Nations covered: Laos, Myanmar, Thailand

  • Beijing, China

American Embassy: 011-8610-6532-3831

Nations covered: Mongolia, People’s Republic of China

  • Canberra, Australia

American Embassy: 011-61-2-6214-5600

Sydney Suboffice

American Consulate: 011-612-9373-9200

Nations covered: Australia, Christmas Island, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (includes Austral Islands, Bora Bora, Marquesas Islands, Moorea, Society Islands, Tahiti), Kiribati (includes Canton, Caroline, Flint, Gilbert Islands, Malden, Phoenix, Starbuck, Vosttok), Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Niue, Pitcairn Island, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands (French), Samoa

  • Dhaka, Bangladesh

American Embassy: 011-65-476-9100

Nations covered: Bangladesh, Nepal

  • Hong Kong, China

American Consulate: 011-852-2523-9011

Tapei, Tawain Suboffice

American Institute: 011-2-2162-2000

Nations covered: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

  • Jakarta, Indonesia

American Embassy 011-62-21-3435-9000

Nations covered: Indonesia, Timor-Leste

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

American Embassy: 011-603-2168-5000

Singapore Suboffice

American Embassy: 011-65-6476-9100

Nations covered: Brunei, DIego Garcia, Malaysia, Singapore

  • Manila, Philippines

American Embassy: 011-63-2-301-2000

Nations covered: Philippines

  • New Dehli, India

American Embassy: 011-91-1-98-2419-8000

Nations covered: Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia

American Embassy: 011-85-23-728-000

Nations covered: Cambodia, Vietnam

  • Seoul, South Korea

American Embassy: 011-82-2-397-4114

Nations covered: South Korea

  • Tokyo, Japan

American Embassy: 011-81-3-3224-5000

Nations covered: Japan

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

December 22, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

 

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

 

Conversation No. 56

Date: Thursday, January 2, 1997

Commenced: 1:35 PM CST

Concluded: 2:10 PM CST

RTC: A New Year, Gregory. Will we see it out, do you think?

GD: Probably. Unless, of course, we have the Rapture and you and I are left behind. Are you particularly religious, Robert? If you are, I will refrain from comment so soon after the celestial birthday.

RTC: Nominal, just nominal. Say what you like.

GD: I don’t know if you want that, Robert. I have very strong views on some aspects of religion.

RTC: A Christmas indulgence from me, Gregory.

GD: Every society needs a moral core. Mostly, Robert, religion supplies this. For the Nazis and the Communists, Hitler and Stalin supplied the religious themes, but not here. Why is America the compost heap that produces, not flies from maggots, but the Christian Jesus freaks out of absolutely nothing but pulp fiction? The Gospels are all forgeries, written a long time after the events depicted in them and they have been constantly changed over the centuries to reflect various political and economic needs. I mean, Robert, that there is not one bloody word in the New Testament depictions of Jesus that could be considered to have even a gram of historical accuracy. I could go on for hours about this subject, but the whole fabric of the Christian conservatives or the rampant Jesus freaks is that their dogma is based on total and very clear fraud. The so-called Battle of Armageddon, for example, is nowhere in the Bible…

RTC: Are you serious?

GD: Look it up, Robert. Revelations 16:16 is the sole mention of it. Just a geographical name, that’s all. No blitzkrieg of Jesus versus the Evil Ones. Nothing at all. It was all pure invention.

RTC: Well, if not in the Bible, who made it up?

GD: One Charles Fox Parham, that’s who made it up. He was a very nasty type who ran a bi-racial church in Los Angeles around the turn of the century, before he was chased out. And, of course, he did time in jail for defrauding his flock of money and, more entertainingly, buggering little boys in the fundament. Oh my yes, he made up the whole Rapture story and ranted on endlessly about a fictional Battle of Armageddon. It’s like having the Church of the Celestial Easter Bunny or the Divine Santa Claus. At least there really was a Saint Nicholas, but the Easter Bunny is as fictitious as Jesus the Water Walker.

RTC: I don’t recall learning about that as a child at all.

GD: Of course not, you belong to the original Christian church, Robert, not one of the later cults. Neither the Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox people have this silly Rapture business anywhere in their early literature. This was a fiction started up at the beginning of this century by some nut named Blackstone who claimed that Jesus was coming. I think the word ‘rapture’ didn’t come I into use until about 1910. It’s just more nut fringe fiction, nothing more.

RTC: Well, I haven’t had much in the way of contact with these people except to chase off the Jehovah’s Witnesses who bang on my door and try to shove all kinds of pamphlets on me. In the long run, Gregory, you should learn to avoid the lunatics and concentrate on more important issues. There are always nuts. Didn’t they burn witches in Salem?

GD: The same types, only then they were in power. Now they lust after power so they can shove their fictional crap onto the sane part of society.

RTC: Well, then, what about the ones who don’t believe in evolution?

GD: The same types. We have them across the street. Told me yesterday the world was only 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and men commingled in Kansas somewhere. You can’t tell these people anything. They just keep repeating that whatever fiction you go after is in the Bible. When you ask them to show you, they get angry. Nuts always get angry when you puncture their fantasy balloons.

RTC: And Armageddon? I vaguely recall something about a battle between the Antichrist somewhere.

GD: But not in the Bible. The only reference to Armageddon is Revelations 16:16 and it just mentions the name of the place, nothing about a battle, Jesus, Satan, the Antichrist or my cousin Marvin. Nothing. But when you tell the nuts this, they almost froth at the mouth. They’ll tell you the battle is there and when you make them open their chrome-plated Bible and look, they flip back and forth and get more and more upset. Of course it isn’t there so they make faces and later they tell me, with great triumph, that they asked Pastor Tim and he said it was all there. Of course when I ask them for chapter and verse, they don’t have it.

RTC: Gregory, a word of fatherly advice here. Why bother with these idiots? Who cares what they believe? Are they of use to you in some project? If they are, be patient and go along with them. If they aren’t, drop them.

GD: But they are annoying. Robert, if I told you the Japanese attacked Spain in 1941, wouldn’t such stupidity annoy you?

RTC: No, it wouldn’t. When I was in harness, I heard worse than the babbling of the Jesus nuts, believe me. Senior Company people acting like spoiled children because no one listened to their pet theories about this country, that economy, that head of state, that foreign political party and on and on. Sometime…. no, more often than I liked, some rabid lunatic did us all kinds of damage, as witness the Gottleib mind control stupidity. People like that, Gregory, should be taken out for a trip on your boat or a walk in the Pine Barrens and simply shot. What did Joe Stalin say? ‘No man…no problem.” I often had to listen to these boring nuts, but you don’t. I had to make excuses to get away from them, but you don’t have to deal with them in the first place. Most small-minded people fixate on something utterly unimportant and think they have discovered the wheel. Yes, I agree that religious loonies are probably the worst, but, believe me, the political experts are almost as bad. They hop up and down shouting, ‘Listen to me! Listen to me!’ And who gives a damn what they think? No, I agree with you about the Jesus freaks but there are legions, I say, legions of others that are just as fixated, just as crazy, just as annoying, so you would be far better served if you just shut them out of your mind and turned your talents to other matters more important. Take some comfort in the thought that just as their lights go out and the darkness swallows them that they realize in the last second that there is no heaven, no Jesus and nothing but the embalmer’s needle and the worms. Nothing. But then their brains have turned to Jello and they don’t care anymore because they have returned to the dirt that they came from.

GD: I agree, Robert, I agree with you, but I still get annoyed. But these nuts, and you can add the Jewish Holocaust nuts to the pile, demand you do not say this or read that or watch that movie. They aren’t content to live in their basements and talk to themselves or tyrannize over their poor children and wives, so they rush out into the street and issue orders as if anyone cared or worse, as if they really mattered. That I object to strongly. I have waded through tens of thousands of pages of official German papers and I can tell you, without any doubt, that the Germans did not gas millions of Jews. What do these creeps do? They tell the archives to seal the papers that make them out professional liars and attack anyone who dares to question them. The holocausters and the Jesus freaks are cut from the same piece of God’s underwear. I think the dirty parts to be sure.

RTC: (Laughter) Oh, Gregory, such passion for so little. They both think they are really important and that people actually listen to them, and even care about their unimportant obsessions. Ignore the Jews, too, Gregory, like you should ignore the Jesus freaks.

GD: Ah, but the Jews control the media and most of the publishing houses. If you write, you don’t get published. Now if I made up some fantasy that said the Germans burned two hundred million Jewish babies, I would be a best seller, number one on The New York Times book reviews and a great one on the lecture and TV interview circuit. Of course about ten people would read my fictions, but no one would be rude enough to talk about that. Christ, most of the Holocaust books are pure fiction and the rantings about the Rapture are right in with them.

RTC: Well, I can see some sense here and I admit it is difficult to get away from obnoxious Hebrews, but why not try? I find that if you ignore people like this, eventually they will go away and annoy people in public lavatories. Just another step to oblivion.

GD: I really shouldn’t bore you with you with my own obsessions but I do not suffer fools gladly.

RTC: God, there are so many of them.

GD: I remember my grandfather and one of his pet comments to bombastic idiots he encountered at social functions. He would smile and say, ‘I beg your pardon, sir, but are you anybody in particular?’

RTC: (Laughter) I don’t suppose any of the gas bags got that.

GD: No, but grandfather did, and so did I. I remember once my mother started yelling at me non-stop because I had come in late from a night with the ladies and the bottle. I listened to her rantings for about an hour and finally, after she ran out of steam, she asked me if I had anything to say and I told her, very politely, that I had been trying to tell her for the longest time that she had some hairpins coming loose just over her right ear.

RTC:(Laughter) My Lord, Gregory, what a put-down. Whatever did she do?

GD: She was so worn out shouting that she just stared at me with her mouth open and before she could get her wind back, I went in my room and locked the door. She stood in front of it yelling that I was disrespectful, until my father came out and made her go back into the house because the lights were going on in the neighbor’s homes. I had a warm and caring family life, Robert, believe it. But I didn’t have to listen to the braying of human donkeys all the time. Just the occasional parental psychotic episode. Now they come up with glazed eye and threads of drool dripping from their mouths while they clutch at you and screech, ‘Jesus, Jesus,’ or ‘six million, six million.’ Oh how I would love to give them lobotomies with a chain saw.

RTC: I don’t think you would have much luck with a lobotomy, Gregory. Most creatures like that don’t have brains.

GD: No, Robert, they don’t. What they do have are knots on the top of their spine to keep their asses from plopping down onto the sidewalk.

 

(Concluded: 2:10 PM CST)

 

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U.S. Air Force’s new housing dogged by construction flaws, imperiling tenants

Under a vast privatization program, the Pentagon promised quality housing for service members. But shoddy workmanship, raw sewage, rotten wood and chronic leaks mar the $3.4 billion building boom, putting residents’ health at risk.

December 21, 2018

by M.B. Pell and Deborah Nelson

Reuters

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma – Here, near the heart of America’s “Tornado Alley,” an Air Force contractor built 398 new homes less than a decade ago, bankrolled as part of the U.S. government’s vow of safe shelter for the men and women who serve.

Today the collection of cookie-cutter duplexes is showing declines more typical of aged and neglected housing. Last spring, just six years after landlord Balfour Beatty Communities finished construction, the company was forced to start replacing every foot of water line in each house to fix systemic plumbing failures. In September, the company and Air Force inspected the tiny rooms where heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment is housed. Half had mold or water damage. Residents complain of leaks, mold, rodents and cockroaches.

While living in her new house on base, Stephanie Oakley’s five-year-old son underwent 42 weeks of chemotherapy, 33 days of pelvis radiation and 10 days of full-lung radiation this year. Doctors removed his adenoids, the hospital says, and then his tonsils.

The cancer treatment severely weakened his immune system. Any infections from mold, the family’s doctor warned, could be lethal. So when Oakley found mold in the vents of her home in August, she instantly called Balfour Beatty.

Yet the cleanup worsened the problem, she said. A contractor cleaned the vents but failed to cover the Oakleys’ possessions. She returned home to find fungus throughout the house. Green webs of mold stretched across the Batman emblems of her son’s sheets.

“I never felt hopeless about him getting cancer. I had faith,” she said. “But this right here is harder to deal with.”

Her story is part of a largely hidden reality about life on America’s military bases. The U.S. Department of Defense has privatized most of the living quarters on bases around the country, partnering with private companies to manage the vast system. What the Pentagon touts as privatization’s signature achievement – the building of new housing for military families – is marred by faulty construction and poor upkeep, Reuters found.

The Pentagon has never publicly released a definitive assessment of its two-decade old new construction program covering some 150 bases. But three years ago, the Pentagon’s Inspector General spot-checked housing units at five U.S. military bases, finding 282 deficiencies at 89 homes, including dwellings built or renovated under the privatization program. The problems, including “pervasive” fire hazards, faulty electrical wiring and unmitigated mold growth, were caused by “improper installation, insufficient inspection and inadequate maintenance,” the IG found.

A Reuters review – built from court records, interviews and Defense Department Inspector General documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act – found serious construction problems with new or renovated housing on at least 17 bases. The flaws include water damage, improper electrical wiring, missing smoke alarms, and construction errors requiring residents to leave new homes. At six bases, the developer, unable to complete construction, was dismissed from the project.

The building program, some tenants say, has failed to meet the goal the Pentagon set two decades ago of building adequate homes for “the most dedicated” members of the armed services.

“The service members risk their lives,” said Andrea DeLack, whose husband, a retired Marine first sergeant, served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were housed in a new, mold-ridden home on an Air Force base in Mississippi run by another landlord. “And in return, the organization as a whole doesn’t even give back with safe housing for us and our kids.”

Over the past two decades, the Defense Department has transferred ownership of more than 200,000 homes to private landlords. It also contributed $3.4 billion to help finance the renovation of 52,000 old homes and the construction of 80,000 new ones nationwide. The decaying homes in Oklahoma and Mississippi are among that new housing stock.

The military says the overall quality of housing has improved under the privatization program, but the Pentagon’s massive financial outlay has come with limited federal oversight and little accountability for the companies that run the gargantuan system. The contracts under which landlords operate, their revenues, inspection records and resident complaints are kept secret or heavily redacted by the Defense Department and the companies. The Pentagon says the details are proprietary.

In a statement to Reuters, the Air Force said it inspects a sampling of homes annually or when concerns arise, and that it requires private operators to employ third parties to ensure homes meet local building codes. The Air Force did not provide the results of its inspections, but noted, “results of these visits vary.”

“The Air Force places the health and safety of its members as a top priority,” wrote spokeswoman Laura McAndrews.

Balfour Beatty declined to discuss conditions at specific homes at the Oklahoma Air Force base. In a statement, the London-based company said most residents are pleased with its work. “We are steadfastly committed to making things right in these homes,” it said.

BIG BUSINESS, BASE TROUBLES

Balfour Beatty manages 43,000 housing units at Air Force, Army and Navy bases across the country, making it one of the biggest players in the industry. The company won the Tinker contract in 2008. Overall, the base has 660 homes.

At Tinker and two other bases, the Air Force contributed $137 million in loans to help finance new and renovated housing. The Defense Department does not reveal how much its partner landlords earn in rent. But Reuters estimates the rental revenue is $10.5 million annually at Tinker and $800 million at all the bases where Balfour Beatty is a housing partner. The figures were calculated using Pentagon data on military housing stipends. Neither the military nor Balfour Beatty challenged these estimates.

Here in the suburbs south of Oklahoma City, Balfour Beatty built nearly 400 homes between 2008 and 2012. It noticed the leaks as early as 2009, according to a court filing by Balfour Beatty. Last spring, Balfour Beatty started replacing every foot of water line in each house to address extensive water damage.

While plumbers replaced the piping, Air Force housing personnel and Balfour Beatty employees spent a week in September at each new home inspecting the mechanical closets, which hold heating, ventilation and AC equipment. Half had water damage, including spraying leaks, water pools three inches deep, raw sewage, rotten wood and severe mold, records show.

At a town hall meeting two weeks later, Balfour Beatty executives downplayed the problems, saying mold and water damage in HVAC areas don’t affect residents. “The good news is the mechanical rooms are isolated from the living areas,” said Steve Curtis, vice president of risk management at Balfour Beatty.

Tim Toburen, an environmental specialist in mold and water damage, disagrees. Examining photos taken by Reuters and residents, Toburen noted the walls separating the mechanical closets from living spaces appear to be made of drywall – a material susceptible to mold growth and providing no barrier to water. The air circulation systems themselves, when not properly sealed, suck up mold spores and distribute them around the house, he said. Inspection records obtained by Reuters show dozens of HVAC systems incorrectly sealed in new homes.

“Clearly there are big problems here,” Toburen said.

Asked about those problems, spokeswoman McAndrews said the Air Force “is concerned about the water damage.” The Air Force and landlord will promptly reinspect affected homes and make fixes, she said. Balfour Beatty will now inspect the rooms during routine maintenance checks.

Repairs were finished in October, homes were re-inspected and families are satisfied with the work, said Balfour Beatty spokeswoman Maureen Omrod.

The landlord is a unit of Balfour Beatty plc, a publicly traded corporation, which reveals little about the finances of its military housing subsidiaries. The Defense Department deems the project finances confidential and will not disclose figures.

Balfour Beatty assures investors, however, that housing soldiers, sailors and airmen is lucrative. At the company’s August results call with analysts, CEO Leo Quinn described military housing as a “fantastic business.”

The complaints about new homes extend beyond Oklahoma and Balfour Beatty. Another big player is Hunt Companies, which owns 50,000 homes on 49 bases and bills itself as the “largest military housing owner in the country.”

At Mississippi’s Keesler Air Force base, 13 military families are suing Hunt over endemic mold infestations they say sprouted from faulty construction and poor maintenance in their homes, which were among 1,000 built from 2007 to 2010 for $287 million.

Among the plaintiffs is the DeLack family. Earl DeLack, a retired first sergeant in the Marines, said his home at Keesler – the base has a Marine detachment – was riddled with mold, sickening his wife, baby and two other young children with allergies, rashes and headaches. DeLack said he alerted the base commanders, inspector general and others, to no avail, finally moving off base in 2016. He retired in July, following deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was a bad way to leave the Marine Corps,” said his wife, Andrea.

Another plaintiff, Ann Yarbrough, an Air Force technical sergeant, showed a reporter black spots spreading across her ceiling in early December. Mold has been a recurring problem since the family moved into the house in 2011, putting her three young children at risk, she said. Later in December, the family was moved out of the house for mold remediation and will be spending Christmas in temporary quarters on base.

That’s the crazy thing,” Yarbrough said. “When I was deployed to Afghanistan, I was worried about my family back here, because they were getting sick.”

In court filings, Texas-based Hunt denied allegations of poor maintenance, mold outbreaks or any harm to tenants. However, an internal memo from a Hunt affiliate to Air Force officials in 2008 shows the company knew its new homes were prone to mold. The company and Air Force confirmed to Reuters this month that 1,000 have needed “moisture remediation” in the past two years – including those of DeLack and Yarbrough.

Air Force spokeswoman McAndrews said some homes have required “extensive repairs,” so the service and Hunt agreed to complete the work in phases. The Air Force is monitoring progress “to ensure project milestones were met,” she said.

Hunt said it’s committed to addressing the problem. “Hunt Military Communities takes pride in providing the best possible housing for our Service Members and their families,” the company said in a written statement.

FAMILY TROUBLES

In Oklahoma, landlord Balfour Beatty faces resident complaints of maintenance nightmares and punitive fees. At Tinker, more than a dozen residents said they believe the company is slow to fix problems, admit obvious water damage or investigate mold.

In Janna Driver’s home on Night Hawk Court, water regularly seeped from the mechanical closet into the adjacent playroom for her four-year-old twin girls, she said.

In August 2018, the family called in its ninth request for help in a year. Driver’s husband followed the Balfour Beatty maintenance technician into the mechanical closet and snapped pictures of walls covered with mold from floor to ceiling, along with a puddle of water where the air conditioning unit’s condensation pipes emptied onto the floor. Her account is supported by maintenance records and photos and videos she took of the premises.

When Driver asked Balfour Beatty maintenance staff about the mold, she said they told her the company had been trying to treat it with bleach for six months.

During that time, medical records show, the family pediatrician diagnosed both twins with chronic upper respiratory infections – a symptom of mold exposure. Driver said she, her eldest son and oldest daughter experienced headaches and nosebleeds.

In August, Balfour Beatty moved the Drivers into temporary base housing, where water leaked into a light fixture. The family moved to a hotel – paid for by Balfour Beatty – in September. After two months, they left for a home off base. “I haven’t had one headache since,” Driver said.

Balfour Beatty continued to collect the family’s monthly housing stipend, however. It charged the Drivers a month’s rent for terminating the lease early. And it billed them $1,171 for unspecified damages.

The company declined to discuss the specifics of the Drivers’ case with Reuters. It said it has been transparent with the Air Force and residents about the plumbing problems, which it said affected a “select segment” of homes.

Company executives told residents the water damage was caused by defective plastic water lines installed by a subcontractor. Since last spring, Balfour Beatty has spent $6 million to repair water damage and install water lines, replacing the lines in at least 150 new homes, with plans to finish the remaining 250 by May.

In October, Balfour Beatty sued NIBCO, the Indiana company that made the water lines, in federal court in Oklahoma, alleging systematic failure of the equipment that caused “extensive leaks” throughout the Tinker homes. Balfour Beatty was still discovering new leaks at Tinker “on a weekly basis,” the suit said.

Earlier this year, NIBCO agreed to pay $43 million to settle a separate class action suit over allegations its water lines failed in homes across the country. Edward Sullivan, NIBCO’s general counsel, said the company believes other installation problems were to blame at Tinker and plans to fight the Balfour Beatty lawsuit.

In any case, the original pipes aren’t the only problem with the new homes. Inspection records show leaking HVAC systems and roofs, backed-up sewage lines and standing water in homes where the lines were replaced. Balfour Beatty insisted sewage backups were not a problem, but records show three homes had backups in HVAC rooms, one described as “bad raw sewage.”

In August and September, senior airman Abigaila Courtney said, sewage water backed up from her shower drain into the nursery in her remodeled home – which does not have plastic water lines. An environmental testing firm found high levels of mold spores in her child’s bedroom. Her four-month-old baby boy went to the emergency room with breathing difficulty, according to a letter from her son’s doctor. The doctor told Balfour Beatty to remove mold from their home.

Balfour Beatty declined to comment on Courtney’s complaints.

Courtney discovered that Balfour Beatty’s maintenance log, which she shared with Reuters, sometimes did not match the work done at her home. The log said her air filter was replaced in September, but a week after the purported upgrade, the filter was so furry it looked like a bearskin rug, according to a photograph she took at the time.

In the past, the work order system did not always match “actual performance,” the Air Force’s McAndrews said. After an audit, she said, changes were made to improve the work order process.

Courtney said the base’s inspector general told her it couldn’t help. So her family moved in with her sister-in-law off base. Nevertheless, Balfour Beatty said it would continue to collect her rent. “We have nothing to back us up and no one to help us,” she said.

BIG BILL AND SECRECY

In October, Balfour Beatty gathered Tinker residents in a town hall meeting to try to ease their concerns. A Reuters reporter was in the audience.

To educate the tenants about mold, company vice president Curtis kicked off his talk by defining the word “ubiquitous.” Mold, he continued, is everywhere. He displayed a picture of mushrooms growing in the yard of his home and discussed the many uses for mold, such as making penicillin, beer and cheese.

“We eat mold,” he said. “Does anyone like gorgonzola cheese?”

Stephanie Oakley, whose husband is an Air Force staff sergeant, said she called Balfour Beatty 30 times since moving in three years ago to complain about leaky plumbing, heating and cooling problems and water damage that left her living room carpet so wet it soaked through her socks. She said the carpet smelled like pee.

Oakley later learned the dank conditions posed an acute health threat for her son, who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, in October 2017.

She began to worry in August when she discovered mold in all six of her vents and a patch growing on her carpet. An environmental testing firm found high levels of mold spores in her son’s bedroom.

Her son’s oncologist wrote Balfour Beatty Communities that “death rates are unfortunately high” when pediatric cancer patients contract infections from mold and fungus. He urged the company to remove the fungi and mold.

Balfour Beatty agreed to replace the flooring, clean the vents and pay for the family’s hotel room for a month, Oakley said. But the cleanup backfired.

Oakley said a Balfour Beatty contractor did clean the vents while the family was away, but failed to cover the furniture and possessions. Oakley came home in September to find a patina of mold spreading across the house and on her shoes, her husband’s dress shirts and their son’s bedding.

Still, the landlord would not acknowledge the existence of mold, nor would it share the results of its own mold tests with the Oakleys, she said.

On September 26, Oakley learned her son was officially cancer free. The next step was follow-up chemotherapy to cut the chances of a recurrence.

That same day, the boy’s doctors discovered a possible infection in his lung, delaying his follow-up chemo for weeks. The spot in his lung turned out to be severe asthma congestion. Though the cause cannot be certain, mold spores can aggravate asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the weeks after the company’s town meeting in October, the Oakleys moved into a new home off base. It is mold free.

After they left, Balfour Beatty accused the family of breaking the lease early and continued to collect $1,314 in monthly rent from the husband’s paycheck. The company also billed the Oakleys $2,400 to replace the mold-coated carpet, blaming the family for its condition.

The bill came with an offer. Oakley said if the family agreed not to sue and not to publicly discuss their experiences at Tinker housing, Balfour Beatty would waive the fee and refund one month of rent.

“It’s making us feel like we don’t have an option, like we have to sign it so we can make our mortgage payment,” Oakley said in late November, still mulling the company’s offer.

In the days after Reuters asked Balfour Beatty about the Oakleys, the Drivers and the Courtneys, the landlord stopped garnishing their monthly housing stipends.

 

 

 

 

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