Dead Drop: August 12

JUNIOR G MAN: Last week’s Dead Drop had an item about a 26-year-old California man who was arrested for scamming women by pretending to be a CIA officer. This week, we have a story about a 24-year-old congressional staffer, Sterling Devion Carter, who liked to play being an FBI agent. According to The Daily Beast, Carter owned a vehicle he modified to look like a cop car, adding a siren and flashing lights, and openly carried a firearm in the District of Columbia. His story goes back to late 2020, but is just coming to light now.  Real law enforcement types spotted Carter wearing a black T-shirt that read “federal agent.” He was wearing a policy duty belt, with a Glock pistol, extra ammo, handcuffs, a radio and an earpiece. When they approached him, he took off.  Later, when DC police and Secret Service agents approached him again, he identified himself as FBI but failed to show credentials and sped off again. Using some clever detective work involving the logo on his t-shirt and a guess as to who might have made his fake license plate (apparently, an online company), they were able to ID Carter. He was eventually arrested and initially he got off without prison time, but then his (real) office on Capitol Hill discovered that he had given himself an $80,000 raise while working for them by forging some documents – so he has now been sentenced to nine months in jail and is expected to turn himself in soon (assuming he doesn’t forge a pardon or run off in another police cruiser).

AGENT OF BAD INFLUENCE: Something was brought to our attention the other day buried in a story we might normally not focus on.  Major media reported that a former governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, was arrested on charges of taking bribes while running for office in 2020.  Corruption in politics?  We’re shocked.  However, not normally in our wheelhouse. But the story included the nugget that the alleged bribes from a local bank were delivered by former FBI agent Mark Rossini. Rossini, who was detailed to the CIA prior to 9/11, gained some fame later by alleging that Agency officials intentionally hid information from the FBI that might have prevented the 9/11 attack. The former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow wrote in The Cipher Brief in 2017, that “there is no evidence to support this serious allegation.” Rossini had also gained some notoriety for being arrested and drummed out of the FBI for passing sensitive information to his Hollywood girlfriend about her former boyfriend who was in prison.  The New York Times said that Rossini was in Spain and “efforts would be made” to extradite him. Rossini says he’s not guilty and reportedly returned to San Juan, Puerto Rico to turn himself in on Tuesday.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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