Alleged Patterns of Gross Federal Law Enforcement Misconduct

The reader may recall some time back that the Bundy family, led by its patriarch Cliven Bundy, engaged in intense standoffs with several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.  I do not wish to dissect all of the nuances and details of these incidents or the events leading up to them, as they are not necessarily directly germane to what follows.

But what does follow are excerpts from a formal memorandum authored by one of the case’s lead investigators, US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Special Agent Larry Wooten, to the Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew Goldsmith, alleging gross misconduct on the part of BLM investigators, supervisors, and the prosecuting US Attorney’s Office.

I leave it to the reader to decide if the federal government behaves like an organized criminal enterprise or not.

(All emphases added unless otherwise noted.)

Subject: Disclosure and Complaint Narrative in Regard to Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Supervisory Misconduct and Associated Cover-ups as well as Potential Unethical Actions, Malfeasance and Misfeasance by United States Attorney’s Office Prosecutors from the District of Nevada, (Las Vegas) in Reference to the Cliven Bundy Investigation.

I routinely observed, and the investigation revealed a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical, and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff at the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.

Often, I realized that my supervisor was already aware of the issues, participated in, or instigated the misconduct himself, was present when the issues were reported to both of us, or was the reporting party himself. When I reported these issues, my supervisor seemed generally unsurprised and uninterested and was dismissive, and seemed unconcerned.

Sometimes, I felt like he (the BLM Assistant Special Agent In Charge) wanted to steer the investigation away from misconduct discovery by refusing to get case assistance, dismissing my concerns and participating in the misconduct himself.  In February 2017, it became clear to me that keeping quiet became an unofficial condition of my future employment with BLM, future awards, and a good future job reference.

The longer the investigation went on, the more extremely unprofessional, familiar, racy, vulgar and bias filled actions, open comments, and inappropriate electronic communications I was made aware of, or I personally witnessed.

The ridiculousness of the conduct, unprofessional amateurish carnival atmosphere, openly made statements, and electronic communications tended to mitigate the defendant’s culpability and cast a shadow of doubt of inexcusable bias, unprofessionalism and embarrassment on our agency.

The misconduct caused considerable disruption in our workplace, was discriminatory, harassing and showed clear prejudice against the defendants, their supporters and Mormons. Often times this misconduct centered on being sexually inappropriate, profanity, appearance/body shaming and likely violated privacy and civil rights.

At any given time, you could hear subjects of this investigation openly referred to as “ret*rds,” “r*d-necks,” Overweight woman with big jowls,” “d*uche bags,” “tractor-face,” “idiots,” “In-br*d,” [sic] etc., etc., etc.

…senior investigators and law enforcement supervisors (some are potential witnesses and investigative team members) specifically made fun of suspects and referenced “Cliven Bundy felony… just kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?,” di1dos [sic], western themed g@y bars [sic], odors of sweat, playing chess with menstru*ting women [sic], Cliven Bundy sh1tting [sic] on cold stainless steel, personal lubricant and Ryan Bundy holding a giant pen1s [sic] (on April 12, 2014).

Extremely bias and degrading fliers were also openly displayed and passed around the office, a booking photo of Cliven Bundy was (and is) inappropriately, openly, prominently and proudly displayed in the office of a potential trial witness and my supervisor and an altered and degrading suspect photos were put in an office presentation by my supervisor. 

…the investigation also indicated that former BLM SAC Dan Love sent photographs of his own feces and his girl-friend’s vag1na [sic] to coworkers and subordinates.

…our own law enforcement officers allegedly bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground, and Dave Bundy having little bits of gravel stuck in his face (from April 6, 2014).  On two occasions, I also overheard a BLM SAC tell a BLM ASAC that another/other BLM employee(s) and potential trial witness didn’t properly turn in the required discovery material (likely exculpatory evidence).  My supervisor even instigated the monitoring of jail calls between defendants and their wives, without prosecutor or FBI consent, for the apparent purpose of making fun of post arrest telephone calls between Idaho defendants/FBI targets (not subjects of BLM’s investigation).  …  I even had a BLM ASAC tell me that he tried to report the misconduct, but no one listened to him.

The BLM OLES (Office of Law Enforcement and Security) Chief of the Office of Professional Responsibility/Internal Affairs indicated to me the former BLM OLES Director protected former BLM SAC Love and shut the Office of Professional Responsibility out when misconduct allegations were reported about Love.

Another former BLM ASAC indicated to me that BLM SAC Love was a liability to our agency and the Cliven Bundy Case.  I was even told of threats of physical harm that this former BLM SAC made to his subordinate employee and his family.

Also, more and more it was becoming apparent that the numerous statements made by potential trial witnesses and victims (even by good officers under duress), could potentially cast an unfavorable light on the BLM. (See ·openly available video/audio footage titled “The Bundy Trial 2017 Leaked Fed Body Cam Evidence,” or a video posted on You Tube titled “Leaked Body Cams from the Bundy Ranch!” published by Gavin Seim.) Some of these statements included the following: “Jack-up Hage” (Wayne Hage Jr.), “Are you fucXXXX [sic] people stupid or what,” ”Fat dude, right behind the tree has along gun),” ”MothetFuXXXX [sic], you come find me and you’re gonna have hell to pay,” “FatAsX [sic] slid down,” “Pretty much a shoot first, ask questions later,” “No gun there. He’s just holding his back standing like a sissy,” “She must not be married,” “Shoot his fucXXXX [sic] dog first,” “We gotta have fucXXXX [sic] fire discipline, and “I’m recording by the way guys, so … ” Additional Note: In this timeframe, a key witness deactivated his body camera.

BLM Law Enforcement Supervisors also openly talked about and gossiped about private employee personnel matters such as medical conditions (to include mental illness), work performance, marriage issues, religion, punishments, internal investigations and derogatory opinions of higher level BLM supervisors.  Some of these open comments centered on Blow J0bs [sic], Ma$terbation [sic] in the office closet, Addiction to P0rn [sic], a Disgusting Butt Crack, a “Weak Sister,” high self-opinions, crying and scared women, “Leather Face,” “Mormons (little Mormon Girl),” “he has mental problems and that he had some sort of mental breakdown,” “PTSD,” etc., etc., etc.

Additionally, it should be noted that there was a “religious test” of sorts.  On two occasions, I was asked “You’re not a Mormon are you” and I was told “I bet you think I am going to hell, don’t you?”

The investigation also indicated that on multiple occasions, former BLM SAC Love specifically and purposefully ignored US Attorney’s Office and BLM civilian management direction and intent as well as Nevada State Official recommendations in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.  Additionally, this investigation indicated excessive use of force, civil rights and policy violations.  The investigation indicated that there was little doubt there was an improper cover-up in virtually every matter that a particular BLM SAC participated in, or oversaw and that the BLM SAC was immune from discipline and the consequences of his actions. 

As the investigation went on, it became clear to me that my supervisor wasn’t keeping the US Attorney’s Office up to date on substantive and exculpatory case findings and unacceptable bias indications.

As the case continued, it became clear to me that once again, my supervisor failed to inform the US Attorney’s Office Prosecution Team about exculpatory key witness statements.  Note: During this investigation, my supervisor would also deceptively indicate to the Prosecution Team that no one else was in the room when he was on speakerphone.  Thereby, allowing potential trial witnesses and his friends to inappropriately hear the contents of the discussion. 

My supervisor even took photographs of the secure command post area of the Las Vegas FBI Headquarters and even after he was told that no photographs were allowed, he recklessly emailed out photographs of the “Arrest Tracking Wall” in which Eric Parker and Cliven Bundy had “X’s” through their face and body (indicating prejudice and bias).

…prior to Dave Bundy’s arrest, the BLM SAC and others were told not to make any arrests.  When I asked Mr. Myhre (Acting US Attorney) if the former BLM SAC’s statements like “Go out there and kick Cliven Bundy in the mouth (or teeth) and take his cattle” and “I need you to get the troops fired up to go get those cows and not take any crap from anyone” would be exculpatory or if we would have to inform he defense counsel, he said something like “we do now,” or “it is now.”

On February 18, 2017, I was removed from my position as the Case Agent/Lead Investigator for the Cliven Bundy/Gold Butte Nevada Case by my supervisor despite my recent documented and awarded hard work and excellent and often praised performance.  Additionally, a BLM ASAC (my supervisor, but also my co-case agent) violated my privacy and conducted a search of my individually occupied secured office and secured safe within that office.

Note: The personal items that I was directed to turn in and the items seized from my office an safe wasn’t for discovery, because I was transferring to another agency, because I was the subject of an investigation, or because my supervisor simply needed to reference a file.  These items were taken because they contained significant evidence of misconduct and items that would potentially embarrass the BLM Law Enforcement Supervision.

I believe this information would likely be considered substantive exculpatory/Jencks material in reference to the Cliven Bundy Nevada Series of Trials and would be greatly discrediting and embarrassing, as well as possibly indicate liability on the BLM and BLM SAC.

I am convinced that I was removed to prevent the ethical and proper further disclosure of the sever misconduct, failure to correct and report, and cover-ups by the BLM OLES supervision.  My supervisor told me that AUSA Steven Myhre “furiously demanded” that I be removed from the case and mentioned something about us (the BLM, specifically my supervisor) not turning over (or disclosing) discovery related material (which is true), issues I had with the BLM not following its own enabling statute (which is true, I can elaborate on that later), and a personal issue they thought I had with former BLM SAC Dan Love. 

I was told by BLM Law Enforcement Supervisors that he (Dan Love) had a “Kill Book” as a trophy and in essence bragged about getting three individuals in Utah to commit suicide (see Operation Cerberus Action out of Blanding, Utah and the death of Der. Redd), the “Failure Rock,” Directing Subordinates to Erase Official Government Files in order to impede the efforts of rival civilian BLM employees in preparation for the “Burning Man” Special Event, unlawfully removing evidence, bragging about the number of OIG (Office of the Inspector General) and internal investigations on him and indicating that he is untouchable, encouraging subordinates not to cooperate with internal and OIG investigations, his harassment of a female Native American subordinate employee where Mr. Love allegedly had a doll that he referred to by the employee’s name and called her his drunk little Indian, etc., etc., etc.

…I became convinced that the previous BLM OLES Director Salvatore Lauro not only allowed former BLM SAC Dan Love complete autonomy and discretion, but also likely provided no oversight and even contributed to an atmosphere of cover-ups, harassment and retaliation for anyone that questioned or reported former BLM SAC Dan Love’s misconduct.

…I also became convinced (based on my supervisor and Mr. Myhre’s statements) that although the US Attorney’s Office was generally aware of former BLM SAC Dan Love’s misconduct and likely civil rights and excessive force issues, the lead prosecutor (currently the Acting Nevada United States Attorney) Steve Myhre adopted an attitude of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” in reference to BLM Law Enforcement Supervisory Misconduct that was of a substantive, exculpatory and incredible biased nature.

Furthermore, when I did report the misconduct, ethical, professional, and legal issues, I also became a victim of whistleblower retaliation. 

When we became aware that Dave Bundy’s seized iPad likely contained remarks from BLM Law Enforcement Officers that is potentially evidence of civil rights violations and excessive use of force, Mr. Myhre and my supervisor not only apparently failed to initiate the appropriate follow-on actions, Mr. Myhre apparently failed to notify the Defense Council and also decided not to return the iPad back to Dave Bundy, even though the iPad wasn’t going to be searched pursuant to a search warrant or used as evidence in trial and Dave Bundy claimed he needed the iPad for his business.

Also, the government relied on factually incorrect talking points and on (or about) February 15, 2017, misrepresented the case facts about government snipers during trial (it is unknown if this misrepresentation was on purpose or accidental).

…my personal experience and investigation indicated that not only did my management fail to correct and report the misconduct, they made every effort to cover it up, dismiss the concerns, discourage its reporting and retaliate against the reporting party.

Note: Mr. Myhre previously referred to the defendants as a cult and Mr. Schiess said let’s get these “shall we say Deplorables.” I was also asked “You’re not a Mormon are you,” …

…I can easily show that both my supervision and possibly Mr. Myhre entered into an unethical agreement to remove me from being the lead investigator and case agent of the BLM/DOI due to my objection to, and disclosure of outrageous misconduct, the belief that my testimony under oath would embarrass supervisory law enforcement officials in our agency and negatively affect the prosecution, my insistence that my supervisor stop his individual misconduct, correct the misconduct of other employees and report the misconduct as appropriate (for counseling, correction, discipline and the possible required internal investigations) and my belief that my agency is violating the letter and intent of the law.

Prior to the last few weeks of the investigation, I held Mr. Myhre in the highest of regards.  He is an extremely hard worker and very intelligent.  However, I feel that his judgement is likely clouded by extreme personal and religious bias and a desire to win the case at all costs.  I feel he is likely willing to ignore and fail to report exculpatory material, extreme bias and act unethically and possibly deceptively to win.

All in all, it is my assessment and the investigation showed that the 2014 Gold Butte Trespass Cattle Impound was in part a punitive and ego driven expedition by a Senior BLM Law Enforcement Supervisor (former BLM SAC Dan Love) that was only in part focused on the intent of the associated Federal Court Orders and the mission of our agency.

My investigation also indicated that the involved officers and protestors were themselves pawns in what was almost a great American tragedy on April 12, 2014, in which law enforcement officers (Federal, State, and Local), protestors, and the motoring public were caught in the danger area.

Ultimately, I believe I was removed from my position as Case Agent/Lead Investigator for the Cliven Bundy/Gold Butte, Nevada Investigation because my management and possibly the prosecution team believed I would properly disclose my management and possibly the prosecution team believed I would properly disclose these embarrassing and substantive issues on the stand and under oath (if I was asked), because my supervision believed I had contacted others about this misconduct (Congress, possibly the defense and press) and possibly audio recorded them, because I had uncovered, reported, and objected to suspected violations of law, ethics directives, policy, and the code of conduct, because I was critical of the misconduct of a particular BLM SAC.  This is despite having already testified in Federal Grand Jury and being on the trial witness list.

I was also personally subjected to Whistleblowing Discouragement, Retaliation, and Intimidation.  Threatening and questionable behaviors included the following: Invasion of Privacy, Search and Seizure, Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, Blacklisting, Religious “tests,” and Rude and Condescending Language [sic].  Simply put, I believe I was expected to keep quiet as a condition of my continued employment, any future promotions, future awards, or a favorable recommendation to another employer.

During the course of the investigation, I determined that any disagreement with the BLM SAC, or any reporting of his many likely embarrassing, unethical/unprofessional actions and misconduct was thought to be career destroying.  Time and time again, I came to believe that the BLM SAC’s subordinates and peers were afraid to correct him or properly report his misconduct (despite a duty to act) out of fear of their own jobs and reputation. 

Unfortunately, I also believe that the US Attorney’s Office Prosecution Team may have adopted an inappropriate under the table/unofficial policy of “preferred ignorance” in regard to the likely gross misconduct on the part of senior management from the BLM Office of Law Enforcement and Security and Discovery/Exculpatory related trial issues.

Additionally, actions, comments, and questions by the US Attorney’s Office Lead Prosecutor, the strategy to deny the Dave Bundy iPad evidence from coming to light, the direction by a BLM ASAC for me not to speak with any member of the Prosecution team, and factually deceptive/incorrect talking points (snipers, Bundy property, Bundy cattle overall health, etc.), indicated to me the Prosecution Team wanted to possibly and purposefully remain ignorant of some of the case facts and possibly use unethical legal tricks to prevent the appropriate release of substantive/exculpatory and bias/impeachment material.

Ultimately, in addition to discovering crimes likely committed by those targeted in the investigation, I found that likely a BLM Special Agent-in-Charge recklessly and against advisement from the US Attorney’s Office and apparent direction from the BLM Deputy Director set in motion a chain of events that nearly resulted in an American tragedy and mass loss of life.  Additionally, I determined that reckless and unprofessional conduct within BLM Law Enforcement supervisory staff was apparently widespread, widely known and even likely “covered up.”  I also found that in virtually every case, BLM senior law enforcement management knew of the suspected issues with this BLM SAC, but were either too afraid of retaliation, or lacked the character to report and/or correct the suspected issues.

Please also note the potential Constitutional issues regarding “religious tests,” search and seizure, and speech/assembly protections.

Little wonder at all that the government is experiencing difficulties convicting Cliven Bundy, what with reasonable doubt now on the table due to bias and misconduct of the investigating federal agents involved in this mess.  Some of this misconduct goes beyond just specifically the Bundy case, and falls into the category of general unprofessional and unethical behavior not in keeping with the public trust.  For shame…  Reports indicate Dan Love was subsequently fired from the BLM, following publication of a recent internal investigative report.

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