|‘A No-Fail Mission’: Army Special Operator Recounts ISIS-Hostage Rescue for Which He Will Receive Medal of Honor|
–Stars And Stripes
President Trump will present the Medal of Honor today to Sergeant Major Thomas Payne, who braved machine gun fire on October 22, 2015, to save ISIS-held prisoners from a burning jail in northern Iraq. “Payne will receive the Medal of Honor on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the primary event that convinced him to join the military, as thousands of other Americans did,” Corey Dickstein reports.
🎬 WATCH LIVE AT 3 p.m. ET: President Trump presents Medal of Honor
Remembering Flight 93 and Heroes of 9/11
This morning, President Trump and the First Lady visited the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pa., where 40 brave passengers and crew sacrificed their lives to protect fellow Americans. “This Patriot Day, I encourage all Americans to honor the memories of the nearly 3,000 precious lives we lost on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as every hero who has given his or her life since that day,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt writes.
🎬 President Trump: We are forever in debt to these Americans
Threats Have Evolved Since Sept. 11, but DHS Stands Ready to Protect the Nation
“The American creed is precious and precarious, only as secure as the state of our homeland. The terrorists of Sept. 11 targeted America, believing our freedom made us vulnerable. They were wrong. The commitment of our people to liberty and self-governance was not shaken in the face of terrorism, it was redoubled,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf writes.
Trump Says US ‘Will Always Fight Back’ During 9/11 Ceremony in Shanksville, Pa.
–New York Post
“The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back,” President Trump said today. En route to Pennsylvania, the President led a moment of silence aboard Air Force One at 8:46 a.m. ET—the moment when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, Steven Nelson reports.
🎬 WATCH: Vice President Pence visits 9/11 Memorial in New York
Recovered COVID-19 Patient Thrilled To Give Back By Donating Plasma
“Employees at the Red Cross said [donating plasma] is a simple way for people who recover from COVID-19 to turn around and help someone else. The plasma donations could save someone’s life whose body is struggling to fight COVID-19 . . . The machine works while the patient sits back and relaxes,” Sawyer Buccy reports.
Learn more: How to donate plasma if you’ve recovered from COVID-19
The White House ·
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW ·
Washington, DC 20500 · USA ·
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 6th, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a sixteen-count indictment against a former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and a former subordinate for their alleged theft of proprietary software and confidential databases from the United States government as part of a scheme to defraud the United States government.
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Inspector General Tammy L. Whitcomb for the United States Postal Service made the announcement.
The indictment charges Charles K. Edwards, 59, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, and Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, of Aldie, Virginia, with conspiracy to commit theft of government property and to defraud the United States, theft of government property, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment also charges Venkata with the destruction of records. The indictment, which was returned on Thursday, March 5, 2020, was unsealed this morning after Edwards and Venkata were taken into custody under the charges. Both defendants will be presented for an initial appearance at 1:45 p.m. today before United States Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather.
According to the allegations in the indictment, from October 2014 to April 2017, Edwards, Venkata, and others executed a scheme to defraud the United States government by stealing confidential and proprietary software from the Office of the Inspector General of DHS (DHS-OIG), along with sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information (“PII”), so that Edwards’s company, Delta Business Solutions, could later sell an enhanced version of DHS-OIG’s software to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA-OIG”) at a profit. Although Edwards had left DHS-OIG in December 2013, he continued to leverage his relationship with Venkata and other DHS-OIG employees to steal the software and the sensitive government databases.
The indictment further alleges that, in addition to stealing DHS-OIG’s software and the sensitive government databases, Venkata and others also assisted Edwards by reconfiguring his laptop so that he could properly upload the stolen software and databases, provided troubleshooting support whenever Edwards required it, and helped him build a testing server at his residence with the stolen software and databases, which contained PII. As further part of the alleged scheme, Edwards retained software developers in India for the purpose of developing his commercial alternative of DHS-OIG’s software. In so doing, Edwards not only shared DHS-OIG’s proprietary software with foreign nationals but also the PII of U.S. federal employees and individuals implicated (either as victims, subjects, or witnesses) in official investigations conducted by DHS-OIG as well as the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS-OIG”).
The indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by DHS-OIG and USPS-OIG and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David B. Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Victor R. Salgado of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
The defendants face maximum terms of imprisonment of 5 years on the conspiracy to commit theft of government property charge; 10 years on the theft of government property charge; and 20 years on the wire fraud charges. The defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years of imprisonment on the aggravated identity theft charges. Venkata faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on the destruction of records charge. Both defendants face fines on each count of conviction of up to $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss arising from the scheme alleged in the indictment.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Component(s): USAO – District of Columbia
Press Release Number: 20-044
Updated March 6, 2020