JOHN KIRIAKOU: Reporting a Federal Crime

Last week I tried to provide evidence of what I believe is major international fraud. The FBI wasn’t interested. 


By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

I tried to report a crime last week.  It was a serious crime, too.  Rather, it was a whole bunch of federal crimes.  It was impossible to find anybody interested.

Let me start at the beginning.  Over the past year, I have developed first-hand knowledge of what I believe is a major international fraud.  The principal is an American citizen who is defrauding investors in a financial technology bank scam based overseas, and the investors include people in the United States and in at least three foreign countries. 

I have thousands of pages of evidence, including forged documents, surreptitious recordings of the principal admitting to his crime, and affidavits from his former employees and targets. 

So, what do you do when you have evidence of a major federal crime?  You go to the FBI and report it.  That’s exactly what I did.  At least, that’s what I tried to do.

Last week my attorney and I walked over to the FBI’s Washington Field Office and told the officer on duty that we wanted to report a federal crime.  Sorry, the agent told us.  You can’t do it like that.  You have to go to the Washington, D.C., police department and report it to them.  Once they determine that it is indeed a federal crime, they’ll refer it to us. 

That sounded awfully inefficient — but totally unsurprising — so we walked the two blocks to the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters.

When we got to MPD, we couldn’t get past the lobby.  The police officer on duty told us that we couldn’t enter without an appointment, and we couldn’t get an appointment without a referral.  We told him why we were there, and he said he would call the Detective Bureau’s Fraud Division. 

Five minutes later, the officer returned to say that we had to call 311 in order to report the crime.  “Isn’t that the number you call to report a pothole that needs to be filled?” I asked.  Yes, he nodded reluctantly.  “I understand that you’re just the messenger,” I told him.  “But you realize how ridiculous this sounds, right?”  He nodded.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I wish I could help.”

Making Some Calls

FBI Headquarters in Washington. (Sammy Six/Flickr)

I’ve been in Washington for 39 years.  I know how the city works.  But this is ridiculous.  My attorney and I regrouped.  We both know a lot of important people, so it was time to make some calls. 

Our first was to a retired former deputy director of the FBI with whom we have both worked in the past.  He said that the only way we could get an appointment with an FBI agent was to say that the crime involved terrorism.  But it didn’t.  And with my luck, that would result in a charge of “making a false statement.”  For me!  No thanks.  Another former senior FBI official told us that he would happy to present our case — for a $5,000 retainer against $1,000 an hour as a “consultation fee.”  Again, no thanks.

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We decided that if we couldn’t get any satisfaction from the U.S. government, we would go to the affected foreign government.  Before we could even mail a thumb drive with the documents, the foreign government decided to arrest the fraudster.  I’m testifying before a foreign grand jury next week.  I can’t wait to tell the story.  God knows how many other people he would have hurt if somebody hadn’t stopped him.

But the more important issue here is the appalling refusal by the FBI to act.  They wouldn’t listen to what we had to say.  They wouldn’t look at our evidence.  They expressed zero concern for victims past, present or future.  They said it was because this wasn’t a terrorism case.

I think that’s nonsense.  The FBI jumps into non-terrorism cases all the time.  They actively pursued the owner of a boat after one of her crew members whistled at a humpback whale.  Earlier this year, the FBI arrested two New York men on multiple felony charges for conspiring to catch too many fish off the coast of Long Island.  Seriously.  And who can forget when the FBI sent more than a dozen agents, all dressed in tactical SWAT-type gear, to Roger Stone’s house at 6:00 am to arrest him (in front of TV cameras) on charges of perjury and making a false statement?

Time magazine said in a 2018 cover story that “The FBI is in crisis.  It’s worse than you think.”  You bet it is.  The FBI has to stop standing behind “terrorism” as a straw man.  They have to start doing their jobs to protect all Americans, rather than whales or fish.  Distrust in government is bad enough without the FBI giving us even more reasons to not believe in them.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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32 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: Reporting a Federal Crime

  1. October 1, 2021 at 09:04

    So much abuse, so little public trust in our security apparatus, so much power vested in it, so much fear of its power by just about everyone. The names Julius Assange and John Kiriakou and what happened to them tell us so much, but are those who can even begin to reform the “deep state” around and about?

    Where is St. George? There is a dragon casting its shadow over America and beyond. Maybe it won’t bother me, so why should I care.

  2. John
    September 30, 2021 at 18:52

    Mr. Kiriakou, can you tell us in what country you reported the crime? If that required extraditing a US citizen, it would be good to know what country may have the courage and influence to do so. It wouldalso be helpful to know how much damage had occurred and was ongoing in that country, enough to get their attention, and whether the defendants had any political influence in the US.

  3. GMCasey
    September 30, 2021 at 17:09

    Maybe the FBI needs a name change. Instead of Federal Bureau of Investigations, they should change the name to
    Federal Investigative Bureau. This would change their name from FBI to FIB. That seems honest and fair.

    After all , the FBI was negligent in not investigating what happen with the young girls who were Olympic Gymnasts . Imagine what life would have been like for so many young girls if the FBI took the Nassar claims seriously. I wonder what else the FBI does not take seriously.

  4. Herb
    September 30, 2021 at 11:52

    I agree with Mr. Kiriakou that it should not be that difficult to report a federal crime. That said, he is wrong to suggest the FBI should not be focusing on environmental crimes like trying to catch too many fish. We need more focus on environmental crimes, not less

    • John
      September 30, 2021 at 18:57

      I think he was referring to the particular fish cases as small fry (usually handled by state F&WS services), not the issue of conservation in general. The case I refer to below involved theft of $120 million in conservation funds, and all offices of DOJ/FBI/HSI refused to even communicate about it during three years of persistent inquiries and voluminous fact and legal analysis.

  5. Dr. R.k. Barkhi
    September 30, 2021 at 01:15

    Is this the same FBI that hurriedly picked up every video of interest on 9/11 and refused to play them 4 us? Or maybe it’s the same group who surrounded the various sites of interest on that day n allowed no one access so the sites could be cleaned up n never properly analyzed as criminal investigations are Always done? Aren’t these the conspirators who entrap people into domestic terrorism acts, thereby acting as Terror Pimps n criminal associates?

    The FBI has been an organization of dubious merit since it’s unfortunate inception almost 100 years ago. It has unbalanced the checks n balance system here as its an executive branch department n has since gone on to assassination n now Terror Pimping. This n the CIA need to go b4 the nation has any chance of returning to a more constitutional based society.

    • robert e williamson jr
      October 1, 2021 at 13:09

      Couldn’t agree more Dr. but remember the conflicts or supposed conflicts between, for instance B Barr and R. S. Mueller. The FBI isn’t the only failure in American justice.

      Incestuous relationships between the courts, DOJ, and the FBI and CIA have overcome the pursuit of justice in far too many cases because of money and politics and it’s killing the country.

      The existence of an obvious activist SCOTUS is more proof.

      We never want fo forget that J Edgar seemed to be in the throws of CIA during his years in office.

  6. vinnieoh
    September 29, 2021 at 10:26

    To add to others’ experiences: a major ethane cracking plant (est. $5bn) was to be built near here and the local newspapers reported the names of the overseas investors; I’d never heard of them, but within 15 minutes of searching online I found that the principal investor had been prosecuted and convicted multiple times both by the US Justice Department and various other foreign governments – bribery, fraud, labor racketeering, political corruption; I assembled all of the material I had retrieved and sent it off to the local paper that first reported the story.

    I never got a response, and NOTHING was ever reported on the news relating to what I had found, but some time later that major principal investor was no longer “listed” as being associated with the project. That project is stuck in limbo for reasons other than the criminality of the foreign investors, but it goes to show that it’s not just the FBI but the whole stinking system, right down to our/your neighbors and local politicians. Go along to get along. Had the project proceeded with that investor, it is hard to say how folks here – in old rust belt America with our chronic economic malaise and persistent unemployment – would have reacted to hundreds or thousands of low-paid foreign laborers doing the work us locals were promised would materialize.

    To be clear: I do not want a huge ethane cracking plant built here, but when I went digging what I found was unexpected.

  7. Realist
    September 29, 2021 at 03:48

    Sounds like a potential novel of twisted surreal justice that Kafka did not get around to writing before he died at an early age. In this case the wheels of justice are not crushing clueless innocents but rather refusing to turn at all, according to your account. Makes me ask, just when does our government actually work as advertised?

  8. Dawn Reel
    September 29, 2021 at 03:24

    Fantastic reporting and activism. Thank you.

  9. James Simpson
    September 29, 2021 at 02:46

    You do know that the purpose of the FBI is to protect and promote the interests of the USA’s ruling class, surely? As such, it has zero interest in anything that doesn’t fall into that category. From this piece one would think the author regarded the USA as a free, workers’ democracy like Cuba.

  10. HelenB
    September 29, 2021 at 00:34

    You said that suddenly, the affected foreign country took hold of the situation. Hmm. Maybe somebody actually did something to move the case along because of you. They just didn’t tell you because it cannot be done officially.

    • Kuz
      September 30, 2021 at 00:18

      Oh, please. Do you really think that happened? When they were pushed downward and downward to a phone line for reporting any tiny issue?

  11. robert e williamson jr
    September 28, 2021 at 23:28

    Yep the FBI seems to have gotten weirder and weirder since 911. Again this may not be as a result of the new breed of FBI recruit being corrupt but the bosses there, the management seems to never get it.

    After Mueller I’m convinced the fix is in. Same as the BCCI deal where Barr played spoiler and enc9uraged his “BOY” Slick Willy not to pursue the investigation and slapped a couple of hands before whole sale pardons for the dirty bunch connected to Iran Contra.

    Remember what happened to Jeffie Epstein.

    I suspect that if as reported by ICIJ the Mueller investigation manged to force the ICIJ ti hand over all the files they had and threaten ICIJ so they would not write about said Americans far too many big fish got caught up in the mix.

    NOTE : See ~ > Paradise Papers Secrets of the Global Elite

    under Interactive ~ >

    Explore the Influencers: Donald Trump’s allies in the Paradise Papers , Nov 5, 2017. Thirteen strong, members of the Trumps administration, donors and close advisors. Fourteen in all when including Dumpy Donnie.

    Thanks CN

  12. John Zeigler
    September 28, 2021 at 22:07

    No good deed ever goes unpunished. Sounds like a major source of corruption is the FBI itself! You must remember that the building in D.C. that houses the agency is named after the man who broke many laws in pursuing people like Martin Luther King and numerous student protestors who were legally opposing the system–J. Edgar Hoover.

    • robert e williamson jr
      September 29, 2021 at 14:40

      John Z. how correct you are, especially when it come to the feds.

      By now if we so desire we can find plenty of corroboration that indicates cocaine was transported to the US by those involved in Iran contra CIA et al onto the North American continent . We know that Adnan Khashoggi was a prime mover in the Safari Club and a major customer of BCCI. All three had connections to CIA. Barr ensured B Clinton didn’t pursue the BCCI case and got pardons for those involved in Iran Contra. I can surmise only that Billy Barr was moving quickly to white wash anything that left a smudge on RWR or GHWB.

      Little can be proven so far, it’s all still classified but I’m pretty sure why Bill Barr ended up riding herd on R Mueller & Co. and it was not to ensure justice was done. Quit the contrary in fact!

      These people in DC all of them need to get something straight, they all wanted to be there it’s time for them to put up or shut up, don’t hold your breath.

  13. John
    September 28, 2021 at 18:02

    This is fascinating to read, as it is very similar to my own experience.

    I have for three years investigated a large case of political corruption in Florida, in which three associated wealthy ranching families active in politics stole $90 to $120 million in county, state, and federal conservation funds, by granting useless conservation easements to themselves on their own devastated ranch land, or buying wasteland for grossly inflated false values.

    The evidence is excellent, but prosecution would be stronger with further financial evidence of payments and favors to decision makers and politicians from the recipients. The local, state, HQ, and OIG offices of the FBI, HSI, and IRS Investigations were asked to investigate this repeatedly from 2018-2021, first with website reports, then letters, then complete packages of the RICO complaint, several Appendices of fact, and several memoranda of law. No response of any kind was received to any of these requests during the Trump admin, nor during the Biden admin when these were sent yet again.

    The FBI/DOJ regularly investigate and prosecute crime by public officials, most cases less than one percent of the size of this case, and have actually convicted about 70 officials annually in Florida alone for the past 20 years. So this does not appear to be due to resource shortages. The DOJ Public Integrity Section PID has about 30 attorneys.

    Maybe I should also allege that the thieves were also harassing whales and conspiring to catch too many fish off Long Island.

    But it appears to me that the FBI does not prosecute Republican “donors” or politicians as the defendants in my case turned out to be, and they may prosecute only at the request of political insiders.

  14. David Otness
    September 28, 2021 at 17:30

    Utterly gobsmacking. But you know what? It fits the picture I’ve developed from afar of our nation’s capitol from all of the reading from many trusted sources such as yourself, John. For well over a decade now at that.
    Coupled with the constant, self-dealing and trite antics of Congressional and Executive Branch kabuki players, they who preen and parade for the network soundbites in the name of the Duopoly they feign to loathe, while actually merely furthering their firm relationship with their constit… er, lobbyists.
    Your latest experience is again overwhelming evidence of a rotting empire in publicly paralyzed stasis, is one that scars the eyes, one that cannot be unseen. But as it is indeed this, it remains as well the never-sleep think tank policy farm whose worms are ever-burrowing underground with their next plots of violent intrigue ready for the next backwater country where we didn’t even know we had a military base therein situated. Is it Guinea this week?
    The actual number one game in D.C. played:
    Congress and the Administration pull together to add $ billions in appropriation money to the Pentagon, CIA, and Israel; barely —‘by the skin of their teeth’—averting another world-ending crisis in the nick of time. Spin. Wash. Spin. Rinse. Spin. Dry. Spin. Spin. Spin.
    The show must go on… but its end reigns nigh. There remain inviolable laws of the Universe, the fate of overstretched military empires are most assuredly included near the head of the list.

    • John Kelly
      September 29, 2021 at 10:04

      Excellent comment.

    • Kuz
      September 30, 2021 at 00:21

      And they and their aides make sure they set the stage for enriching themselves after leaving public office, at the expense of the public.

  15. Anonymot
    September 28, 2021 at 17:03

    After GHW Bush became President, the war between the CIA & FBI heated up seriously. During the George Bush and Obama presidencies the FBI was pounded to a pulp, in part because they had pretensions of dealing with foreign affairs matters, such as the fiasco in Libya and embarrassed everyone. I doubt that they handle anything now except simple, domestic criminal matters such as where is someone like the disappearing killer Lantrie (Sp) or mass shootings in shopping centers, etc.

    Perhaps you should have gone to the CIA that runs our governments since you had an international matter. Was there a reason that you didn’t?


    • robert e williamson jr
      September 29, 2021 at 20:22

      I assume that your question is rhetorical ? Otherwise it seems odd you left out the part about 911 and GHWB meeting with the Saudi’s. FBI was pounded all right! That convenient wall if separation thing was their excuse I think. Not to mention 20 years of petty useless death and destruction that came as a result his son’s reckless jump to war, with CIA lying about the threat and congress’ aided that failure by rubber stamping his rush to war.

      GWHB’s failure was worse in his leadership failed us also by not doing what was best for the country. The congress aided in the failure by failing to hold him and Reagan responsible for those under their direct control. Shameful. Dog Damned shameful in fact.

      It was about money, attempting to save face and deceit. It didn’t work seems to me, very shameful indeed

      John has already experienced American justice or the lack there of. I’m sure we may disagree so be it, but John makes his point here.

      Best get ready for some rough treatment from f0reign nations for misrepresenting the facts because they already know CIA can’t be trusted.

      I always wondered where Richard Helms’ hand picked DEA was during all that drug smuggling. I guess the were way to busy trying to stay out of the way? Bureaucratic resistance is alive and thriving in D.C. these days and has been for way too long!

      Thanks CN

  16. C. Parker
    September 28, 2021 at 16:30

    Never fear, the American people will once again be brainwashed watching not one—but, three new CBS shows this fall bestowing patriotic glory upon the FBI, “capturing the gritty realities of fighting crime” a promo to the shows promise its viewers. Propaganda is not only used in our corporate news outlets, but, it seems most effective when used in entertainment industry through tv and film.

    • TP
      October 1, 2021 at 09:06

      > it seems most effective when used in entertainment industry through tv and film.

      And don’t forget the (largely monopolistic by now) publishing industry, with its countless crime/detective/terrorism thrillers that present a glorified image of the FBI — which has in reality been to a large extent a corrupt tool of political oppression since it was founded, especially under Mafia tools such as Hoover.

  17. Eric Kocay
    September 28, 2021 at 16:19

    Old law enforcement saying——
    Big case, big problems
    Small case , small problem

  18. evelync
    September 28, 2021 at 16:18

    RE: “The principal is an American citizen who is defrauding investors in a financial technology bank scam based overseas, and the investors include people in the United States and in at least three foreign countries.”

    Thanks for sharing this bizarro experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation which is not prepared to investigate crimes like this reported by a responsible citizen. I would imagine that Colleen Rowley would have a thing or two to share with us on how things are continuing to deteriorate given her troubling experiences.

    It seems to me that the people in power have other things on their minds than listening to their citizens about criminal financial wrongdoing; when the presidents of two Federal Reserve Banks are forced to resign yesterday when they’re exposed for illegally trading in $millions of highly leveraged futures – Dallas and Boston Feds – we know that the crooks are running things.
    and the regulators are MIA. The Federal Reserve Bank presidents are privy to information that they are not allowed to trade on.
    It’s key to the regs put in place after the Great Depression but nobody was watching as the regs require:

    hxxps://wallstreetonparade DOT com/2021/09/robert-kaplan-was-trading-like-a-hedge-fund-kingpin-for-five-years-while-president-of-the-boston-fed-a-dozen-legal-safeguards-failed-to-stop-him/

    The institutions in DC seem to be all about moving up the ladder – kissing ass to do it – right and wrong have fallen by the wayside.

    When the Dept. of Homeland Security was pushed by Joe, nick-named “muskrat face” per one unkind but observant blogger, Lieberman and Michael Chertoff I knew something not good was up. It seems to be a nasty, bullying institution that’s structured to threaten vulnerable people, like immigrants instead of protecting vulnerable people – and probably hands out profitable contracts to crony incompetents.

    Dick Cheney said pre-inauguration – now it’s our turn to get ours.
    Obama showed his concerns for people who are struggling thanks to our unfair trade deals and predatory banking with extravagant inauguration balls instead of telling the country he was getting right down to work to fulfill his promises of shutting down GITMO and delivering the HOPE he promised. Instead he pushed Obamacare but removed the option to take Medicare instead of for profit healthcare.

    Whistleblowers are punished.
    Ambitious bureaucrats who witness wrongdoing on their turf, but who suck up to the wrongdoers are moved up the ladder.

    We keep hearing that story.

    Thanks for your courage.
    I hope that whistleblowers like yourself are joined by more and more worried people to inform the public of the wrongdoing going on behind our backs to serve the profiteers instead of the country before the inevitable endgame of climate disruption, nuclear war, financial bankruptcy, etc etc befall this country and the world we live in.

  19. Jim Nelson
    September 28, 2021 at 16:03

    I have a better idea. Scrap the FBI and start over from scratch.

  20. Mike Maddden
    September 28, 2021 at 15:44

    Hmmm. I wonder if Michael Sussman ran into the same obstacles when he went to the FBI to tell all about a nefarious computer server.

    • Daniel
      September 30, 2021 at 11:23

      Excellent point. I’m sure he was welcomed with open arms.

  21. denny
    September 28, 2021 at 15:38

    OK……Well then how The HECK was the Hillary Clinton Campaign Attorney able to waltz into the FBI, and report a COMPLETELY Made up and FALSE crime..???
    How were THEY able to do THAT..???
    And not only at the FBI……………….Sussman told the Same Pack Of LIES to the CIA..!!!
    They welcomed him with open arms..!!!

    It would seem that Hillary Clinton gets preferential treatment that is MUCH Superior to the way Kiriakou is handled.
    Huh……who would have thought.

    • evelync
      September 29, 2021 at 09:53

      RE: “Well then how The HECK was the Hillary Clinton Campaign Attorney able to waltz into the FBI, and report a COMPLETELY Made up and FALSE crime..???
      How were THEY able to do THAT..???”

      It seems that the corruption permeating DC institutions and politicians stays afloat by politicizing everything that impacts the general welfare. It’s all Kabuki theater to distract us, the deplorables. At the top of powerful institutions – law enforcement, intelligence, lawmaking, regulatory, immigration, military, banking, and the rest – the job has turned to lying to the public to keep us at bay.

      That’s the game. They’re on autopilot in the MICIMATT.

      The truth gets in the way. Courageous whistleblowers are marginalized, discredited and worse.

      It’s us that people like Hillary Clinton hate and distrust. That’s why when she campaigns she has that robotic stare as she processes her words through a filter that hides what’s really important to her – her connection to powerful antidemocratic for profit players who fund her. She disrespects us. And her political allies in the The FBI , apparently, will help politicize the air to hang onto power, influence and privilege.

      The whistleblowers who to try protect the public interest are the enemy.

  22. PEG
    September 28, 2021 at 14:27

    Interesting story – incredible that our crime fighters don’t want to hear about – or investigate – new crimes.

    Reminds me of the experience of the financial sleuth Harry Markopolos, who presented the Securities and Exchange Commission detailed evidence – multiple times – that Bernie Madoff was engaging in fraud – which the SEC never bothered to deal with or follow up on. That is, until the Madoff funds finally cratered.

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