Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against UC Davis Following Veteran Suicide


By Debbie Gregory.

It was supposed to be a two-day retreat to Monterey, a chance for a small group of employees in UC Davis’ agriculture college to bond. Instead, it ended tragically for a decorated Air Force veteran.

Now a lawsuit filed on behalf of the widow and two children of Col. Christopher de los Santos alleges that the university’s actions against Santos, less than four months after he began working at the school, caused him to end his life.

Santos was the focus of an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate behavior during an alcohol-filled retreat with 16 of his co-workers. He supposedly stripped naked and invited subordinates to take a bath with him. The day after the investigation was launched, campus officials sent Santos an email placing him on leave, and ordered him to stay away from campus.

Santos took his own life a few hours after receiving that email.

According to the lawsuit, De Los Santos was subjected to exceptionally harsh punishment because he was a veteran, violating federal and state discrimination laws.

“They were concerned that he would show up with a gun and that he would have to be escorted off campus by security, and he said they made it clear that that was because he had a military background,” said Santos’ family attorney, Annabelle Roberts. “For them to have a knee-jerk reaction because in administrator in the Air Force might somehow be violent because he’s been in the military, I mean that’s blatant discrimination.”

Campus officials released a statement that read in part: “After the university received allegations of potential sexual harassment during an overnight staff retreat, he [Santos] was promptly placed on paid administrative leave so a thorough investigation could occur.”

The statement went on to say that the other employees who attended the retreat and also engaged in improper conduct received appropriate disciplinary action.

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Air Force Veteran Convicted of Terrorism Sentenced to 35 Years


By Debbie Gregory.

Tairod Pugh, a U.S Air Force veteran found guilty of terrorism for trying to join ISIS two years ago, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The 49-year-old Pugh, a convert to Islam, was convicted of trying to join the Islamic State (ISIS) and die a martyr.

Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde said, “The defendant turned his back on his country, and the military he once served, to attempt to join a brutally violent terrorist organization committed to the slaughter of innocent people throughout the world.,”

Several days before his arrest on January 16, 2015, Pugh had flown from Egypt to Turkey, after spending about a year working in the Middle East. Turkey is a common entry point for would-be jihadists entering Syria.

The FBI had been closely monitoring Pugh, and Turkish authorities detained him as soon as he landed in Istanbul. He was immediately deported and sent to JFK International Airport in New York, where he was arrested.

At Pugh’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence showing that his laptop contained ISIS propaganda and execution videos. The prosecution also demonstrated that Pugh had voiced his support for ISIS to coworkers and on Facebook, encouraging his followers to “support [ISIS] with your bodies.”

Additional evidence included the draft of a letter from Pugh to his wife which read:

I am a Mujahid. I am a sword against the oppressor and a shield for the oppressed. I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic State. There is only 2 possible outcomes for me [sic]. Victory or Martyr.

Pugh served in the Air Force from 1986 to 1990 and was trained in installing and maintaining aircraft engines and navigation and weapons systems.

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AF Vet Charged With Leaking Classified Material on Russian Election Hacking

reality winner

By Debbie Gregory.

A 25-year-old Air Force veteran and federal contractor has been accused of leaking classified information regarding a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack to an online news outlet.

Reality Leigh Winner was arrested on June 3 and charged with leaking classified material to a digital news outlet, the Department of Justice announced yesterday. She is now being held at a facility in Lincolnton, GA, her attorney said

Arrested at her home in Augusta, GA, Winner allegedly “printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it.”

Winner enlisted in the Air Force in 2013, serving as an airman first class with the 94th Intelligence Squadron at Fort Meade, Maryland, until earlier this year when she separated. She maintained a top secret clearance after separating from the military.

Winner allegedly mailed the classified documents to online news outlet The Intercept. The documents, characterized the documents as “the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light,” alleged that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, hacked “at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election.”

Winner admitted to printing out the classified information, leaving her office with it, and intentionally mailing it to The Intercept, despite knowing the consequences, according to the arrest warrant.

“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”

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