From September 2013 to April 2015, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Branden Baker stole nearly $100,000 in night vision equipment from Marine One, the helicopter used to ferry then-President Barack Obama to and from the White House, reported The Daily Beast. He then tried to sell everything on eBay and got caught.
Baker pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced on Aug. 11, according to a Department of Justice spokesperson. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Over those 18 months, Baker stole “at least fifty-one image intensifier tubes and other night vision parts worth approximately $94,392 from a department and agency of the United States, specifically from Marine Helicopter Squadron-One (HMX-l), a part of the Department of the Navy,” a statement of facts in Baker’s plea agreement reads.
Records provided to Military.com say Baker first joined the Marines in 2002 and deployed three times, once to Iraq in 2008 and to Afghanistan twice in 2009 and 2010, during his service.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Baker first began training as Naval air technician in 2003 and has a technical background and experience in electronics repair, which may explain why he had access to Marine One. The president’s helicopter was kept on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the same place where Baker serviced MV-22 Ospreys during his career in the Marine Corps.
Public records also indicate that Baker may have been reselling military equipment since 2014 as part of an under-the-table business he called “Covert Customs.” At this point, it’s unclear how much money Baker made selling the stolen equipment, though The Daily Beast suggests intensifier tubes can fetch thousands of dollars a piece.
Maybe he should have held onto some of that night vision gear. I hear prison is a pretty dark place.
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Rebekah "Moani" Daniel and her husband Walter Daniel. (Walter Daniel/Luvera Law Firm)
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.