Criminal Mind, The

Man Claims to Be Four Kinds of Federal Agent During Single Traffic Stop

Old and new CIA logos (old version still used only in Ohio)

According to the Daily Beast and this affidavit, an Ohio man claimed to work for four federal agencies after being pulled over on May 8.

You will be surprised to learn he apparently did not work for any of them.

On that Saturday evening, an officer of the Brook Park PD saw the driver of a white Ford truck activate blue flashing dashboard lights before making an illegal left turn, and then just for good measure activate some rear-mounted blue flashing lights afterward. Apparently undeterred by all these blue flashing lights, the officer turned on his own lights and stopped the vehicle.

After being told the reason for the stop, the driver advised the officer that he was, in fact, “a Central Intelligence Agency agent working undercover.” Now, you might think that a CIA agent working undercover would not do things like make illegal left turns in a truck mounted with blue flashing lights, or that maybe he might choose not to mount flashing lights on his truck in the first place, on the theory that things like that tend to call attention to oneself. But that just goes to show how little you know about tradecraft. Quietly making only legal turns is exactly the kind of thing an undercover agent would do, and so it’s just what counter-intelligence agents look for when patrolling that hotbed of espionage known as “Ohio.” The best way to avoid scrutiny, therefore, is to always drive with flashing lights and sirens operating, and to repeatedly make illegal left turns and lane changes while firing at least one automatic weapon into the air. No secret agent in his right mind would do something like that, and so it’s exactly what such a person should do if he wants to stay “undercover.”

Another thing an undercover CIA agent would do is wear a T-shirt that says “CIA” on the front, so it makes sense that the driver was doing that too, following the same logic. Yet the officer asked the driver for his CIA credentials anyway. Likely suspicious of this request, since a demand for “CIA credentials” is just what you’d expect to hear from an enemy agent, the driver “instead produced a badge bearing the name Federal Bureau of Investigation, explaining he also works for the FBI.” (Emphasis added.) Rather than accepting this, the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle.

“Upon exiting the vehicle,” the affidavit says, the man “asked Sergeant Duncan if he was ‘aware of the CIA operating in this area,’ to which Sergeant Duncan replied that he was not.” Of course, the law restricts the CIA’s ability to operate within the United States, especially near the intersection of Eastland and Sheldon Roads in Brook Park, Ohio, so if the CIA was operating in that area on the evening of May 8, again it would make sense that Sergeant Duncan would have known nothing about it. But the FBI badge seems to have made him suspicious, and Sergeant Duncan also noticed that in plain view on the truck’s center console was yet another badge, this one purporting to show that the driver was an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration. And during a conversation with another officer, the driver also “advised [that] he worked for the United States Treasury Department.” There was paperwork in the vehicle showing that he had used the email address ustreasury76Gmoney@gmail.com, and that would have been good enough for me, but apparently the Treasury Department does not use Gmail and its agents tend not to refer to themselves as “G-Money,” so this too was found questionable.

The FBI and DEA confirmed that the man “was not an employee thereof,” and although the affidavit doesn’t show any attempt to contact the CIA, the two disavowals do seem to provide probable cause for the crime of impersonating an officer or employee of the United States (18 U.S.C. § 912). An investigation also showed that while the man was not wearing multiple federal hats as he claimed, there were multiple warrants out for his arrest, mostly for failing to show up for other court dates.

When officers asked the man why he had never showed up for those court dates, he reportedly told them, “I never go to court. I have too much authority in the United States.” Again, this seems like the kind of thing that an undercover CIA agent would never openly admit, so maybe he was exactly what he claimed to be. It’s a devious game of cat-and-mouse they’re playing out there, that’s for sure.


UPDATE: This report includes video that contains excerpts from the officer’s dash cam and body cam, so you can see and hear the man’s explanations in all their glory.