CAP National Headquarters Raided by FBI

Civil Air Patrol raided by the FBICivil Air Patrol raided by the FBI

By Donna Leinwand | USA Today

Federal investigators, looking for evidence of misuse of federal funds, searched Civil Air Patrol headquarters and installations on Wednesday, carting off records, data and computer files.

A least a dozen FBI agents and officers from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations descended on CAP headquarters in Montgomery, AL, with search warrants. Law enforcement officers also served warrants at CAP offices in Amarillo, TX, Waco, TX, London, KY, Frankfurt, KY and Louisville, KY. More warrants are expected Thursday at locations in Florida Wing and West Virginia Wing.

“We are looking for records, data and computer files,” OSI spokesman Major Steve Murray said. “Our investigation centers on the alleged misuse of appropriated funds by Civil Air Patrol.”

“The investigation, which began May 20, is ongoing,” Murray said.

“We cannot forecast its completion date at this time,” he said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, DC, referred all questions to the Air Force.

CAP National Commander James Bobick of Colorado did not return a phone message left at his home Wednesday afternoon.

James Bobick Civil Air Patrol

Brig Gen James C. Bobick, National Commander (March 1998 – August 2001)

The multi-state investigation is based at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. About a dozen agents are assigned to the case full-time, Air Force records show.

The Air Force and FBI will brief the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery on any potential for criminal or civil prosecution, Murray said.

The FBI and OSI investigation began shortly after the Air Force’s internal auditors reported widespread financial abuses at the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian volunteer group that serves as an Air Force auxiliary and receives about $28 million annually in federal funds.

The Air Force accused the 60,000-member group, known for its search and rescue operations, of mismanaging federal money, traveling first class on the taxpayer tab, retaliating against members who pointed out abuses and losing track of its equipment. Auditors said they could not account for 70 percent of the federally purchased communications equipment in one branch of the group.

CAP officials have denied the allegations in a point-by-point rebuttal.

Air Force officials said they negotiated with CAP for tighter oversight. When CAP leadership rebuffed them, the Air Force asked the Senate to include language in the Defense Authorization Bill that would turn control of CAP to the Air Force. CAP responded with a lobbying campaign that eventually resulted in negotiations mediated by Sen Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sen Wayne Allard, R-Colorado.

After the June meeting, it appeared CAP had agreed to disband its 67-member volunteer board and allow Congress and the Air Force to assume more control with an appointed board.

23 July 1999 – Follow Up

The Civil Air Patrol headquarters reopened for business Thursday following a day in which about 20 FBI agents spent 14 hours removing records.

The FBI, working with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, also served warrants on CAP installations in West Virginia Wing and Florida Wing.

The raid Wednesday on the Montgomery, AL, headquarters of the volunteer Air Force auxiliary astonished about 80 employs who were promptly told to shut down their computers and go home for the day. Investigators also searched a nearby printing plant where the CAP stored many of its records.

“We were very surprised,” CAP spokeswoman Mary Nell Crowe said Thursday. “I don’t know what they were looking for. We fully cooperated with them all day.”

The federal investigators served the warrant at 8:30 am and left around 10 pm, Crowe said. Although most employees went home, department directors, the assistant director and the general counsel remained in the building with the federal agents. Executive Director Paul Albano was out of the office on leave.

Paul Albano Civil Air Patrol

Paul J. Albano

“I know they took financial records, which was to be expected, and other materials,” Crowe said. “They did not take computers. We have been told by OSI that if there are any files they have taken that are critical to daily function, they will work with us to see that we have what we need.”

The FBI and OSI investigation centers on alleged misuse of federal funds.

CAP, a volunteer, civilian auxiliary known for its search-and-rescue missions, receives about $28 million in federal funds each year from the Air Force budget.

The Air Force has been pushing Congress to give it tighter oversight of CAP after several Air Force audits accused CAP leadership of mismanaging federal funds, spending lavishly on first-class travel, retaliating against members who pointed out abuses, and failing to track federally purchased communications equipment.

CAP leaders have denied the charges. In its official statement Thursday, CAP again denied wrongdoing.

“The Civil Air Patrol has fully cooperated with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations,” the statement said.

“The agency collected records and other materials from both the Civil Air Patrol, and CAP-USAF, the U.S. Air Force Oversight/Liaison office to CAP. We are confident that the Civil Air Patrol properly managed the federal funds appropriated to CAP. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment on this issue.”

Last month, it appeared the feud between CAP and the Air Force had begun to ebb. CAP leaders and Air Force brass met behind closed doors with Senators Wayne Allard, R-Colorado, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to negotiate a new governing system. CAP had agreed to disband its national board and come under control of a federally appointed board. It is unclear now whether that deal will stand.

Acting Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters briefed Allard on Thursday, Sean Conway, Allard’s spokesman, said.

“It’s too early to tell the effect on the negotiations,” Conway said. “We have to find out what instigated this, what criminal activity is being alleged, and what action will be coming out of this. Quite frankly, we just don’t know a lot.”

“Allard knew nothing about the FBI search,” Conway said.

“We had no advance knowledge of the raid,” he said.

“It came as a complete surprise.

We had no idea that this was all coming down, especially in light of the fact that the Inspector General was to begin his investigation on Monday.”

5 Comments on "CAP National Headquarters Raided by FBI"

  1. Avatar MonsterMakers | July 25, 2017 at 19:40 | Reply

    Shit! I watched this duel with CrAPTalk (clever) go down last night with eyes newly opened after sampling the collection of articles here. I get AuxB’s total yawn of a strategy and you should too.

    Mission: Organize the abused across the continent to slowly gather and expose the truth and nothing but the truth of the culture of Civil Air Patrol in the past, the present and the future.

    For CAP’s amateur PAOs and Recruiters in a hurry, this is something totally deviant: detached patience to slowly expose decades of abuse from member testimony, MARB records, accident reports, lawsuits and aggregated current and archival news stories. CAP all to easily wrote the charges against itself!

    What I wanna know is: WHAT the hell did WHICH CAP cronies do to these people (or maybe their children) to motivate this slow, smouldering burn? Was it psychological grooming and molestation? Did mental abuse lead to a suicide? Did they defame a whistle-blower to discredit her report? Was someone setup? Was it racism and revealed use of the n-word? Was it refusal to issue public apologies to those they had wronged?

    Which guilty Civil Air Patrol commanders still lurking in the program are responsible for sustaining this creeping monster?

  2. Thank you for capturing this 1999 CAP FBI Raid Story from USA Today. It helped us to expose the kool-aid drinkers on CAP Talk this evening. Your editors and readers should take a look at that exchange over on CAP Talk. I was able to find the original source for this story in a subscription news archive, so it checks good. You should probably add a photograph of the story to counter the lies they are telling to cover up this event. Good work.

    • AB and CrAPTalk readers and the public will find the same story in the book “Into the Wild Blue Yonder: My Life in the Air Force” by Allan T. Stein. He covers the CAP FBI Raid in Chapter 12 on page 178 and 179. CAP cannot eradicate this evidence and this proves that the characters on CAP Talk have lied.

      On page 178 and 179 of his book, Stein records as follows:

      In the September 1999 issue of Air Force magazine, the following article appeared:

      Federal agents with search warrants seized Civil Air Patrol records, data, and computer files in five states on July 21. The FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations confiscated records at the CAP national headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and at wings in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and West Virginia in conjunction with “the alleged misues of appropriated funds by CAP personnel,” said AFOSI spokesman Major Steve Murray.

      According to Donna Leinwand of Gannett News Service, “The Air Force accused the 60,000 member group, known for its search and rescue operations, of mismanaging federal money, traveling first class on the taxpayer tab, retaliating against members who pointed out abuses and losing track of its equipment. Auditors said they could not account for 70 percent of the federally purchases communications equipment in one branch of the group.” Civil Air Patrol officials have denied the allegations.

      Allan Stein goes on to state the “The inspection and seizure of these records is long overdue.”

      You can read it straight from this link:

      Bad CrAPTalk. Good Zippy and Good Ziggy.

  3. There were people that were marched out of the building that day after FBI investigations and was fired. I was told by my friend some were: Mr Hicks, Col Brooks, Paul Albano, but I was told there were 10 people. I wonder who the rest of them were. More people need to have investigations done as they do wrong and maybe Washington will get tired of the wrong doing and do away with this wasteful organization. I wonder what these people are doing now. I was also told that they found [redacted] pictures of some employees in Albano’s safe the FBI had to break open.

  4. Avatar Anonymous | May 4, 2016 at 01:42 | Reply

    I remember this like it was yesterday. I was so glad to blow the lid off CAP. It took a long time to actually get justice, but it did come. My friend who still worked there at the time called me when the FBI went in and she called me when they marched the people that got fired out of the building. They thought a little quiet hardworking girl would lay down and go quietly. BUT NO I DID NOT. People don’t realize accountants know all the secrets of an organization. It is the little people (accounting clerks)that can tumble organizations. I stumbled across this just had to comment

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