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“A LETTER OF PANIC”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 8, 2013) — In parts 1 and 2 of our in-depth interview with Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III on his court-martial of 1990, he outlined how in late 1989, his commanding admiral, John Bitoff, concocted a false narrative and enlisted the cooperation of several officers who worked with Bitoff to produce false evidence, testimony, a fraudulent signature and Fitzpatrick’s eventual discharge from the Navy.
Knowing that his signature had been forged and the court-martial contrived, Fitzpatrick has sought redress since the case was officially closed in 1990. He was forced to submit a number of FOIA requests to obtain copies of the documents in the file, and to this day, he has not seen the “original” forgery which the Navy represents as official.
At least two of the military attorneys who served as Fitzpatrick’s prosecutors are currently practicing law as civilians. Fitzpatrick’s then-defense attorney, Kevin Anderson, is an assistant prosecutor in Kitsap County, WA. In 1998, Anderson had told the NCIS that he knew nothing about the confession letter with Fitzpatrick’s forged signature. In 2003, he admitted to a police detective that he was the originator of it, although he did not confess to signing Fitzpatrick’s name.
After Fitzpatrick obtained a copy of the police report in 2004 with Anderson’s statements, Fitzpatrick knew that Anderson was the forger. Rather than taking the evidence and confronting Anderson again, the NCIS threatened Fitzpatrick’s life for continuing to press for the truth. The NCIS then attempted to bury the crime, which now involved numerous parties on both the East and West coasts and points in between.
No one has ever been brought to account for the crimes committed against Fitzpatrick, who wants his reputation restored by the U.S. Navy. Judge Advocate General Nanette DeRenzi is reportedly aware of the forgery but, like many others before her, has made no move to correct the record.
Despite Department of Defense spokesman George Little’s recent promise to work more closely with the press, the military public affairs officer to whom we were directed nearly two weeks ago has not responded to our request to prove to the Navy that the court-martial of Walter Fitzpatrick was carried out by means of a conspiracy among officers, then covered up by a second conspiracy involving the NCIS and the Department of Defense.
The military justice system does not allow a grand jury to examine evidence before a person is charged with a crime. Its construction, which is based on the chain of command, allows an officer acting as a judge to decide a person’s fate rather than a jury of his or her peers. Fitzpatrick said that “every aspect” of a court-martial is controlled, allowing “criminal techniques” to be used against a defendant who is often innocent.
From Part 2, Fitzpatrick continued with his narrative of how the forger gave himself away.
As of 1998, I had heard nothing. I was involved with Rep. Dicks‘ office, Patty Murray‘s office…I was reeling from the fact that the original document had been found and that something should be done to provide remedy and relief to me because we then knew about the forgery. Well, nothing happens…1999…nothing happens. Now we have the full-blown cover-up; everybody is realizing what it would mean to pursue this any farther after the original of the forgery was discovered and it was traced to Kevin Anderson. They knew what they had on their hands, and now the cover-up effort began in earnest.
It hit the NCIS like a lightning bolt: “This is not Fitzpatrick’s signature. There is no way we can go after him. Where does the trail lead? To his defense attorney.” Uh-oh.
So 1998 was the beginning of the cover-up. The NCIS knew. Rand Pixa knew. That’s why Rand Pixa called Anderson to alert him: “You and your family are in danger.”
Kevin Anderson’s wife was still a drilling reservist, a Navy JAG, so many people knew what this was. They were protecting Bitoff, Anderson, and the organization of the U.S. Navy to include the U.S. Marine Corps.
I now knew that the guy who forged my name is Kevin Anderson.
Years pass, and in 2003, I was still pursuing it. Anderson was a prosecuting attorney. I was warning people in the community that Anderson is a known criminal and that the cases he was prosecuting could be undone because he is being protected as a criminal. I was talking to newspapers and spreading the word that Kevin Anderson is a fraud and a criminal, and I was hoping beyond hope that he or his wife would file a civil lawsuit against me and sue me. But they never did.
I couldn’t bring a civil suit because of the Feres Doctrine, and I had been told that. I examined the opportunity to bring a civil suit against the people who were involved, and I was thinking “John Bitoff and Tim Zeller,” but now we know so much more. I couldn’t bring a civil suit; they were protected because of the monarchy of the U.S. military.
If in the alternative, somebody sues me – for example, Anderson, his wife, Zeller – and these people are all attorneys – then all bets are off. We would have discovery. So nobody has ever brought a civil suit against me for defamation or assassination of character because they can’t afford to do that. Bitoff, at one point, threatened me with going to the FBI, and I said, “DO THAT; knock yourself out, PLEASE! You want a couple of names of people you can talk to, Admiral?” and I gave him some names. Then Bitoff backed off because he knew.
Of course, there was the memo exchange… the criminality here is absolutely off the scale.
So 1998 came and went; 1999 came and went. Then we get to 2000, 2001, 2003.
Anderson was interviewed in his Port Orchard, WA office on January 26, 1998. It was five years later, almost to the day: the 30th or 31st of January 2003. I had been alerting people in the community about Kevin Anderson and his criminal escapades. Anderson brought a complaint to the Port Orchard Police Department and said, “This man is stalking me, my wife and my kids.” I didn’t know that Anderson had done that, and I was not stalking anybody. I didn’t know where he lived; I’m not sure I would have recognized his wife, Diane Carr, on sight; I didn’t know anything about his kids. In other words, he went to the Port Orchard Police and lied to them. His family never came into any of this.
Anderson was trying to make me go away, so he filed a false police report. I didn’t find out about it until 2004, and that’s when I found out that during the course of the accusation Anderson had made against me, a detective from the Port Orchard Police Department went to Anderson to investigate the accusation. In the course of the interview, Russ Hauge, who was the Kitsap County prosecuting attorney at that time, was in the same office as Anderson as he was being interviewed by the Port Orchard Police Department detective, Beth Deatheridge.
This was the 31st of January 2003, and the detective was interviewing Anderson. Of course, one of the questions that she asked of him was, “Why would Fitzpatrick do something like this? What’s his motive?” and Kevin Anderson answered the police detective, under oath, by saying, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Well, a couple of years ago there was an issue of a forgery, and he accuses me of forging his name to this document.” Now Anderson said to the police detective that he (Anderson) was the person who authored the document. He admitted to her, five years after he had been questioned by the NCIS, “I am the one who wrote that document. It originated with me; I don’t know how it got signed, but it’s Fitzpatrick’s signature.” But five years before, he told the NCIS that he didn’t know anything about it.
If we go back to that moment when, five years before, NCIS agents – one of whom could have been James H. Connolly – were standing in Anderson’s office questioning him about the document, what would have happened if Anderson’s answer to them was, “Yes, I know about that document; I am the man who wrote it and printed it off?” What would the NCIS’s next line of inquiry be? It would be, “OK, Counselor Anderson, what happened to the document next? Explain to us how that signature was applied.”
The forgery is not witnessed; of course, Anderson wouldn’t have had a witness. If I had signed it, there would be a witness, like the Stipulation. There were two other people who signed off on the Stipulation. There is no witness to the forgery.
Had Anderson told the NCIS in 1998, within three weeks after the original document was found and traced to him, admitting, “Yes, I’m the man who authored that document. I wrote it; I crafted it; I typed it out and then I printed it off,” any kind of an investigative agent would have said “OK, what happened to that document next?” In other words, the people who actually had the document in their hands have to explain its chain of custody. “What happened to it next, Mr. Anderson?”
Anderson lied to the NCIS back in 1998 to cover his tracks. He had been warned by Capt. Pixa; he knew what was coming, and he lied to them, which is a criminal act all by itself. Lying to federal agents under these circumstances, in the course of a criminal investigation, is a federal crime. But the NCIS walked away from it, and they walked away from the forgery. The motives presenting themselves here are enormous; they are breathtaking.
So five years later, in Kevin Anderson’s Port Orchard office, he gave a statement in which he connected himself to the origination of the document which bears my forged, misspelled name. This was in 2003. I did not find out about it until 2004.
I went nuts. I went to the Pacific Northwest Field Office for the NCIS in Silverdale, WA, and I started raising Cain with them about the police report which had just been put into my hands. I said to them, “I know who forged my name,” because Anderson had connected himself to the document. More than that, Anderson placed himself in the chain of custody; he placed himself at the beginning of the history of the document. He was the originator of the document. I had something that had not been seen before.
I went to the NCIS for days, saying, “You need to look at this.” The part in the letter which reads “On several recent occasions you have sought to have the NCIS Northwest Field Office reopen the case…,” they are talking about my going back to them with the Port Orchard Police Department report saying Anderson was the originator of the document. That’s what that sentence means.
Then the next sentence reads, “Even if your allegations had merit, and even if the original parties were still in the Navy, the decade-old offenses would not be viable today.” That is an out-and-out lie. The only reason they’re saying that is to give themselves another excuse for not properly investigating this and not properly holding John Bitoff, Kevin Anderson and Tim Zeller and all the rest of the people involved in this to a criminal responsibility. This thing just got bigger and bigger and bigger. It got too big to prosecute, so they used the excuse, “Even if your allegations had merit…” which, of course, they do, and they know it…”and even if the original parties were still in the Navy, the decade-old offenses would not be viable today.”
They are viable today. They’re viable right now. Why? Because these people still maintain that document as an original writing. Nobody has condemned it as a forgery. And once they do that, the court-martial of Walt Fitzpatrick goes in the history books as being overturned and tossed, just as has been the case of Marine Sgt. Lawrence Gordon Hutchins III. And they have to make restitution the best that they can.
So then the bottom paragraph says, “Accordingly, I have directed that this case not be reopened and that the Northwest Field Office have no further communication with you,” because, you see, I had the smoking gun.
And then the next sentence says, “Regrettably, your own personal conduct during your recent contacts with the Field Office can only be described as discourteous, abusive, and threatening.” Wrong answer. What I was doing was holding in my hand a copy of the Port Orchard Police Department report saying, “Anderson has connected himself to the forgery; he wrote it,” and this was after five years of the investigation having gone dormant. They were looking for every excuse, but they knew. Now I had a document that they could not get away from.
Here, The Post & Email asked Fitzpatrick how he would characterize his interactions with the NCIS, to which he responded:
You walk in, and there’s an anteroom. There’s a standard window under which you slide documents. The secretary would come to the window and I would say, “I have these documents,” and I would explain their purpose. And I came back over and over again. There was never any threat communicated, and there was never any discourtesy.
I got the Port Orchard police report in 2004 as a result of a public records request. I had everything I needed to see that Kevin Anderson was prosecuted either as a civilian, because he was still behind the forgery as a civilian, or through the military process; either way. Of course, I had John Bitoff and all the rest of the people who had been protecting this court-martial over the years, and it was completely out of control.
At that time, the head of the Pacific Northwest NCIS office was a guy named Scott Jacobs. Jacobs was working with the U.S. Attorney from Seattle, John McKay, to bring about the Law Enforcement Information Exchange program (LInX), and they were trying to grow this program into something significant. So at this moment in time, I bring that smoking-gun document that now exposes the NCIS as instead of law enforcement, law-breakers. This is a huge embarrassment to the NCIS as an organization, and certainly, it is a huge criminal accusation made against specific NCIS agents.
Richard Allen worked with me. We talked a number of times, and he knew what was going on. He apologized to me profusely because he knew he could not advance this as he wanted to. Going back to the memo that he received in September 1997 which said, “If you can prove the forgery, it totally supports his 10 years worth of contentions and makes the NAV look really bad…”
There’s a lot of criminal conduct here, and that forgery proves all of that. And Richard Allen knew it. He was looking at retirement, and this thing died quietly in 1998.
For a number of years, I was agitating in the community, naming Kevin Anderson openly and publicly as a criminal. I called offices of defense attorneys in Kitsap County and other places in Washington State for clients who were being prosecuted by Kevin Anderson and telling them, “Excuse me, but Kevin Anderson is a criminal.” And Anderson knew it. I was doing everything I could to bring about some kind of exposure, talking to people in Seattle about this: Mike Barber of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Christine Claridge of The Seattle Times at some point, and reporters from the Bremerton Sun. It struck a chord with Anderson to the point where he said, “I’ve got to put a stop to this.”
So he went to the Port Orchard Police Department and filed a false criminal complaint against me. I didn’t find out about it for a year. Nobody ever came to me; it was a false allegation that went nowhere. It’s the same kind of the thing as the letter from the NCIS: an accusation they made against me which was completely unsupportable. In the case of the NCIS, they were federal agents, and if I had been doing those kinds of things, they would have locked me up. The letter was signed on November 30, 2004; it didn’t come to me until March 3, 2005.
This is what Connolly came to do. He issued a verbal threat against my life if I were to continue what I was doing. In March 2005, I did not know about the LInX program. But even without that, the NCIS would have suffered mightily by having the forgery exposed more publicly. They came to threaten my life. They were banging on my door: four agents. Connolly and one at the door and the two others in the distance. They never moved from their positions. I was being held in a cross-fire.
I asked for ID. Connolly gave me his card, although I knew who he was. That’s what you see on the copy of the letter. I asked the other guy at the door, who said, “That’s not necessary; you don’t need that.” Connolly did all of the talking, except for the one guy refusing to show ID, and then Connolly threatened my life in a very vulgar kind of way. He made it clear that if I continued pushing this Port Orchard Police Department report wherein Kevin Anderson is proven a liar in connecting himself to the document and which Kevin Anderson never thought was going to see the light of day, something bad was going to happen.
This is a letter of panic.