Lawsuit: Arpaio Confidential Informant a “Material Witness” for Federal Government

REPORTEDLY INVOLVING “ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Dec. 13, 2015) — In a civil case filed by Dennis Montgomery against New York Times columnist and author James Risen, Montgomery is described by his attorney as a “material witness for the government concerning a criminal investigation under 50 U.S.C. § 1809” stemming from his provision of data to the FBI as facilitated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Klayman filed Montgomery v. Risen in February and represents Montgomery in the defamation suit against the author, his publisher, and its parent company.

Federal statute 50 U.S.C. § 1809 states, in part:

(a) Prohibited activities    A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally—

(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by this chapter, chapter 119, 121, or 206 of title 18, or any express statutory authorization that is an additional exclusive means for conducting electronic surveillance under section 1812 of this title;
(2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by this chapter, chapter 119, 121, or 206 of title 18, or any express statutory authorization that is an additional exclusive means for conducting electronic surveillance under section 1812 of this title.

Montgomery is a former NSA and CIA contractor who reportedly invented software for various governmental entities, including the Department of Defense.  In a December 2009 article published in Playboy and widely disseminated on the web, Montgomery was termed “the man who conned the Pentagon” for allegedly misrepresenting the capabilities of his software.

Klayman insists that his client “is not a con man,” and Montgomery reportedly was brought back to work for the government after the publication of the article.

In November 2013, Montgomery contacted the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to report that he possessed documentation showing that more than 150,000 Maricopa County residents had had their banking information breached illegally by a government agency.  Shortly thereafter, the MCSO, headed by Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, hired Montgomery to produce the evidence, a process at which Montgomery labored for approximately a year.

In a lawsuit brought against Arpaio eight years ago by the ACLU and the firm Covington & Burling for racial profiling, on November 12, 2015, Mike Zullo, who served as an uncompensated overseer for Montgomery’s project, testified that Montgomery ultimately did not produce the promised data and that 50 hard drives he provided were determined by three former NSA software designers to contain no useful information.

However, on December 3, Zullo told The Post & Email that “the information on the 150,000 people [in Maricopa County] is not bogus.”

During his November 12 testimony, Zullo said that he arranged with Klayman, an acquaintance since 2012, to have Montgomery meet with a federal judge in Washington, DC to describe the materials he had in his possession and receive guidance about further steps, given that Montgomery’s home had been raided in 2006 by the FBI and he was averse to working with that agency.

In August, Klayman stated during a hearing in Risen that Montgomery was granted immunity by the FBI following a meeting in one of their offices.  On page 7 of his December 4 brief in the case, Klayman wrote that “Plaintiff turned over 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of documentation and other materials to the FBI.”

On page 5, Klayman wrote that Montgomery “has attempted to turn over his documentation and hard drives to the FBI for years” (p.5, emphasis Klayman’s).

According to a law enforcement source, the FBI does not normally grant immunity to a “con man.”  In his brief, Klayman stated that his client was given two immunity agreements, the latest of which was finalized last month by the Department of Justice.

In a different lawsuit filed in late June, Klayman complained that the ACLU, while representing the plaintiffs in the case against Arpaio, failed to disclose that Montgomery had not only approached them as a “whistleblower” several years ago, but also entered into an attorney-client relationship with them.  “Ultimately, as the complaint alleges the ACLU failed to carry through with its representation and instead in an unrelated federal lawsuit in Arizona (Case No. CV-07-2513-GMS) against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, attacked and defamed Montgomery – who had been hired by Arpaio to ferret out illegal surveillance of Arizona citizens – to further the interests of other clients seeking to punish the sheriff for his law enforcement against illegal aliens in Maricopa Country. The ACLU went so far as to falsely publicly accuse Montgomery in court and in the media of being found to be a con man and committing crimes, in conjunction with Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies. Thus, the complaint alleges that in their zeal to destroy Arpaio, the ACLU intentionally harmed its client Montgomery,” Klayman posted on his website.

Zullo’s November 12 testimony included that the judge in the case against Arpaio (Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al), G. Murray Snow, was “a victim” of the data-breaching alleged by Montgomery.  Zullo also mentioned that Montgomery had over 600 million records in his possession and that a detective assigned to Montgomery had determined that a sampling of names contained data that matched “100%.”

Snow had diverted hearings in Melendres to Montgomery’s work and demanded all materials resulting from it, despite Arpaio’s and others’ insistence that Montgomery was not involved in any aspect of the case.

Along with Snow’s name, Zullo testified that his own name and those of Donald Trump and other “high-profile” individuals appeared in Montgomery’s database.  When asked, he testified that Montgomery had also fulfilled a role in the investigation undertaken by the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse, which Zullo has led for more than four years, of Obama’s long-form birth certificate, a purported certified scan of which was posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Stanley Young asked several questions about the “birth certificate” investigation but did not focus on it.

Following six months of investigation, Zullo and Arpaio stated at a joint press conference in March 2012 that the birth certificate image, as well as Obama’s Selective Service registration form, are “computer-generated forgeries.”

Neither Snow nor the local media appeared curious about the data breaches and who might have been behind them.  The media has also failed to investigate the reported forgeries of Obama’s only proffered documentation.

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