Sunday, July 27, 2008

THE CHANDRA LEVY CASE REVIVED

The Washington Post recently completed a long series on the unsolved Chandra Levy case with special attention on Ingmar Guandeque, a man serving a ten year sentence for attacking two women in DC's Rock Creek Park, where Levy died. Back in 2002 we noted a Roll Call story on Gaundeque, but our coverage also cited some other interesting possibilities.

Mike Wise, SF Chronicle, 2007 - Although he is no longer an FBI agent, Brad Garrett still visits the steep, wooded hillside in a Washington, D.C., park where the skeletal remains of Chandra Levy, a federal intern from Modesto, Calif., were found five years ago this week, a year after she disappeared.

No one has been charged in the killing of the 24-year-old, whose disappearance generated enormous publicity after authorities revealed that she had been having a relationship with her married hometown congressman, Gary Condit. The Democrat was defeated in 2002 by his former aide, Dennis Cardoza.

"The key to cold cases is being creative," Garrett, a private investigator and a consultant to ABC News, said in a phone interview. Until his mandatory retirement last year at the age of 58, Garrett was a high-profile agent who had solved some of the bureau's most intractable cases -- but not the Levy slaying.

"I go to Rock Creek Park sometimes, yeah, and go over the crime scene, over and over again," he said. "What have I missed? The whole atmospherics is very important. It's very frustrating that it's not resolved. It's troubling."

On May 1, 2001, Levy used her computer in her apartment in the Dupont Circle area of northwest Washington to look up the National Park Service headquarters in Rock Creek Park, about a mile distant. She had recently completed an internship at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and planned to return to Modesto, according to her mother, Susan Levy. Friends and family became alarmed when Levy was not heard from, and a search began. It wasn't until a year and three weeks later, on May 22, 2002, that her remains were found in the 1,700-acre park. . .

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department lists the death as one of 6,000 cold cases. Since the intern's disappearance, the case has been investigated by Detective Ralph Durant, a 37-year veteran of the department. In a phone interview, Durant said, "There are still persons of interest, yes, but we can't tell you who they are. We still get phone calls and e-mails.". . .

Initially, media attention focused on Condit, the Modesto lawmaker 30 years Levy's senior. Police have said repeatedly that they do not consider him a suspect. In the years since, Condit and his family have been embroiled in several lawsuits. He and his wife, Carolyn, sued American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, claiming they had been defamed by the supermarket tabloid. The suits were settled. No terms were disclosed. Condit also settled a suit against Vanity Fair magazine columnist Dominick Dunne.

Roll Call May 2002 - D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officials investigating the death of Washington intern Chandra Levy have interviewed a man serving a 10-year prison sentence for attacking two women in Rock Creek Park last year. D.C. Metro Police investigators have "talked to" Ingmar Guandeque, who was arrested in July 2001 after attacking two females (one in May and one in July) who were jogging along the Broad Branch trail in Rock Creek Park . . . A second official close to the Levy investigation said that while Guandeque was interviewed after Levy's disappearance last year, investigators are now taking a closer look at him since the intern's body was discovered. "Clearly there are some coincidences and links -- just because of the proximity of where he [committed his crimes]," said a source close to the investigation. . .

The first attack occurred in mid-May 2001, at 6:30 p.m., about two weeks after Levy disappeared. In that case, Guandeque came upon an unnamed female jogger, attacking her from behind while brandishing a knife. According to a press release issued Feb. 8 by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the victim reported that Guandeque grabbed her around the neck and pulled her to the ground, where her portable radio fell off. She also reported that Guandeque bit her when she tried to push him away. Guandeque fled the scene of the crime, leaving the radio beside his victim.

On July 1, 2001, he attacked another female jogger at approximately 7:30 p.m., running up behind her as she reached the crest of a hill and grabbing her from behind. The woman struggled, and when Guandeque loosened his grip on her she managed to get away and report the incident to the U.S. Park Police, who located Guandeque and arrested him.

Progressive Review, 2002 - There remain several possibilities. For example, if, as some have alleged, there is a tie - either direct or coincidental - between this case and powerful individuals and their activities, there is a considerable probability that the case will never be solved or that a straw perpetrator will be charged with the crime. For example, some stories have suggested a connection with an S&M sex ring in which a number of well-known individuals are believed to have participated. As USA Today's Tom Sequeri put it delicately, there are "dark aspects of this story that we can't report yet." This is the sort of thing that Washington is highly skilled at covering up and in this case there may be more than adequate motive, especially since the DC police were badly embarrassed in 1997 by revelations of the practice of "fairy shaking," in which a cop followed a married man out of a gay sex club, got his license plate number, and later threatened to expose him unless he paid hush money . . . There also continue to be doubts about the handling of the last high profile DC murder, the Starbucks case in which the alleged perp confessed and then recanted. Added to the curiosities about the case was the fact that of all the 301 slayings that took place in DC in 1997, only these three killings attracted the attention not only of the FBI but of Attorney General Reno herself. Reno overruled her own US Attorney and called for the death penalty in the case.

The Weekly Globe reports charges by James Robinson - attorney for one of Gary Condit's ex-lovers - that Chandra Levy was killed on orders from two well known politicians - a governor and a former presidential candidate - who belonged to an alternative sex ring. Robinson alleges that "this story is bigger than Watergate" and that Levy was killed because she was ready to blow the whistle on the sex club. The Globe offers no evidence to support Robinson's claim.

Progressive Review, 2001 - One of the leads being investigated in the Chandra Levy case is that Levy was murdered by a professional hit man involved in the local gay S&M scene. Whether or not this proves to be the case, the mere possibility has created unusual problems on Capitol Hill and for the DC police. We hear that some big names on the Hill are extremely nervous at the moment - not because of the Levy mystery itself but because what such a solution might reveal. The MPD could also face possible blowback because of its involvement a few years back in a major gay blackmail scandal, perhaps involving some of the same players.

William Walker, Toronto Star: Washington police also revealed they are investigating the possibility 24-year-old Chandra Levy may have been slain by a professional killer skilled in the disposal of bodies . . . Levy's purse, wallet, personal identification and credit cards were all left in her apartment, along with a laptop computer and her packed bags prepared for a return trip home to attend her University of Southern California graduation ceremony. All that was missing from her apartment were her keys. Police found no signs of a struggle or forced entry and nothing was stolen. [Chief Charles] Ramsey confirmed that although Levy was last seen April 30, a search of her laptop computer revealed that she was on the Internet visiting travel Web sites the next day, on May 1, for about three hours up until 1 p.m. . . . [Levy family lawyer] Martin said his own investigation, conducted on behalf of the Levy family by two retired Washington homicide detectives, indicates the young woman went to meet someone she knew. "For some reason, Chandra appears to have been lured, called, or brought out of the apartment expecting to return,'' Martin said.

James Risen & Raymond Bonner, Ny Times: Washington police investigating the disappearance of the government intern Chandra Ann Levy have found no evidence that would link her case to other recent missing-person cases involving young women in the capital, law enforcement officials said today. In particular, investigators for the Metropolitan Police Department have reviewed two cases involving women whose bodies were recovered in the Washington area, Joyce Chiang and Christine M. Mirzayan. Ms. Chiang, a 28-year-old lawyer at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, disappeared in January 1999, after last being seen in the Dupont Circle area, a few blocks from where Ms. Levy, 24, lived. Her body was discovered three months later on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, but the authorities were never able to determine the cause of death. Ms. Mirzayan, a 28-year-old intern at the National Research Council in Washington, disappeared on Aug. 1, 1998. Her body was found in a wooded area near Georgetown University the next day. Her head had been crushed. No one has been arrested in either case. There are some striking similarities between those cases and the Levy one. All three women were Californians in their 20's and had similar physical characteristics. Like Ms. Levy, Ms. Mirzayan was an intern, while Ms. Chiang lived in the same neighborhood as Ms. Levy.

Progressive Review - As we have noted, the Chandra Levy disappearance case may be far more complicated that it first appeared. For example, there are now possible ties to a local gay S&M group. The story is being kept under wraps by news media lawyers - Newsweek and the Village Voice have both spiked articles - but this much can be told: A former Republican congressman wrote a lurid account for Newsmax, allegedly based on knowledgeable sources, that claimed Levy to have been the victim of a gay prostitute who has since returned to his native country. Newsmax quickly removed the story, but it has been the subject of intense media investigation since.

The Levy case has also revived interest in another woman's disappearance two years ago, not far from Levy's apartment. The Starbucks mentioned below, incidentally, is in the same block and across the street from the Review's long-time former office. La Tomate serves as the Review's conference room. The site is also near one of the numerous locations where Vince Foster case witness Patrick Knowlton found himself under overt surveillance - a technique used by intelligence agencies for intimidation - in the aftermath of his visit to Ft. Marcy Park.

Sam Smith, Progressive Review, 2002: This morning, a speculation entered my head that refuses to depart. This may not, I suddenly realized, be a story about one woman's disappearance and one man's transgressions but about a number of women and a number of men. In other words, we may only be seeing the tip of the penis.

The possibility that the Levy case has exposed some form of group sex on Capitol Hill - whether involving call girls or faith-based voluntary activity - would go a long way towards explaining the strange way everyone seems to be acting. It might explain the desire of the DC police to keep the Modesto cops from pursuing their own investigation. It might explain the disappearance of not only Chandra Levy but the days it took the MPD to get around to checking out Gary Condit's pad, and Anne Marie Smith being interviewed for six hours by the FBI and the DC cops, with Smith saying that she told some them some things they didn't know.

It would not in any way conflict with the Capitol Hill and Washington tradition of commingling sex, politics, drugs, and even, more significantly, blackmail. The current issue of Adult Entertainment Monthly, for example, reports that "Archeologists digging just four blocks from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., have unearthed the remains of a 19th-century bordello owned by Mary Ann Hall, a determined 20-something who built and managed the three-story brick building, yet was never busted by police even as dozens of other similar houses in the city were targeted."

Later, during Prohibition, the notorious "Man in the Green Hat" kept Capitol Hill offices supplied with the substances they prohibited elsewhere. And J. Edgar Hoover is believed to have blackmailed numerous members of Congress over their sexual proclivities much as mobster Meyer Lansky is said to have boasted that he had "fixed that son of a bitch" - i.e. Hoover- with photos of Hoover having sex with a close aide. Interestingly, while there is little evidence of the Italian mafia being active in DC, Lansky did have some operations here. Hoover may also have blackmailed Jack Kennedy, an easy target what with his affairs with a mob moll, a movie star with Mafia connections, and an east German spy.

In a revisionist version of the origins of the Watergate affair, not only were the burglars allegedly after evidence of a call girl ring working with the Democratic National Committee, but there were allegations of a similar Capitol Hill operations staffed by secretaries, office workers, and a White House secretary.

Then there was Rep. Barney Frank hiring a male prostitute in 1986 who later claimed he ran a sex ring out of Frank's Capitol Hill apartment.

As recently as last year, the ethically challenged Rep. Jim Traficant was trying to work the game the other way, claiming to be "to be investigating corruption in the U.S. Justice Department" and alleging that Janet Reno "is being controlled by a blackmailer who has a video of her cavorting with a call girl." What is interesting about this is not that the story is credible but that a member of Congress thought it might be.

One may, as liberals did under Clinton, take the view that all sex is good sex. This ignores, among other things, the blackmail factor. More importantly, it is probable that politicians are blackmailed not just by domestic opponents but by foreign lands. There are some reports that both the Russians and the Israelis knew about Monica Lewinsky before Americans did. Intelligence investigator Peter Dale Scott thinks that international blackmail and sex with politicians is "an ongoing, highly organized, and protected operation" that has "driven the major scandals of Washington since at least the beginning of the Cold War." Scott has also suggested that the mob and lobbyists use call girls for blackmail.

As is the case with stories such as those involving BCCI and the Mena drug operations, everyone involved has something to lose by public exposure of the real story of sex and power in Washington. Hence politics stops at the sex organ's edge and the system works together to get things back under control: Republicans, Democrats, and the law. Don't forget that the DC police department's ultimate employer is the U.S. Congress.

And so the endemic is reduced to an isolated incident and life moves on. Like I say, this is only an hypothesis, but it would not be surprising if a young intern on Capitol Hill were to enter a relationship for sex or love and find herself in the midst of something far deeper. Just something to keep in mind.

MORE SEX AND CRIME IN DC


1 Comments:

At September 2, 2008 12:22 AM, Blogger RickAHyatt said...

www.rickhyatt.freeservers.com for "The rest of the Story..."

 

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