A 10-Minute Trial, a Death Sentence: Iraqi Justice for ISIS Suspects


“These Islamic State criminals committed crimes against humanity and against our people in Iraq, in Mosul and Salahuddin and Anbar, everywhere,” said Gen. Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Iraqi joint operations command. “To be loyal to the blood of the victims and to be loyal to the Iraqi people, criminals must receive the death penalty, a punishment that would deter them and those who sympathize with them.”

But critics say the perfunctory trials in special counterterrorism courts are sweeping up bystanders and relatives as well as fighters, and executing most of them in a process more concerned with retribution than justice.

The office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that flaws in the judicial process would most likely lead to “irreversible miscarriages” of justice.

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Detainees suspected of being Islamic State fighters in the courthouse in Qaraqosh, Iraq, last year. Detainees have often been sentenced to death after quick trials in special counterterrorism courts.

Credit
Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Human Rights Watch has criticized Iraq for relying on an overly broad law to quickly achieve the maximum punishment of the most people.

The nation’s counterterrorism law allows the death penalty for anyone “who commits, incites, plans, finances or assists in acts of terrorism.” So Iraqi courts are meting out one-size-fits-all punishment for the perpetrator of crimes against humanity as well for as the wife of an Islamic State fighter who may have had little say in her husband’s career.

“Individual circumstances don’t matter,” said Belkis Wille, the senior researcher for Iraq for Human Rights Watch. “Cooks, medical workers, everyone is given the death penalty.”

The low bar for conviction under the law, she said, also means that the courts are not bothering to investigate some of the worst crimes believed to have been committed by Islamic State members, such as slavery, rape or extrajudicial killings.

Iraq’s Justice Ministry rejects such criticism and touts the integrity of its judges and its standards of due process. “If there is evidence then suspects are prosecuted, and if there is no evidence then they are released,” said Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a judge and Justice Ministry spokesman.

The government has not released statistics about its terrorism detainees, but two people familiar with the court who were not authorized to speak to journalists said that approximately 13,000 people had been detained on suspicion of ties to the Islamic State since 2017, when the vast majority of arrests were made.

Human Rights Watch estimated in December that at least 20,000 people accused of ties to the Islamic State were being held by the Iraqi authorities. Last month, The Associated Press reported that Iraq had detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people since 2014 on accusations of connections to the Islamic State or other terrorism-related offenses.

Many of these detainees were arrested on the battlefield. Some were detained far from combat, based on information gleaned from informers and prison interrogations.

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Displaced men from Hawija line up at a Kurdish screening center in Dibis, Iraq, last year. Kurdish intelligence officers tried to sort out who was with the Islamic State and who was not.

Credit
Bram Janssen/Associated Press

Iraqi intelligence officials say that high-value detainees, people accused of involvement in specific terrorist attacks, are held separately from the majority of prisoners, who are suspected of having been low-level cogs in the Islamic State bureaucracy.

Since the summer of 2017, more than 10,000 cases have been referred to the courts, the people familiar with the court said. To date, they said, approximately 2,900 trials have been completed, with a conviction rate of about 98 percent.

They did not say how many had received the death penalty, nor how many executions had been carried out.

The government said 11 people were executed on Monday for “terrorism crimes,” fulfilling “the government’s promise to kill those responsible for shedding Iraqi blood,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Among those held apart from the general prison population are approximately 1,350 foreign women and 580 children, the majority of whom surrendered to Iraqi security forces last August during military operations to liberate the town of Tal Afar. The vast majority of these detainees are Turkish, Russian and Central Asian.

Iraq says it is determined to try them if evidence links them to the Islamic State, but some of their home countries, including Saudi Arabia, have requested extradition for some of their citizens. Other countries, like Britain and France, have been reluctant to take their citizens back, officials from both countries said.

In rare cases, individuals have been returned to their home countries, such as a group of four Russian women and 27 children in February, after Iraqi authorities concluded they had been tricked into coming to Islamic State territory. Turkey has been working to repatriate minors whose parents took them to the caliphate, as well as those found innocent of wrongdoing.

For a nation that for more than 15 years has been an incubator for Islamist extremists and has been torn apart by terrorist bombings, Iraqis have little appetite for leniency or concern about mitigating circumstances that in other nations could be grounds for clemency. Foreigners in particular are widely assumed to have been the Islamic State’s most fervent adherents since they moved here to join the caliphate.

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Adlan, a child brought to Syria by his parents, returned to Russia an orphan and now lives with his grandparents in Grozny. Some countries have been reluctant to repatriate citizens involved with the Islamic State, while others have taken in some women and children.

Credit
Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

“What concerns me the most in these trials is that the system is fundamentally prejudiced against foreign individuals,” said Ms. Wille, who has observed dozens of terrorism trials. “The presumption is because you are foreign, and you were in ISIS territory, there is no need to provide more evidence.”

The 14 women convicted in one afternoon this month, 12 Turks and two Azerbaijanis ranging from 20 to 44 years old, had lived in Raqqa, the former capital of the group’s territory in Syria. When international airstrikes escalated there and several of their husbands were killed, they moved to Iraq and were among those who surrendered outside Tal Afar.

Gaunt, withdrawn and surrounded by plainclothes security guards, they waited in the florescent-lit hallways of Baghdad’s counterterrorism court for their trials to start. Eleven toddlers who had spent the last eight months in detention with their mothers accompanied them to the court.

When Ms. Hassan was called, she handed her child to another detainee to look after. The other women cooed and hummed to try to placate her curly-haired toddler. Some appeared to whisper prayers.

Their state-appointed lawyer, Ali Sultan, said he had not prepared for the trials. He said he had no access to the evidence against his clients because information related to terrorism investigations is classified.

He added that his pay — $25 regardless of whether the case goes to appeal — hardly encourages much effort. The fee is paid only after the final appeal is exhausted or the client is executed which, despite the push to expedite trials, can take months if not years.

After Ms. Hassan was sentenced by Judge Ahmed al-Ameri, he swiftly dispensed with the rest of the docket.

Negar Mohammed told him that she was innocent of all Islamic State crimes; he ruled otherwise.

Nazli Ismail told the judge that her husband pushed her family to go to Syria. Three of her children were killed in an airstrike, she said. The only one to survive was her youngest, a 2-year-old boy named Yahya, who was waiting outside in the hallway.

Judge Ameri asked, “Are you innocent or guilty?”

“I’m innocent,” Ms. Ismail replied.

The judge sentenced her to death.

Ms. Ismail accepted her fate with a smile. “This means I will finally go to heaven,” she said.

Mother and child left the courthouse under armed guard. It was unclear what would happen to the child.

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At the Justice Dept.’s Death Penalty Unit, Accusations of Favoritism, Gender Bias and Unwanted Groping


“The Department of Justice takes these allegations extremely seriously but cannot discuss specific employee disciplinary actions, or comment on internally handled personnel actions or matters that may impact personal privacy,” said Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman. The department confirmed that it referred some allegations made by employees to the inspector general, whose spokesman would not confirm or deny any investigation.

The unit is poised to gain power. President Trump has suggested the United States start executing drug dealers, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has urged prosecutors to seek the death penalty whenever possible in drug-related crimes.

A Mercurial Boss

The Justice Department created the capital case section in 1998 to help the attorney general decide when to apply capital punishment. The section’s prosecutors advise or work with trial teams on cases and a few trials a year. They were involved in some high-profile prosecutions like those of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, and Dylann S. Roof, who was convicted in 2016 of murdering nine people at an African-American church in South Carolina.

As the death penalty fell out of favor in the United States, the influence of the unit, already one of the smallest in the Justice Department, waned. About half a dozen trial lawyers worked there in the beginning of 2012, along with a lawyer conducting protocol reviews and three others on loan from different parts of the department.

Mr. Carwile had arrived just before the public learned of the Fast and Furious scandal, a botched operation in which agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let criminals move guns across the border into Mexico to try to build a bigger case. Many of the firearms were later found at crime scenes. Mr. Carwile incorrectly told superiors that the A.T.F. learned about guns moving illegally only after the fact, according to a subsequent inspector general investigation. He was moved from his post as head of the gangs unit to the much smaller capital punishment division.

Photo

Kevin Carwile arrived to run the Justice Department’s death penalty division in 2010.

He quickly gained a reputation as a mercurial manager with a hands-off style that bordered on neglect, according to current and former employees. He rarely responded to emails, four former employees said, and in meetings his questions revealed that he had not read their messages.

But after his first year, Mr. Carwile received the Excellence in Management award for the criminal division as the section’s lawyers prosecuted more cases.

In 2013, Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss, a prosecutor who had herself won one of the department’s highest awards, complained to human resources that Mr. Carwile expected her to involuntarily travel far more than her male counterparts.

Though she lived in Connecticut and had cases in Rhode Island and Vermont, he assigned her to one in California. She protested that her family needed her nearby. Her husband, an F.B.I. agent, was one of the first on the scene of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and was confronting the aftermath of having worked on the case.

Ms. Rodriguez-Coss filed a complaint to the E.E.O.C., which notified the Justice Department. Mr. Carwile subsequently suspended permission for her to work from Connecticut. She sued the department in 2016, accusing him of gender discrimination and claiming that her permission to work in Connecticut was taken away in retaliation for her complaints.

Seven men and women from the unit filed declarations in her support. Two male colleagues said that they had not been assigned so much travel. Bruce R. Hegyi, a former prosecutor, wrote that he left because of “plainly unethical and improper conduct.”

He said in his filing that Mr. Carwile promoted “a sexualized environment,” took him to a restaurant with scantily clad waitresses and let a fellow prosecutor show naked photographs of a woman during a work gathering of both men and women.

Other employees said in their declarations that Mr. Carwile held men-only meetings, sent emails only to men and assigned more desirable and high-profile cases to men. “Women only go to law school to find rich husbands,” he said, according to a declaration filed by one lawyer, Amanda Haines.

Under Mr. Carwile, there was incentive “not to not stir things up,” said Kevin Little, the lawyer representing Ms. Rodriguez-Coss.

“My client and other of her colleagues feared retaliation,” he said.

The Justice Department said in its response that Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s claims “boil down to her admitted refusal to perform the essential requirements of her position,” which included taking on cases that required travel.

Life-or-Death Cases in the Balance

Around the same time, Ms. Haines, who worked as a federal prosecutor for 18 years before joining the division, alerted Mr. Carwile to persistent work-quality issues, warnings that she later described in a court filing.

In one case in Pennsylvania, she said, she received no files describing the government’s work by the previous prosecutor, despite numerous requests, and dozens of boxes with discovery materials had sat unreviewed.

She told Mr. Carwile and Mr. Kinsey, but the problem went unaddressed. Her colleague instead received a plum assignment: the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

In the Indiana case, Ms. Haines said her predecessor interviewed over a dozen witnesses without a law enforcement officer or other witness present, an error that could jeopardize the government’s work. She said in a legal filing that the prosecutor, who later won a departmental award, destroyed his interview notes, which he initially denied but later acknowledged.

After Ms. Haines took her concerns to Mr. Carwile, a colleague shared them in an email with Sung-Hee Suh, then the deputy assistant attorney general.

Ms. Haines also described the errors in a declaration filed in Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s lawsuit. After her accusations became public, defense lawyers in the Indiana case pushed back on the government’s recommendation to seek the death penalty for their client, Andrew Rogers, a felon accused of tying up his cellmate and stabbing him to death.

The notes the prosecutor is accused of destroying could have been the difference “between a verdict for life and a verdict for death,” the defense wrote in a brief in January.

“If you pull on the thread, who knows how many cases could be impacted?” said Mr. Little, Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s lawyer.

Photo

A portion of a brief filed by defense lawyers for Andrew Rogers, a felon accused of tying up his cellmate and stabbing him to death.

‘Unwelcome Liberties’

Two years ago, another prosecutor in the section, Ann Carroll, was asked to travel for work after she had surgery. Around that time, she learned that a male colleague was allowed to forgo travel to accommodate his gluten intolerance.

“Over the 20 years I had worked at the Department of Justice, I had never experienced a complete lack of sensitivity in the immediate aftermath of a serious medical illness,” Ms. Carroll wrote in a declaration. “I felt Mr. Carwile’s response was arbitrary, and gender-based.” She quit that June.

Before departing, Ms. Carroll said she described ethical violations to Ms. Suh, prompting a management review. Four former and current employees said in court declarations and to The Times that they told Ms. Suh and James Mann, the chief of staff to the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, about the mishandled cases, sexualized culture and gender bias.

Ms. Suh ultimately said that Mr. Carwile and Mr. Kinsey, as a result of the review, were “now doing their best,” according to Mr. Hegyi’s declaration, and she concluded that employees were unhappy because they wanted to work from home, to choose between trials and case reviews, and to be given more ways to bring concerns to management.

Her conclusions dumbfounded employees who said they had shared more serious grievances. A person briefed on the matter said they were not told of steps being taken to address complaints because those were confidential.

Ms. Suh, who now works at the asset manager Pimco, said she could not comment on the details of pending litigation or personnel matters. “Any allegations of misconduct, discrimination, harassment or bias actually brought to my attention were fully and fairly investigated and addressed appropriately,” she said.

The years of warnings that their bosses had ignored or condoned misconduct came to a head last May. During a work-sanctioned happy hour at a restaurant near the Justice Department, colleagues watched Mr. Kinsey grope the administrative assistant, Alyssa tenBroek.

“Mr. Kinsey, who is a married man, began to take what seemed very clearly to be unwelcome liberties of a physical, sexual nature,” Luke Woolman, an intern at the time, wrote in his declaration. He said Mr. Kinsey repeatedly touched Ms. tenBroek, whom he identified as A.T., “inappropriately, openly and obviously” in front of patrons, Mr. Carwile and at least one other Justice Department prosecutor.

Mr. Woolman and the prosecutor, Sonia Jimenez, suggested everyone go home, he later told Ms. Haines. Ms. Jimenez tried to discourage Mr. Kinsey from trying to persuade Ms. tenBroek to go to a hotel with him, according to an internal memo by Ms. Haines.

Photo

A portion of the declaration by Luke Woolman, an intern at the time in the death penalty division.

As the night wound down, Mr. Carwile pulled aside Mr. Woolman and asked him not to tell anyone what he had seen.

“He sternly reiterated his request, specifically stating that he was being serious,” Mr. Woolman wrote.

Fallout From a Night Out

After that night, tensions in the unit exploded into view. Ms. tenBroek showed colleagues text messages from Mr. Kinsey in which he offered to give her money, pay her bills or take her on a trip. He also sent her photos of herself that he had downloaded from the internet.

He signed off “XOXOXOX,” according to Ms. Haines’s memo. In other messages, he appeared to apologize.

Ms. tenBroek later told Ms. Haines and Julie Mosley, another prosecutor, that Mr. Kinsey groped her again in the cab and tried to coerce her into checking into a hotel.

Ms. Mosley told the E.E.O.C., and Ms. Haines sent her memo to superiors at the Justice Department. “I trust you will give this matter the serious attention it deserves,” she wrote. Mr. Woolman said in a court filing that he shared his story with Mr. Mann and an investigator from the inspector general’s office.

Ms. tenBroek did not dispute her co-workers’ accounts and said in a statement that she had participated in the department’s “lengthy and taxing” complaint process. She has since left the agency.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career with the Department of Justice, but it failed me when I reported misconduct,” she said. “No woman should feel compelled to deal with the pervasive harassment that I experienced, much less have her complaint be effectively disregarded.”

The department’s inspector general began investigating, and Mr. Kinsey was demoted and moved to another division. He is appealing. A person close to Mr. Kinsey said that evidence in another investigation is favorable to him, but would not say who was conducting that inquiry.

Current and former employees said the public understandably expects death penalty cases to be handled with integrity. As Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump push for more capital punishments, the section’s history, they say, could work against the Justice Department.

The same month as the happy hour, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, sent a memo to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. Sexual harassment, he wrote, “profoundly affects the victim and affects the agency’s reputation, undermines the agency’s credibility, and lowers employee productivity and morale.”

Continue reading the main story

At the Justice Dept.’s Death Penalty Unit, Accusations of Favoritism, Gender Bias and Unwanted Groping


“The Department of Justice takes these allegations extremely seriously but cannot discuss specific employee disciplinary actions, or comment on internally handled personnel actions or matters that may impact personal privacy,” said Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman. The department confirmed that it referred some allegations made by employees to the inspector general, whose spokesman would not confirm or deny any investigation.

The unit is poised to gain power. President Trump has suggested the United States start executing drug dealers, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has urged prosecutors to seek the death penalty whenever possible in drug-related crimes.

A Mercurial Boss

The Justice Department created the capital case section in 1998 to help the attorney general decide when to apply capital punishment. The section’s prosecutors advise or work with trial teams on cases and a few trials a year. They were involved in some high-profile prosecutions like those of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, and Dylann S. Roof, who was convicted in 2016 of murdering nine people at an African-American church in South Carolina.

As the death penalty fell out of favor in the United States, the influence of the unit, already one of the smallest in the Justice Department, waned. About half a dozen trial lawyers worked there in the beginning of 2012, along with a lawyer conducting protocol reviews and three others on loan from different parts of the department.

Mr. Carwile had arrived just before the public learned of the Fast and Furious scandal, a botched operation in which agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let criminals move guns across the border into Mexico to try to build a bigger case. Many of the firearms were later found at crime scenes. Mr. Carwile incorrectly told superiors that the A.T.F. learned about guns moving illegally only after the fact, according to a subsequent inspector general investigation. He was moved from his post as head of the gangs unit to the much smaller capital punishment division.

Photo

Kevin Carwile arrived to run the Justice Department’s death penalty division in 2010.

He quickly gained a reputation as a mercurial manager with a hands-off style that bordered on neglect, according to current and former employees. He rarely responded to emails, four former employees said, and in meetings his questions revealed that he had not read their messages.

But after his first year, Mr. Carwile received the Excellence in Management award for the criminal division as the section’s lawyers prosecuted more cases.

In 2013, Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss, a prosecutor who had herself won one of the department’s highest awards, complained to human resources that Mr. Carwile expected her to involuntarily travel far more than her male counterparts.

Though she lived in Connecticut and had cases in Rhode Island and Vermont, he assigned her to one in California. She protested that her family needed her nearby. Her husband, an F.B.I. agent, was one of the first on the scene of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and was confronting the aftermath of having worked on the case.

Ms. Rodriguez-Coss filed a complaint to the E.E.O.C., which notified the Justice Department. Mr. Carwile subsequently suspended permission for her to work from Connecticut. She sued the department in 2016, accusing him of gender discrimination and claiming that her permission to work in Connecticut was taken away in retaliation for her complaints.

Seven men and women from the unit filed declarations in her support. Two male colleagues said that they had not been assigned so much travel. Bruce R. Hegyi, a former prosecutor, wrote that he left because of “plainly unethical and improper conduct.”

He said in his filing that Mr. Carwile promoted “a sexualized environment,” took him to a restaurant with scantily clad waitresses and let a fellow prosecutor show naked photographs of a woman during a work gathering of both men and women.

Other employees said in their declarations that Mr. Carwile held men-only meetings, sent emails only to men and assigned more desirable and high-profile cases to men. “Women only go to law school to find rich husbands,” he said, according to a declaration filed by one lawyer, Amanda Haines.

Under Mr. Carwile, there was incentive “not to not stir things up,” said Kevin Little, the lawyer representing Ms. Rodriguez-Coss.

“My client and other of her colleagues feared retaliation,” he said.

The Justice Department said in its response that Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s claims “boil down to her admitted refusal to perform the essential requirements of her position,” which included taking on cases that required travel.

Life-or-Death Cases in the Balance

Around the same time, Ms. Haines, who worked as a federal prosecutor for 18 years before joining the division, alerted Mr. Carwile to persistent work-quality issues, warnings that she later described in a court filing.

In one case in Pennsylvania, she said, she received no files describing the government’s work by the previous prosecutor, despite numerous requests, and dozens of boxes with discovery materials had sat unreviewed.

She told Mr. Carwile and Mr. Kinsey, but the problem went unaddressed. Her colleague instead received a plum assignment: the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

In the Indiana case, Ms. Haines said her predecessor interviewed over a dozen witnesses without a law enforcement officer or other witness present, an error that could jeopardize the government’s work. She said in a legal filing that the prosecutor, who later won a departmental award, destroyed his interview notes, which he initially denied but later acknowledged.

After Ms. Haines took her concerns to Mr. Carwile, a colleague shared them in an email with Sung-Hee Suh, then the deputy assistant attorney general.

Ms. Haines also described the errors in a declaration filed in Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s lawsuit. After her accusations became public, defense lawyers in the Indiana case pushed back on the government’s recommendation to seek the death penalty for their client, Andrew Rogers, a felon accused of tying up his cellmate and stabbing him to death.

The notes the prosecutor is accused of destroying could have been the difference “between a verdict for life and a verdict for death,” the defense wrote in a brief in January.

“If you pull on the thread, who knows how many cases could be impacted?” said Mr. Little, Ms. Rodriguez-Coss’s lawyer.

Photo

A portion of a brief filed by defense lawyers for Andrew Rogers, a felon accused of tying up his cellmate and stabbing him to death.

‘Unwelcome Liberties’

Two years ago, another prosecutor in the section, Ann Carroll, was asked to travel for work after she had surgery. Around that time, she learned that a male colleague was allowed to forgo travel to accommodate his gluten intolerance.

“Over the 20 years I had worked at the Department of Justice, I had never experienced a complete lack of sensitivity in the immediate aftermath of a serious medical illness,” Ms. Carroll wrote in a declaration. “I felt Mr. Carwile’s response was arbitrary, and gender-based.” She quit that June.

Before departing, Ms. Carroll said she described ethical violations to Ms. Suh, prompting a management review. Four former and current employees said in court declarations and to The Times that they told Ms. Suh and James Mann, the chief of staff to the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, about the mishandled cases, sexualized culture and gender bias.

Ms. Suh ultimately said that Mr. Carwile and Mr. Kinsey, as a result of the review, were “now doing their best,” according to Mr. Hegyi’s declaration, and she concluded that employees were unhappy because they wanted to work from home, to choose between trials and case reviews, and to be given more ways to bring concerns to management.

Her conclusions dumbfounded employees who said they had shared more serious grievances. A person briefed on the matter said they were not told of steps being taken to address complaints because those were confidential.

Ms. Suh, who now works at the asset manager Pimco, said she could not comment on the details of pending litigation or personnel matters. “Any allegations of misconduct, discrimination, harassment or bias actually brought to my attention were fully and fairly investigated and addressed appropriately,” she said.

The years of warnings that their bosses had ignored or condoned misconduct came to a head last May. During a work-sanctioned happy hour at a restaurant near the Justice Department, colleagues watched Mr. Kinsey grope the administrative assistant, Alyssa tenBroek.

“Mr. Kinsey, who is a married man, began to take what seemed very clearly to be unwelcome liberties of a physical, sexual nature,” Luke Woolman, an intern at the time, wrote in his declaration. He said Mr. Kinsey repeatedly touched Ms. tenBroek, whom he identified as A.T., “inappropriately, openly and obviously” in front of patrons, Mr. Carwile and at least one other Justice Department prosecutor.

Mr. Woolman and the prosecutor, Sonia Jimenez, suggested everyone go home, he later told Ms. Haines. Ms. Jimenez tried to discourage Mr. Kinsey from trying to persuade Ms. tenBroek to go to a hotel with him, according to an internal memo by Ms. Haines.

Photo

A portion of the declaration by Luke Woolman, an intern at the time in the death penalty division.

As the night wound down, Mr. Carwile pulled aside Mr. Woolman and asked him not to tell anyone what he had seen.

“He sternly reiterated his request, specifically stating that he was being serious,” Mr. Woolman wrote.

Fallout From a Night Out

After that night, tensions in the unit exploded into view. Ms. tenBroek showed colleagues text messages from Mr. Kinsey in which he offered to give her money, pay her bills or take her on a trip. He also sent her photos of herself that he had downloaded from the internet.

He signed off “XOXOXOX,” according to Ms. Haines’s memo. In other messages, he appeared to apologize.

Ms. tenBroek later told Ms. Haines and Julie Mosley, another prosecutor, that Mr. Kinsey groped her again in the cab and tried to coerce her into checking into a hotel.

Ms. Mosley told the E.E.O.C., and Ms. Haines sent her memo to superiors at the Justice Department. “I trust you will give this matter the serious attention it deserves,” she wrote. Mr. Woolman said in a court filing that he shared his story with Mr. Mann and an investigator from the inspector general’s office.

Ms. tenBroek did not dispute her co-workers’ accounts and said in a statement that she had participated in the department’s “lengthy and taxing” complaint process. She has since left the agency.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career with the Department of Justice, but it failed me when I reported misconduct,” she said. “No woman should feel compelled to deal with the pervasive harassment that I experienced, much less have her complaint be effectively disregarded.”

The department’s inspector general began investigating, and Mr. Kinsey was demoted and moved to another division. He is appealing. A person close to Mr. Kinsey said that evidence in another investigation is favorable to him, but would not say who was conducting that inquiry.

Current and former employees said the public understandably expects death penalty cases to be handled with integrity. As Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump push for more capital punishments, the section’s history, they say, could work against the Justice Department.

The same month as the happy hour, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, sent a memo to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. Sexual harassment, he wrote, “profoundly affects the victim and affects the agency’s reputation, undermines the agency’s credibility, and lowers employee productivity and morale.”

Continue reading the main story

Op-Ed Contributor: The War on Drugs Breeds Crafty Traffickers


Photo

A police investigator in Manila examines the body of a man, a summary execution victim, found dumped on the side of the road in 2016 with his hands tied behind his back and his head wrapped in packaging tape.

Credit
Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Politicians often escalate drug war rhetoric to show voters that they are doing something. But it is rare to ignore generations of lessons as President Trump did earlier this month when he announced his support for the execution of drug traffickers.

This idea is insane. But the war on drugs has never made any sense to begin with.

Executing a few individual smugglers will do little to stop others because there is no high command of the international drug trade to target, no generals who can order a coordinated surrender of farmers, traffickers, money launderers, dealers or users. The drug trade is diffuse and can span thousands of miles from producer to consumer. People enter the drug economy for all sorts of reasons — poverty, greed, addiction — and because they believe they will get away with it. Most people do. The death penalty only hurts the small portion of people who are caught (often themselves minorities and low-level mules).

Indeed, on the ground, the threat of execution will even help those who aren’t caught because they can charge an increased risk premium to the next person in the smuggling chain. The risk of capture and punishment increases as drugs move from farm to processing lab, traversing jungles, through cities, across oceans, past borders, distributed by dealers and purchased by consumers. The greater the risk to smugglers in this chain, the more they can demand in payment.

Without the drug war, substances like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth are minimally processed agricultural and chemical commodities that cost pennies per dose to manufacture. But lawmakers have invented a modern alchemy called drug prohibition, which transforms relatively worthless products into priceless commodities for which people are willing to kill or die.

The kind of get-tough measures that may give one country leverage against another have little effect among individual actors who need only to move drugs through their own segment of the supply chain. Indeed, by making the drugs ever more valuable, they have only amplified the motivational feedback loop of the very people lawmakers are trying to stop.

An overreliance on intensive policing over the decades has also produced a rapid Darwinian evolution of the drug trade. The people we have typically captured tend to be the ones who are dumb enough to get caught. They may have violated operational security, bragged too much, lived conspicuous lifestyles or engaged in turf wars. The ones we usually miss tend to be the most innovative, adaptable and cunning. We have picked off their clumsy competition for them and opened up that lucrative economic trafficking space to the most efficient organizations. It is as though we have had a decades-long policy of selectively breeding supertraffickers and ensuring the “survival of the fittest.”

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