— Published with Permission of FreeRangeReport.com —
The subordinate told us he felt morally wrong about deleting the emails, but he did not discuss his feelings with the senior manager. He stated that he was “not going to tell a senior law enforcement [manager] no” because he felt that doing so might jeopardize his employment. He also said the senior manager was very intimidating, manipulative, and controlling…
Although Dan Love’s history of malfeasance and cruelty reaches years into the past, as documented in an earlier FRR article, the Interior Department’s Inspector General (OIG) investigation into his official misconduct deals only with instances reported by other personnel who worked directly with him. Referred to as ‘Senior BLM Law Enforcement Manager’ (senior manager) in the OIG’s report, issued on August 24, 2017, Love’s acts of misconduct range from theft, to evidence tampering, to destruction of federal records.
Dan Love ordered a subordinate to take geological oddities, known as ‘Moqui marbles,’ from evidence so he could give them as a gift to a contractor who was doing work for the BLM Office of Law Enforcement Services (OLES). The Moqui marbles had been confiscated and placed into evidence as part of a criminal investigation of theft from a national park. Between 2012, when the Moqui marbles were seized, and 2016, Love handed them out to numerous BLM agents and OLES personnel. The objects stolen and distributed by Love held significant market value. According to the report:
In 2012, BLM OLES special agents seized thousands of moqui marbles as evidence during an investigation into allegations that the marbles had been collected illegally from a national park. These marbles were eventually stored in the OLES evidence room, located in the BLM State Office in Salt Lake City.
After the marbles were seized, the BLM asked a University of Utah professor who has studied the moqui marbles (see Figure) at the park to inspect the seized marbles, determine whether they were unique to the park, and estimate their dollar value.
We interviewed the professor and reviewed her February 2013 report on the seized marbles as part of our investigation. The report concluded that, based on their physical characteristics (golf-ball size, shapes, patina, etc.) and abundance, the seized marbles did come from the park. The report estimated the total wholesale value of the seized marbles at between $80,000 and $260,000, with a total retail value of $160,000 to $520,000.
The subordinate whom Dan Love instructed to remove the marbles was intimidated by him. According to the report:
The subordinate told us he “had a bad feeling” about removing the marbles from evidence, but he did not question the instructions because the senior manager was a law enforcement official and was “scary.” The subordinate said he knew at the time the marbles were evidence in an ongoing criminal prosecution.
Love distributed the stolen Moqui marbles to coworkers and in so doing implied that he could use his position to subvert potential prosecution. According to the report:
The budget analyst said that a week later she saw the contractor in the OLES office. She said the contractor excitedly showed her two or three marbles he was holding and said to her, “Hey, I’m not supposed to say anything, but … look at what [the senior manager] gave me.” He told her that the senior manager had also given him a business card and said he could use it like a “get-out-of-jail-free card” if he ever got into trouble.
The budget analyst said that a couple of days later, she asked the senior manager if he had given the contractor some marbles. She said he responded, “Shh! Don’t say anything. If you say it too loud, [a BLM State ranger whose office was nearby] will hear, and he’ll call OIG.”
It appears Love may have attempted to bribe or appease an OLES director with three Moqui marbles. According to the report:
Sal Lauro, the former OLES director, told us that shortly after he briefed his then-supervisor, BLM Deputy Director Steven Ellis, about the OLES moqui marble case, he received three marbles. He was certain the senior manager gave them to him but could not recall whether he did so in person, by mail, or via a coworker. He said he had no reason to believe that the senior manager would have removed these marbles from evidence, and he assumed they had been obtained from a university for educational purposes. During our investigation, we took custody of these marbles and placed them in our evidence room.
We interviewed another former OLES official, who said that he saw three marbles on Lauro’s desk one day and asked what they were. The official said he later said to the senior manager, “Oh yeah, great. So you give the boss [Lauro] gifts, but you don’t give any to me.” According to the official, a few months later the senior manager gave him three marbles. We took custody of these marbles and placed them in our evidence room as well.
In violation of Federal Information Security Policy and DOI Rules of Behavior, Love, on several occasions, ordered subordinates to delete emails which were part of an official document request related to an employment matter. According to the report:
The subordinate said the senior manager was logged on to his (the senior manager‘s) computer at the time and showed him what to search for. He said the senior manager also said to show him any emails “that could be bad” for the senior manager so that the senior manager could review them before they were included in the response. He understood these instructions to mean any email where the senior manager wrote anything demeaning or inappropriate. The subordinate said he deleted a few emails from the search results, printed the rest and put them in a binder, and flagged some of them with sticky notes for the senior manager to review.
About a week or two later, the subordinate said, a second request for emails was received, this time with a longer date range, and the senior manager again had him sit at the senior manager’s Dell computer and review his email. The subordinate said he reviewed the senior manager’s emails and had his PIV card and PIN for about 4 days. He said the senior manager told him to “scrub” the emails; based on the previous email search, the subordinate understood this to mean he was to delete inappropriate emails. He said he again deleted some emails from the search results, then printed and flagged others and placed them in a binder for the senior manager to review.
The OLES contract specialist explained to us that the senior manager instructed her and the subordinate to go through the senior manager’s email account and flag emails “that could get him [the senior manager] in trouble.” She and the subordinate searched for and printed copies of all pertinent emails and placed them into binders to provide to the BLM official. She said the subordinate did most of the flagging and she did not recall any specific emails flagged.
The OLES budget analyst also confirmed during her interview that she heard the senior manager tell his subordinate to search the senior manager’s email for anything related to the employment matter, and to print and flag emails the subordinate thought were “inappropriate.”
Love ordered a subordinate to delete emails which had been requested as part of a Congressional inquiry. The subordinate felt Love was ‘intimidating, manipulative, and controlling,” and he did not report the deletions to OLES officials due to Love’s close relationship to them. According to the report:
The subordinate told us he felt morally wrong about deleting the emails, but he did not discuss his feelings with the senior manager. He stated that he was “not going to tell a senior law enforcement [manager] no” because he felt that doing so might jeopardize his employment. He also said the senior manager was very intimidating, manipulative, and controlling, and he did not believe he could report the matter to Lauro or other OLES officials because the senior manager was “very, very close” to them.
The OLES budget analyst and contract specialist confirmed during their interviews that the senior manager was fully aware his subordinate was deleting emails. The budget analyst said the senior manager told her that BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis had been disgusted by “unprofessional” emails from the senior manager about one of the matters under congressional inquiry. She said the senior manager asked her, “Do you know if [my subordinate] has gone through everything? Do you know if he’s gotten rid of what he should [have]?” In addition, the contract specialist confirmed that she had heard the senior manager use the word “scrub” when telling the subordinate to go through his email. She said that, to her, this meant the subordinate should not include certain emails in the senior manager’s response to the request.
Love may have destroyed computers containing information potentially damaging to him. According to the report:
Our review of OLES property receipts showed that the senior manager had been issued two MacBook computers. We contacted him in order to secure his Government-owned computer equipment for our investigation, but he informed us that he was unable to locate either of the MacBooks. The OLES budget analyst, the contract specialist, and a BLM special agent subsequently informed us that the senior manager had stated to them on several occasions that the MacBook he used would “disappear” or be reported as broken if “things ever get bad” or if anyone “comes after” him or his job.
We learned that the BLM reviewed the matter and found in early 2017 that both of the MacBooks assigned to the senior manager had been lost due to his negligence.
The OIG summary report was released on August 24, one day after Utah Congressman, Rob Bishop (Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources) sent a letter to Mary Kendall, the Deputy Inspector General for the Interior Department, demanding a copy of the unredacted report within 24 hours. The matters of theft, evidence tampering, deletion of official documents, and bullying subordinates into breaking the law are despicable. But Love’s reign of terror began years earlier while he was involved with Operation Cerberus, a so-called antiquities sting in the Southwest, which in 2009 devastated dozens of families, and lead to the deaths of four men. Despite these revelations from the OIG’s investigation, questions remain about if, when and how Dan Love will be held fully accountable.