- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2008

The former counterterrorism officer for the Defense Logistics Agency’s headquarters at Fort Belvoir pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges that he ordered official police credentials for a business associate.

Edward Flanagan, who also had served as a security operations chief at the defense agency, told a co-worker that he ordered the fake credentials as gifts for future business ventures, according to filings in federal court in Alexandria.

Flanagan, 46, faced felony charges that carry up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Under sentencing guidelines, his attorney said, he could get 33 to 41 months in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee accepted Flanagan’s guilty plea yesterday and set his sentencing for March.

Flanagan and his attorney, Kenneth P. Troccoli, declined to comment after the hearing.

According to court records, Flanagan worked as the security operations chief at the agency, an arm of the Department of Defense that supplies tens of billions of dollars in supplies to U.S. troops.

He also told an investigator that he had a part-time job working for restaurant owner Osama El-Atari and his brother, records show.

An affidavit filed by a Defense Department criminal investigator stated that Flanagan said he gave Mr. El-Atari an official agency police badge in what he hoped might be seen as a gift for future business opportunities. Mr. El-Atari is a restaurateur in Northern Virginia.

The affidavit also stated that Virginia alcohol control regulators contacted the Defense Department because Mr. El-Atari had included a badge from the agency in an application for liquor licenses at two restaurants.

Flanagan also said the badge was a gift for El-Atari for his help in red teaming exercises, which the court documents call a form of testing to asses vulnerabilities and limitations of systems and structures. Agency officials said Flanagan wasn’t authorized to conduct any red teaming drills.

Mr. El-Atari pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in the case earlier this year and agreed to pay a $500 fine.

Mr. El-Atari yesterday said he was doing volunteer work for Flanagan as an interpreter at the agency. He said he was given an official badge and was sworn in by Flanagan.

He said he thought the credentials were issued legitimately so he included them in the application to the state liquor board, which he said ultimately approved the liquor licenses.

Later, Mr. El-Atari said, he had second thoughts about the situation and contacted authorities to ask whether the credentials were legitimate.

Flanagan admitted he made a badge for Mr. El-Atari’s brother, who is also in the restaurant industry.

An agency spokesman said Flanagan was a civilian employee and resigned from his position as counterterrorism officer for the agency’s headquarters complex in March.

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