Phil Haney Case: Sheriff Backtracks On Suicide Findings

Amador County Sheriff’s Department investigating the case of former Department of Homeland Security whistleblower Philip Haney issued a press release Sunday, backtracking from earlier statements made by their office that his death was ruled a suicide.

According to Martin A. Ryan, Sheriff – Coroner press release, “Unfortunately, there was misinformation immediately being put out that we have determined Mr. Haney’s death to be a suicide. This is not the case.”

“We are currently in the beginning phase of our investigation and any final determination as to the cause and manner of Mr. Haney’s death would be extremely premature and inappropriate,” the press release stated.”No determination will be made until all the evidence is examined and analyzed.”

Last week, reports surfaced that Haney, 66, “appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Those statements came from the Amador County Sheriff’s Office but then by Sunday the Sheriff’s office backtracked on the statement.

Haney’s body was discovered on Feb. 21, when deputies responded to a call near the area of Highway 124 and Highway 16 in Plymouth, California. The press release stated that Haney was on the ground with a gunshot wound. The firearm was located near Haney’s vehicle, the Sheriff’s office stated.

Haney, whom this reporter knew and worked with on numerous stories years ago, was found with a gunshot would in a “park and ride open area” near State Highway 16 near State Highway 124, in Amador County. It was less than three miles from his home, according to the Sheriff’s office.

The Sheriff’s office has scheduled a forensic autopsy “to be performed by forensic pathologists from the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.”

FBI Called Into Assist With Haney’s Death

Further, the Sheriff’s office has requested assistance from the FBI to help analyze “documents, phone records and a lap top that were recovered from the scene, and Mr. Haney’s RV.”

“We are currently in possession of his vehicle, the firearm located at the scene, and his RV and will be requesting evidence processing assistance from the FBI on those items as well,” the Sheriff’s stated.

According to the press release the Sheriff’s investigators have been canvasing the area where Haney was found and  interviewed neighbors in the RV park on the day of the incident. The Sheriff’s department is also “checking key areas for any video surveillance that may exist from that time,” the press release stated.

The Sheriff’s office noted that an investigation is still ongoing and there has been no determination, as of yet as to the circumstances surrounding Haney’s death.

In Haney’s Own Words, An Editorial He Wrote For The Hill In 2016

‘Amid the chaos of the 2009 holiday travel season, jihadists planned to slaughter 290 innocent travelers on a Christmas Day flight from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan. Twenty-three-year old Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab intended to detonate Northwest Airlines Flight 253, but the explosives in his underwear malfunctioned and brave passengers subdued him until he could be arrested. The graphic and traumatic defeat they planned for the United States failed, that time.

Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”

Most Americans were unaware of the enormous damage to morale at the Department of Homeland Security, where I worked, his condemnation caused. His words infuriated many of us because we knew his administration had been engaged in a bureaucratic effort to destroy the raw material—the actual intelligence we had collected for years, and erase those dots. The dots constitute the intelligence needed to keep Americans safe, and the Obama administration was ordering they be wiped away.

After leaving my 15 year career at DHS, I can no longer be silent about the dangerous state of America’s counter-terror strategy, our leaders’ willingness to compromise the security of citizens for the ideological rigidity of political correctness—and, consequently, our vulnerability to devastating, mass-casualty attack.

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.’

To read Haney’s Full Opinion Editorial go to The Hill. 

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