Karl Dean: Trooper di­vulged itin­er­ary to Lee camp

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - REGION - BY NATALIE AL­LI­SON USA TO­DAY NET­WORK-TEN­NESSEE

Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial nom­i­nee Mayor Karl Dean said Fri­day that the De­part­ment of Safety & Home­land Se­cu­rity never in­formed his cam­paign of a breach of con­fi­den­tial­ity last month by a Ten­nessee High­way Pa­trol trooper as­signed to can­di­date se­cu­rity.

In­stead, Dean said in an in­ter­view it was a whistle­blower from in­side the de­part­ment who let his cam­paign know some­thing was amiss.

“We weren’t told about this,” Dean said. “When this hap­pened, we didn’t get a call from the De­part­ment of Safety say­ing, ‘Some­thing has gone wrong. We want you to know about it.’

“They weren’t com­ing forth with this stuff. We had to go and get it.”

In re­sponse to an in­quiry Fri­day, De­part­ment of Safety & Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman Wes­ley Moster said the agency “did its job and fol­lowed nor­mal pro­ce­dures” and that the “case is closed.”

The de­part­ment re­peat­edly de­clined to an­swer a ques­tion about when it in­formed the Dean cam­paign about the breach.

Dean said that af­ter learn­ing about the in­ci­dent from the whistle­blower, his cam­paign staff met with de­part­ment Com­mis­sioner David Purkey.

In a state­ment ear­lier this week, Purkey said he dis­ci­plined the trooper af­ter learn­ing he had vi­o­lated a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment. He said he apol­o­gized to both cam­paigns.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments from the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Purkey in­formed Trooper An­thony Bull on Sept. 25 that he would be sus­pended with­out pay for one day for hav­ing shown “a com­plete dis­re­gard” for de­part­ment poli­cies and pro­ce­dures.

De­part­ment of Safety & Home­land Se­cu­rity doc­u­ments show that Bull was as­signed Sept. 7 to the Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­tec­tion Unit for Dean and Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Bill Lee, who each had sep­a­rate events in East Ten­nessee.

Bull dis­closed to Lee’s RV driver that he would be work­ing with the Dean cam­paign later in the day and “di­vulged lo­ca­tions”

of where Dean would be trav­el­ing, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

Bull had men­tioned to the driver that morn­ing that Dean was at­tend­ing a “Mus­lim event” in Knoxville, which was a meet and greet at a falafel restau­rant that had been listed as such on­line by the Dean cam­paign.

Later that day, Lt. Lester Do­lente, who helps over­see the gu­ber­na­to­rial se­cu­rity de­tail, was trav­el­ing with Lee when he heard the RV driver talk­ing about the in­for­ma­tion Bull had passed along re­gard­ing Dean’s sched­ule, the records show.

“The nom­i­nee heard the staff mem­ber’s in­quiry and stated im­me­di­ately, ‘I would love to have a photo of that,’” Do­lente wrote in a memo sum­ma­riz­ing the in­ci­dent and ob­tained by the USA To­day Net­work-Ten­nessee.

A Lee cam­paign staff mem­ber then “jok­ingly” asked Do­lente if he could have a “trooper take a photo for us,” ac­cord­ing to the memo.

“I was caught off guard and didn’t know how to re­spond,” Do­lente wrote.

An­other doc­u­ment, a sum­mary of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, stated Lee jok­ingly asked a trooper whether a fel­low trooper could take a photo.

In a memo Bull wrote a week af­ter the in­ci­dent, he said Do­lente had in­formed him “he had heard a state­ment from the Bill Lee cam­paign stat­ing that they wished they could get a pic­ture of the other party in­side a mosque,” re­fer­ring to Dean, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

On Fri­day, Dean crit­i­cized the Lee cam­paign’s re­sponse to the in­ci­dent, in which Lee’s spokesper­son said he had “no rec­ol­lec­tion of the con­ver­sa­tion be­ing de­scribed in the re­port.”

“I don’t think there can be any doubt, at least in my mind, if you be­lieve the High­way Pa­trol troop­ers — which I do — that this hap­pened,” Dean said.

The re­port in­cluded memos from Do­lente, Bull and Sgt. Ja­son An­des sum­ma­riz­ing what tran­spired.

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