Officials conspired to spy on private citizens
City Manager James K. Spore and Virginia Marine Science Museum Director Mac Rawls conspired to conduct domestic spying to gather political information on law abiding citizens in Dolphin Liberty, top city officials confirmed to Virginia News Source.
The citizen group's only crime was to oppose museum plans to build a $55 million taxpayer-financed tank to display captive dolphins.
Neither Spore, Rawls, nor Police Chief Alfred (Jake) Jacocks Jr. deny the allegation. All were given an opportunity to deny or discuss the allegation, but refused to do so.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a freedom of information suit for the 'dolphin documents' being kept from the public, there was a memo by Paul J. Siegel, VMSM director of development, raising the question of domestic spying.
One official said, "The whole thing was a massive conspiracy against the public by government officials and a cover-up. Taxpayers should be outraged over this as much as anything else."
Jacocks took all the heat when the operation's cover was blown. He denied he'd been ordered by superiors to conduct political spying.
Jacocks ordered policewoman Susan Daniels McAndrews to violate the sanctity of a church (Eastern Shore Chapel) to secretly gather information on Dolphin Liberty under the guise of phony public safety issues.
One official defending Spore said, "That just didn't happen." When it was pointed out nobody said Spore gave a direct order to spy, but had engaged in obfuscating conversations about the situation, the official fell silent. The official was advised that city department heads explained:
"How'd the order go out? Typical Spore fashion with a knowing wink and a nod, in a conversation similar to this: 'What do we know about this group?' 'Who are these people?' 'I think we should keep an eye on them.' 'Jake, we ought to find out what we can,'" one department head explained.
"It was discussed that the city could legitimately do this by hiding behind concerns about public safety and security because this band of little ole gray-haired citizens might be animal rights activists. Most of those involved in Dolphin Liberty were prominent Virginia Beach citizens before most of these bozo bureaucrats were even born," he source said.
This isn't the first time Spore has turned on dissident citizens. Last year in a highly publicized event, he went around town ripping down signs of citizens opposed to plans for a 4-star hotel on city property at 31st Street.
One official said, "This is a blow to constitutionally protected freedom and is nothing short of abuse of power. The cover up is like what Nixon tried to do with Watergate."
A high placed official in the Police Department told VNS, "Jake Jacocks wouldn't have done something like that without being told to."
Jacocks got McAndrews, a spy who couldn't remember her cover name from one undercover meeting to the next, to do the dirty deed. (McAndrews signed attendance logs under two (2) different names on two (2) different occasions).
Obviously embarrassed by the whole sordid affair, Spore and Rawls, who had a history of hiding or obfuscating pertinent information about city officials basically lying to the public about museum plans, had to be hauled into court by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to expose the scope of the cover-up.
Through all the ensuing publicity, both Spore and Rawls escaped media questioning or scrutiny with all the attention focused on Jacocks and elected officials (some of whom were vaguely aware of the under cover mission).
Public Spy No. 1
Susan Douglas McAndrews, the undercover policewoman who violated the sanctity of a church to conduct political spying for her superiors, has a special relationship with the Virginia Marine Science Museum.
She held her wedding reception at the Virginia Marine Science Museum in November of last year, but officials were initially reluctant to talk about it.
Alice Scanlan, VMSM PAO, finally acknowledged McAndrews paid $650 "like everyone else" for use of the facility. She didn't get it free."
A veteran working out of the supposedly secret Special Investigations Division, McAndrews seems to have trouble with details: First, she couldn't remember what name she used in her two missions to Dolphin Liberty meetings at Eastern Shore Chapel; and secondly, she told her superiors she didn't know her picture was being taken by a Beacon photographer for publication. (The photographer wasn't undercover).
She thought the photographer was with the school system and interested in her participation in the Seatack Elementary School's mentoring program, she told her superiors, who were admittedly unhappy with her.
And Chief Jacocks doesn't know when an undercover spy becomes public. Apparently embarrassed by the Beacon's photo, he wasn't about to release an official photo to VNS.
Police hide evidence in plain sight