Allen, Texas – Specialized Risk®, a specialized security consulting and investigations company, announces the release of the report summarizing the incident relating to an adverse media report of Steven Haynes, Founder and Managing Director.
Investigative Report Incident Summary
In the spring of 2014, the Founder and Managing Director of Specialized Risk®, Steven Haynes, was the victim of an unfavorable and sensationalistic investigative report and subsequent story by local news media making accusations that he falsified his military records among other accusations. Based on this report, an investigation was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service in early May of 2014.
Following the full and complete cooperation of Mr. Haynes during the investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas determined that no further investigation or other action of any kind would be taken in the matter. This unwarranted media attack was directed at Mr. Haynes personally over allegations of events that took place over 34 years ago and did not implicate Specialized Risk®, as a company, in any manner. The closure of the federal investigation concludes this incident.
At the time of the incident, Mr. Haynes was performing security and risk consulting services under contract for a North Texas city. Specialized Risk® had been awarded the contract in approximately 2008 and had maintained it continuously since that time. In the normal course of performing the required duties of his position, Mr. Haynes made several decisions and implemented changes that were in the best interest of the client but that angered a highly placed city official. Many weeks after the investigative report aired, Mr. Haynes learned that the city official contacted the local television media investigative reporter and they collaborated for approximately a year on intensely digging into his life for the last 34 years. Mr. Haynes first learned of their intent to attack his reputation when confronted by the reporter and his cameraman/producer as he attempted to exit his vehicle when arriving for work. The reporter shoved a microphone into Mr. Haynes face and began asking rapid fire questions and making inflammatory accusations in an attempt to obtain a response which could be used against him. The two relentlessly pursued Mr. Haynes into his place of employment in a manner we have all seen too many times on television when an innocent victim is attacked by relentless reporters. A day or so prior to the report being aired, Mr. Haynes, along with two city officials, met with the reporter and his producer to answer questions and provide documentation (not available to the reporter through his Freedom of Information Act request to the Navy) to substantiate his explanations and disprove many of the alleged accusations which were made during the meeting. The reporter chose not to reference any of the substantiating documentation or clarifying explanations made during the meeting in his on-air report. An associate who is familiar with how the investigative report process works told Mr. Haynes later that the reporter and producer had invested approximately a years’ worth of time and station resources into developing the report and they had to air some kind of report.
The Investigative Report
We will not go into a lengthy detailed point-by-point analysis for the sake of brevity or to add any credibility to the accusations of this unwarranted media onslaught, however, following the airing of the report, Mr. Haynes and several of his associates conducted a detailed analysis of the report. The report is a sensationalistic pseudo-expose based on alleged improprieties that occurred over 30 years ago. It misrepresents many basic facts and includes a goodly amount of television magic including:
– The use of exaggerated oversized fonts to represent service record entries that are clearly faked which is not consistent with the actual documents.
– Assertions that Mr. Haynes provided the allegedly altered documents to the reporter which is not true.
– The use of supposed letters from the Navy substantiating statements the reporter made as fact in the report including one letter that was blurred out to be unreadable. In fact the only letter the reporter received from the Navy is simply a confirmation from the Navy that they had received the open-records request and not the two separate and distinct, though blurred out, letters supposedly acknowledging the accusations made.
– The ages old trick of cutting off a full answer to a question which would provide context but instead using a few chosen words to slant the response to the story the reporter wants told.
– Asking questions of reportedly outside experts which are designed to solicit the answers the reporter wants to hear.
The list is a short example of the television tricks the reporter used to air a report which is consistent with how he sought to attack Mr. Haynes without being legally slanderous but contains many misrepresentations, distorted facts, gimmickry and outright lies. The mass media has many tools at their disposal to carry out this type of malicious attack against ordinary citizens and the citizen has virtually no means to represent their version of the story in any meaningful way. Until this happens to you personally the term “tried and convicted in the media” has no real meaning.
Federal Investigation Conclusion
Fortunately, the combined investigative resources and investigation process of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Navy Criminal Investigative Service are much more robust, fair and thorough that a local investigative reporter. After the report aired, Mr. Haynes obtained the services of legal counsel to assist him in responding to the media attack and ensuing federal investigation. He was fortunate to find an attorney who was a previous Navy JAG officer who understood the way the Navy operates. As previously stated, (also refer to letter from attorney attached below) after the federal investigation was referred to the United States Attorney, the investigation was closed and no action taken.
The following significant issues are relevant to the allegations made in the report:
1. Mr. Haynes underwent stringent multiple background investigations related to his law enforcement experience. He served as a sworn police officer in Newport News, VA, was accepted into the Texas Department of Public Safety State Police Academy in 1982 (left academy to reenlist in Navy) and was accepted into the Dallas Police Department as a Reserve Officer in approximately 2001 (did not attend due to work travel requirements). Many of the allegations made in the report would have been surfaced during the background investigation portion of the process had they any merit.
2. During his nearly 20 years of active duty Navy service, he maintained a Top Secret or Secret military clearance as a requirement of his job duties. Further, he was certified as a critical position (meaning he had both technical knowledge and physical access to nuclear weapons) in the Navy Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) which requires not only periodic re-investigations but constant detailed monitoring of both work and personal life. It would seem likely that many of the allegations would have surfaced during the periodic background investigation updates.
3. The North Texas city which is the subject in the report, after their internal investigation, chose to continue the contract after the airing of the report for approximately 60 days until its expiration at the end of the 3rd quarter of fiscal year of 2014.
4. The reporter alleged that Mr. Haynes had dubious background and qualifications to provide security services and trivialized his law enforcement service with the Newport News, VA Police Department. He served as a part-time auxiliary (reserve) police officer (sworn and state-certified) for nearly 10 years. His duties included independent patrol operations in which he performed the same duties and had the same authority as a full-time paid police officer. The only difference was he performed the duties as a volunteer and was not paid. Attached are three of Mr. Haynes Enlisted Performance Evaluations from the Navy which clearly discuss his qualifications related to military duties and reference his law enforcement duties as well. These are the exact same documents that were provided by NCIS and reviewed by the FBI during their investigation.
Mr. Haynes has spent his entire adult life in the military: he is an honorably discharged Navy veteran with a long list of significant military accomplishments (several of these were commented on by the FBI investigator when reviewing his military records); serving in law enforcement; and running a successful security consulting company assisting many clients with making the country a safer place to live and work.
This unpleasant and stressful experience has caused Mr. Haynes to experience a renewed appreciation for the support, encouragement and trust of not only his family and friends but the vast majority of his business associates and clients as well.