This is what was left of Leo Lech’s home after the Greenwood Village police were done with it. Lech had done nothing wrong. In fact, he wasn’t even home. By the point the local PD had decided to turn a standoff with a suspect into a one-house reenactment of the Battle of Fallujah, the only person inside was Robert Jonathan Seacat — originally wanted for nothing more than shoplifting.
This was all fully justified, according to the police chief, because Seacat had opened fire on police officers during the standoff.
According to Lech’s lawsuit, those shots — five of them, nine hours into the standoff — by Seacat were met by tear gas, flash bangs, and “72 chemical bombs.” Sure, it turns out Seacat had a backpack (and lower intestine) full of drugs, but the police didn’t know that when they began their assault. Of course, the complete destruction of an unrelated family’s house was considered copacetic because no one died.
“I made the right call because we’re standing here instead of standing over a casket,” said Greenwood Village Police Cmdr. Dustin Varney.
After Seacat fired five shots through the floor at the SWAT team, the decision was made to “vent” the home so interior areas could be more easily viewed by police officers.
When it was all said and done, the PD had gotten their man, along with his drugs, weapons and five casings from bullets fired at officers. Lech was given back his house by officers who severely misrepresented the condition of the residence.
After the SWAT team arrested Seacat amid the rubble, police told the Lechs they could go home, but there was “some damage.”
Lech was also given a check for $5,000, the “assistance” of a reluctant insurance company, the city’s demand that he also build a new holding pond while rebuilding his house, and the assurances of the local PD that this destruction was not only necessary, but the best case scenario.
Things then got worse, according to Lech’s lawsuit.
The Lechs suffered nausea for weeks from trying to rescue items from the rubble, and property inspectors sent there wore “full hazmat gear.”
The Lechs had to move to another county. Leo Lech had to take a new job at a lower salary. The boy, D.Z., had to transfer schools and enter therapy.
Agency veterans described the tactic as an infrequent but important security measure, a means of protecting vital secrets by inserting fake communications into routine cable traffic while using separate channels to convey accurate information to cleared recipients.
But others cited a significant potential for abuse. Beyond the internal distrust implied by the practice, officials said there is no clear mechanism for labeling eyewash cables or distinguishing them from legitimate records being examined by the CIA’s inspector general, turned over to Congress or declassified for historians.
Senate investigators uncovered apparent cases of eyewashing as part of a multi-year probe of the CIA’s interrogation program, according to officials who said that the Senate Intelligence Committee found glaring inconsistencies in CIA communications about classified operations, including drone strikes.