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Chapter 6. BOP

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Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:14 am    Post subject: Chapter 6. BOP Reply with quote

available from Amazon.com:

Murder On A Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy
by Ralph Daugherty
ISBN: 0-595-31847-9

Murder on a Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy also available free to read online here on www.justiceforchandra.com
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


It was Friday, just a few days after Chandra's parents had spent a week with Chandra, celebrated her birthday with her, shared a spa visit to Hershey, Pa. with her, and been reassured that Condit had explained it all, not knowing what it was and suspecting but not knowing that he was Chandra's secret boyfriend in Congress. Chandra shared her thoughts and career plans with her family that week as she looked forward to transitioning to a full time job in law enforcement with the federal government. She had told her BOP supervisors she wanted that, maybe with the FBI. She had recently applied to the FBI for an analyst position and didn't expect it to be acted upon for awhile. She also told family and friends that she liked her internship so much she hoped to be hired full-time by the BOP when it ended.

But on Friday, April 20, she was to be in for a shock. Here are two accounts of it, first from Donna St. George, Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post:

Barely a week later, Levy found herself out of a

Government regulations that covered her position
require that internships end within 120 days of
graduation. Levy had told the agency that she was
graduating in May. She apparently had not thought to
point out that because she had attended summer
school, her official graduation date had been the
previous December.

Talking to a personnel officer April 20, she
mentioned the official date.

The personnel officer balked.

Levy's last day, she was told, would be Monday,
April 23 -- several months sooner than she expected.
A month earlier, Levy had applied for an analyst job
at the FBI, but she knew it would take weeks or
months to hear back. [1]

and another similar account from Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek:

Chandra Levy didn't realize it, but she'd just
talked herself out of a job. Last spring the
Washington intern was so happy with her temporary
post at the Federal Bureau of Prisons that she'd
told friends and family she hoped to be hired on
full time after getting her master's degree in
public administration from USC. Then one day she
offhandedly mentioned to a personnel officer that,
officially, she'd graduated last December. She just
needed to pick up her diploma at the May graduation
ceremony back home in California. The officer was
taken aback. Levy's internship was supposed to
expire four months after graduation. Now she would
have to leave. Her friends and family told police
that she was upset at her sudden dismissal, NEWSWEEK
has learned, and hastily prepared to return to
California. [2]

Also, Fox News' recounting of Newsweek's report:

Levy had told friends and family that she hoped to
be hired full-time with the Bureau when her
internship ended, but a casual remark to a co-worker
ended her aspirations. Although she was planning to
attend commencement ceremonies at the University of
Southern California in mid-May, Levy mentioned to a
personnel officer at the Bureau that she had
technically completed her master's degree in public
administration in December 2000.

This new information, Levy was told, meant that her
internship was invalid. She was asked to leave. [3]

Both the Washington Post and Newsweek report that Chandra's internship had a limit of four months after meeting graduation requirements and that a BOP personnel manager just happened to be conversing with her, four months after she took her finals. The supposed offhand remark from Chandra to an HR manager that she had met her graduation requirements in December and was attending the upcoming commencement ceremony in three weeks resulted in the HR manager telling her on the spot that her internship was over. Isn't that rather odd?

Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News obtained an e-mail Chandra sent to her landlord from which she describes the sudden loss of her internship:

This was not the way the program I was in was
supposed to work, someone in the human resources
office of the agency I worked for didn't do their
job very well. [4]

Sven Jones recalls that she was surprised by the news that she could no longer be considered a student intern and began considering other agencies where she could apply. [5] CBS News obtained an e-mail that Chandra sent to a friend describing her disappointment:

I haven't had too much luck lately. I'll probably
eventually move back to DC, if I can get another
federal job that's worth it, or I may work in
Sacramento for the state again. I'll let you know
more later on. [6]

Chandra expressed her surprise and disappointment to her friends and landlord but also started planning her next options. She described in detail to her family what she thought was a chance encounter with someone in human resources, someone who was prepared to end her termination on the spot when Chandra said she met her graduation requirements in December but was not getting her diploma till May. DePaulo even reports that Chandra was informed she had been violating bureau policy by remaining an intern after finishing classes.

This is in stark contrast to what the Bureau of Prisons had to say. Her manager at the BOP, Traci Billingsley, says "It was a 180-day internship, and it ended on schedule. Believe me, we would have loved to keep her on. She was a very good worker. [7] An internship just can't be extended." [8]

Condit, through a spokesman, said that Chandra came to Washington to serve a six month internship with the Bureau of Prisons. The USC Trojan school paper also reported she was completing a six month internship.

It had been six months after she started her internship in October. Her exact starting date had never been given by the BOP but based on their statement that it was a 180 day internship that ended April 23, an October 23 starting date has been used in a Washington Post timeline.

It was also four months after Chandra finished her last semester in December. She flew back to Sacramento with Condit's frequent flier miles and took her finals December 13. She returned to Washington on December 14 expensed on Condit's House office account as Gary Condit.

So it was a six month internship that ended on schedule when a supervisor heard that Chandra was graduating?

It doesn't seem possible that it was a six month internship that was part of her graduation requirements. She had supposedly completed her graduation requirements in December after only two months of the internship.

Was it a two month internship with a four month post-graduate extension? How is that described as a six month internship completed on schedule, as the BOP described it? Wouldn't Chandra know if she applied for a four month post-graduate extension?

The change from being an intern while a student to being an intern after completing classes is a major change that would have affected Chandra, the Bureau of Prisons, and the University of Southern California. Her schedule changed drastically after December. For two months during the fall semester she attended classes ten hours a day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the USC center.

How could the BOP not be aware that she was now working all week from January on and that her classes had ended? How could the supervisor not know she was no longer signing off on USC intern hours for Chandra? How could USC not know she was no longer in a graduate program internship?

The odds of a random conversation with someone from human resources on the six month anniversary, or four month extension date, take your pick, are too high. There is something very strange about why the BOP told the public she was wonderful and they would have loved for her to stay on, but told her to clean out her desk and leave.

It is strange that the Washington Times reports that Chandra's internship ended abruptly over a technicality, that she never applied for a permanent job at the BOP even though she expected to be kept as a full-time employee when her internship ended. What is even stranger is that Time reports that the FBI could not find the electronic record of her application for an FBI analyst job, although they did find the paperwork. The missing FBI record of her application would certainly delay her application, possibly keep it from being processed altogether. Was Chandra being run out of town?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Modesto Bee reports that Condit helped Chandra get the internship. For some reason, the BOP never acknowledged this in their statements from former Chandra supervisors Dunne and Billingsley, and insisted it was a normal six month internship. However, it is completely abnormal in all respects.

The USC intern syllabus for the related subject of Political Science spells out some of how an internship works:
Course grades will be based on your satisfactory
completion of the required number of hours at the
internship, your supervisor’s evaluation of your
performance, and your completion of the above
requirements. Your final grade for the course will
be based approximately 50% on your supervisor’s
evaluation and 50% on your final policy paper.

Student Intern Agreement Contract

This form reflects the understanding between you and
the supervisor at your internship office of your
start date, ending date, and your weekly work
schedule. Please note that your supervisor must
clearly state exactly which hours you are expected
to work each day at the bottom of the contract.
Simply checking the boxes is not sufficient.

You are responsible for working out a schedule with
your supervisor that permits you to work the number
of hours per week required for the units for which
you have enrolled. (See the chart at the end of the
syllabus.) It is especially important that the
beginning and ending dates of your internship be
clearly understood and agreed to by you and your
supervisor. You are expected to start your
internship by the add/drop deadline and to work
through the last day of classes.

The Internship

The primary requirement of the internship course is
to work in the office of your choice for the
required number of hours per week. It is vitally
important that you act in a professional manner at
all times. Please remember that you are a
representative of USC. You must be punctual and
notify your office supervisor if you are unable to
work because of serious illness or emergency. If,
after consultation with your supervisor, you make
any changes in your work schedule, you need to
inform the [USC] Unruh Institute in writing. If your
supervisor changes, or is not the person listed on
your job agreement, inform the internship
coordinator. We will contact your supervisor midway
through the semester to check on how your internship
is going and again at the end of the semester to ask
him or her to fill out an evaluation of your
performance. You should feel free to contact the
[USC] Unruh Institute at any time if you have any
concerns or questions about your internship.

Internship Hours Per Units of Credit

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Hours per week at internship
8 12 16 20 24 28 32
... [9]

Chandra's supervisor changed from Dan Dunne to Traci Billingsley. When did that change take place? USC was to be notified of any change in supervisors if it was during the internship, which the BOP insists was a six month internship that ended on schedule.

Who was the personnel officer that terminated her the same day she casually talked to her about her graduation requirements? What kind of termination takes place in a government bureaucracy within hours on the same day a personnel officer finds out that Chandra technically met her graduation requirements in December but was getting her diploma in May?

An internet poster, H.F., puzzled at the reported abruptness of Chandra's internship, had this to say:

...I heard that Chandra had been abruptly terminated
from her job at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and
that she was soon to return home to receive a Master
of Public Administration degree from USC. The report
about the abruptness of the termination bothered me.

While most federal agencies have one sort of intern
program or another, very few of those programs are
so open-ended that an intern would be abruptly
terminated in the manner in which the news stories
would have us believe. The standard story says that
her internship allowed her to work 4 months after
she completed her degree requirements. We are
supposed to believe that she completed her degree
requirements last December but her supervisor in the
Bureau of Prisons only realized in late April that
she had done so and the 120 day grace period was
about to expire so the supervisor ran a Standard
Form 50 (Request for and Record of Personnel Action)
through the system to terminate her employment. But
that story is not plausible.

Only an extremely poorly run internship program
would not have clear dates for specific personnel
actions to be accomplished. Since it usually takes
two to four weeks for an SF50 to make it through the
personnel mill, the termination would have been
abrupt only if Chandra had been dishonest with her
supervisor and/or her supervisor was an incompetent
dolt. (Okay, so we can rule neither possibility

But we also know that Chandra was an intern during
the fall semester of 2000 and we have been led to
believe that she did not finish her degree
requirements until December 2000. What's the logical
conclusion we deduce from that information? That
Chandra's internship was part of her degree
requirements. If so, her supervisor should have been
providing some sort of written evaluations to USC
probably on a monthly basis. If the internship was
part of her degree program. The USC website shows
that an internship can be 12 credit hours or one
full semester of work toward the degree
requirements. While it is possible that the
internship was completed in one semester, it is also
possible that Chandra signed up for 6 credits each
of two semesters and that her termination from her
internship at the Bureau of Prisons would have been
tantamount to her not receiving her degree on May
11, 2001. If that's the case, she could well have
decided simply to disappear rather than show up at
graduation with her parents and be humiliated by not
receiving a degree.

Someone needs to know what the SF50 that terminated
Chandra's employment said and what courses she took
during the Fall and Spring semesters at USC. [10]

Good questions then, still good questions now that need to be answered. Chandra knew she could convert to a permanent employee, and they said she was a great employee and they wished they could keep her, so what was the problem? The studentjobs government site states:

As a Student Career Experience appointee, you may be
eligible to convert your position into a permanent
job. [11]

Another related government web site states:

U.S. Marshall Service (USMS) Student Career
Experience Program, a cooperative education program,
targets college students pursuing criminal justice
or political science degrees. It is used as a
recruitment tool, targeting schools with significant
minority populations and women to increase diversity
in the [BOP] workforce....

This is a student employment program whereby, when
all of the program requirements are met, students
may be non-competitively converted to career-
conditional appointments in the competitive service
within 120 days. [12]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here the 120 days, or four months, is mentioned. This is a time period during which the federal government has an aggressive program for non-competitively converting women and minority student interns to full-time positions.

A different type of internship is described on another BOP site:

Another option is to serve as a student volunteer.
As a student volunteer, your service is performed
without compensation and an agreement is established
with your educational institution. You can perform
the service for a period not to exceed six months on
a full-time or substantially full-time basis.
Extensions may be authorized. [13]

Here the six months internship is mentioned, but it is volunteer, Chandra's was paid, and an extension can be requested. The internship program seems more proactive in converting to full-time employment and much more flexible than the BOP would have the public believe.

Did the BOP get a leak that Chandra was technically not in compliance with internship regulations by listing a May graduation date? The behavior Chandra described indicates that. An HR person would do what they did, raise the issue casually and gather from her what the situation was. When she told them, she thought let it slip, because she was nudged toward divulging it and didn't know she was being questioned, the BOP manager responded right there on the spot, "wait a minute, then it's been past 120 days, we'll have to end it".

If there was an anonymous call to the BOP that caused Chandra to lose her internship, it has important implications. It means that someone didn't want her around, and it means they were intimately familiar with the details of her BOP internship.

Lisa DePaulo writes in the Talk article that Chandra was understandably bitter and that her friends think her disappointment deepened when her boyfriend did nothing to help her find another position. She told friends "He promised". She saw him the next day, April 24, when she went to his apartment.

There are a lot of questions when a government intern doesn't show up for work, but only a nod of the head when said intern disappears after her internship ends because she was distraught over, among other things, someone she was said to be obsessed with who didn't arrange for a new job for her. The questions didn't come till later though, much later.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Big News

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents

1. St. George, Donna, Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak. “DC Intern Lived On
Edge of Secrecy.” Washington Post 8 July 2001.

2. Hosenball, Mark and Michael Isikoff. “A Capital Mystery Heats Up.” Newsweek
2 July 2001.

3. “Cops Want to Interview Condit’s Wife.” Fox News. 25 June 2001.

4. Kennedy, Helen. “Cops Have More Questions for Calif. Pol.” New York
Daily News 21 June 2001.

5. Arax, Mark and Stephen Braun. “Days of Torment for Interns Parents.” Los Angeles
Times 7 July 2001.

6. Cowan, Lee. Interview with Tom Bergeron. The Early Show. CBS. 8 July
2001. Transcript.

7. Kennedy, Helen. “Cops Have More Questions for Calif. Pol.” New York
Daily News 21 June 2001.

8. Doyle, Michael. “Levy lawyer to start own probe.” Modesto Bee 21 June 2001.

9. “USC Political Science Syllabus” at http://www.usc.edu/dept/polsci/unruh/
syllabus.htm, 17 Jan. 2002.

10. “Post from H.F.” at http://www.bannerofliberty.com/OS7-01MQC/7-27-
2001.1.html, 27 July 2001.

11. “Student Jobs FAQ” at http://www.studentjobs.gov/faqs.htm , 17 Jan. 2002.

12. “Minority Recruitment” at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OIIA/Hispanic/fr/
Agencies/fy1998/98agencies/dj.html, 17 Jan. 2002.

13. “Do Your Career Justice” at http://www.studentjobs.gov/agency-fedprison-allenwood.
htm, 17 Jan. 2002.

Britton, Kimberly. “Search continues for USC student” USC Tojan 21 May

DePaulo, Lisa. Talk Magazine article on Chandra Levy. Excerpt. London Times
U.K. 12 Aug. 2001.

Doyle, Michael. “Condit’s gift giving could be an issue.” Modesto Bee 22 July

Fagan, Kevin and Jim Herron Zamora. “Family and friends call Chandra Levy
the girl least likely to vanish without a trace.” San Francisco Chronicle 1 July

“FBI Joins Missing Intern Case.” Modesto Bee 19 May 2001.

Fields-Meyer, Thomas, Champ Clark, Michael Fleeman, Macon Morehouse and
J. Todd Foster. “Searching For Chandra.” People 25 June 2001: 87.

Levy, Robert and Susan. Interview with Larry King. Larry King Live. CNN. 15
Aug. 2001. Transcript.

“Levys said to refuse Condit’s calls.” MSNBC 20 June 2001.

Murray, Frank J. “Who is Chandra Levy?” Washington Times 29 July 2001.

Serrano, Richard A. and Robert L. Jackson. “D.C. Puzzles Over Missing USC
Student.” Los Angeles Times 19 May 2001.

Shannon, Elaine. “Why the FBI’s Missing Guns and Computers Mess
Isn’t—and Is—as Bad as it Looks.” Time. 18 July 2001.
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