The Security Industry, West Point, and Ethics

By Donald Maye, Published Jul 16, 2021, 09:40am EDT

Attending the United States Military Academy at West Point you are taught repeatedly the importance of ethics, which I've strived to carry throughout my Army career and into the private sector.

IPVM Image

Joining the security industry two years ago, seeing numerous companies with dubious ethics, even if a distinct minority, was surprising. I was even more surprised to find some of these companies endorsed by West Point graduates, especially because the bedrock of West Point is the Cadet Honor Code: "A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do":

IPVM Image

Early this month, the NY Daily News reported on one of these companies: "Fraudster posed as four-star Army general while pitching gun-detection app to investors: feds":

A fraudster who fled South African authorities posed as a retired four-star U.S. Army general while pitching venture capital firms on investments in his firearm-detection app, prosecutors say.

In this case, the US Government alleges the company's CEO pretended to be a four-star general, which the NY Daily News reported as West Point graduate, and ex-CIA Director, David Petraeus.

a source familiar with the case identified as ex-CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus — while soliciting money from two venture capital firms, according to a criminal complaint

IPVM Image

Featured in the article was James Gagliano, a retired FBI agent, fellow West Point graduate, and Mayor of Cornwall-on-Hudson.

Join IPVM Newsletter?

IPVM is the #1 authority in video surveillance news, in-depth tests, and training courses. Get emails, once a day, Monday to Friday.

Gagliano was an advisor and endorser of this company. For example, he published this LinkedIn article [archived here] 11 months ago, which was deleted after he was contacted by the News earlier this month.

Upon learning of the charges, the News described Gagliano as "surprised by the wire fraud conspiracy and identity theft charges."

Gagliano told the NY Daily News:

I’m disheartened and disillusioned that he didn’t tell me when this complaint was filed

I’m severing all ties.

The NY Daily News concluded its report by highlighting Gagliano's 25 years at the FBI:

“I did believe in this product. And I did believe what Barry was selling. This was gonna make things safer for people on the frontlines,” said Gagliano, who retired after a 25-year career at the FBI.

Based on this reporting, I reached out to Gagliano to learn more about his statements, sending two emails over the course of three days:

First Email:

James,

Good afternoon. I'm Don Maye from IPVM. I'm also a '07 WP grad. I plan on publishing a report next week examing the problem of WP graduates and former government officials giving credibility to security companies making dubious and unsupported claims, which the Nydailynews covered. The concern is that this harms the public who looks at leaders like WP graduates as validating those companies. Are you able to provide a comment or discuss on a call?

Second Email:

Hi James,

Are you willing to address the concern raised below? I would like to include feedback directly from you - as you indicated to the NYDailynews you were "disheartened" and "disillusioned" - which I'd like to better understand. I appreciate a response by the end of day Friday, July 16th at 5pm ET. I'm also happy to chat on call.

Gagliano responded at length:

Mr. Maye --

We don't know one another, do we? As fellow West Pointers, I default to how I would address someone 20 years my senior (class of '67) and I'd address them accordingly, as "sir" or "Mr." You're c/o 2007, no? Do we know one another? Have we, perchance, met? Don't believe so.

But, here we are.

I researched you. That's what 25-year FBI guys do. You spent 5+ years in the US Army and then some short time in the private sector after your MBA with (Bayer? Aleve?) before entering into the "security" industry with IPVM -- a company I have never heard of. And now, you're a "journalist?" Just trying to sort out WHO you are and just WHAT you represent. So you know -- as you are writing about the security industry -- I spent 25 years in the FBI and the past 6 years, I've been working on a Homeland Security doctorate at St. John's University in Queens, New York, focused on -- wait for it -- police use of force. Google me, Mr. Maye. Was a salaried Law Enforcement Analyst with CNN for 4 years. My opinions on security matters were taken seriously, Mr. Maye, because I had served within the realm as a practitioner -- again, check out my BIO -- and because I was an academic on the subject, as well. I read your smarmy first reachout to me about your potential article "exposing" West Pointers or law enforcement professionals who happened to support a particular security industry product. I wanted to ignore it. That's what I typically do with folks like you. Affording you "oxygen" as you attempt to make a name for yourself in the "IPVM world" isn't something I'd ever do -- akin to responding to trolls on Twitter (I'm @JamesAGagliano on Twitter). But, then, alas, here we are, Mr. Maye.

You have badgered me twice. I won't answer any of your questions, Mr. Maye -- wouldn't refer to you as "Donald"," because we do not know one another -- unless it is on video, so you cannot edit our conversation. I do not believe that you would care to discuss these topics with me on camera, because they are not within your area of expertise. Or, are they, Mr. Maye? Edify me? What, exactly, is your area of expertise?

I'll be at ISC West. [Note: Gagliano is keynoting ISC West 2021 Day 2 next Tuesday.] Please, come up and introduce yourself to me. The NY Daily News article you referenced contains the only OTR quotes you'll receive from me at this juncture. I cannot fathom how we could set up a sitdown for an interview -- because that requires trust, my dude, and we do not have that. Agreed? Next time you reach out to someone when you are under the auspices of a journalist and a junior Academy graduate -- exhibit a modicum of respect, okay? Cool? Cool. CC'd my wife (and attorney), and the folks I'm contracted with at ISC West. Will I see you there?

Take care, Mr. Maye.

Very respectfully,

James A. "Jimmy" Gagliano

Working in the security industry is a profession that impacts the safety and wellbeing of the public. It is why my two years in the industry have been so rewarding. In the past year, my reporting at IPVM was featured in the MilitaryTimes, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, and Reuters - raising issues to the public that would be otherwise hidden.

Ethics matter and all security professionals, West Point graduates or not, should strive to uphold that responsibility.

Donald Maye is a former active-duty U.S. Army Officer and 2007 graduate of the United States Military Academy

1 report cite this report:

Law Enforcement / Military vs Security Technology Expertise on Jul 30, 2021
Many military and law enforcement professionals transition into the security...

Comments (36)

Only IPVM Subscribers may comment. Login or Join.

How is ISC having somebody deliver a keynote address and they're comfortable admitting they've never heard of IPVM?

While a lot of security practitioners are mildly to extremely ignorant on security technology (just like a lot of security integrators are ignorant of, say, shoplifting techniques or the best way to conduct an interrogation), ISC is a technology show. I wouldn't be surprised that an ASIS keynote doesn't know IPVM, but ISC?

Agree: 5
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

I read your smarmy first reachout to me

I wanted to ignore it. That's what I typically do with folks like you.

I do not believe that you would care to discuss these topics with me on camera, because they are not within your area of expertise.

I cannot fathom how we could set up a sitdown for an interview -- because that requires trust, my dude, and we do not have that.

CC'd my wife (and attorney)

Gagliano sounds like an incredibly pleasant and well-mannered gentleman.

Agree: 5
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 14

I’m surprised a career FBI agent got duped by a con man who pretended to be General Petraeus. It seems like if he had any integrity he would own up to it and use it as a “lessons learned” opportunity. He seems to have a very high opinion of himself. I’m sure he is real fun at a party.

Agree: 7
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

I’m surprised a career FBI agent got duped by a con man

Gagliano's diatribe made me lose a lot faith (not that there was much left to be lost) in the FBI/US law enforcement agencies.

I researched you. That's what 25-year FBI guys do.

Did Gagliano do research on Don or just read Don's LinkedIn profile? All the facts that Gagliano "researched" are freely available for the world to see here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donald-maye-26791080/

I would have been impressed if he had doxxed Don, but he just comes off as an angry old sod.

Agree: 6
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Right! He's a 25-year FBI guy, so he does something that computer nerds instinctively do out of nervous habit? I mean, I've looked people up on LinkedIn or Twitter before talking to them, but I never thought it was something to be proud of.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 6

This is a great laugh for a Friday - thanks for sharing.

I find it rather ironic that he states "I researched you. That's what 25-year FBI guys do."

Yet, for a company that he's putting his professional name on he didn't research David Petraeus?

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 11

Double down on this guy, you have just scratched the surface based on his very odd response.

Agree: 11
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

Man I though my grammar was poor and sloppy, can clearly read that you poked him in the right spot to irritate him more than just a bit.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 2

"Jimmy" is an A hole

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny: 1

I did my research - looked at his twitter timeline - and this is now a confirmed fact.

He really likes to buff up his self worth with that 'MSM' work and he really likes the phrase "Here we are."

IPVM Image

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

Maybe he just needs to take his own advice. 😂

IPVM Image

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 3

Instead of engaging at a security show, both of these Westies should consider a brief "Live Stream" podcast ot introduce each other and further explore the arguments to their conclusions. It is hard to vocalize texts and posts back and forth without the human element. There is no need to tuck conversations, tweets, emails, text messages away in tiny pockets of the internet.

Live Stream, both of you in the same room, no zooming.

Agree: 5
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

While I don't personally send emails out with "Hi xxx" unless we've spent quite a bit of time together, I see the first email as a way to let him double-down on the distancing from this company. Since he went full blown spaz in his response I'm now curious to see what else can come from conversations. Guess I need to go listen to his keynote next week.

Agree: 4
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

IMO, you should take him up on his sort-of offer to do a live/video discussion on this topic. I have no doubt that you could come adequately prepared, and keep the talk-track on the core topic. I don't think he would be able actually defend his involvement.

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 5

It can't ...wait I can believe that "Jimmy" Gagliano is a keynote speaker at ISC West next week. It looks like Pee Wee Herman was booked. It amazes me that ISC/SIA scrapes from the bottom of the barrel for speakers.

Agree: 2
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 3

It's a shame. I've been working in this field over 40 years. It's included tight ties with law enforcement in all forms--Secret Service, Local, Regional, State Police, Homeland Security. I've had multiple 25-year LE retirees seek me out to start their second career in security.

The truth is there are some assholes in every industry - we have witnessed another in this piece.

I went toe-to-toe with another guy like this in ASIS some years back who moaned that I was violating the ASIS certification "code" by criticizing him, for publicly calling out what an opportunist he was.

Through it all, I still maintain that you have to see beyond the assholes that pop up now and then, and stay focused on making this industry better. It's 98% good, 2% assholes. That may be the same in any industry.

The minute I expect some twenty-year old new security professional to bow down to me, address me like a lap dog, and kiss my ass, is the minute I should be called on the carpet, exposed, and sent off to my permanent rocking chair to share "war stories" of my greatness with my reflection.

What a Putz.

Agree: 6
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 3

Gagliano has now blocked me from accessing his LinkedIn profile.

I have never emailed him nor interacted with him on social media.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 12

I think the 25 year FBI guy did more research and discovered that you publicly shared this article. Pretty soon he'll connect the dots and realize that you and Donald Maye are both affiliated with this "IPVM" thing.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 4

To that point, given what he has been involved with, and how he responded to us, it was imprudent for him to tout his research abilities.

Agree: 9
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

Maybe you should offer up a free trial so he can do some more research

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 3

Given his reaction this week, I am not sure if he would appreciate that.

That said, we are happy to talk with him even off the record any time and establish a dialogue. My email is open - john@ipvm.com

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

"To that point, given what he has been involved with, and how he responded to us, it was imprudent for him to tout his research abilities"

So what is the actual story here? I see that he had a level of initial involvement, found out that there was fraudulent activity commited by someone else, not him, himself, disassociated, himself with the person, admitted he did actually believe in a product, chose not to speak with someone claiming to be a journalist with a mere two years in the security industry, never heard of the ipvm blogs, suggested a higher level of respect, which he deserves from what I can tell, referred Mr. Maye to review his bio, suggested a video interview as well as offered the opportunity to meet him at isc west. Did I get it all or is there some factual salacious story involved that I simply missed? This looks like more of a non-story, but rather a bit of a jab with hurt feelings. Addressing a 40-year senior graduate that mr. Maye does not personally know, by first name is professional? Citing the WP code of ethics when there is no proven breakdown of ethics on his part personally is professional? Am I being professional enough asking these questions Mr. Honovich? Will you be warning me or just muzzling me for asking these questions and making honest observations? I had to do and awful lot of sifting through silly junk responses tonight.....

Agree
Disagree: 4
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny

Gagliano has now blocked me from accessing his LinkedIn profile. I have never emailed him nor interacted with him on social media.

Pre-emptive strike on command and control, right out of the West Point Handbook.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

"Gagliano has now blocked me from accessing his LinkedIn profile. "

I wonder why that would be? No warning or anything.

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

"Gagliano has now blocked me from accessing his LinkedIn profile.

I have never emailed him nor interacted with him on social media."

You would be amazed at who knows who .

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

What a joke. What were the "research" comments supposed to mean? Citing incredibly basic, publicly available information from a LinkedIn profile that Donald Maye created and shared himself?

Apparently that's the skillset you gain after 25 years in the FBI - as Gags so smugly touts. Wow.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

As a military brat of a highly decorated female officer with 30 years of active duty (yup my mom wore combat boots) someone like this tool who references himself as a West Point Graduate only spent 3 years in Active Duty, not what I call a career soldier by any means. He is calling Donald out on his five years active duty? What a douchecannoe.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 5

I believe anyone who decides to take the oath to serve in the military (or FBI), 1 year or 35 years, is doing something many will not and that should be praised. It is not uncommon to see service members belittle or put down someone else’s service. In terms of Mr. Gagliano calling out my 5+ years (I served just over 6 years) – I did not take that as a knock against my service – so I’m not offended by that particular comment.

On that note, I’d like to remind everyone IPVM offers Free IPVM For Recently Separated Military Members and Law Enforcement Professionals

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

Let’s not forget this Secret Service Agent who missed the clues of his CEO catching a train to the big house

Ex BRS Labs President Hides BRS Labs From LinkedIn

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

IPVM Image

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 1

Perfect example of what Pres Dwight Eisenhower (WP grad class of 1915) was warning the country in January 1961 when he said, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." The shame isn't being duped trying to make a quick buck, it happens all the time to smart people, the shame is his arrogance which questions his influence which questions his character .

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

I'm going to show up at his keynote at ISC with a giant sign that reads

JUSTICE FOR DONALD MAYE

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 14

This showdown needs to be livestreamed! I bet it'll be better than any of the Paul brothers have ever put up!

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

This is a classic example of pride & ego making an embarrassing situation way worse. If he had just responded with humility this would have practically been a non-story. Now his response IS the story.

Agree: 9
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

So you know -- as you are writing about the security industry -- I spent 25 years in the FBI and the past 6 years, I've been working on a Homeland Security doctorate at St. John's University in Queens, New York, focused on -- wait for it -- police use of force.

Mr. Gagliano is a textbook example of someone equating law enforcement experience with security experience.

I would like to point out that serving 25 years in law enforcement does not make you a security expert. 6 years of "working on" on homeland security doctorate about police use of force could not be further from anything to do with security. Law Enforcement and security may be thought of the same by those outside the industry, or even within law enforcement, but the reactionary nature of law enforcement makes it a completely different skill set.

Serving in a public capacity gives you zero experience or credibility on the private security side other than to the CEO or hiring manager who can say, "Our security manager was in the FBI." That is about all it is worth. I have seen too many times retired law enforcement (federal, state, or local) come in thinking they can handle corporate security as they handled their public law enforcement only to be sadly mistaken. It is most often due to simple arrogance.

I have also seen a retired County Sheriff come in and take over a Fortune 500 security department and run it masterfully for over a decade because she admitted what she did not know and realized her previous experience, well helpful, was not the same.

Those that realize their previous LE experience will help them on the security side are the ones that do well. Those that think their LE experience is equal to security experience will not.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny
Loading Related Reports