Not on her watch: Terror expert takes lead at FBI’s office in Orange County

ORANGE – Jill Sanborn brings a particular focus to her new job as assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s 160-plus agent office in Orange County.


“The biggest thing I want my agents to do is … take every threat, every tip, every allegation and investigate it so Orange County is safe,” Sanborn said.

There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is the FBI, which has become so focused on terrorism that Sanborn describes it as the agency’s “No. 1 priority.”

The second is Sanborn herself.

At 45, she’s a 17-year FBI veteran and an anti-terrorism specialist. She’s run more than 400 terrorism investigations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of Southeast Asia.

A key stop in her career was her work at the bureau’s counter-terrorism division in Phoenix.

Her first day on that post?

Sept. 11, 2001.

“At that time, remembering back, America had no idea where it was going to be hit next,” Sanborn said.

That’s still true.

But since the attacks the FBI, and Sanborn, have shifted their mindset. And in the process they’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out who might be coming after us next, and where they might strike.


The FBI agents who work for Sanborn in Orange County investigate bank robberies, violent crimes and a host of other offenses.

But the region faces terror threats, and terror remains a priority.

Like any urban area, Orange County has several high-value targets. And, over the years, the FBI has investigated locals who had direct links to, or sympathies with, international terror groups.

In the early 2000s, the FBI’s Orange County office helped determine that a former Santa Ana resident, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, was the American face of al-Qaida. His messages were appearing regularly on YouTube and other videos distributed by the terror group.

In 2006, a federal grand jury in Santa Ana indicted Gadahn as the first American charged with treason since the World War II era. Gadahn died this year in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan.

In 2013, Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Garden Grove, then 24, pleaded guilty of supporting al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan. Again, the FBI’s O.C. office played a role in the investigation.

And last year the FBI’s Orange County office arrested Adam Dandach at John Wayne Airport as he tried to board a flight en route to Turkey, a trip the FBI said would end with Dandach joining Islamic militants in Syria.

Dandach, a former student at El Modena High, pleaded guilty this year to making false statements on his passport application. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

Sanborn plans to keep the office aimed at similar threats.

“I want everybody to take every case seriously and investigate allegations of those wanting to do harm against the U.S.

“Anything that I’ve done in 14 years in working terrorism can only give different tools, ideas and contacts to those working cases now.”


Sanborn grew up in Dillon, Mont., a town of about 4,000, located about 65 miles south of Butte.

Her father, Frank Tikalsky, was a psychology professor at nearby Western Montana College; her mother is two-time Olympic skier Linda Myers Tikalsky.

Sanborn is named after her mother’s close friend, Jill Kinmont, a skier and Olympic hopeful who was paralyzed in a training accident and later became the subject of a book and movie, “The Other Side of the Mountain.”

Sanborn skied and played basketball in high school. At Portland State University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business, graduating in 1993.

Sanborn’s first job out of college was as an internal investigator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, a facility that specializes in classified work on the development of nuclear weapons.

“The job was very much like internal affairs,” she said. “You investigate fraud, waste and abuse. Anything from time and attendance, and any allegation of inappropriate behavior.”

Sanborn had been working at Los Alamos for about five years when an inspector general with the U.S. Department of Energy noticed her sharp investigative skills and recruited her for a job with the FBI.

She was interested. As a teen, she’d been a Senate page in Washington, D.C., and even then was intrigued by federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.

She didn’t initially pursue jobs in those agencies, she says, because she didn’t view herself as urbane enough.

“I thought, as a small-town girl from Montana, that those were super high goals to set my sights on,” she said.

But she noted that one of the FBI’s core values is to “uphold and defend the Constitution,” and that nudged her to take the leap.

“That’s always been part of my personality.”

After she graduated from the FBI’s famed academy in Quantico, Va., she was assigned to the public corruptions squad at the FBI’s Phoenix office. Soon, she transferred to the same office’s bank fraud task force.

Bank fraud, she said, was a great way to learn about the FBI and about criminal investigation work in general.

“We took a lot of cases through the legal process. Lots of interviews; lots of arrests.”

She switched to counterterrorism in 2011.


Sanborn spent her first day in counterterror staffing a command post at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

The attack, she said, was a defining moment.

“It’s what still motives me.”

It also changed the FBI.

“It turned us into an organization that focuses on the prevention of that ever happening again,” Sanborn said.

Sanborn remained at the Phoenix office until 2006, when she joined the FBI’s Counterterrorism Fly Team, an elite unit based in Washington that helps investigate terror cases around the world.

The work requires special training. It’s also dangerous.

Sanborn was stationed in Pakistan, Africa and Iraq, among other places, conducting numerous interviews of high-value terrorism detainees.

“The most interesting part about my time in those positions was adding … international partners to fight terrorism,” she said.

Sanborn left the Fly Team in 2010 and spent about 18 months as an FBI liaison to the CIA. She described that job as an opportunity to “learn from” another agency.

Working with other agencies will remain key in her new job.

Sanborn said one of her primary goals is to continue the FBI’s relationship with 34 law enforcement agencies in Orange County, a group that, combined, makes up a joint-terrorism task force. Officers from the agencies work directly with agents at the FBI’s Orange County office, constantly evaluating and investigating terrorism threats.

As a result of her work around the world, Sanborn received the George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counter Terrorism, an award that hangs in her new office in Orange.

The wording on that award offers a hint of how she wants to handle her job in Orange County.

“She routinely identified any potential terrorism leads,” the award states, “that would have been overlooked by less capable agents.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-7767 Twitter: @thechalkoutline

The Angels paid Josh Hamilton $911.57 per minute per game. See how your salary compares to his, Mike Trout’s and other Angels

How much did the Angels pay each player to close the 2015 season without making the playoffs? Choose an Angels player below to compare his salary to everyday events and your own salary.

Calculations are made as if athletes were paid for each minute of all 162 games, whether they played or not, based on an average game length of 2 hours 52 minutes. Hamilton’s pre-trade salary was used for our math. His pay was renegotiated to an unknown amount when he was traded
For the 2015 baseball season, the Angels paid

Josh Hamilton



. That’s $


per minute for every game, whether he played or not.
If your annual salary is , it took


54 minutes and 52 seconds

to make what you earn for a full year of 40-hour work weeks.


made $


every time you took a seven-minute bathroom break at the ballpark. Seven minutes of your time is worth $


In the 10 minutes Joey Chestnut took to eat 69 hot dogs and buns,


brought in $


. If you worked during the chowdown, you made $


When you took 28 seconds to post a 140-character tweet about the Angels’ losing streak,


earned $


and you made $


When you stood in line for 88 minutes at the Fullerton DMV,


was paid $


. Your time during that visit was worth $


If you parked one mile from Angel Stadium,


‘s bank account grew by $


while you walked to the game. Your time was worth $


When Mike Trout sprinted to first base in 3.53 seconds in a win against Minnesota,


was paid $


. Your time was worth $




sprinted around the bases in 13.3 seconds, the same time record-holding Evar Swanson did during a contest in 1929, he would have been paid $


and your time was worth $


How much did


make while you munched on baseball’s traditional snack, peanuts? That depends on how fast you can eat.


was paid $


in 59.2 seconds, the amount of time it took Chris Ambrose to set a world record for eating 100 peanuts in 1973. At your payrate, you pull in $


every minute you’re on the job.

Photos: Week 6 of Orange County high school football kicks off with action and fan fun

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. Maintain it civil as well as remain on subject. No profanity, vulgarity, racial . slurs or individual attacks. Individuals which harass others or joke about . catastrophes will certainly be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to . permit Orange Region Register Communications, Inc. the right to . republish your name as well as comment in additional Register magazines .
with no notification or payment.

Weekday dentist, weekend vintner: Newport Beach’s Doug Hauck runs a winery in Paso Robles when he’s not caring for teeth

Four hours’ drive from his dental practice in Newport Beach, Dr. Douglas Hauck moonlights living every wine lover’s fantasy: He runs his own winery.

He plunked down $2 million eight years ago to buy the rolling acreage on the prime western flank of Paso Robles. Grapes there, cooled by nightly sea breezes, are considered ideal for producing what Hauck calls “chewy” or “inky” red varietals – dense cabernets, merlots and zinfandels.

His label, HammerSky, is named after his two teenage sons, Hamilton and Skyler, and is emblazoned across Hauck’s black T-shirt. He wears combat-fatigue cargo shorts. A straw fedora shields his shaved head against a sweltering sun.

Hauck is, by most accounts, a mile-a-minute thinker tirelessly devoted to creating and marketing a high-end boutique line – he sells about 5,000 cases a year – while monetizing complementary uses of the property. He operates a four-bedroom inn, for example, in a refurbished, century-old farmhouse. Nearby stands a stately white barn, with a loft bedroom and garlands of white lights, that is rented out for weddings.

Stepping from the inn’s kitchen, where he has been asking visitors to compare two zinfandel prototypes, Hauck trudges past the barn and up a dirt road that crests amid the vines. The view, with dense rows of grape leaves rising and dipping all around, is stunning. A massive oak known as Uncle Dan is thought to be more than 300 years old. Hauck pauses under the canopy of its thick limbs to discourse on one of the many challenges of wine-making – achieving the proper brix, or sugar content, ideally 25 percent or so for his reds.

“If it only gets to 22 percent, you have to try to fix it in the winemaking, but it’s usually not as good,” he says. Brix is a function of hot sunlight, which ripens the grapes, and the harvesting schedule. The numbers can be tweaked by blending in juice from other grapes, though the result, he says, is “never quite the same wine.”

Two deer suddenly dart among vines in the distance, near the tasting room. Hauck scowls. Inn guests enjoy the deer, “and I did too in the beginning,” he says, “but they ate $10,000 worth of fruit last year.” Hauck tried scaring them off with propane cannons, but the deer got used to the noise faster than the neighbors did, so Hauck has been installing 8-foot fencing across the rear of the vineyard, fronting a creek, to keep them out.

That’s not the only frustration that comes with running the vineyard.

“Every week there’s a disaster,” Hauck says, perhaps exaggerating slightly. A water main ruptures. The tractor gets a flat. Rodents steal what the deer don’t, requiring Hauck to erect, in strategic places, box-like nests for barn owls. There are constant worries about whether daytime temperatures will stay hot enough to mature the grapes, or whether it might hail. Mildew. “You can easily get some bunch rot, they call it – mold in between the berries.”

If there’s anything harder than pulling teeth, Hauck has found, it just might be operating a successful winery, especially when many top labels are hundred-million-dollar operations.

“Everybody who comes up here says, ‘Oh, my God, you’re living the dream – an American dream,’” Hauck says. “My response is, ‘Holy crap!’ You really have to be half insane to do it. You have to have one screw loose.”

Don’t get him wrong – he loves it. The bluster is partly just Hauck being Hauck. He is crisp on the palate, a man with ample acidity, wry top notes of humor and deep complexity. “Doug is eccentric,” says Mindy Allen, a longtime vine manager whose company helps grow and harvest grapes at nearly 50 vineyards, including Hauck’s. She chuckles comparing him to other winery people in their drab farm clothing; the lean Hauck often cuts a rakish figure in his fedora and red skinny jeans.

Brash is one word Allen uses in describing him. “Doug is very outspoken,” she says. “He doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t have a filter.”

Hauck, who is cagey only about his age – he admits only to being in his 50s – seems to relish the struggle of keeping his winery going, even while he grouses about it. He enjoys finding angles, being a provocateur. “He has fun blending,” says his wife, Kim, who oversees the vendors who help on the property as well as the 30 or so weddings that take place at HammerSky each year. “He has fun choosing the barrels, designing the labels.” He gets so into it, in fact, “he can get out of hand,” she says. “He can end up doing 20 different designs.”

HammerSky wines, sold mainly to restaurants, are priced up to $76 a bottle and carry elegant, understated labels – Kim’s suggestion – that feature a discreet lion’s crest. Posters are more eye-popping: In one, a woman teasingly covers a man’s eyes while grabbing for his bottle. Another shows a woman in a bare-back gown. Hauck says he did a whole campaign.

“My wife complained it was ‘a little bit slutty,’” he says, smiling. The whole point is to get people talking. He wants a “big-city” feel to the marketing, “as if Prada made wine.”

After HammerSky began hosting weddings about five years ago, Hauck realized wedding parties wanted Champagne and white wine, not the reds he was growing. He introduced a less expensive brand, Naughty Princess, using an old LAPD mug shot for the label.

His big problem, he says, is that he bought the vineyard in 2007 thinking he was taking on just one more job. He and Kim, who met in the 1980s while she was a television set designer in Los Angeles, used to date by traveling to the wine country. They had a romantic notion about someday owning a winery – only to discover it was far more work than they ever imagined.

“It’s really five jobs,” Hauck says, reeling off the list: grower, winemaker, salesman, marketer, event planner. “And when the toilet breaks, I do that too.”

Fixing up the property made the first several years especially arduous. Hauck slept in a tent while the farmhouse was being renovated. He chopped away the front of the house with a chainsaw and remade the entry with a second-floor balcony. He replaced old wiring. “You’d open up the walls and there would be newspaper articles inside,” he recalls.

The tasting room got built only after nearly five years of red tape, he says. Vines were already there. He ordered the barn from New Hampshire, where the timbers were cut and numbered and shipped west, then laboriously assembled. Some pieces didn’t fit, Hauck says. “The electrical and plumbing were not included. The pad was not included. All the doors were not included, and I thought they were.”

Wedding duties require Kim to visit the winery three times a month. Hauck, who still operates his dental office, specializing in implant and cosmetic dentistry, on Pacific Coast Highway near Fashion Island, drives to Paso Robles about every other weekend. Hours are long; he prunes vines at 6 a.m., opens the tasting room at 10. He converses with people who shamble in from cars and wine tour buses.

“I’m like the dancing clown,” he says. “They all want to meet the winemaker; they all want to have a drink with the winemaker.”

Hauck has mastered wine’s peculiar vernacular, where the subtlest flavors inspire grandiloquence. Reviews in publications such as The Somm Journal, a voice of industry insiders, wax poetic about tannins and minerality and structure. The “big” wines that Hauck prizes are inky, too dense to see through.

An enormous fossilized whalebone in his tasting room is evidence that the land here was once under water. Limestone soils cause wines to “chalk up,” a taste distinctly different and, to some, preferable to wines from the rival Napa and Sonoma regions. “I can now taste not only my place, but I can actually taste the slope,” Hauck says. “If it’s a south-facing zin, the zins tend to be more ripe, more raisin-y than if it’s a north-facing slope.”

He can hold forth at length about the science of phenolics, how flavor is influenced by skins, seeds and other non-juice material. He expounds on variables in fermenting, the effect of using different barrels – French oak barrels, with their tight wood grains, versus Hungarian oak versus American oak; new barrels versus old; flame-treated “toasted” barrel heads.

“He’s educated himself tremendously,” says Rich Hartenberger, owner and winemaker at nearby Midnight Cellars Winery, in describing Hauck, who rents facilities at Midnight to sort and process grapes. “He’s here all the time. He stands at the sorting table – he’s right in it. A lot of guys” from Southern California, “who own wineries up here, they phone it in. He doesn’t.”

Hauck has a vision for what his wines should be. He’s after a certain bouquet that he’s still striving to get. “A certain profile in the nose,” he says. “This floral, punchy nose. And then, for the big cabs, you’re looking for that silky mid-body, a full-mouth feel and then a soft, long finish.”

He’s tasted it in Napa, even in Paso. Even in his own wines, but it’s a fickle thing. Can it be tamed? “It depends on the year and the rainfall and when you pick, and what does the weather do.”

Sometimes he hits. The Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide singles out HammerSky’s 2009 “Party of Four,” a blend of cabernet, merlot, petite bordeaux and cab-franc, calling it “frankly delicious. It’s dry and balanced, with firm tannins framing black and red currant flavors that are deep and long in the finish.” An even higher rating, 93 points, is bestowed on Hauck’s 2010 cabernet sauvignon, outstanding for its “jammy aromas of strawberry preserves, cherry pie, brown sugar, hot licorice and smoked meats.”

Such praise makes the business fun, Hauck says. Or at least more fun than, say, trading in the stock market. And the best news is, HammerSky is in the black. “We’re there,” he says. “We keep the books tight. We’re growing at about 28 percent annually the last six years.”

“We don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars behind us,” adds Kim Hauck. “We are hands-on. Doug is out on his tractor. He is tending his vineyard. He does still live and breathe it, and he loves to share it. He has a lot of fun sharing it with people.”

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Want to lose weight? Give extra pounds the cold shoulder, UCI researcher says

New research into weight loss is showing that lowering the number on the thermostat may help drive down the number on the scale.

Instead of only focusing on diet and exercise, some doctors have suggested exposure to cold temperatures as a way to activate fat-burning cells as they work to warm up the body.

Of course, dieters will have to decide what’s more unpleasant: feeling chilly or losing weight through conventional ways.

A 2013 Japanese study exposed participants to 63-degree temperatures for two hours a day over six weeks and found that their body fat decreased and they burned more calories than a control group. In a similar study, Dutch researchers wrote that there might be health benefits from variant temperatures rather than the climate-controlled indoor environments most Westerners have become accustomed to.

“It’s a provocative idea in the sense that, can we actually make a dent in this obesity epidemic by doing something very simple?” said Dr. Ajay Chawla, a professor at UC San Francisco, who has published research on temperature and fat burning. “I think there’s some level of data in human subjects to suggest that when they are exposed to mild cold environments over a period of time, they do burn more energy and lose weight.”

Wayne Hayes, a computer science professor at UC Irvine, became intrigued with the possibility after reading “The Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss.

“Tim recommends ice baths and cold showers and wearing a bag of frozen peas on the back of your neck,” Hayes said. “All of those are either horrifically uncomfortable or just inconvenient. I figured instead of use a bag of ice, why not just put it in a piece of clothing?”

Hayes developed the Cold Shoulder, a vest lined with packs of ice to cover the back and shoulders – those regions have the fewest nerve endings, so discomfort would be minimized. He said people have a thermal neutral zone where they feel comfortable, somewhere between 68 and 80 degrees, depending on the person.

“As you get below the thermal neutral zone, there’s a sharp increase in the number of calories you need to burn to stay warm,” he said.

The vest is to be worn when a user is already at a comfortable temperature and at rest – for instance, sitting in the office or driving to work.

“On a hot day, it will help keep you cool but it won’t help you burn calories. In order to burn calories, you need to feel the chill,” Hayes said.

He started a crowdfunding Kickstarter campaign and sold nearly 2,000 vests. The product sells for $199.99, which he said in the long run is more affordable than setting the air conditioner lower.

Lisa Plant, 55, bought a Cold Shoulder vest this year and says she has lost 20 pounds without making any other lifestyle changes. She learned about the product through Facebook.

“I consider myself a professional dieter and I was always looking for things that are new when it comes to weight loss,” said Plant, who grew up in New Jersey but now lives in Australia. “Exercise is not my thing. I knew I needed to do something to burn more calories.”

In the morning, Plant takes the vest out of the freezer and wears it in bed while she reads. She puts it back in the freezer after about 45 minutes and gets ready for work. At the end of the day, she wears the vest again while making dinner. She describes the cold as pleasant.

“It doesn’t hurt and it’s not uncomfortable,” she said. “I like wearing it. It’s just really easy.”

Chawla of UCSF turned the thermostat down in his office to 65 degrees. He was uncomfortable at first, but over time he became acclimated, and now other offices and public places feel too warm to him.

“If you’re living all the time at 72 degrees and all of a sudden you go down to 65 and don’t put any sweaters on, you’re not going to like it,” Chawla said, adding that he’s not sure if he’s lost any weight.

His own research in mice has found that molecules secreted by cells of the immune system trigger the conversion of fat-storing cells to fat-burning cells, raising the possibility that one day a medication could achieve the same result without cold temperatures.

He referred to a study in which participants who wore bathing suits in a 66-degree room lost an average of 15 pounds in a year without any lifestyle changes.

“Pharmacology has not quite gotten there yet,” he said.

Chawla said Hayes’ premise is sound, although he can’t verify the results of the vest.

“From a simple conceptual point of view, it seems like a reasonable thing,” he said. “It has to be tested.”

Hayes said he hopes to collaborate with UCI’s medical school for a clinical trial. He emphasizes that diet and exercise are essential, but he does believe intermittent cold exposure should become an accepted complement.

“Someone who eats an entire bag of cookies and wears the vest is not going to lose weight,” Hayes said. “It’s not a miracle worker. It can accelerate your weight loss but you have to have all three pillars.

“There’s science behind this. It really does work. It’s not a gimmick. My hope is that 10 years from now the medical establishment will realize that cold exposure is good for you. It’s novel and it works.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-3686