A high-ranking U.S. intelligence official who died in June killed himself in his own front yard in front of his terrified new wife, it has been revealed.
Anthony Ming Schinella, 52, died on June 14 in Arlington, Virginia, but his death had not been widely reported until this week, when The Intercept revealed a medical examiner’s report listed his cause of death as suicide from a gunshot wound to the head.
Schinella was just weeks away from retirement as National Intelligence Officer for Military Issues following a long CIA career, and had newly married wife Sara Cocoran, a journalist, a few weeks prior to his death.
Corcoran said that she was in her car in the driveway of their home, trying to get away from Schinella, when she witnessed his suicide, according to The Intercept.
The widow did not reveal further details about the events leading up to Schinella’s death.
Corcoran said that after Schinella’s death, she discovered a large collection of bondage and S&M gear that had been hidden in his house.
She also discovered 24 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Corcoran said that the CIA has completed an investigation into Schinella’s death, but that the agency didn’t provide her with any details.
Schinella was the highest-ranking military affairs analyst in the U.S. intelligence community, and was also a member of the powerful National Intelligence Council.
He was an expert on the Taliban’s military capabilities, and his death came shortly before the New York Times reported on June 26 that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Following the report, the NIC drafted a memo, which quickly leaked, claiming that the intelligence about the bounties was inconclusive.
The memo did not mention that the NIC’s top analyst on military affairs and Taliban expert had killed himself days earlier.
In a tribute to Schinella published in CityWatch, Corcoran wrote that he possessed an ‘astonishing intelligence and an heroic work ethic.’
‘He traveled to more than 100 countries on six continents, spoke several languages and was able to pick up the basics of practically any language before he even left for the airport,’ she wrote.
Schinella is also survived by two daughters from a previous marriage.
In an article last week for CityWatch, Corcoran suggested that her husband viewed Russia as a distraction, and China as the real foreign threat to America.
‘My husband Tony and I often discussed China’s increasing influence in America’s public domain, as well as in other countries around the world,’ she wrote.
‘China was one of our shared interests, as he was half-Chinese and I received my MBA from a business school in Shanghai.’
Corcoran said that prior to his death, Schinella had recommended that she read Clive Hamilton’s 2019 book Silent Invasion, which documents China’s aggressive attempts to shape Australian politics and culture.
‘My husband was an astute identifier and observer of stealth influences upon current events that are beneath the mainstream media radar, but warrant wide awareness of,’ she wrote.
‘Our conversations could range from how the Chinese Security Services or PLA (People’s Liberation Army) had centralized its operations, to how they supported influence campaigns targeting universities, politicians, and public sentiment in Australia,’ she continued.
‘So while many of us in the United States have been preoccupied with Russian influence campaigns here, it turns out that the Chinese have been wreaking havoc on our ally Oz down under; and indeed the main threat to Australia’s national security interests today come from its largest trading partner to the northwest: China.’
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255