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Diego G. Rodriguez Named Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office

Diego Rodriguez /fbi photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Diego G. Rodriguez, who headed up the FBI’s Dallas office, has been named the assistant director in charge (ADIC) of the FBI’s New York Field Office.

Rodriguez succeeds George Venizelos, who is retiring after 24 years in the FBI, the agency said.

Rodriguez joined the FBI in 1990 at the New York Field Office and was a member of the SWAT team and the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

In 1997, he headed to San Juan Division, where he was a SWAT team member. He was also assigned to a drug/money laundering task force with the Puerto Rico Police Department.

In 1999, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters.

In 2001, he transferred to the Miami Division, where he supervised a multi-agency drug squad under the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Initiative.

Rodriguez returned to FBI headquarters in 2003 as chief of the Field Oversight Unit in the Directorate of Intelligence.

Shortly after, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office in April 2006 as the criminal, counterterrorism, and intelligence program manager, according to a press release.

He was then promoted to chief of the Domain and Collection Management Section in the Directorate of Intelligence at FBI Headquarters.

In July 2010, he was named a special agent in charge in New York where he oversaw the Criminal Division. In June 2012, he headed up the Dallas Division.

 

 

Before his FBI career, Mr. Rodriguez was a teacher in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1988 from St. John’s University in New York.


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FBI’s Rafael “Jorge” Garcia Jr. Named Assistant Directorate of Intelligence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rafael “Jorge” Garcia, Jr. has been named assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) at FBI headquarters.

Garcia most recently served as deputy assistant director for the Intelligence Operations Branch within the DI.

Garcia joined the FBI in 1995 and was first assigned to the Phoenix office he investigated drugs, organized crime, and terrorism cases.

He was assigned to FBIHQ from 1999 to 2005, where held several positions related to intelligence and counterterrorism, including chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures Unit, a press release said.

In 2004, he served as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Iraq. In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

In 2011, he was named director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Quantico, Va.

In 2012, Garcia was named special agent in charge of the Intelligence Division at the Los Angeles Field Office.

 


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Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to Step Down, Take Job in Private Sector

Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is about to lose another high-ranking officials.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, second-in-command, announced Thursday that he’s taking a job in the private sector, the Washington Post reports.

The Post said possible successors include Sally Quillian Yates, who is U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Cole’s job was to run the Justice Department’s daily operations.

Cole spoke to the Washington Post about the difficulties of balancing security with civil liberties.

“If you just want to keep people safe and you’re willing to sacrifice people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties, that’s not so hard,” he said.

“If you just want to protect people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties and you’re willing to sacrifice their safety, that’s not so hard either,” Cole said. “The hard part is to do them both.”


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TSA Administrator Pistole to Retire After More Than 4 Years at Helm

John Pistole

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Pistole, head of the TSA, will retire after leading the agency for more than four years, Reuters reports.

Pistole was in charge of 60,000 employees and security operations at more than 415 airports nationwide.

Pistole “has been integral in leading TSA’s transformation to a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to protecting our transportation systems,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

“Because of his efforts over the past four and a half years, our country’s transportation systems are more safe and secure,” Johnson added.

Johnson did not say what prompted the retirement.


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President Obama Chooses New Head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division

Vanita Gupta

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A top lawyer for the ACLU is President Obama’s choice to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department, a position that has been without a permanent leaders for more than a year, the Washington Post reports.

Vanita Gupta, 39,will become the acting head of the division Wednesday.

A longtime civil rights lawyer, Gupta brings a lot of experience with her. She is the deputy legal director for the ACLU.

The Post reports that Obama plans to nominate Gupta to be the permanent assistant attorney general for civil rights.

It’s an important position that oversees voting and civil rights investigations.

Born in the Philadelphia area to immigrant parents, Gupta has been lauded for her civil rights work, especially on prison reform, the Post wrote.


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Veteran FBI Agent with Doctorate in Physical Chemistry to Take Over San Diego Field Office

Eric S. Birnbaum

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agent Eric S. Birnbaum, a 26-year-veteran of the bureau, will take over San Diego’s field office.

The Times of San Diego reports that Birnbaum has been named to succeed Daphne Hearn, who retired in August.

Birnbaum has a bachelor’s degree in math from Miami University in Ohio and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Since beginning his FBI career in 1988, Birnbaum has worked in the FBI Laboratory, the Inspection Division and the field offices in Washington, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Birnbaum supervised a white-collar squad in San Diego.


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FBI Director Names Donald Alway As New Special Agent in Charge of Jackson Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has a new special agent in charge of the Jackson Division.

MS News Now reports that FBI Director James B. Comey named to the post Donald Alway, who began his career with the FBI in 1996 when he was first assigned to investigate drug violations in the Los Angeles Division.

Since then, he worked counterterrorism and supervised a Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York.

Alway also investigated Iraq under former leader Saddam Hussein when he worked for the Regime Crimes Task Force.

In 2011, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Cincinnati Division.


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Longtime New York FBI Mob Buster Gerard Conrad Retires

Jerry  Capeci is a mob expert who formerly covered the Mafia for the New York Daily News. His website, Gang Land News, is a paid subscription site. This article was re-printed with permission.  
 
By Jerry Capeci
Gang Land News

Longtime mob buster Gerard Conrad, who helped put scores of wiseguys behind bars working as a grunt agent on the FBI’s Gambino crime family squad and later as the hands-on supervisor of a revamped squad that now investigates two crime families, retired last week after a quietly illustrious 25 year career as a G-man.

A CPA, Conrad began his FBI career in Chicago and worked organized crime cases there for five years, three under John O’Neil, the counter-terrorism expert who died in the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Conrad, a New Jersey native, transferred to New York in 1994, working white collar crime cases for four years before joining the Gambino crime family squad in 1998.

Since then, Conrad played important roles in every major case the squad has made, including two racketeering indictments against Peter Gotti and 23 codefendants, three other racketeering cases involving mobsters in New York and Italy, and a huge 62-defendant case that included the Administration of the Gambino crime family in 2008.

Two years later he shared the podium with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and New York FBI boss George Venizelos when they announced a racketeering indictment that charged powerful Gambino capo Daniel Marino with the murder of his nephew and 13 codefendants with a litany of other crimes, including sex-trafficking charges involving a minor — a 15-year-old girl.

Conrad, who supervised two major Mafia Takedown Day cases — racketeering against capo Alphonse Trucchio and 20 cohorts and the murder indictment of consigliere Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace for the 1981 Shamrock Bar murders — supervised the FBI squad that currently investigates the Gambino and Luchese crime families for six years.

“Gerry was one of the finest agents I have ever worked with,” said retired FBI agent Philip Scala, whom Conrad succeeded as squad supervisor in 2008.

“The squad will miss him. He’s profoundly humble, with an unlimited willingness to sacrifice for his people and their mission.”

Conrad also knows that it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open, and pay attention to what’s going on around you, because sometimes when you least expect it, you may come across some evidence that can help put a murderous mobster behind bars for life — even on a walk in the park.

That’s what happened to him at about 3:45 pm on August 15,  a warm and lazy afternoon when he took a break from his FBI duties and spotted three very familiar faces sitting at a  table and chatting behind a cyclone fence in Forest Park, a short stroll from his Kew Gardens office.

“I saw Bobby Vernace, JoJo Corozzo and Alphonse Trucchio,” Conrad recalled last year as one of the final witnesses at Vernace’s racketeering and murder trial in Brooklyn Federal Court. That’s Vernace, in the blue shirt on the left. Corozzo is in the middle. Trucchio on the right.

He wasn’t close enough to hear what they were saying but he knew that putting the three mobsters together just might be relevant at some point, so, he testified, “I immediately called back to the office to get some agents there with a camera” to record the session for posterity.

Conrad kept his eyes peeled on the trio, “from across the park” until agents Robert Herbster and William Johnson got there, and took photos of the trio, still talking to each other at  4:22 pm. Ten minutes later, they took one of Vernace, 65, and Corozzo, 72, who were speaking privately, as Trucchio, 37, stood out of earshot about 20 feet away.

The discussion between the two older mobsters lasted “just a short while,” said Conrad, “two to three minutes.”

The photos weren’t smoking gun evidence. But prosecutors were able to use them, along with Conrad’s detailed account, to tie Bobby Glasses to two powerful Gambino mobsters some 25 years after he had gunned down two bar owners and convince the jury that the killings were related to Gambino family activity and that Vernace was guilty of racketeering and murder.

 


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