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Tag: bombing

FBI Denies Pressuring Witness to Back Off Testifying in Oklahoma City Bombing Case

Timothy McVeigh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Timothy McVeigh act alone when he detonated a bomb in Oklahoma in 1995?

Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue believes there’s video evidence to prove that McVeigh had help.

But the FBI, after many delays, finally issued a report that shows the bureau did not pressure a government operative into not testifying, the Associated Press reports.

The records indicate the former operative, John Matthews, didn’t want to testify and asked not to be a part of the case.

FBI inspectors concluded Matthews was never discouraged from testifying after they reviewed five recorded phone conversations between Matthews and an agent.

According to one transcript, Matthews was insistent he didn’t want to testify.

“I’m going to sit there on the stand and say I don’t recall anything,” he said.

 

College Friend of Suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Convicted of Lying to FBI Task Force in Boston Marathon Probe

Robel Phillipos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After an eight-day trial, a Boston federal jury Tuesday convicted a college friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, of making false statements to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Robel Phillipos, 21, of Cambridge, Mass., was found guilty of making false statements on April 20 and April 25 in 2013. Sentencing is set for next Jan. 29.

“In the wake of one of the most significant events in this City’s modern history – an event which left two young women and a child dead, and many more injured – thousands of ordinary citizens assisted law enforcement in identifying and locating the perpetrators,” Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. “Today, a federal jury concluded that Robel Phillipos did just the opposite. He lied to agents when he could have helped. He concealed when he could have assisted. It is a crime to lie to law enforcement agents, and that is why Robel Phillipos was charged and why the jury found him guilty today. But this case also reminds us that our public safety network relies on every citizen in the Commonwealth.

A Justice Department press release stated the following:

In August 2014, Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges related to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. Kadyrbayev admitted to removing evidence from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and discarding Tsarnaev’s backpack with fireworks, some of which appeared to have been emptied of their explosive powder, in a garbage dumpster. In July 2014, Azamat Tazhayakov was found guilty by a federal jury in Boston of obstruction of justice charges for his role in impeding the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. His conduct was related to the same conduct as charged against Kadyrbayev that occurred in Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013.

At the Phillipos trial, the government proved that Phillipos lied about his knowledge and activities on the evening of April 18, 2013. Specifically, Phillipos repeatedly lied to investigators when he denied that, on the evening of April 18, 2013, he entered Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and saw Kadyrbayev remove a backpack containing fireworks.

According to evidence presented at trial, at 7:00 p.m. on April 18, 2013, Phillipos saw the images released by the FBI of the two suspected bombers and immediately recognized one of them as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. At 10:00 p.m., Phillipos went with Tazhayakov to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room where he and Tazhayakov watched, as Kadyrbayev searched through Tsarnaev’s belongings and found a backpack containing fireworks. When Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos left Tsarnaev’s room at 10:30 p.m., Kadyrbayev removed Tsarnaev’s backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and Tsarnaev’s laptop computer. Later that night while Tazhayakov and Phillipos were monitoring the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs on television, Kadyrbayev discussed getting rid of the backpack containing the fireworks with them. Tazhayakov agreed with Kadyrbayev that they should get rid of it. After this conversation, Kadrybayev placed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack in a garbage bag and placed it in a dumpster outside their New Bedford apartment. The FBI recovered the backpack a week later, after 30 agents spent two days searching a landfill in New Bedford.

Between April 19, 2013 and April 26, 2013, Phillipos was interviewed five times by investigators conducting the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and during each of those interviews Phillipos lied. At the conclusion of the fifth interview, Phillipos finally admitted that he did go into Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013 and that he saw Kadyrbayev remove evidence from Tsarnaev’s room. After he confessed, Phillipos indicated he regretted his decisions. In his signed statement, Phillipos stated: “In retrospect, I should have notified the Police once I knew Jahar was the bomber. Further, I should have turned over the backpack to the authorities.”

 

Jury Deliberations begin in Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect’s Friend

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A jury has begun deliberating in the trial of a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

The Boston Globe reports that the fate of Robel Phillipos is now in the hands of a jury.

In closing arguments, Phillipos’ attorney said the government failed to show that he “knowingly and intentionally” made false statements during the investigation. The attorney said Phillipos’ memory was clouded by marijuana.

But U.S. attorneys said Phillipos intentionally lied to protect his friend.

“This case is about someone who lied, not about someone who didn’t remember,” Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said.

 

 

Attorneys for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Tsarnaev Deny Impersonating FBI Employees

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are accusing the defense lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of posing as FBI employees to investigate their client’s background in Russia, the Boston Globe reports.

“Let us be clear: At no time have members of the defense team misrepresented themselves or lied about their work,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote in papers filed Monday in US District Court.

Calling the allegations “false and facially preposterous, ” the lawyers charged that prosecutors had made an “absurd charge.”

Russian authorities recently told the U.S. government that Tsarnaev’s defense team traveled to Russia to investigate the case and falsely claimed they were FBI employees.

“While conducting interviews in Russia, the members of the defense team reportedly refused to produce documents confirming their legal status and identified themselves as employees of the FBI,” prosecutors wrote. “As a result, the Russian government . . . expelled them.”

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect’s Sister Accused of Threatening to Bomb NYC Woman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The sister of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested Monday after police say she threatened to bomb a New York City woman, Fox News reports.

Ailina Tsarnaeva is accused of making the threat via telephone Monday. She been charged with aggravated harassment and is due in court Sept. 30.

Tsarnaeva couldn’t be reached for comment.

Her brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, pleaded no guilty to killing three people in the April 2013 marathon explosions.

Authorities: Minnesota Teen Planned to Kill Family, Bomb His High School and Shoot the Survivors

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Minnesota teen, who kept a notebook critiquing school shootings, planned a massacre of his own at his high school and was found with several pressure-cooker bombs, an assault rifle and other guns, the New York Daily News reports.

John David LaDue, 17, planned to kill his family, bomb his school and shoot the surviving students, authorities said.

LaDue had weapons ready for the attack before his neighbor saw him enter a storage unit where he kept the stash of supplies, police said at a news conference Thursday

LaDue “was fully prepared and ready to go,” police said.

Authorities learned of his plot in a 180-page notebook that chronicled other school massacres, which he said was done by amateurs.

Washington State Man Wanted to Blow Up Wal-Mart, Gas Stations to Distract from Bank Robberies

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A recently released inmate planned to blow up a Wal-Mart and several gas stations to distract from plans he had of robbing banks in Washington state.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that suspect Larry Gillette, who was arrested Monday, is accused of revealing his plans to an undercover FBI agent, saying he wanted “carnage.”

During the sting, the 53-year-old tried to acquire four pistols and a bomb from the undercover agent in hopes of using them in Shelton.

“Gillette stated he wanted the targeted Walmart leveled, and intentionally wanted the explosives placed in areas which would prompt secondary explosions causing more damage,” an FBI agent said in court papers, recounting conversations between Gillette and the undercover police officers.

FBI Director Robert Mueller Concedes Slip-up on Boston Bomber’s Travel

Robert Mueller

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — The terrorist tracking task force in Boston failed to act on notices that one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers had traveled to and from Russia last year, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Thursday.

Mueller said the authorities would “do better” next time in following up on such information.

Mueller said that before Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to Russia in early 2012 a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force got a notification from a database known as TECS (formerly the Treasury Enforcement Communications System). Tamerlan’s travel was being flagged because of information the Russian intelligence service gave the FBI in 2011 that he’d become more religious and was interested in joining Islamic radical groups in Russia.

To read more click here.

 

Read his statement Thursday before  the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Good morning Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Shelby, and members of the subcommittee. I look forward to discussing the FBI’s efforts as a threat-driven, intelligence-led organization that is guided by clear operational strategies and priorities.

The FBI has established strong practices for sharing intelligence, leveraged key technologies to help us be more efficient and productive, and hired some of the best to serve as special agents, intelligence analysts, and professional staff. We have built a workforce and leadership cadre that view change and transformation as a positive tool for keeping the FBI focused on the key threats facing our nation.

Just as our national security and criminal adversaries and threats constantly adapt and evolve, so must the FBI be able to quickly respond with new or revised strategies and operations to counter these threats. Looking forward, a key challenge facing the FBI will be maintaining its current capabilities and capacities to respond to these threats at a time when the budgetary environment remains constrained.

We live now, and will for the foreseeable future, in a time of acute and persistent threats to our national security, economy, and community safety from terrorists, foreign adversaries, criminals and violent gangs, and cyber attackers. The attacks in Boston are vivid examples of the threat. This subcommittee understands these threats—and the consequences of failing to address them. I look forward to working with the subcommittee to ensure that the FBI maintains the intelligence, investigative, and infrastructure capabilities and capacities needed to deal with these threats and crime problems within the current fiscal climate. One lesson we have learned is that those who would do harm to the nation and its citizens will exploit any weakness they perceive in the ability and capacity of the U.S. government to counter their activities. We must identify and fix those gaps while not allowing new weaknesses or opportunities for terrorists, cyber criminals, foreign agents, and criminals to exploit.

The FBI’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request totals $8.4 billion in direct budget authority, including 34,787 permanent positions (13,082 special agents, 3,026 intelligence analysts, and 18,679 professional staff). This funding level provides critical funding to address threats posed by terrorists, cyber attackers, and criminals.

The threats facing the homeland, briefly outlined below, underscore the complexity and breadth of the FBI’s mission to protect the nation in a post-9/11 world. Let me briefly summarize the key national security threats and crime problems that this funding supports.

 National Security Threats

 Terrorism

We have pursued those who committed, or sought to commit, acts of terrorism against the United States. Along with our partners in the military and intelligence communities, we have taken the fight against terrorism to our adversaries’ own sanctuaries in the far corners of the world—including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Southwest Asia, and the Horn of Africa. We have worked to uncover terrorist cells and supporters within the United States and disrupted terrorist financial, communications, and operational lifelines at home and abroad. We have built strong partnerships with law enforcement in countries around the world.

The threat from terrorism remains complex and ever-changing. We are seeing more groups and individuals engaged in terrorism, a wider array of terrorist targets, greater cooperation among terrorist groups, and continued evolution and adaptation in tactics and communication.

Threats from homegrown terrorists are also of great concern. These individuals are difficult to detect, able to connect with other extremists, and—in some instances—highly capable operationally. There is no typical profile of a homegrown terrorist; their experiences and motivating factors are distinct. Many questions remain as to the precise motivation, planning, and possible support to the attacks in Boston. However, it is increasingly likely that the Boston attacks may prove to be the latest example of homegrown extremism.

Radicalization to violence remains an issue of great concern. Many factors appear to contribute to radicalization here at home, and those factors may explain why radicalization is more prevalent now than in the past. First, American extremists appear to be attracted to wars in foreign countries. We have already seen a number of Americans travel overseas to train and fight with extremist groups. The increase and availability of extremist propaganda in English perpetuate the problem.

Read more »