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Tag: terrorism

Head of FBI in Minnesota: Rash of Terrorism Arrests Not Stopping Others from Joining ISIS

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite a rash of well-publicized arrests of American suspected of trying to join ISIS, the terror group continues to successfully recruit U.S. residents, the head of the FBI in Minnesota said Wednesday.

In the Minneapolis area, which is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S., six men were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to join ISIS.

Still, the FBI continues to investigate what appears to be an increasing number of ISIS sympathizers, said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Minnesota Field Office, Richard Thornton, said Wednesday.

“There are people in this community that are at various stages along the path to traveling as we speak,” he said. “I can’t tell you if there is one on an airplane as we speak, necessarily, but the arrests and the other activities have not stopped the activity across the board.”

FBI: Reputed Klansman Planned to Attack Muslims with Mobile, Radiation-Spewing Weapon

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A reputed Klansman from Saratoga County in New York believed he was capable of making a mobile device that would decimate Muslim towns with radiation.

Unbeknownst to him, he unraveled his plans to FBI agents and a KKK leader who was working with the bureau, The Times Union reports. 

The details were released Wednesday during a federal trial.

The case is expected to go to the jury as early as this week.

Crawford was arrested June 18, 2013. A co-defendant has already pleaded guilty.

Speaking to agents, Crawford bragged about the weapon’s capabilities.

“This could kill whole cities in a night — silently,” Crawford told the agents. “It would be weeks before anybody would have any inkling that anything was wrong and they’d probably drop dead in their beds.”

Other Stories of Interest

Robert Holley, Head of Chicago’s FBI Field Office, Plans to Retire, Join Private Sector

Robert Holley

Robert Holley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special agent in charge of Chicago’s Field Office plans to retire in late August following 20 years with the bureau, The Chicago Tribune reports. 

Robert Holley, who once led international terrorism investigations, conducted work for the FBI in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Tanzania, India and Isreal.

Holley’s career began in 1995 at the Chicago FBI office, where he received several promotions. He also served as deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division and was the special agent in charge of the FBI Indianapolis Division.

“I am most proud of having the opportunity to lead the Chicago Field Office and work with these men and women every day,” Holley said Tuesday in a FBI news release. “I am amazed by their dedication and what they do for the citizens of the United States every day.”

Like many retiring agents, Holley has accepted a job in the private sector. He will work on Discover Financial Services’ Global Security Team after his retirement on Aug. 20.

Six Men on No-Fly List Want Judge to Examine FBI’s Terrorism Assessments

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

How does the FBI decide who goes on the no-fly list?

That’s the question at the center of a lawsuit by six men who were placed on the no-fly list, The Oregonian reports. 

Their lawyers are asking a judge to review how the federal government determines who is placed on the list and whether that determination aligns with threats to commercial airlines or national security.

The government “offers no evidence whatsoever about the accuracy of their predictive model, any scientific basis or methodology that might justify it, or the extent to which it might result in errors,” the lawyers argue.

The Justice Department in late May said the determination to place people on the no-fly list is based on “reasonable suspicion” that they pose terrorism threats.

“The government has taken concrete steps to balance the liberty of suspected terrorists with the serious national security concerns protected by the No-Fly List,” they wrote.

FBI Informant Paid $40,000+ to Help in Terrorism Conspiracy Case

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An informant who provided key information implicating friends in a terrorism conspiracy case was paid more than $40,000 by the FBI, the Star-Tribune reports, citing court documents. 

Defense attorneys said the payments undermine the credibility of the informant, code-named “Rover.”

“Most importantly of all, the informant has been paid in the most valuable currency of all — his freedom,” wrote attorney Andrew Birrell. “Despite lying under oath multiple times and having participated in the same conduct charged in the indictment, the informant has remained free.”

The defense attorneys want permission to interview the informant to determine whether he was induced by money to say the defendants broke the law.

The informant said the defendants planned a domestic attack.

Authorities: North Carolina Man Planned to Shoot Up FBI Because He Couldn’t Buy Gun

Walter Litteral

Walter Litteral

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of three men accused of building crude explosives and buying firearms to prepare for a violent confrontation with the federal government also wanted to shoot up the FBI after he was denied the ability to buy a semi-automatic rifle, the Charlotte Observer reports. 

The man was arrested, along with two others, and charged in federal court.

During brief testimony by an FBI special agent, Walter Litteral was accused of planning to drink a bottle of tequila before shooting up the FBI.

Litteral and others were afraid the U.S. government was planning to impose martial law after spotting military exercises in Gaston County in North Carolina.

Testimony was only given in Litteral’s case.

Facing Growing Threat over Homegrown Terrorists, FBI Tries New Approach

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI scrambles to handle an increase in potential homegrown terrorists, the bureau is taking a new approach that would favor counseling over jail, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The bureau is struggling to keep pace with the thousands of Americans believed to be supporting the interests of ISIS.

Especially concerning is the proliferation of teenage suspects.

“Nobody wants to see a 15-year-old kid go to jail if they don’t have to,’’ said one official working on the effort.

But, the FBI official emphasized, criminal charges would still be pursued if the suspect becomes more dangerous.

Not everyone agrees with this approach.

“I get the principle, but there are a lot of potential problems with this, and I think it’s a wrong move,’’ said Peter Ahearn a former FBI counterterrorism agent. “I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done but it shouldn’t be done by the FBI. That’s not the mission.’’

William F. Sweeney, Jr., Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Philadelphia Office

William Sweeney

William Sweeney

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

William F. Sweeney, Jr., who most recently served as special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the New York Field Office, has been named as the new special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Office, the FBI announced Monday.

FBI Director James B. Comey made the appointment.

Sweeney launched his career with the FBI in 1998 as a member of a public corruption squad in the Newark Field Office.

Since 2004, Sweeney has worked primarily on terrorism cases and was among members of a team that received the 2010 Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service and the National Intelligence Exceptional Service Medal.

Sweeney returned to Newark in October 2010 as assistant special agent in charge in October 2010. A year later, he took the helm at the National Security Branch within the division. He also served a sting as special assistant to the FBI’s deputy director at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C.