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Archive for February 24th, 2009

CAIR Invites FBI’s Mueller To Minn. Dinner Even Though He Cut Ties to the Islamic Group

Robert Mueller III

Robert Mueller III

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it invited FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to a community dinner Wednesday at Minneapolis Mosque – an interesting move considering the FBI recently cut off official ties to the organization because of its support of Hamas.

“The invitation to Director Mueller comes in the wake of remarks he made yesterday claiming a Minnesota Muslim who allegedly carried out a suicide attack in Somalia had been ‘indoctrinated and radicalized while living in Minneapolis’,” according to a press release posted on the CAIR website.

“We invite director Mueller to attend the dinner and to help us build channels of communication between the FBI and the Minnesota Somalia Community,” said CAIR Minnesota spokeswoman Jessica Zikri in a statement.

Zikri said Tuesday night that she also hoped “everyone and anyone will stop by” from Minnesota law enforcement.

Under the circumstances, it seems highly unlikely Mueller will attend.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman in Washington, declined to comment on the invitation, but said: “The FBI will continue its dialogue with the Somalia community in Minneapolis and elsewhere.”

Meanwhile , the Investigative Project on Terrorism website reported that Senators Jon Kyl, Charles E. Schumer and Tom A. Coburn wrote a letter Tuesday praising Mueller for cutting ties to CAIR, and asked for more information surrounding the move.

Mexico’s Drug Violence is Arizona’s Headache Too

It seems for far too long the U.S. has failed to do enough to keep the drug violence in Mexico from spilling over into the U.S. states like Texas, Calif. and Arizona. The time has come to do something.

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
New York Times
PHOENIX – The raging drug war among cartels in Mexico and their push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona, state and federal officials said at a legislative hearing on Monday.

The drug trade has long brought violence to the state, which serves as a hub as illicit drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, and illegal immigrants are smuggled to the rest of the nation.
For Full Story

More than 800 Guns Seized at U.S. Airport Checkpoints Last Year

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Who in their right mind brings a gun to the airport these days?

Well, in this post-Sept. 11 era, despite heightened airport security, the number of firearms seized at U.S. airport checkpoints jumped to 833 in 2008, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The 2008 figure was down from 915 in 2006, but nonetheless perplexing, said  TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. The figures were compiled at the request of ticklethewire.com.

“We’ve spent the last seven years trying to educate passengers on what items are prohibited and allowed at the checkpoints,” Davis said.  “Certainly guns loaded or unloaded seems rather obvious to us. That is perplexing.”

Davis said a frequent excuse from gun owners, particularly some hunters, is that they forgot the weapon was in their bag.

“One would think a responsible gun owner would know where a firearm is at,” she said.

In another key category, the TSA reported that the number of suspicious behavior arrests at the airports more than doubled from 384 in 2007 to 851 last year.

Davis attributed the spike to TSA’s expanded Behavior Detection Program, where TSA security looks for psychological signs that someone is “basically hiding something or fears discovery.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Biker Charged in Buffalo With Sending Threatening Text Messages

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
It’s probably beyond dispute that Ronald Blair, a New York state motorcycle gang member, was not the most artful of text messagers.

For example, court records say on Feb. 11 at 4:38 a.m., he wrote to the brother of a rival biker: “I’m coming over with a 2 club bros. want to know where jimmigy lives. bottom line. f—.”

Later in the day he wrote: “Tell him to call a doctor.boy.” and “Sorr   y to be you. f—.”

What is in dispute is how menacing those messages were.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo has filed a four-count indictment charging Blair, 39,of the Kingsmen motorcycle club, with conveying a “threat to injure” through text messages.

The Buffalo News quoted his lawyer as saying the feds “should be ashamed of prosecuting” such a case.

Read Biker Indictment

DEA Informant Who Penetrated Colombian Drug Cartel Says Agency Didn’t Provide Enough Protection

Going undercover is always dangerous work. Going undercover to penetrate a Colombian drug cartel is really really dangerous. A DEA informant says she put her life on the line and the DEA didn’t do enough to protect her. Does she have a legit beef? Jurors may decide.

By LESLEY CLARK
Miami Herald
MIAMI — In court documents she’s referred to as the Princess, with a capital ”P.” But her story reads more like Mata Hari infiltrating the Colombian drug cartel.

In federal court documents, a Palm Beach County woman — the ex-wife of two convicted drug dealers — outlines a life of intrigue, adventure and considerable danger as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. For more than three years, she traveled the world for the Fort Lauderdale DEA office, earning a $10,000-a-month ”salary” and posing as “an affluent money launderer.”

She raked in as much as $1.85 million from the agency, according to documents in a 1997 lawsuit she filed against the agency in U.S. Court of Federal Claims. And now, after a decade of legal wrangling and a trial, the Princess may be in line for more.

A federal judge ruled that the DEA failed to protect confidential informant SGS-92-X003 — aka the Princess — when it dispatched her to Colombia in 1995 at the height of the country’s brutal drug war.

”The evidence is uncontroverted that the head of [the] DEA’s Fort Lauderdale Office, who supervised the Princess, sent her on this undercover operation without advising DEA Headquarters or the Colombian attaché,” Judge Mary Ellen Coster Williams wrote in a Feb. 9 opinion that was unsealed after classified information was removed.

”During this mission,” Coster Williams wrote, “the Princess was captured by a guerrilla organization, transported in the trunk of a car, and held for over three months in a windowless, dirt floor room where she slept on a straw mattress.”

In her lawsuit, the Princess sought more than $33 million. Next step: determining whether the woman was damaged by the agency’s negligence, and if so, how much the DEA should pay.

For Full Story

To Read Lawsuit

Feds File Charges in Baltimore’s Biggest Coke Bust Near a Street of Hope

In this hard-bitten town, in the shadow of the nation’s capital, authorities recently made what they’re calling their biggest coke bust in the city’s history. The bust was notable not only for its quantity, but its location.

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper
BALTIMORE — Trenell David Murphy, a 33-year-old Baltimore man, was charged in federal court on Feb. 20 in connection with what has been touted by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) as the biggest coke bust in its history.
The location of the bust, on the 3000 block of Presstman Street in West Baltimore, is one block west of Kevin Liles Drive, so named in 2005 by then-mayor Martin O’Malley to honor Liles, the executive vice president of Warner Music Group. Liles, who grew up on the 2900 block of Presstman Street, is promoted as a model of success for youngsters growing up on the hard streets of Baltimore.

For Full Story