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Archive for March, 2010

Fed Judge Criticizes FBI Tactics During Sentencing in Holy Land Foundation Case

fox news photo

fox news photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge in Phoenix sharply criticized the FBI tactics Thursday as he sentenced an Arizona man to 18 months in prison for lying to agents investigating the Muslim charity the Holy Land Foundation, which raised money for the Palestinian group Hamas, which the U.S. has labeled a terrorist group, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake said he gave Akram Musa Abdallah a low sentence because the defendant caused little harm to the government.

But he criticized the FBI agents who questioned Abdallah in 2007, saying it appeared they tried to get Abdallah of Mesa, Az.,  to change his story to help build the case, the AP reported.

Man Wounds Two Officers at Pentagon

NY Imam Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI in Subway Plot: Will Have to Leave Country

new-york-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A remorseful New York imam, as expected, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to FBI agents in the subway bombing plot.

The Associated Press reported that a tearful Ahmad Afzali told the judge that he wanted to help authorities but lied under grilling by the FBI.

He had tipped off al Qaeda associate Najibullah Zazi that he was under surveillance by authorities in New York.  Zazi pleaded guilty to plotting to blow up the New York subway system.

AP said his guilty plea spares him serious jail time, but will force him to leave the country.

He also  told the judge  he was sorry for lying about his conversations with Zazi.

“In doing so, I failed to live up to my obligation to this country, my community, my family, and my religion,” he said, according to AP. “I am truly sorry.”

The plea agreement says that Afzali could get up to six months in jail and that he would have to leave the country within 90 days after serving his sentence.

To read more click here.

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Warns About “Rapidly Expanding” Threat of Cyber Terrorism

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller warned Thursday that cyber terrorism threats are an ever growing problem “that could have the same impact as well-placed bombs.”

“In the past 10 years, al Qaeda’s online presence has become as potent as its physical presence,” Mueller said during a speech at the RSA Cyber Security Conference in San Francisco. “Extremists are not limitiing their use of the internet to recruitment or radicationlaizaiton, they are using it to incite terrorism.”

“We in the FBI, with our partners in the intelligence community, believe the cyber terrorism threat is real, and it is rapidly expanding,” he said. “Terrorists have shown a clear interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they will either train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward combining physical attacks with cyber attacks.”

The following is a full text of his speech.

Read more »

Mexico Extradites Drug Kinpin Oscar Arriola to U.S., DEA Announces

file photo/dea

file photo/dea

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mexico on Wednesday extradited drug kingpin Oscar Arriola to Colorado to face drug charges, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Thursday. He will appear in court in Colorado Thursday.

Authorities said he was flown on a DEA plane from Mexico to El Paso, Tex, to Denver.

Arriola had been custody in Mexico since his arrest on February 2, 2006.

Authorities alleged that Arriola headed an international cocaine ring that smuggled more than 2 tons of cocaine per month into the U.S.

“We deeply appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from Mexico in the extradition of Oscar Arriola to the United States to face this serious federal drug charge,” DEA Special Agent in Charge in Denver Jeffrey D. Sweetin said in a statement.

“According to the allegations, his organization’s drug trafficking in Mexico and the United States allowed him to amass incredible wealth, at the expense of the citizens of both countries,” he said.”He will now be held accountable in U.S. District Court in Colorado for those illegal activities.”

Detroit Area Attorney Ran Sports Betting Ring Out of Law Office

sports betting
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Michigan attorney John Stephen Shelly found a way to supplement his income from his law practice.

The 49-year-old ran part of a gambling ring out of his law offices in suburban Detroit in St. Clair Shores as well as bars in Detroit and Dearborn, authorities said.

Earlier this week, he and associate David Stronski, 55, of Grosse Point Park pleaded guilty to being part of a multi-state sports betting ring for college and pro sports that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say the operation made as much as $25,000 a week.

FBI Submits Evidence in Historical 1990 Boston Art Heist for DNA Analysis

One of the Rembrandt Pieces Stolen

One of the Rembrandt Pieces Stolen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Advances in DNA testing aren’t just being used to solve murders and rapes.

The FBI is hoping to take advantage of the new advances by submitting evidence from the great art heist 20 years ago at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston which included three Rembrandts and a Vermeer, the Boston Globe reports. It is believed to be the largest heist in world history in terms of dollars.

The FBI on the case declined to say what had been submitted for analysis, but the Globe reported that people familiar with the case “said it would probably include long strips of duct tape used to tie up the museum’s two night watchmen, whom the thieves overpowered to get access to the artwork.”

“If they left any sweat on that duct tape, a sample could be drawn, and with that sample there’s the possibility of a result,” Dr. Bruce Budowle, former senior scientist of the FBI’s Quantico lab told the Globe.

To read full story click here.

Read more »

Brooklyn Trial Illustrates Tough Balancing Act Dealing With an FBI Informant

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The trial in Brooklyn federal court involving right wing racist Internet radio host Hal Turner illustrates the tough balancing act the FBI has to deal with when handling an informant who is less than an ideal citizen.

Turner is accused of posting messages last summer on his blog advocating the death of U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Chicago who upheld a gun ban.

But on Wednesday he testified at his trial that the FBI talked to him in 2005 about helping solve the murder of the family of a federal judge in Chicago and suggested he “ratchet up the rhetoric”. The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience, according to the New York Times.

He in turn posted a photo of the Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow with the statement “worthy of death”, the Times reported.

This past summer, he posted on his blogs that  the Court of Appeals judges in the gun ban ruling were “worthy of death”. His defense is essentially  that he was doing the same thing the FBI had asked him to do in the past. One of those judges testified earlier this week that he felt threatened by the posting on the blog.

Turner’s first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked. That could happen again.

To read more click here

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