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Archive for May, 2010

Suspected NY Car Bomber Arraigned in Manhattan

Morning in ManhattanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Suspected NY car bomber Faisal Shahzad who had been holed up in an undisclosed location talking to investigators without an attorney since his arrest May 3, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Manhattan shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The New York Times  reported that Shahzad, 30, was wearing gray shirt and gray pants, and did not enter a plea. He only said “yes” to a question about his strapped finances, when then allowed U .S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV to appoint an attorney,  federal defender Julia Gatto, who was sitting at his side, the Times reported.

Gatto asked the judge to make sure he is served food certified as halal, which adheres to Islamic dietary laws.  Authorities said he will now be housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

He faces charges of  attempting terrorism by attempting to kill people; attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; using a destructive device in connection with an attempted crime of violence; transporting explosives; and attempting to destroy property with fire and explosives. He faces up to life in prison, but could get a break on a sentence for freely cooperating, legal experts have said.

Whether his level of cooperation will change now that he has an attorney is unclear.  Some other terror suspects including the underwear bomber in Detroit continued to cooperate after getting attorneys.

U.S. Immigration Judge Grants Asylum for Pres. Obama’s Kenyan Aunt

obama auntBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After a protracted legal battle, President Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt has been granted asylum, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. Immigration judge in Boston mailed the decision on Friday, AP reported. The aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is the half sister of Obama’s later father. A person must prove that they will be persecuted if they return to their homeland.

AP reported that the reason for her request was never made public. But her lawyer had previously said she applied for asylum because of the violence in that country.

She first moved to the U.S. in 2000 on a valid visa, and was ordered deported in 2004 after he request for asylum was rejected.  But she remained in the country and was living in public housing in Boston. The New York Times reported that she first sought asylum in 2002.

The legal battle became fodder for anti-Obama forces.

Pakistani Ambassador Says 3 Men in NY Bomb Case Not Terrorists

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The three Pakistani men rounded up last week as part of the ongoing probe into the New York car bomb incident don’t appear to have links to terrorism, the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. told the Boston Globe.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani of Washington, whose statement was based on briefings from Pakistani officials, said it appears the men were taken into custody during questioning because of immigration violations, the Globe reported.

“For all we know, there will be no connection at the end of it,” Haqqani told the Globe in a telephone interview. “I’m a little critical of law enforcement who ran to the press first, because you can actually destroy people’s lives. So far, there is nothing that implies anything of a terrorist nature.”

After the FBI raids in three different states last week, authorities said the men may have provided money to the suspected car bomber Faisal Shahzad, but it was unclear if they knew what he was up to.

The Globe reported that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New York and Boston declined comment.

To read more click here.

NY Car Bomb Suspect Could Be Talking His Way to Less Prison Time

Faisal Shahzad/cnn

Faisal Shahzad/cnn

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Talk may be cheap, but for New York car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad, yapping to the feds, and doing so without a lawyer, could potentially pay off in the form of a lighter sentence, legal experts say.

Just how much lighter is anyone’s guess, though clearly he’s not likely to be a free man any time soon. Or for that matter, when the Yankees celebrate their 10th anniversary in the new stadium in the Bronx in 2019, or perhaps even their 20th anniversary.

Justice Department officials say Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, has been talking to investigators and offering valuable information ever since he was pulled off a plane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3, two days after he allegedly placed a failed car bomb inside a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder in Times Square.

{Update: A U.S. Magistrate Judge in Manhattan on Tuesday assigned Shahzad a court-appointed attorney from the federal defender office at his arraignment. Shahzad had been talking to investigators for the past two weeks without an attorney}

To read more click here.

Emails May Provide Insights Into Shahzad (AOL News)

EX-FBI Agent Who Was Always in the Thick of It Pens First Novel

Herman Groman

Herman Groman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While I was a reporter at the Detroit News covering the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit, FBI agent Herman Groman left his mark.

When the FBI ran a massive sting that netted a number of crooked local judges, Herman Groman was in thick of all of that.

A few years later, when the FBI conducted an undercover sting and got a bunch of crooked cops to provide protection for fake cocaine shipments, Groman was in the middle of all of that as well. Not only were cops convicted, but so was the common-law brother-in-law of then Mayor Coleman A. Young, who helped recruit some of the cops.

groman bookGroman eventually went off to the Las Vegas FBI office, where he went undercover, posing as a mobster.  In other words, if there was danger and excitement, Groman was often involved.

Now Groman, who has since retired from the FBI and is the director of security for a Las Vegas hotel/casino,  has taken all that knowledge and excitement and penned his first novel, a suspense thriller called “Pigeon Spring” that stars a fictitious lead character Matt Steel,  who happens to be an ex-FBI agent who is director of security at a Las Vegas hotel.

I should mention, for full disclosure, that I wrote one of the reviews on the book jacket before the book came out. So did entertainer Wayne Newton, ex-FBI agent Joe Pistone (aka Donny Brasco)  and NBC’s Chris Hansen.

Newton,  Mr. Las Vegas, wrote:  “Danke Schoen to Groman. His novel “Pigeon Spring” really captures the crazy hustle of Las Vegas and the wild pristine beauty of Nevada’s other side…the Sierra Nevada. He knows his way around a horse too. I enjoyed it cover to cover.”

The book goes on sale on  Tuesday.



White Supremacist Pleads to Mailing Hangman’s Noose to African American Civil Rights Leader in Lima, Ohio

David Lee Jones/multnomah co. sheriff photo

David Lee Jones/multnomah co. sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A white supremacist pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Toledo to  mailing a hangman’s noose to the president of the Lima, Ohio chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Justice Department announced.

Authorities said that white supremacist Daniel Lee Jones, 33, of Portland, Ore., admitted mailing the noose to  NAACP local chapter president F.M. Jason Upthegrove in February of 2008 to  “convey a threat or injure” Upthegrove, who was an African-American, who pushed for improvement  police services for blacks in Lima, Ohio.

The indictment stated, according to authorities,  that Upthegrove publicly spoke out in the media against Jones’ hate group that mailed flyers about an African-American woman who was shot by the Lima Police Department.

Jones, who was reportedly the regional director of the American National Socialist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi group based in Roanoke, Va., faces up to five years in prison.

“Sending a noose is a threat that harkens back to some of the darkest days of our history. We simply will not tolerate such actions any longer,” Cleveland U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

It’s Off to Fed Prison For NY’s Ex-Top Cop Bernie Kerik

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Clad in blue jeans and a tan jacket, ex-N.Y. Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik left his New Jersey home Monday to report to a federal minimum-security prison in Cumberland, Md., ABC News reported.

Kerik,  54, who became a hero after the 9/11 attacks, began serving his four-year term on eight felony counts that included lying to the White House and filing false taxes.

ABC reported that Kerik — not known for his shyness — did not comment to reporters as he left his home. He did, however,  say on his company website that he was a victim of a “grave injustice” and that he pleaded guilty in November because he was financially in a bad way.

The Cumberland Prison

The Cumberland Prison

As of late Monday night, the Bureau of Prisons had not listed him as being at the Maryland facility. However, he had a prison number of 84888-054 and his release date was listed as July 30, 2013.

President Nominates Deputy FBI Dir. John Pistole to Head Transportation Security Administration

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday announced plans to nominate FBI deputy director John Pistole — the number two man in the agency — to head up the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for the safety of the nation’s airport passengers.

He becomes the third Presidential  nominee for that position. The two others withdrew after questions were raised about their background.

“The talent and knowledge John has acquired in more than two decades of service with the F.B.I. will make him a valuable asset to our administration’s efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports,” President Obama said in a statement.”I am grateful that he has agreed to take on this important role, and I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.”

Pistole, who has a fair amount of fans over at FBI headquarters, has been the second in command since 2004.

The nomination comes at time the TSA is under increasing scrutiny and pressure to provide safe travels for the millions who pass through the nation’s airports. Pistole, who is regarded as a straight shooter,  is unlikely to face many problems in the confirmation process.  He’s expected to stay in his current post until the confirmation process is complete.

Previously, his name surfaced as one of four candidates being considered to head up the Drug Enforcement Administration. But in the end the nod went to the acting head of DEA,  Michele Leonhart. After that, his name had surfaced as a possible head for ATF, but that idea never went any where.

Read more »