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Archive for June, 2010

Times Square Bomber Pleads Guilty

times square artBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Shortly after he was arrested on May 3, he confessed to planting a car bomb in Times Square. After that, he spent many a day cooperating with the FBI.

So it came as no great surprise on Monday when  Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty in New York to a 10-count indictment, admitting to plotting to detonate a car bomb in a busy section of Manhattan on a Saturday night.

“Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will not rest in bringing to justice terrorists who seek to harm the American people, and we will use every tool available to the government to do so.”

The government had alleged that a Pakistani with ties to the Pakistani Taliban had sent Shahzad about $12,000 before he carried out the unsuccessful plot.

The New York Times reported that he entered the plea around 4:30 p.m.

“He sat at a table and drummed his fingers on the surface as his lawyer Philip Weinstein conferred with Judge Miriam Goldman Cederbaum and a prosecutor,” the Times reported.

To read more click here.

Some DEA Agents Criticial Because Agency Leader Leonhart Yet to Be Confirmed; Question Obama Admin. Commitment to DEA

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– The delay in the confirmation of Michele Leonhart as the permanent administrator of DEA is drawing some sharp criticism from some of agency’s agents as well as a former DEA official at time the agency is playing a key role in the battle against the violent Mexican drug cartels and gangs along the border.

Critics say the delay raises questions about the Obama administration’s commitment to the agency,  and is causing Leonhart, who is the acting administrator, to put off filling a number of key vacancies.

“It shows your president is not committed to drug law enforcement,” says William R. Coonce, a retired special agent in charge of the DEA, who still closely follows the agency’s developments. “It’s demoralizing to the agents.”

Leonhart was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2004 as the second in command of the agency.  In November 2007,  at the tail end of the Bush administration, she was named  acting head of the agency. On Jan. 25,   more than two years later, President Obama nominated her to officially head the agency.

Read more »

Done Deal: Leonardo DiCaprio Will Play J. Edgar Hoover

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Just guessing, but actor Leonardo DiCaprio may be a little bit more of a babe magnet than J. Edgar Hoover was.

Nonetheless, it appears to be a done deal that DiCaprio will play the legendary director in an upcoming “biopic” film directed by Clint Eastwood, reports the website Deadline New York.

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

The script is written by Dustin Lance Black and production will begin later this year, Deadline New York reports.

Crime Along Arizona Border May Be What We Think

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — With the Mexican drug cartels spiraling out of control, and illegal immigration at the forefront of many a debate, it may be hard to swallow some stats that show things aren’t what they seem.

The New York Times reports that rate of violent crime at the border and across Arizona has been on the decline, according to the FBI. And the Border Patrol reports a decline in illegal immigration.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Boston Fed Judge Criticizes Prosecutors for Charging Homeland Official

boston-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Boston federal judge on Friday sharply criticized the U.S. Attorney’s office for bringing charges against a Homeland Security official, saying prosecutors overreached and crushed her for what he saw as a minor offense, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock postponed sentencing while he considers a defense motion to vacate the verdict of Lorraine Henderson, Boston’s port director for Customs and Border Protection, the Globe reported. She was convicted in March of deliberately encouraging her Brazilian housekeeper to remain in the U.S. illegally, the Globe reported.

The judge said said Henderson, who is on suspension, was the first person he is aware of who has been charged with a felony for this type of violation, the Globe reported. He thought the charge was excessive.

“This is a cleaning lady,” he said in court, according to the Globe. “There must be some sense of proportion.”

The judge also noted that he was troubled that Henderson was arrested and kept in a holding cell for several hours instead of being ordered to make a court appearance.

Boston’s U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz was in the courtroom for the part of the hearing, the Globe reported, but she declined comment.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: Prison Gangs

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khaCA4EowEQ

Boston’s Top FBI Agent Warren Bamford Steps Down; James Burrell Acting SAC

Warren Bamford

Warren Bamford

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Warren T. Bamford, head of the Boston FBI, officially retired Friday after heading up the office since 2007. Assistant special agent in charge James C. Burrell has been named the acting special agent in charge.

Under Bamford’s reign, the office produced a number of high-profile cases including one that involved a corrupt state senator and another that targeted a street boss for the Colombo crime family.

“My FBI experience has been tremendous and being able to end my career in the Boston Office makes it even better,” he said Friday in a statement to ticklethewire.com.  “I have tried to do the best job possible and have no regrets.”

Bamford will begin working for a private utility, National Grid,  on June 28.

Under his command, the office aggressively pursued fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent mobster who was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list in 1999.

The office took creative steps to find Bulger and his female companion, including placing ads in dental and plastic surgery publications.

But in the end, like his predecessors, he was unable to find Bulger.

Bamford joined the bureau in 1986. Before arriving in Boston, he served as special agent in charge of  the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Division in Los Angeles.

In 2009, he was named “Fed Of The Year” by ticklethewire.com. The previous year, the award went to Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Justice Dept. Vows to Go After Wall Street Banks, But Nothing So Far

wall-streetBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Despite the tough talk by President Obama and his Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, the administration has yet to file charges against the big Wall Street banks that had their hands in bad and risky housing loans, the Washington Post reports.

“Nearly 1 1/2 years into Obama’s tenure, despite several cases against mortgage companies whose lending practices contributed to the crisis, the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world’s financial markets,” Post reporter Jerry Markon wrote. “Law enforcement sources say no such charges are imminent.”

The Post noted that the administration has talked tough and cited comments Eric Holder made in November about getting tough on Wall Street execs who contributed to the financial crisis.

“We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and we will not hesitate to bring charges,” Holder said then.

Some think the administration has promised too much.

To read more click here.