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Archive for July, 2010

Atty. Gen. Holder Indicates Criminal Probe to Go Beyond BP

holder eric

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As the disastrous Gulf spill drags on, someone is going to pay big time.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., in an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer in Aspen, Col., indicated that the criminal probe may go beyond BP, according to Politico.

“There are a variety of entities and a variety of people who are the subjects of that investigation,” Holder said, according to Politico. “For people to conclude that BP is the focus of this investigation might not be correct.”

Holder declined to say whether BP is the main target. The taping is set to air Sunday.

To read more click here.

93-Year-old Colombo Mobster Convicted in Brooklyn

brooklyn-sign1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At 93, mobster John “Sonny” Franzese — the underboss of the Colombo crime family — had a hard time staying awake during his racketeering trial in federal court in Brooklyn, the Associated Press reported.

To boot, he had to sit there while his own son — a former mobster turned government informant —  testified against him in a case in which he was charged with shaking down New York strip clubs and a pizzeria.

On Wednesday, a jury convicted the one-time acquaintance of Mr. Blues himself, Frank Sinatra.

AP reported that on the first day that his son John Franzese Jr., a former Colombo associate, testified against him, he dozed off briefly.

To read more click here.

Hundreds of FBI, DEA, ICE Agents Stung in Ponzi Scheme

thiefBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — FBI agents are supposed to unearth scams, not become victims of them. This time is different.

Up to 300 or so retired and current federal agents from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), invested collectively tens of millions of dollars of retirement money in what has turned out to be a Ponzi scheme run by a Florida man who just committed suicide. The FBI and the Security Exchange Commission are investigating and trying recover funds.

“There’s definitely ones who have lost their life savings,” Ft. Lauderdale Attorney Michael Goldberg, who is representing victims, told AOL News.

The reaction of the agents? “Pretty much what you expect,” he said. “Shock and anger.”

Behind it all is a suspected con artist, a self-described retirement investment adviser Kenneth Wayne McLeod, 48, who for years became a trusted adviser to federal agents around the country, offering free financial projections for retirement and offering, in some cases, high-yield returns of 8 to 10 percent on certain investments, according to an SEC filing in the case.

To read full story click here.

Column: I Can’t Get Too Excited About Russian Spies

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – In the end, it left me scratching my head.

Russian spies. Huh. So 60s. So Sputnik-era like.

Forgive me, but some how, with al Qaeda and every other hell-bent-to-destroy-America group out there, Russian spies don’t seem all that threatening.

Nonetheless, the FBI arrested 10 last week. And on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the spies pleaded guilty to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation.

In exchange, Russia agreed to release four imprisoned people who had contact with Western intelligence agencies. Not a bad trade, I guess.

But I would have held out for a good borscht recipe, too. At this junction, good cold borscht certainly makes far more sense than a warmed over Cold War.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

As Expected, Tim Murphy Becomes 2nd in Command at FBI

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III  tapped Timothy P. Murphy to become the second in command at the FBI.

“Tim has consistently shown exceptional leadership and met tough challenges head-on,” Mueller said in a statement issued Thursday. “I have every expectation that he will do the same as deputy director, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new position.”

Murphy, the number three person in the FBI, replaces John Pistole, who was just confirmed as the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

Since 2008, Murphy has served as associate deputy director, overseeing personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure, the FBI said.

From the onset, when Pistole was nominated to head up TSA, there appeared to be little doubt within the FBI that anyone other than Murphy would  assume the post.

A Trade of a Different Sort: This One Won’t Help Any Teams Win the Championship

spy graphic
By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

Trades in sports like the NBA often garner plenty of attention. But this trade is different: spies for spies.

The New York Daily News reports that a plan is in the works to send the 10 Russian spies arrested last week home in exchange for imprisoned spies who did work for the U.S. and Britain.

The Daily News said  plan could be hatched sooner than later.

To read more click here.

Ex-Mich. Congressman Siljander Pleads Guilty in Connection With Work He Did With Islamic Charity Groups Linked to Terrorism

Mark Siljander/oak park news

Mark Siljander/oak park news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s pretty typical for Washington politicians to leave public office and cash in the chips in the private sector. Sometimes they go a little too far.

Federal authorities say ex-Michigan Congressman Mark Siljander, who was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, went too far. And on  Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to charges related to work he did for an Islamic charity linked to terrorist groups including al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Specifically, the  conservative Republican  pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and to acting as an unregistered foreign agent. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

To read more click here for the Detroit Free Press story.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

al Qaeda Man Indicted in NY Subway Plot

terrorism
By William Rashbaum
New York Times

A feared and elusive senior Al Qaeda leader and three other operatives were indicted in Brooklyn on Wednesday in the suicide bomb plot to attack New York’s subways last year and what prosecutors said was a related terror plot in Britain, the Justice Department announced in Washington.

The indictment, which supplements earlier charges brought against three other men accused of planning to carry out the subway plot last September, alleges that the senior figure, Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, a United States citizen who has been sought by the F.B.I. for seven years, helped recruit those men and played a role in organizing the attack.

The new charges for the first time link the subway plot with a planned Qaeda attack in Manchester, England, and contain the government’s most detailed account made public to date on the development of the subway conspiracy and identities of its authors in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

It also describes how prosecutors say Saleh al-Somali, who with Mr. Shukrijumah were then responsible for planning Qaeda attacks in the United States and other Western countries, communicated from the tribal areas through “an Al Qaeda facilitator” in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The facilitator, according to the authorities, used the same e-mail account to send coded messages to the central figure in the subway plot, Najibullah Zazi, 24, in Denver and New York, and one of the Manchester plotters, Abid Naseer, in England.

To read more click here