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September 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for September, 2010

Border Wars With National Geographic Crews

George Venizelos to Head Up Philly FBI Office

Acting Head Venizelos at gang arrests in Newburgh, N.Y./fbi photo

Acting Head Venizelos at gang arrests in Newburgh, N.Y./fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — George Venizelos will take over the FBI’s Philadelphia office, replacing Janice Fedarcyk who recently took over the New York FBI Office, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Venizelos is the special agent in charge of the Administrative Division for the FBI’s New York Division and temporarily filled in for a while as head of the New York office.

He joined the FBI in 1991 and was first assigned to the Boston Division working white-collar crime, the FBI said. In 1997, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigative Division’s Russian Organized Crime Unit at FBI Headquarters.

In September 1999 he served as supervisory senior resident agent for the Philadelphia Division’s Harrisburg Resident Agency and was promoted in 2002 to assistant special agent in charge of the New York criminal division.

In 2003, he was became the assistant special agent in charge of New York’s Counterterrorism Division.

Two years later, he became an inspector at FBI headquarters and led inspection teams at FBI field offices and overseas legal attaché offices.

He became the special agent in charge of the New York Field Office’s Administrative Division in November 2006.

Prior to joining the FBI, he was a DEA agent.

Read Story on Venizelos Temporarily Heading Up the NY FBI

Judge Rules Against DEA Agent in 2003 Road Rage Case and Awards $833,250

kansas cityBy Allan Lengel

A Kansas City federal judge has awarded a man $833,250 in a road rage lawsuit in which a DEA agent brutally beat him after their cars collided in 2003, court records show. The man suffered permanent head injuries.

The defendant was the federal government and U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson heard the case without a jury and issued a written ruling Friday.

The incident happened when the plaintiff in the case, Barron Bowling, refused to let a car illegally pass him in Kansas City. The unmarked car happened to have three DEA agents inside. The cars bumped into each other and they both pulled over, though the judge concluded the collision was an accident.

What happened next, the judge wrote was a case of ” road rage fueled by egos and unwarranted selfrighteousness, and aggravated by disguised identity. A Drug Enforcement Administration Agent (“DEA agent”), acting in an undercover capacity…commits a traffic offense, expects an unwitting but equally self-righteous civilian motorist to yield, and then explodes with rage after the ensuing collision and damage to his government-owned vehicle.”

Read more »

Obama Lagging Behind Clinton and Bush on U.S. Attorney Appointments

The President in Louisiana/white house photo
white house photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — President Obama is lagging behind his two predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush when it comes to installing U.S. Attorneys.

The news website Main Justice reports that both Bush and Clinton had installed 81 U.S. Attorneys in their first 19 months compared to Obama’s 66. Obama does, however, have 10 U.S. Attorneys waiting to get confirmed, Main Justice reported.

There are 93 U.S. Attorney posts in the country.

Rich Rossman, president of the National Association of former U.S. Attorneys, called the situation “very discouraging” and said he was disappointed with the Senate and the White House over the pace of the appointments, according to Main Justice.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) told Main Justice that the Republicans are to blame, saying they’ve held up some nominees for “months and months and months.”

Mexican Journalists Vow To Keep Reporting

ciudadBy Allan Lengel

The bad news is that members of the Mexican media are getting murdered, kidnapped and threatened  by drug cartels. The good news is that the journalist have vowed to continue reporting on the drug war,  according to the Washington Post.

The Post reported that a young photo journalist from El Diario de Juarez was gunned down last Thursday in a busy mall parking lot.

On Sunday, the paper published a front page-editorial saying:

“We don’t want to see more dead. We don’t want to see more wounded nor do we want to be intimidated. It is impossible for us to do our job under these conditions. Tell us, then, what you expect from us, as a newspaper?”

“This is not a surrender. This is about a truce with those who have imposed the force of their law in this city, so that you will respect the lives of those who dedicate themselves to the job of informing the public.”

Pedro Torres, the top editor said, according to the Post:

“No, we will keep on doing the same work as always. We have not changed at all. It is an intolerable situation. But we do not want to give up. We will continue”

Justice Dept. Wants Appeals Court to Reconsider Warrantless GPS Issue

gpsBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The issue of law enforcement using warrantless GPS is still simmering.

The latest: The Justice Department on Monday asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to overturn a ruling by a three-judge panel, which said law enforcement must get a warrant when using a GPS to track a suspect, the BLT:The Blog of the Legal Times reports.

The three-judge panel ruled that authorities violated the privacy of Antoine Jones, the co-owner of a nightclub in Washington, by using the GPS to link him to a  suspected Maryland drug house, the blog reported. The court vacated his conviction and life sentence.

Federal prosecutors have cited a 1983 Supreme Court ruling that said a person traveling on a public road should have no expectation of privacy, the blog wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Smith wrote in the petition for a rehearing that the ruling”raises enormous practical problems for law enforcement,” the blog reported.

“The decision leaves unresolved precisely when the monitoring of a GPS device becomes a ‘search’ under the Fourth Amendment, and implicitly calls into question common and important practices such as sustained visual surveillance and photographic surveillance of public places,” Smith wrote, according to the blog.


IG Says FBI Misled Public and Congress About Surveilling Anti-War Rally in 2002

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The FBI including the director gave inaccurate and misleading statements to Congress and the public about reasons why an agent conducted surveillance at an anti-war rally in 2002 at the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, according a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The report concluded that the FBI had no legitimate basis to believe that someone in a terrorism investigation would be present at the rally, contrary to what the FBI said in statements and the testimony Director Robert S. Mueller III delivered before Congress.

“We do not believe that the Director intentionally misled Congress,” the report concluded. “We found no evidence that he received information that should have given him reason to doubt the accuracy of the briefing material he relied on in preparing to testify.”

“Yet, it is clear that FBI personnel took insufficient care to ensure that Director Mueller was given accurate information. In this case, the Director was poorly served by those responsible for the contents of routing slip and press response.”

The FBI on Monday referred to a Sept. 14 letter written by FBI Deputy Director Timothy P. Murphy included in the report, which said: “The FBI regrets that incorrect information was provided regarding this matter.”

But it also applauded the findings of the overall report, which focused  on the FBI’s investigations on certain domestic advocacy groups.

“We are pleased the Report concludes the FBI did not target any groups for investigations on the basis of their First Amendment activities,” the letter said. ” As noted in your Report, (t)he FBI’s investigations of these individuals were generally predicated on concerns about potential criminal acts by these individuals, not their First Amendment rights.”

To read report click here.

Read Washington Post story

Rumor Mill Churns: Who Will Head up FBI’s Washington Field Office?

James McJunkin/fbi photo

James McJunkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The rumor mill is churning out names of possible replacements for Shawn Henry, the head of the FBI Washington field office, who has just been named to the number four spot at headquarters.

Amy Jo Lyons/fbi photo

Amy Jo Lyons/fbi photo

Some of the names include Kevin Perkins, assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters;  James  McJunkin, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters;  Amy Jo Lyons, Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Inspection and Kimberly Mertz, head of the New Haven, Conn. FBI.

Henry, who took over in February as head of the FBI’s Washington field office, is returning to headquarters as Executive Assistant Director of the Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch. Prior to going to the Washington field office, he served at headquarters as assistant Director of the Cyber Division. He’s been with the bureau 21 years.

Kevin Perkins/fbi photo

Kevin Perkins/fbi photo

Kimberly Mertz/fbi photo

Kimberly Mertz/fbi photo

He replaces Thomas J. Harrington who was recently named to the number three spot at the FBI, replacing Timothy P. Murphy, who moved up to the number two spot.