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Archive for October, 2010

IG Report Highly Critical of FBI’s Sentinel Computer Project; FBI Calls Report Unfair

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department’s Inspector General report released Wednesday sharply criticized the FBI for its handling of a yet to be completed case management system  that will convert the agency’s criminal records from paper to computers, saying it is still fraught with problems including cost overruns.  The report also expressed concern that delays may result in some components of the system being obsolete.

But the FBI quickly shot back with a statement Wednesday, characterizing the  report on the “Sentinel Project” as unfair.

“We believe that the interim report does not accurately reflect the FBI’s management of the Sentinel project, and fails to credit the FBI with taking corrective action to keep it on budget,” the FBI said in a statement.

“Moreover, the interim report comes at a time when the FBI has changed its plan for completing the project, and the Department of Justice has authorized us to go forward with our new approach. The report, however, continues to rely on outdated cost estimates that do not apply to the current FBI plan.”

The Inspector General’s 29-page report entitled  “Status of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Implementation of the Sentinel Proejct”  concluded:

“As of August 2010, the FBI’s Sentinel system is at least 2 years behind schedule and at least $100 million over budget. According to its original system plan, Sentinel was to be fully completed by now. However, only two of Sentinel’s intended four phases have been substantially completed, and some of the most difficult tasks are still to come.”

“The FBI has spent about $405 million for the development of the functionality that it has provided to date, along with aspects of the project that may or may not be implemented depending on a reassessment the FBI is now performing in an effort to complete Sentinel within its defined budget of $451 million.”

“We are also concerned that the longer the full implementation of Sentinel takes, the more likely it is that already implemented hardware and software features will become obsolete.”

Read full report

Read full FBI statement

Ex-Secret Service Agent Says He Almost Mistakenly Shot Pres. Johnson

President JohnsonBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

This would have been what we call a career-ending move.

Former U.S. Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine says in his new book that he almost shot President Lyndon B. Johnson hours after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Associated Press reported.

Blaine writes in his book “The Kennedy Detail” that he was on a detail at night guarding Johnson’s Washington home on Nov. 23, 1963, just after Kennedy had been shot and Johnson had been sworn in, when he heard footsteps approaching, AP reported.

Blaine wrote that he picked up his submachine gun and pointed at the chest of the man who ended up being Johnson.

AP reported that the incident left Blaine chilled, realizing the nation could have lost a second president hours after losing Kennedy.

FBI Digging For Mobster’s Body in Long Island

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes in order to find the answer, you have to dig deep — literally.

That’s what the FBI was doing Tuesday in Long Island: Digging for the remains of a reputed Colombo mobster killed 15 years ago, the New York Daily News reports.

The paper reported that is looking for the remains of mobster Richard Greaves in an industrial park in East Farmingdale. Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman, told the News that nothing was found and digging would likely resume Wednesday.

The Daily News reported that bones of another gangland murder victim, Colombo capo William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, were discovered at the site in 2008.

The paper reported that “Mob rat Joseph (Joey Caves) Competiello admitted participating in Greaves’ murder in August 1995. He told the feds that Greaves, suspected of being an informant, was lured to mobster Dino (Little Dino) Saracino’s home on 76th St. in Brooklyn and shot to death in the basement.”

Va Man Expected to Plead Guilty to Supporting Somali Terrorists

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Northern Virginia man who found little humor in the animated show “South Park”, and wished death to its creators on the Internet, is scheduled to plead guilty to supporting Somali terrorists, the Washington Post reports.

The paper reports that Zachary Adam Chesser, 20, of Bristow, Va., will plead guilty at 2 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

The Post reported that Chesser, a George Mason University “dropout who became an Internet propagandist for al-Qaeda under the name Abu Talhah al-Amrikee, Chesser was arrested July 21 after being placed on the no-fly list and stopped from traveling with his infant son from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Somalia.”

He allegedly told FBI agents that he planned to join the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabab, which is tied to al Qaeda.

To read more click here.

Mi Man Who Impersonated FBI Agent Gets 3 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 57-year-old Michigan man has been hit with a three year prison term for impersonating an FBI agent, the Daily Tribune reported.

The paper reported that U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit sentenced Kevin Balfour of Warren, Mi, a Detroit suburb, earlier this month.

The paper reported the man impersonated an FBI agent and said he was collecting money for Haiti, where he might be deployed. He said the money was for the children.

He reportedly also used his FBI credentials to get free food and drinks from a local bar, and last Christmas Day questioned passengers who were on the plane where the “Underwear Bomber” tried to ignite explosive, the paper reported.

The paper reported that FBI agents searched his home and seized 16 guns, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, FBI badge and two Chicago police badges.

Ex-Congressman Linked to Chandra Levy Writing a Book

Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire.com, covered the first two years of the Chandra Levy investigation  for the Washington Post.

Gary Condit/CBS

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In a law office in an upscale section of Los Angeles, an unfinished yet potentially explosive book manuscript by a controversial figure, former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, sits in a safe.

“I’ve read it. I think it’s one of the most dramatic stories I’ve read,” said Condit’s attorney and spokesman, Bert Fields, whose safe holds the tantalizing manuscript — Condit’s account of his drama after being linked to intern Chandra Levy. “It’s a Shakespearean drama.”

Condit was once a politically invincible congressman from Central California, but his career imploded after he was romantically linked to the 24-year-old Levy. But Condit, 62, is returning to the limelight as jury selection gets under way this week in D.C. Superior Court for the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the illegal immigrant accused of killing Levy.

Chandra Levy

Stories mentioning Condit’s name are suddenly popping up. And on Monday, the first day of jury selection, prosecutors mentioned some names that might surface during trial — and Condit’s was one of them.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Jordanian National Gets 24 Years in Plot to Blow Up Dallas Skyscraper

dallas-map1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Jordanian national caught in an FBI sting in which he plotted to blow up a Dallas skyscraper in September 2009, was sentenced Tuesday to 24 years in prison.

Authorities charged that Hosam Maher Husein Smadi drove a truck containing a fake bomb provided by the FBI to the Fountain Place, a 60-story office building in Dallas.

He then parked the truck in a public parking garage under the building, activated the timer linked to the device, locked the truck and walked away, authorities said.

Afterwards, Smadi crossed the street and got into a car with an undercover law enforcement agent.

They then drove a safe distance away, hoping to watch the explosion. Smadi used a cell phone to remotely activate the device, authorities said.

“The court’s sentence of Mr. Smadi sends a clear message that there is a serious price to be paid by those who may be willing to carry out acts of violence in this country to further the terrorist cause. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors responsible for this successful investigation and prosecution,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris.

Read Dallas Morning News story

Miami Fed Prosecutor Off the Hook After Arrest for Jumping in Pool With Boxers

Sean Cronin/miami-dade corrections

Sean Cronin/miami-dade corrections

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Good news for the Miami fed prosecutor who was arrested after jumping into a pool in his boxers: You’re no longer in hot water.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has decided not to formally charge Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Cronin, the Miami Herald reported.

The paper reported that Assistant State Attorney Laura Adams said Tuesday in a court filing that her office decided not to charge Cronin because of “insufficient evidence” that he “intentionally exposed his genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner.”

Cronin, 36, was arrested Sept. 26 after the parents of a young girl accused him of exposing himself as he came out of a public pool in his boxer shorts, the Herald reported.  He was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior in front of a minor younger than 16.

Cronin’s lawyer, Joel Denaro, told The Miami Herald after the arrest that the charges were “beyond absurd. He went swimming in his boxer shorts, for God’s sake. He did nothing wrong.”

The incident happened on a recent  Sunday afternoon at Finnegan’s River, a restaurant and bar on Southwest Third Avenue in Miami. The New England Patriots football game was on the big screen, and Cronin, a Boston native, was watching. At some point, the 5-foot-5, 160-pound Cronin jumped into the pool at the bar, wearing only his boxer shorts. A woman and her young daughter were at the pool.

Then, according to a police report, when Cronin “came out of the pool, his penis was exposed and appeared to be erect.”

The mother “covered her daughter’s eyes,” then alerted pool staff members, who tried to detain Cronin until police arrived, the report said.

“While trying to detain the defendant, he tried escaping through a back exit,” the report said. “At this time Officer Arzola … arrived on the scene in a marked police vehicle wearing full uniform [and] observed the defendant running out the back of the establishment … and [he] continued fleeing southbound, jumping over multiple fences.” The officer apprehended him.