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Archive for February, 2011

“Jihad Jane” Who Plotted to Kill Swedish Cartoonist Pleads Guilty

Jihad Jane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The woman who went by the name “Jihad Jane” — a made-for-TV moniker — pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia  to terrorism charges that included allegations that she was involved in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support toterrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements and attempted identity theft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said. She faces up to life in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker.

LaRose, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Montgomery County, Pa.,  was indicted last year along with Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a U.S. citizen and former Colorado resident who is set to go to trial on May 2.

Authorities charged that  LaRose and her co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and were able to travel around Europe in support of violent jihad, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities said LaRose and her co-conspirators used the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions through the collection of passports and through marriage.

Additionally, federal authorities charged that she received a direct order to kill the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks in a way that would frighten “the whole Kufar [non-believer] world.”

Authorities said she agreed to carry out the plan, and  figured her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend in while executing the plan.  She was never successful in carrying out the plot.

“Today’s guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,”  David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security said in a statement. “I applaud the many agents and analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s result.”

Sen. Kennedy’s Office Manager Convicted of Stealing More than $75,000

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – A former office manager for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy could be off to prison.

A federal jury in Washington on Tuesday convicted Ngozi T. Pole, 40,of Waldorf, Md., of stealing more than $75,000 by paying himself unauthorized bonuses, the Justice Department said. Specifically, he was convicted of five counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government property.

As office manager, authorities said, Pole’s responsibilities included transmitting salary information to the Senate Disbursing Office in order to adjust the pay of employees in the senator’s office.

Authorities charged that Pole beginning in at least 2003 and continuing until January 2007, repeatedly submitted paperwork causing the Senate to pay him larger bonus payments than had been approved by either the chief of staff or Senator Kennedy.

Pole hid the unauthorized payments “by repeatedly transmitting information to the chief of staff that falsely showed that he received only those payments that had been authorized,” authorities said.

“Today, a federal jury found Mr. Pole guilty of using his position as a Congressional staffer to steal more than $75,000 of government money,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division said in a statement.

“Employees of Congress are entrusted with performing their duties honestly and ethically. While hundreds of them live up to that important duty every day, we will, as today’s verdict shows, hold accountable those few who use their positions to illegally enrich themselves.”

Authorities said Kennedy’s staff fully cooperated in the probe. Sentencing is set for July 14.

FBI Targeting Mexican Cartels in New Mexico

3 Airports Test Less Intrusive Body Scanners

TSA displays the traditional body scanner/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Las Vegas Sun newspaper wrote Tuesday that “airline passengers won’t have to worry about airport security officers getting high-tech peep shows.”

Those words were in reference to the Transportation Security Administration unveiling of a new body scanner being tested at three of the nation’s airports, including the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, that shows a generic image of a person and no anatomical details.

The paper reported that the new scanning technology is also being tested at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.

“We think the public will prefer this because the image is less intrusive and anybody can view it, including the passenger,” said Dwayne Baird, a TSA spokesman.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Retired FBI Agent John Wills Publishes Third Novel

John Wills

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent John M. Wills keeps cranking out the books.

He’s just penned this third suspense novel “Targeted” as part of his “Chicago Warriors Thriller” series.

The ex-FBI agent and former Chicago cop has written a novel about a sniper who targets and kills cops in Chicago, rocking the Windy City.

As a part of the complex tale, a Catholic priest is arrested for child molestation, but flees Chicago after being freed on bond. The two story lines collide.

The book was published by TotalRecall Publications, Inc. and is set to go on sale April 6.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI4XeUFlI-Y

Proceedings in Loughner Case Will be Held in Tucson Instead of Phoenix

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Proceedings in the case against Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner will take place in Tucson instead of Phoenix, a judge ruled on Monday, the Arizona Republic reported.

However, U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns noted that the ruling didn’t nix the defendant’s right to move for a change of venue in the future, the Arizona Republic reported.

Prosecutors had asked that the proceedings be moved to Tucson to make it more convenient for witnesses and victims in the case.

The next hearing is set for March 9.

Sen. Grassley Accuses ATF of Being “Careless” in Gun Running Sting

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) is voicing concern that guns purchased in an ATF sting in Arizona may have been used by bandits in a gunfight that resulted in the death in December of  border patrol agent Brian Terry near the border town of Nogales, the Arizona Republic reported.

Grassley fired off a letter to the head of ATF Kenneth Melson on Thursday suggesting ATF was being negligent by letting criminals circulate the weapons after they purchased them during a sting.

“There are serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy,” he wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

The paper reported that Grassley said he had information that the AK-47s recovered at the shooting scene of the agent were traced to Project Gunrunner, a much touted gun-program aimed at curbing the flow of weapons to Mexico.

“Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico,” the senator wrote in the  letter, according to the paper.

“According to the allegations, one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in Glendale, Arizona, on January 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly used in a firefight on December 14, 2010, against Customs and Border Protection agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry,” he wrote.

Tom Mangan, an ATF spokesman in Phoenix, told he Arizona Republic that he was “unaware of any guns allowed to go south of the border,” either intentionally or inadvertently. “I am not aware of any internal investigation that’s going on regarding Project Gunrunner.”

Manuel Johnson, an FBI agent in Phoenix, declined to comment, as did the U.S. Border Patrol, the Republic reported.

Homeland’s Napolitano Says Crime and Illegal Crossings at Border Down

Janet Napolitano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Despite the contentious political rhetoric, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said crime and illegal crossings along the Mexico-U.S. border have dropped sharply. She attributed the change to an intensified focus on border enforcement and a “smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws.”

“We have strengthened the Southwest border in a way that many would not have thought possible,” Napolitano said in a speech at the University of Texas in El Paso on Monday. “And our partnership with Mexico on border security is strong.

“That’s not to say we still don’t face challenges. We are deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in Mexico. We know that these drug organizations are seeking to undermine the rule of law in Northern Mexico and that we must guard against spillover effects into the United States.

“Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. This statement—often made only to score political points—is just plain wrong.”

She also said that violent crimes in Southwest border counties have dropped by more than 30 percent “and are currently among the lowest in the Nation per capita.”

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