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April 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for April, 2011

Journalists Accuse FBI Employee of Being out of Control and Striking Them With Her Car at National Press Club

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — An FBI employee at headquarters is being accused by two Voice of America journalists in Washington of road rage that included intentionally striking them with her car and carrying one a short distance on her hood, the Washington Examiner reports.

The paper reports that a lawsuit filed Monday by Thomas Bagnall and William Greenback is asking for $1 million each.

The lawsuit stated that the two were unloading a television camera and other equipment from their sport utility vehicle in front of the National Press Club on 14th Street NW in downtown Washington on March 23 when Joy Ellen Mullinax, who works as a support staffer in Human Resources,  at the bureau,  pulled up behind them in her 2003  Hyundai Accent, according to the Examiner. Greenback was inside the car while Bagnall unloaded equipment, the paper reported.

After pulling up, Mullinax blew her horn and yelled and Bagnall told her to go around, the suit said, according to the Examiner.

“Mullinax accelerated and struck Bagnall, who spun around and screamed in pain,” the paper reported. ” Greenback got out of the SUV and yelled at Mullinax to stop because she had struck his colleague.”

“Mullinax gunned her engine, each time moving closer to Greenback, eventually pinning Greenback between her car and another car which had stopped in traffic. She then hit the gas again, striking Greenback and throwing him onto the hood of the car,” the paper reported. ” Mullinax’s vehicle then bumped into a 2006 Chevy Trail Blazer driven by Jeneer Beer, who was already on the phone calling 911, according to the lawsuit.”

Millinax was given a ticket for changing lanes without cautions. left her a voicemail Tuesday morning asking for comment.

Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman, said it is the “policy of the FBI not to comment on matters involving litigation between individuals.”

He said the agency takes allegations of misconduct involving any FBI employee “very seriously” and will take whatever steps are appropriate to address the matter.

Atty. Gen. Holder Says Ill. Prison Won’t Hold Gitmo Detainees

Thomson Correctional Center/abc7 photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON –– Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. on Monday gave assurances that a state prison the feds are interested in buying to hold maximum-security inmates won’t house detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

In an April 4 letter to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Holder wrote of the Thomson Correctional Center:

“While we are confident the Thomson facility would be amply secure enough to house such individuals, Congress has since prohibited the use of funds to transfer such detainees to the United States.

“The Administration opposed that restriction for the reasons set forth in the letter I sent to Senators Reid and McConnell on December 9, 2010. Nonetheless, consistent with current law, we will not transfer detainees from Guantanamo to Thomson, or otherwise house Guantanamo detainees at Thomson. The Thomson facility would only house federal inmates and would be operated solely by the Bureau of Prisons.”

The state of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons are currently in negotiations over the purchase, Durbin said in a press release.

Some had strongly voiced concerns about holding Gitmo prisoners at the nearly empty state facility in Thomson, Ill.,about two hours outside of Chicago.

In a statement, Durbin said:

“Governor Quinn has assured me that both the state and federal government have made significant progress in their negotiations and a purchase agreement is imminent. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to open this facility and create more than 1,100 jobs in Illinois.”


Foreign Corrupt Practice Act News

Brenda Heck Named Head of Counterterrorism at FBI’s Washington Field Office

Brenda Heck/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Brenda L. Heck, deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division.

Prior to entering the FBI, she was a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service from 1985-88. In 1988,  Heck  joined the FBI and started in the New York division, where she spent 14 years working a variety of cases including fugitives, crimes against children, and civil rights. She was a member of the New York Field Office Scuba Team and was awarded the medal of merit.

In 2002, she was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigative Division, Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Section, at headquarters.

In October 2009, she received the Director’s Award for Excellence in intelligence analysis for her work on the Strategic Execution Team initiative, a two-year project to realign FBI intelligence functions, the FBI said.

9/11 Defendants to Be Tried in Military Court; Atty. Gen. Says He Still Believes Civilian Court Was Best Venue

Eric Holder Jr./ file photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Because Congress has blocked Gitmo detainees from being prosecuted in civilian court, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Monday that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will stand trial in a military court in Gitmo.

The announcement marked a sharp reversal of his announcement in November 2009 that the men would be prosecuted in federal court in New York.

“Unfortunately, since I made that decision, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue,” he said in a statement. “As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

“After thoroughly studying the case, it became clear to me that the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. I stand by that decision today.

“As the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators – one of the most well-researched and documented cases I have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor.

“We had carefully evaluated the evidence and concluded that we could prove the defendants’ guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws. We had consulted extensively with the intelligence community and developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence.

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years.

“Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been – and must remain – the responsibility of the executive branch. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. Yet they have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. We will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions.”

(Read more of his statement)

Read more »

Founder of Union Representing Guards Who Protect Fed Buildings Busted for Stealing More than $200,000

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON – The founder and treasurer of a union that represents private security guards assigned to protect federal buildings in the D.C. area, has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $100,000 from the pension fund and padding his salary to the tune of about $115,000 through unauthorized raises and bonuses and other expenses, the Justice Department said.

Caleb Gray Burris, 60, of Washington, the founder and treasurer of the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO) was charged Monday in  a superseding indictment with mail fraud, theft from a labor organization, obstruction of justice, criminal contempt and various recordkeeping offenses related to his operation of a pension plan for NASPSO members.

Authorities charged that from June 2004 through February 2011, Gray-Burriss wrote multiple checks to himself or to other third parties from the checking account from the union pension fund.  Authorities also alleged that he took more than $115,000 in “unauthorized salary increases and bonuses to himself, cash withdrawals from ATMs, reimbursement for unauthorized vacations and trips to casinos, personal dental work, and other goods and services.”

Obama Admin. To Prosecute 9/11’s Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in Military Trial

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — In an about face — that appeared over time to be more and more likely of a possibility — the  Obama administration has decided to prosecute self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay instead of a civilian court in New York, CBS News reported.

The network reported that Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. will make the announcement Monday afternoon.

Holder originally announced in 2009 that Mohammed would be tried in U.S. District Court in New York. But conservatives on Capitol Hill opposed it and pushed for a military trial.

Eventually, the idea even lost the support of N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who cited numerous problems that a trial of that magnitude would pose to the Big Apple.

Mohammad’s most recognizable picture became the one where he was having an extremely bad hair day (to the right).

Blago Asks for FBI Interview Summaries of President Obama

Gov Blagojevich in happier days as gov/state photo

By Allan Lengel

Attorneys for ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich want prosecutors to turn over FBI interview summaries of President Obama.

In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the attorneys asked for the documents known as FBI 302 reports so they can use the information to cross examine a government witness.

“In support of said motion, defendant states the following: Prior to the first trial, the defense filed a Motion for the Trial Court to Issue a Subpoena to President Barack Obama,” the motion stated. “That motion was not granted and at this time, in preparation for re-trial, Blagojevich renews the portion of the motion seeking access to the FBI 302 interview summaries of President Barack Obama.

” The instant request is made because it is believed that the government will call Tom Balanoff as a witness at retrial. The Obama 302s are likely to contain information that is necessary to prepare for the cross-examination of Balanoff.”  (Balanoff is president of the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council).

“This is not a request to interview the President or to subpoena the President and it is not intended to burden the Office of the President.”

Blago, who faces a second trial on April 20, is charged with using his office as governor to personally profit and of selling President Obama’s vacant senate seat.

Blago was convicted in the first trial on only one of 24 counts– for lying to the FBI.

Read Blago Motion

LA Times Editorial: New Guildelines for Miranda Rights “Defensible”

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

There was an uproar when it was revealed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas Day bomber, was read his Miranda rights. The hysterical reaction obscured a real dilemma for law enforcement: how to obtain what could be vital information about terrorist plots without denying suspects their legal rights. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and the FBI have produced guidelines that adroitly balance the two interests.

Issued Oct. 21 but made public only recently, the guidelines will not please those conservatives who insist that suspected terrorists shouldn’t be Mirandized at all. But they strike us as reasonable and, equally important, useful in heading off efforts in Congress to weaken Miranda.

The guidelines say that if applicable, “agents should ask any and all questions that are reasonably prompted by an immediate concern for the safety of the public or the arresting agents without advising the arrestee of his Miranda rights.” This advice is consistent with a 1984 Supreme Court decision making an exception from the Miranda requirement for questioning motivated by a concern for public safety.

Next, the guidelines say that after public safety concerns have been resolved, agents should promptly Mirandize a suspect. But there are exceptions: situations in which, “although all relevant public safety questions have been asked, agents nonetheless conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat, and that the government’s interest in obtaining this intelligence outweighs the disadvantages of proceeding with unwarned interrogation.” This provision pushes the public safety exception to its limit, but it’s defensible.

To read more click here.