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Archive for June, 2011

Wife of Missing Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Writes Letter to Commemorate Their 37th Wedding Anniversary

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The wife of Robert Levinson, the ex-FBI agent who went missing from an Iranian island in 2007,  posted a letter “To my dear husband Bob” on the Internet on Friday to commemorate their 37th wedding  anniversary.  The letter from wife Christina  noted how painful the whole ordeal has been.

The U.S.  announced earlier this year that it believed Levinson, 63, was alive and being held in Southwest Asia. But Levinson has yet to surface.

The letter, which was posted on the website Help Bob Levinson, is as follows:

To my dear husband Bob,

On the occasion of the anniversary of our 37 years of marriage, just a few short weeks ago, I’m writing to you in hopes that this message finds you. This should be a time of celebration and instead it is a time of anxiety, pain and frustration.

When we took our vows, for better or for worse, never did I imagine the circumstances we find ourselves in.

This situation has thrust me into a position in which I feel lost and ill prepared.

I imagined us enjoying this time in our life together raising our children, seeing them off to college, watching them get married, starting families of their own and growing into productive citizens we are proud of.

Instead the last four years, separated from you, have been a living hell. I’ve lived with uncertainty, frustration and anticipation waiting for your safe return to us.

I am willing to do whatever is necessary to bring you home. At the same time I’m at a loss as to how I can do that.

These uncertain times all over the world further complicate what I, a wife and mother who has dedicated her life to her family, can do to influence change.

I remain hopeful that by the grace of God, you will soon walk through our front door and this nightmare will be over.

We will never get this time back which makes each day that passes all the more precious.

Know that our deep faith in God provides comfort and hope that you remain safe and cared for until we are reunited.

I will never abandon you.

Your loyal and devoted wife,

Christine

New York Times Editorial: When it Comes to Basic American Rights, FBI Going Backwards

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

The Obama administration has long been bumbling along in the footsteps of its predecessor when it comes to sacrificing Americans’ basic rights and liberties under the false flag of fighting terrorism. Now the Obama team seems ready to lurch even farther down that dismal road than George W. Bush did.

Instead of tightening the relaxed rules for F.B.I. investigations — not just of terrorism suspects but of pretty much anyone — that were put in place in the Bush years, President Obama’s Justice Department is getting ready to push the proper bounds of privacy even further.

Attorney General John Ashcroft began weakening rights protections after 9/11. Three years ago, his successor, Michael Mukasey, issued rules changes that permit agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use highly intrusive methods — including lengthy physical surveillance and covert infiltration of lawful groups — even when there is no firm basis for suspecting any wrongdoing.

To read full editorial click here.

FBI Agent James Hosty Who Investigated Oswald Dead at Age 86; He Got Letter From Oswald Weeks Before the JFK Assassination

 
 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Assassin Lee Harvey Oswald quickly became a household name. For the most part, many to this  day, have never heard of former FBI agent James P. Hosty. But there was a well-known link between the two.

Hosty, who died of prostate cancer on June 10 at age 86 in Kansas City, Mo.,   started investigating  Oswald, a suspected communist agitator, weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy, according to the New York Times. In early November, he tried to track Oswald down, but had no luck.

The Times reported that Oswald had come to the attention of authorities after returning to the states in 1962 with his Russian wife after trying, without success, to settle in the Soviet Union.

The Times reported that Oswald had previously been interviewed by other FBI agents, who noted in reports that he was an avowed communist, a potential spy and a heavy drinker. It said nothing about him being a potential assassin.

The Times reported that Hosty finally caught up with Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963, at Dallas Police headquarters where he was being held after being accused of killing  Kennedy and a Dallas cop.

At a Congressional hearing, according to the Times, years after the assassination, Hosty  told a  Congressional committee years  why he did not alert the Secret Service about Oswald: “The only thing that we could tell the Secret Service was a direct threat to the president. He made no direct threat to the president. Therefore we could not tell them.”

In 1964, before the Warren Commission, he admitted getting a letter from Oswald weeks before the assassination, protesting Hosty interviewing his wife Marina twice at their home while Oswald wasn’t there, the Times reported.  He admitted destroying the letter on the day Oswald’s assassin Jack Ruby was killed.

The Times reported that Hosty admitted some mistakes.

But he wrote in his memoirs that the FBI erred by trying to eliminate any evidence that might suggest  the bureau might have had a hint of Oswald’s plans to kill Kennedy. The bureau also tried to portray him as a bumbler.

“I came to understand that one of our jobs was to protect the bureau’s image at all costs,” he wrote.

To read more click here.

White House Likely to Replace Head of ATF

ATF's Kenneth Melson /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Obama White House  had no intention of keeping Ken Melson, acting head of ATF.

In fact, last November it nominated Andrew Traver, head of the Chicago ATF office, to become the permanent head of the agency.  But the confirmation process seemed to hit a big bump as the pro-gun lobbying groups attacked him, claiming he was hostile to gun owners.

But things may be changing.

Wall Street Journal reporters Evan Perez and Devlin Barrett report that the Justice Department is likely to soon oust Melson. The move would come as  the agency is coming   under sharp attack by some Congressional members for a questionable ATF operation known as Fast and Furious, which encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hope of tracing the guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Problem was, agents lost track of the guns and authorities say some of the guns were linked to the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry late last year.

The Journal reported that  Traver is set to travel to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

The Journal said the administration is trying to figure out whether it should name Traver acting director or name someone else as “acting” in the interim  while Traver awaits  Senate action.

ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson told the Journal : “Acting Director Kenneth Melson continues to be focused on leading ATF in its efforts to reduce violent crime and to stem the flow of firearms to criminals and criminal organizations. We are not going to comment on any speculations.”

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Weekend Series on Crime History: Confessions of a Serial Killer

http://youtu.be/J-l7aJ12LOI

FBI Says 40 Names on Terrorist “Hit List”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s being described as a wish list for terrorists.

ABC reports that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have sent a bulletin to law enforcement agencies alerting them of a terrorist “hit list” posted on a jihadi web site that names 40 prominent figures from government, the U.S. military and the media. It includes members of Congress and execs from an American company that produces drones.

“In response to the original posting,” says the U.S. government’s intelligence bulletin, according to ABC, “other forum members posted the names of over 40 heads of government, industry and media as potential targets.”

“Though there has been an increase in postings on extremist web forums since [Osama bin Laden’s] death on 2 May 2011, these examples are the most target specific threat postings in the forum since that date,” says the bulletin. The depth and breadth of the list provided . . . represent a familiarity with defense and intelligence contractors and private sector support.”

ABC reported that an FBI official who reviewed the notice called the list a “wish list” and aspirational.

Feds Arrest Man for Threatening to Kill N.M. Fed Judge

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Emailing may be hazardous to your freedom

Brian Stacy of Los Alamos, N.M. was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sending emails threatening to murder U.S. District Judge John E. Conway in Albuquerque, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Authorities said Stacy has prior arrests for possession of an unregistered firearm and numerous probation violations one of which was for threatening a Federal Probation Officer.

The subject line of one email, according to an FBI affidavit, was “I’m going to kill you spick.”

Some of the text included: “a little faggot midget like yourself is dead you queer!” and “I kill people like you for fun.”

Pres. Bush Sent Alberto Gonzales to See Ashcroft in Hospital, The Atlantic Reports

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

By Murray Waas
The Atlantic

In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program was legal. According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit.

The hospital visit is already central to many contemporaneous historical accounts of the Bush presidency. At the time of the visit, Ashcroft had been in intensive care for six days, was heavily medicated, and was recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder.

Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey has said that he believes that Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who accompanied Gonzales to Ashcroft’s hospital room, were trying to take advantage of Ashcroft’s grievously ill state—pressing him to sign the certification possibly without even comprehending what he was doing—and in the process authorize a government surveillance program which both Ashcroft and the Justice Department had concluded was of questionable legality.

To read the whole story click here.