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Archive for July, 2011

Washington Post Editorial: The FBI’s New Tools; Not Everyone is Onboard

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — RUMMAGING THROUGH a garbage can may yield important clues about an individual — from reading habits to monthly bills to telltale signs of drug abuse. The unglamorous technique has long been part of the investigative arsenal for a reason: It gets results.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the FBI has given the thumbs up to trash digs to check the credibility of possible informants — so long as agents go through only garbage that has been left on the curb. This determination is one of many in a new set of rules the bureau is scheduled to unveil soon to govern the activities of agents in the field.

Some civil liberties groups condemn the guidelines as giving agents extraordinary new powers. They note that the bureau would allow lie detector tests for possible confidential witnesses and permit agents to search FBI and commercial databases to mine information about a potential suspect without having to open an investigative file.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Declines to Re-investigate Malcolm X Assassination

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The mystery surrounding the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X may remain just that — a mystery.

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department has declined to reinvestigate the assassination. It said the statute of limitations had expired on any federal laws that might apply.

“Although the Justice Department recognizes that the murder of Malcolm X was a tragedy, both for his family and for the community he served, we have determined that at this time, the matter does not implicate federal interests sufficient to necessitate the use of scarce federal investigative resources into a matter for which there can be no federal criminal prosecution,” the department said.

The Times reported that historians have long considered the assassination in New York in February 1965 unsolved. It said some feel a bungled investigation resulted in the imprisonment of the wrong people while allowing the guilty to go uncharged.

The Times reported that a new book,  “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”, has prompted some some advocates to push for a reopening of the case.

To read more click here.

Boston U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz Quickly Becomes High Profile

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

By Milton J. Valencia
Boston Globe

BOSTON — She is the United States attorney who barked back at former city councilor Chuck Turner, and it was her administration that convicted former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, once one of the most powerful political figures in Massachusetts.

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz took office only 18 months ago and already she has amassed a list of successes, highlighted by the new flier in her office listing notorious fugitive James “Whitey’’ Bulger as captured.

Her next goal, she says with a smirk: to crack the mysterious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“I’m still holding out hope on that one,’’ said Ortiz, tapping the wooden coffee table in her ninth-floor office in the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, overlooking Boston Harbor.

“Knock on wood,’’ she added. “I always knock on wood.’’

To read full story click here.

Ex-FBI Agent and Author John Wills Wins Prize for Fiction Novel Category in Las Vegas

John Wills

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI agent John Wills, who recently published his third suspense novel, “Targeted”,  won First Place in the fiction novel category at the 2011 Writing Competition held by the the Public Safety Writers Association in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Wills, whose book  “Targeted” was part of his “Chicago Warriors Thriller” series, is a former FBI agent and former Chicago cop.

Founded in 1997 as the Police Writers Club, the Public Safety Writers Association is open to both new and experienced, published and not yet published writers.

Members include police officers, civilian police personnel, firefighters, fire support personnel, emergency personnel, security personnel and those who write about public safety including mystery writers, magazine writers and journalists.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Career NY Mobster Arrested for First Time in His 80s; Stayed Out of Limelight

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

You’ve got to figure most New York mobsters in their 80s have a rap sheet as long as the lunch line at the Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue in Manhattan.

Then there’s Nicholas Rizzo, 84, who was featured in a story on the website Gang Land News written by mob expert Jerry Capeci.

According to the site, Rizzo, a feared and respected mobster in the Colombo Crime Family, who became a millionaire from legit and not so legit sources, was arrested for the first time in January when Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. announced the arrests of 127 mobsters and associates from New York to Florida. He was 83 at the time of the arrest.

Gang Land News reported that he enjoyed a lengthy career in the mob while staying out of the limelight.

“In addition to his thriving loanshark business, Rizzo has been a pretty successful venture capitalist over the years,” Gang Land News reported. “According to court records, his attorney, and other sources, he has owned a gas station, used car lot, a pizza parlor, as well as a general contracting business.”

Described as soft spoken, Gang Land News reported that Rizzo has lived in a modest semi-attached house he owns along with his grandson. He also lived a tragic life.

The site reported that he and his late wife raised two sons and a daughter, all of whom died before their time. His oldest son Charlie  died after falling six flights down an air shaft at a construction site in 1982.

In 1979, his son Nicholas was shot to death in a revenge shooting, Gang Land News reported. His daughter died in 1990 from a drug overdose.

“Nicky has always been a very low key unassuming underthe-radar guy,” said one underworld source said about Rizzo, according to Gang Land News.

“He was never the most sophisticated street guy but he made a lot of money as a loanshark and he probably still has the first dollar he ever stole.”

Gang Land News reported that Rizzo agreed this month to pay $600,000 in a plea deal that calls for him to serve about two years in prison.

House On Monday to Consider Bill to Extend FBI Dir. Mueller’s Term

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The House on Monday is expected to consider a bill that would extend FBI Director Mueller’s 10-year term two additional years, Fox News reported.

The Senate last week gave a thumbs up to the bill, and the House is expected to easily pass the legislation. Mueller’s 10-year term expires this year, but the White House decided to push for the extension for the sake of continuity at the agency.

The bill would provide a one-time extension and would not provide one for future FBI directors — unless legislators again decided to introduce a similar bill.

After FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died, Congress passed a law limiting the FBI director term to 10-years.

The law was passed so that no other FBI director would accumulate as much power as Hoover. Some groups have opposed that extension for just that reason.

Father of NY Subway Bomb Plotter Convicted of Obstructing Investigation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The father of a man who plotted to blow up the New York subways was convicted Friday by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn of destroying bomb-making materials and conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation.

The jury convicted Mohammed Wali Zazi, father of convicted terrorist Najibullah Zazi.

Authorities charged that the son Najibullah was plotting to use explosive devices in the New York subway in September 2009. The son had sent an email messages to a contact in Pakistan seeking key ingredients for constructing a bomb.

The son then rented a car in Denver and drove to New York.  On Sept. 11, 2009, while Najibullah was in New York City, the FBI conducted a covert search of his car and discovered handwritten bomb-making notes, authorities said. Also on that day, a  Queens imam, who had been questioned by authorities about the son,  tipped off the father and son about the investigation.  The son then returned to Colorado.

Subsequently, authorities allege that the father,  Mohammed Wali Zazi, tried to derail the federal investigation into the plot.

Authorities say he denied knowing the imam that tipped him off. He also directed family membes to destroy the son’s chemicals and other bomb-making materials so that the FBI would not find them.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the two counts he was convicted of.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Violent Los Zetas Organization

http://youtu.be/Y5Hts_hGE3Y