Site Search

Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for September, 2011

The Survivors of 9/11

Weekend Series on Crime: 9/11

ICE Busts Website that Let People Download Current and Yet-to-be Release Movies

By Allan Lengel

The feds have busted operators of, a website that enabled millions of visitors to download  movies that were playing in the theaters and some that had yet to be released. The site also offered television shows.

The probe, lead by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, resulted in charges out of Alexandria, Va., against five people for conspiracy and copyright infringement, authorities said Friday.

Authorities alleged that the NinjaVideo website operated from February 2008 until it was shut down by law enforcement in June 2010.

NinjaVideo enabled visitors to download copyright-protected movies and television programs in high-quality formats. Many of the movies and shows were offered free of charge. In some cases, it offered the materials for a “donation” of at least $25, ICE said.

On top of that, the website generated significant revenue through advertising, authorities said.

“The defendants allegedly collected more than $500,000 during the website’s 2.5 years of operation and facilitated the infringement of millions of dollars of copyrighted movies, television programs and software products,” an ICE press release stated.

The indictment charged Hana Amal Beshara, 29, of North Brunswick, N.J., and Matthew David Howard Smith, 23, of Raleigh, N.C., identified in the indictment as founders and administrators of NinjaVideo; Joshua David Evans, 34, of North Bend, Wash., and Zoi Mertzanis, 36, a resident of Greece, alleged to be two of the most active uploaders of copyrighted material to the site; and Jeremy Lynn Andrew, 33, of Eugene, Ore., the alleged head of security for the website.

The Motion Picture Association of America issued a statement Friday, saying:

“The action today marks one of the first such prosecutions of an illegal download and streaming site – indeed, one of the most notorious infringing sites on the Internet until it was shut down by law enforcement in June 2010.”

“These ‘worst of the worst’ rogue websites victimize not only the buyers of these products, but the more than 2.2 million hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on a healthy motion picture and television industry.”


Senate Judiciary Gives Nod to 5 Nominees for U.S. Atty in Texas and Oregon and a U.S. Marshal in Fla.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pitman is a nominee

By Allan Lengel

Nearly three years after being elected President, the Obama administration is still working to fill the U.S. Attorney spots.

The latest: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave the go ahead by voice vote for four U.S. Attorney nominees in Texas and one in Oregon. The full Senate must now vote on the matter.

The Texas nominees include: Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas; U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman for the Western District of Texas; John Malcolm Bales for the Eastern District of Texas; and Sarah Ruth Saldana for the Northern District of Texas.

S. Amanda Marshall got the nod for the U.S. Attorney spot in Oregon.

Additionally, the committee gave the nod for nominee Edward M. Spooner for the U.S. Marshal job in Northern District of Florida.


Authorities Chase Unconfirmed al Qaeda Bomb Threat

9/11 Changed Career for Ex-FBI Agent John Pistole: He Now Heads TSA

John Pistole/dhs photo

Also read AP Story: TSA Chief Optimistic About Everything But Terror 
By Tim Evans
Indianapolis Star

Anderson native John Pistole was an FBI agent performing routine audits of the agency’s local offices when the terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Counterterrorism wasn’t exactly Pistole’s area of expertise. Nonetheless, he was quickly pulled into the investigation of the attacks on New York and Washington. It was a move that changed his career path and his life.

Today, Pistole heads the Transportation Security Administration — an agency that didn’t exist on Sept. 11, 2001, and, in fact, was created in response to the terrorist attacks.

In the aftermath of those attacks, Pistole’s work propelled him to the No. 2 position in the FBI before being named last summer to lead the TSA.

To read more click here.


Comrades Gather in Detroit to Honor the Late Ex-FBI Agent and Author Paul Lindsay

By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — In a beer-and-burger joint on Michigan Avenue in Detroit, down the street from where the old Tiger Stadium once stood, former and current FBI agents and employees gathered Thursday evening to remember ex-Detroit FBI agent Paul Lindsay who died last week in Boston at age 68 from pneumonia.

He had been battling leukemia.

Most drank Bud Light in plastic cups at Nemo’s — a place Lindsay had his retirement party at years ago. They caught up with one another and talked about Lindsday, who became quite the prolific author, knocking out seven novels. Some of those in attendance were much grayer and considerably older than when Lindsay retired, but no less fonder of him.

Ironically, the last word some had heard about Lindsay was that he had recently sold the movie rights to his latest novel. Things seemed  to be moving ahead.  Life looked good from the outside. Lindsay hadn’t told friends he was battling leukemia.  Then came the ultimate bad news that he had died.

A few spoke Thursday to the crowd, telling humorous stories of Lindsay, a no-nonsense guy with a sense of humor who was considered a first-rate investigator. Lindsay had mentored some.

Lindsay fully understood the bittersweet dish he had been served in life, writing in his memoirs that his family shared with friends via email:

“I am dying. A single cell, damaged and then mutated, is now multiplying at a Pandorian rate through my bloodstream. The aberration was triggered, from best guesses, by Agent Orange, the defoliant dumped so generously-18,000,000 gallons or so–on Vietanam to help keep American troops alive. An irony that is life itself.

“For me, it was over forty years ago. The medical term is Chronic Lyphocytic Leukemia, or to those of us on more intimate footing, CLL. The disease has reached stage four, and unfortunately there is neither a cure nor a stage five.

“. . . I have been the recipient of a great deal of luck in my life. But as John Steinbeck wrote in The Pearl, ‘Luck, you see, brings bitter friends’.”

“Recent events have made it apparent that good fortune is nothing more than a temporary statistical anomaly, which given enough time has little choice but to swing in an opposite and equal arc. In my case, leukemia. Given the extraordinary adventure my good luck has provided to my years, I can offer no complaint about the pendulum’s final resting place.”

Funeral services are set to be held at the Robert K. Gray, Jr. Funeral Home 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, N.H. Saturday morning at 10 a.m.


Our World Since 9/11: Mall of America Visitors Unknowingly End Up in Counterterrorism Reports

 Listen to NPR Radio Story

istock photo


By G.W. Schulz, Center for Investigative Reporting | Andrew Becker, Center for Investigative Reporting | Daniel Zwerdling, NPR

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – On May 1, 2008, at 4:59 p.m., Brad Kleinerman entered the spooky world of homeland security.

As he shopped for a children’s watch inside the sprawling Mall of America, two security guards approached and began questioning him. Although he was not accused of wrongdoing, the guards filed a confidential report about Kleinerman that was forwarded to local police.

The reason: Guards thought he might pose a threat because they believed he had been looking at them in a suspicious way.

Najam Qureshi, owner of a kiosk that sold items from his native Pakistan, also had his own experience with authorities after his father left a cell phone on a table in the food court.

The consequence: An FBI agent showed up at the family’s home, asking if they knew anyone who might want to hurt the United States.

Mall of America officials say their security unit stops and questions on average up to 1,200 people each year. The interviews at the mall are part of a counterterrorism initiative that acts as the private eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities but has often ensnared innocent people, according to an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR.

To read more click here.