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Archive for November, 2011

“Geezer Bandit” Chalks Up #15 in Calif.

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

That rascally bandit known as the “Geezer Bandit” continues his elusive ways.

On Wednesday, the FBI issued a statement that the bandit, who appears to be in his 70s, had hit his 15th bank in the San Diego area on Sept. 30, the Associated Press reported.

The robbery occured  at a Wells Fargo bank inside a Vons grocery store in La Jolla, Calif., AP reported.

AP reported that the bandit approached the teller counter, pointed a revolver pistol at the teller and demanded money.

The Geezer Bandit began is robbing ways in 2009.

A $20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the robber’s arrest and conviction.

Some have speculated that the Geezer Bandit may actually be wearing a very-well crafted Hollywood quality mask to make it look as if he’s a senior citizen.

 

Late Agent’s Family: Holder Must “Take Responsibility”

Brian Terry

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

In more sobering news…

The family of Brian Terry, the border agent killed  last year near the Arizona border, issued a statement on Wednesday in response to US Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The message: Holder needs to “take responsibility” for their son’s death, reports Arizona affiliate of ABC.

Holder was testifying about ATF’s failed Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of plenty of those weapons, some which surfaced at crime scenes including the one where Terry was killed.

Authorities have been unable to determine whether the two weapons found at the scene were actually involved in the shooting.

Holder stopped short of actually apologizing during his testimony before the committee on Tuesday.

“I certainly regret what happened to agent Terry,” he said when Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn asked if Holder would like to apologize for Fast and Furious.

“I am a father of three children myself,” Holder said. “We are not programmed to bury our kids.  It pains me whenever there is the death of a law enforcement officials, especially under the circumstances that this occurred.  It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistake that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry,” he testified.

To read more click here.

Guatemalan Drug Enforcement Improves; DEA Standing in the Shadows

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Elio Lorenzana, on who’s head the U.S. government placed a $200,000 reward, was peacefully detained after a DEA-supported operation.

The lede of the story, on the website InSight (tagline: “Organized crime in the Americas”), reads: “Guatemala has now captured more top-level drug traffickers in the past two years than in the previous decade, no doubt thanks to pressure from the US.”

Elio Lorenzana was the youngest son of what the report called one of Guatemala’s most influential families–involed in both legitimate and illegitimate businesses, including narcotics running and drug trafficking.

The quiet arrest stands in contrast to five previous attempts, reports InSight; Guatemalan forces began pressuring the Lorenzana clan only after a US court indicted the family for drug trafficking in March of 2009.

The operation was part of a newly implemented strategy, wherein Guatemalan forces use less visible partnerships with the DEA, though the agency still plays a key advisory role.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Cyber Ring that Infected Millions Taken Down

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Six Estonians operated a vast internet fraud that infected approximately 4 million computers in more than a hundred countries–500,000 of which were in the US–according to a federal indictment unsealed in New York Wednesday. Their arrests in Estonia on Tuesday were the culmination of a two-year FBI probe named Operation Ghost Click.

The cyber ring, beginning in 2007, used what is called a DNSChange to interfere with unsuspecting people’s web browsing.

DNS, which stands for Domain-Name-System, is the system by which website names and urls are converted into numbers, allowing computers to communicate over a network. The DNSChanger was able to manipulate Internet advertising by redirecting user’s browsers not to the sites they intended to go to, but related sites controlled by the group. They generated $14 million in illicit fees from the scheme, and deprived legitimate businesses and advertisers of potential revenue.

The DNSChanger disabled the anti-virus software of some victim’s computers, exposing them to further viruses.

“They were organized and operating as a traditional business but profiting illegally as the result of the malware,” said one cyber agents that worked the case. “There was a level of complexity here that we haven’t seen before.”

The six Estonians were arrested in their homeland by local authorities on Tuesday, and the U.S. will seek extradition.

Column: When it Comes to J. Edgar Hoover, What Journalism?

Schwarz is a retired FBI agent.

Gregg Schwarz/facebook

By Gregg Schwarz
for ticklethewire.com

For just one small moment, let’s take a look at this trade called journalism. I thought this was to be based on some facts. Possibly an interview or two. Maybe even some research that was based in fact.

That is not what I see about Mr. J. Edgar Hoover and his private life. The people who are out there making claims and attempting to ruin the good reputation of the father of law enforcement are doing all of this based on the desire to make headlines and money.

Plenty articles and books are being written. And now the latest: Hollywood’s dubious attempt at capturing history through the movie “J. Edgar.”

Unfortunately, they’re not based on fact, but rather speculation and conjecture.

It is a shame. They need to remember there is no larger rumor mill than the Special Agents of federal law enforcement. Law enforcement knows rumors. But hearing rumors and publishing them are two different things.  Sure, rumors know no bounds. That’s where journalists are supposed to come in; to separate the fact from the fiction, the rumor from the reality.

Interestingly, all those years and not one one rumor — at least not one published one — until more than ten years after the man died? Unfortunately, Mr. Hoover cannot respond.

What journalism?

Atty. Gen. Holder Says Misinformation in FBI Training About Muslims Can Undermine Efforts

Ex-U.S. Atty. Dennis Burke Fesses Up to Leaking Document About ATF Whistleblower


U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke has admitted that he leaked a sensitive document about an ATF agent, who was a whistleblower in the latest mess known as Operation Fast and Furious, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia).

In a press release, Grassley stated that the leaked document was “deemed so sensitive by the Justice Department that it was not provided to Congress, except in a secured room at department headquarters.”

The leak pertained to John Dodson, an ATF agent who testified before Congress about his failed attempts to try and get the agency to stop the gun walking practice of Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to Mexican cartels.

“Leaking sensitive documents to the press and retaliating against whistleblowers is not good faith cooperation with Congress,” Grassley said in a statement. “The Justice Department confirmed that the Inspector General continues to investigate the leak which means there are others who may be involved in drafting and distributing the talking points and document to the press.”

In a Nov. 8 letter to the Justice Department Inspector General’s Office,  and posted on Politico, Burke’s attorney Lee Stein of Phoenix stated:

“As Dennis told your office on August 16, 2011, he provided the memo to a reporter he had known for some time in response to the reporter’s request. The reporter, who initiated the contact with Dennis, was working on several stories involving Operation Fast and Furious.

“It was clear to Dennis from their conversation that the reporter had either seen the memo or had it read to him.

“Dennis’s intention was to give context to information that the reporter already had to explain that investigations similar to Operation Fast and Furious had been previously proposed by ATF.  The investigation proposed by Agent Dodson was closed, and the memo did not contain any Grand Jury or otherwise classified information.”

FBI Plans to Shut Down 3 Offices in Wisconsin

Sen. Kohl/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s footprint in Wisconsin could be shrinking.

The agency plans to close three of its seven offices in the state, according to a press release by Sen. Herb Kohl’s office.

The Wisconsin Democrat raised the issue on Tuesday to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The offices that would be closed include:Wausau, Kenosha and La Crosse.

“If these closures go through, the Western District of Wisconsin will lose half of its FBI offices and may have to make do with fewer agents,” Kohl said at the hearing. “I have serious concerns about the ability of the remaining two offices to adequately support already underserved rural areas.”