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Archive for December, 2011

GOP Candidates Attack Atty. Gen. Holder Over Fast and Furious

ATF’s Tom Brandon Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed of the Year

Tom Brandon/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas E. Brandon, the straight-shooting, well respected and extremely able veteran of ATF, who was sent around the country this year to try and mend some of the agencies pressing problems, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2011.

Brandon, an ex-Marine who is currently ATF’s number two person in Washington, started the year off as special agent in charge of ATF’s Detroit office, where he was very well respected.

In the spring, after the agency started coming under Congressional fire for Operation Fast and Furious, Brandon was sent off to Phoenix to head up that office and try and improve morale and straighten out matters.

Fast Furious was created in the Phoenix office. Under Fast and Furious, ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

Problem was, ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some members of Congress like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) went on the attack, criticizing ATF. Some even suggested folding it into the FBI.

In late August, acting director  Ken Melson stepped down. In October, as part of a major shakeup at the agency,  Brandon was summoned from Phoenix to become the number two guy in Washington.

We think it speaks volumes that Brandon has been sent to the agency’s hotspots to help straighten out things at a time the agency has come under fire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Waco.  To boot, it’s easy to find street agents who respect Brandon, who has been an agent since 1989.

Brandon is the fourth person to receive the Fed of the Year Award.  Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008),  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

FBI Faces Lawsuit in Ft. Hood Shooting

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan/dod photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI could be in for a big legal battle — and a costly one at that —  as more than 80 claimants seek damages of $750 million from the bureau, the US Army, the Justice Department and the Department of Defense for a 2009 incident at Ft. Hood  that left 13 dead, reports Safety BLR.com.

Beside the deaths, dozens were left wounded when Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas in November of 2009 in the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Processing Center.

Despite “clear knowledge and warnings that Hasan posed a grave danger” to soldiers and civilians, claims the suit, government agencies did not respond accordingly. “On the contrary, bowing to ‘political correctness,’ the DOD, DOA, DOJ, and FBI in wanton disregard of the safety of military and civilian personnel, intentionally ignored the threat he presented,” says the suit.

To read more click here.

ATF Announces New Philly Leader

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The ATF’s Philadelphia Field Office is about to see some new leadership, reports PR Newswire.

Sheree L. Mixell was named the Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Division on Thursday.

The Indiana native began her career as a special agent with ATF in 1990 and has over 23 years of law enforcement experience. For three years,  she served as a member of the Baltimore Field Division Special Response Team, responding to high risk situations and apprehending some of the region’s most violent criminals, according to the report.

She most recently served  as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Baltimore Field Division, directing and providing oversight for daily investigations for Maryland and Delaware.

To read more click here.

 

Extremism on the Rise in Northwest?

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is extremism on the rise in the Northwest part of the country? A  report from the Columbian newspaper out of Vancouver, Wash., seems to point to that.

One example: As a house in Washougal, Wash.,  burned to the ground recently a self-proclaimed white separatist shot at firefighters to keep them away, reports the Columbian, in one of several incidents in which “extremists of various kinds made news in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.”

A representative of the Montana Human Rights Network told the paper the reasons included a black president, growing distrust with the federal government, a bad economy and continuing growth among minority groups.

“All of this has created a perfect storm of anger, fear, and resentment that white supremacists are trying to tap into and capitalize upon,” Travis McAdam said.

To read more click here.

 

Venezuela Drug Lord Extradited to US

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
One of Venezuela’s most-wanted drug traffickers was  extradited to the United States on Thursday, reports Reuters. 

Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, also known as Valenciano, had a $5 million bounty on his head. He was captured in the city of Valencia, in central Venezuela last month. Orozco is accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the US with the help of the Mexican cartel Los Zetas.

He is accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the United States with the help of Mexico’s feared Zetas cartel.

The Venezuelan government said the number of drug seizures and trafficking arrests since expelling the DEA from the country in 2005.

To read more click here.

Alleged Venezuelan Drug Traffickers Extradited… by NTDTV

D.C. FBI Announces Intense Media Blitz to Catch “Potomac River Rapist” From the 90s

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Using media and social media as it did to  help capture Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger earlier this year, the FBI field office in D.C. announced plans this week to to go after  the “Potomac River Rapist”, believed to be responsible for eight sexual assaults, one attempted one and one murder between 1991 to 1998.

The FBI announced a $25,000 reward, plus an intense media campaign to try and heat up the cold case. Authorities linked the multiple crimes through DNA.

“The digital media campaign includes the launch of a dedicated website; digital billboards up and down the East Coast; social media alerts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; as well as podcasts on iTunes and radio spots to raise awareness of the investigation,” an FBI press release said.

“The multi-pronged effort is designed to develop new leads and raise awareness of the ongoing cold-case investigation. The campaign implements similar techniques that have led to the arrests in cases including the East Coast Rapist as well as Ten Most Wanted fugitive Whitey Bulger.”

The FBI said that one of the victims, Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old intern, was sexually attacked and murdered while walking to her residence in Georgetown on Aug. 1, 1998. The rest of the sexual assaults took place in Montgomery County, just outside of D.C.

“In law enforcement, we understand that justice delayed does not mean that justice will be denied,” D.C. U.S Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. said in a statement. “We are committed to obtaining justice for Christine Mirzayan and the other victims of the Potomac River Rapist, but we need the public’s help. One piece of information from the public—no matter how insignificant it might seem—could crack this case and allow us to apprehend this killer.”

See website on the Potomac River Rapist

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Issues Scathing Report About Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Civil Rights Violations