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Archive for May, 2012

Fed Judge Deciding Whether FBI Improperly Gathered Evidence

Judge Garr M. King, photo Wikipedia

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Yet another instance of the war on terror infringing on personal freedoms? Or a case of bureaucracy standing in the way of justice?

Federal Judge Garr M. King has to make that determination.

Oregon Live reports that King has delayed ruling on whether the FBI improperly gathered evidence on Portland terrorism suspect Mohamed Mohamud, in which case significant corroborating evidence would not be admissible in Mohamud’s upcoming trial.

The Oregon State University student will stand trial October 2 for allegedly attempting to ignite a weapon of mass destruction in 2010, an incident both prevented by and baited by an FBI sting operation. The FBI’s investigation was triggered by concerns from the suspect’s father that his son was being brainwashed by Islamic jihadists, according to Oregon Live.

In an unrelated incident, 2009 date rape charges against Mohamud were dropped. This was after Mohamud volunteered his laptop and cellphone to State Police and came up clean. That’s where things got sticky: As part of their ongoing investigation, the FBI helped themselves to info the state cops got from these personal devices. Did the the FBI violate Muhamud’s rights by ‘sharing’ this info?

To read more click here.

 

Terrorism and the American Dream: Part II

In case you missed part one of this series, you’ll find that here, Terrorism and the American Dream: Part I. Also, ticklethewire.com columnist Greg Stejskal,  a retired FBI agent, previously wrote a column defending the prosecutor in the case, Richard Convertino. To read that column called “Sleeper Cell Nightmare”  click here.

 

In the second of three installments, Deadline Detroit tells the story of how Karim Koubriti has rebuilt his life after being wrongly convicted of terrorism. Photo/Millard Berry

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– Karim Koubriti waited in jail for trial. It was 2001. He was accused, along with three other friends, of operating a terrorist sleeper cell in Detroit in a case that generated national attention in the chaos and paranoia of the post-9/11 world.

In October 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft suggested the group had prior knowledge of the 9/11 plot. A day later, Ashcroft retracted the statement.

“I was very angry,” Koubriti recalled, recalling that time. “Everybody was pissed off. This is not happening. This is a joke.”

At some point, the men were kept separate from one another at the Wayne County Jail and in lock down for 23 hours a day.

Koubriti’s lawyer, Richard Helfrick, who sat in on the interview with Deadline Detroit, said prosecutor Richard Convertino wanted the four men to plead guilty, but insisted they give up information about terrorism.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Helfrick recalled saying. The defendants simply were not terrorists.

To read the full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

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Author Says Investigators Blew Chances to Prevent OK Bombing

Andrew Gumbel is a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer and a longtime foreign correspondent for British newspapers. He is a co-author of the book: “Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed–and Why It Still Matters.”
 
By Andrew Gumbel
Huffington Post

Ever since Timothy McVeigh’s execution, four months to the day before 9/11, a certain conventional wisdom has taken hold that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the work of just two disenchanted guys from the heartland who did something colossally heartless and stupid, got caught and paid the price.

But that tells only part of a much more complicated and troubling story. In our new book Oklahoma City: What The Investigation Missed–And Why It Still Matters (William Morrow; April 24, 2012), Roger Charles and I show that a fractious, over-timid federal law enforcement community blew chances to prevent the bombing and failed to follow several promising leads pointing to the broader involvement of the radical far right.

Their failings were remarkably similar to those that emerged in the wake of the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington: the threat was underestimated, law enforcement agencies fought each other instead of pooling vital information, and the country’s institutions were ultimately more  interested in protecting themselves than in unearthing the truth.

To read the full column click here.

Secret Service Dir: No Sensitive Info Compromised in Hooker-Gate

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Director of the U.S. Secret told Sen. Chuck Grassley that his agents did not compromise any sensitive information during the visit to Colombia that involved booze and hookers.

“The Secret Service has no information to suggest that sensitive information was compromised during the Colombia trip,” Director Mark Sullivan wrote in a letter to Grassley dated May 1.

“The Secret Service can speak to the investigation

into the conduct of Secret Service personnel. We would defer to the Department of Defense and the White House on matters related to their respective personnel.”

 

Pt I: Terrorism and the American Dream

Karim Koubriti/photo Millard Berry-Deadline Detroit

In the first of three installments, Deadline Detroit tells the story of how Karim Koubriti has rebuilt his life after being wrongly convicted of terrorism. The prosecutor was indicted for subverting justice, but was acquitted.
 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Enthusiastic and ambitious, Karim Koubriti came to America from Morocco in search of opportunity when he was 22 years old. He was the son of educators, and he studied French law for a time, though he hadn’t graduated. He had a certain sophistication.

Still, his intelligence and savoir faire could hardly have prepared him for what was to come nearly a year after arriving in the United States.

Six days after Sept. 11, 2001, FBI agents came knocking at his door on Norman Street on Detroit’s west side.

Koubriti had returned home from work by 5 p.m Two of his roommates were sleeping. He had just taken a shower.

He heard the knocking and somebody screaming: “Nabil, Nabil Nabil.”

The agents were looking for a man named Nabil al-Marabh. There was a sense of urgency. Nabil had lived at the address a year earlier, but moved out before Koubriti and his roommates had moved in.

To read the full story click here.

 

Conviction for al Quaeda Operative Who Intentionally Crashed Car on U.S. Highway and Plotted NYC Subway Bombing

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Authorities called it one of the most serious terrorist plots against America since 9/11.

On Tuesday,  28-year-old Adis Medunjanin of Queens paid for that ambitious plot.

Medunjanin was convicted on terror charges on Tuesday in New York fed court after a 4-week trial exposed the depth of his plots with former high school classmates, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay.

In 2008, the three received training from al Qaeda in Waziristan, states a Justice Department press release, where they were advised to return to New York for a maximum impact suicide-bombing mission. The plotters planned to blow themselves up at rush hour in a Manhattan subway because, as Zazi testified, the transit system is “the heart of everything in New York City.”

However, the trio noticed they were being observed before they could carry out the plot. Zazi remembered telling his co-conspirators “I think law enforcement is on us. We are done.”

After the FBI searched Medunjanin’s apartment in 2010, he attempted to martyr himself by crashing his car on the Whitestone Expressway at high speed. Before doing so he called 9-1-1 and identified himself and shouted an al-Qaeda slogan:

“We love death more than you love your life.”

He faces up to  life imprisonment at his Sept 7 sentencing.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Dir. Mueller Went to Libya to Discuss Lockerbie Bombing

Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Lockerbie plane bombing is a mystery that won’t go away.

SkyNews/News Score reports that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Scotland’s top prosecutor visited Libya in Tripoli to “pave the way for further investigations into the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing.”

The meeting took place April 25, but was kept secret for security reasons.

According to the news aggency, a spokesman for Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said, “The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, and Robert S Mueller, director of the FBI, met with the Libyan Prime Minister Abdurahim el Keib to discuss the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie bombing.”