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Archive for April, 2013

Letter to President Obama Tests Positive for Ricin

Pres. Obama at press conference/white house file photo

 
Aaron C. Davis and Sari Horwitz
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A letter addressed to President Obama containing a substance that initially tested positive for the toxin ricin was intercepted Tuesday by authorities at a remote White House mail screening facility, according to the FBI.

The letter follows the discovery Tuesday of a ricin-laced letter sent to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and came as authorities were investigating suspicious packages in and near the offices of members of Congress.

Edwin Donovan, deputy assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service, did not identify the substance. However, he said the Secret Service is working closely with the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI.

To read more click here.

Man Recently Released After Serving 25 Years in Prison Strikes Another Bank, Is Arrested

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

John Edward Stevens, a prolific bank robber who once was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, had just finished up a 25-year-prison sentence when police said he struck an Oakland bank and fled with a bag of cash in a stolen car, NJ.com reports.

Police said Stevens, 59, wasn’t out of prison for two weeks when he brandished a gun at a bank in Oakland and demanded money.

Stevens was arrested in a stolen car, and police found a bank bag with more than $4,000 in cash and a handgun.

Stevens served his prison sentence for robbing 25 banks in eight states.

ATF Plays Big Role in Boston Marathon Attack But Gets Little Respect from Congress

Columnist Joe Davidson
Wall Street Journal

This time it’s Boston.

As they did with bombings in New York City and Oklahoma City, and many lesser-known crimes every day in cities all over the country, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, better known as ATF, rushed to the scene. Their specialized expertise and training will be critical in catching the Boston Marathon bomber.

But while the nation relies on ATF to help nab such culprits, it is an agency often overlooked by those outside of law enforcement and one that gets little of the respect it deserves from official Washington.

Click here to read more.

FBI Investigates Whether Letter to Mississippi Senator Contained Ricin

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a letter sent to Sen. Roger Wicker after it initially tested positive for ricin, a toxic and potentially deadly substance, Fox News reports.

The letter never made it to the Mississippi Republican because it was intercepted at an off-site mail screening facility.

The letter will be further tested after initial field tests came back positive for ricin.

Police said they suspect who sent the letter.

“The person that is a suspect writes a lot of letters to members,” McCaskill said.

Head of FBI’s Boston Office Worked Way Up Bureau Investigating Foreign Spies

Richard DesLauriers

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As special agent in charge of FBI’s Boston office, Richard DesLauriers is leading the joint investigation into the Boston Marathon attacks.

The 52-year-old Massachusetts native doesn’t have a long track record of busting terrorists, but colleagues told Time magazine DesLauriers is a driven, professional and skilled investigator who cut his teeth running operations against foreign spies.

“Rick is the real deal,” David Kris, former Assistant Attorney General for National Security during the Russian roll-up, told Time. “He’s very, very good, extremely methodical and organized.”

DesLauriers, a 25-year-veteran of counterintelligence experience, began spy work quickly after becoming an agent.

One friend describes him as a “good Catholic boy.”

Bombs at Boston Marathon Were Made with Pressure Cooker, Shrapnel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The explosions at the Boston Marathon were caused by pressure cooker bombs stuffed with shrapnel and inflammable material, the Associated Press reports.

Those devices are popular in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and recently were discovered in plots in the U.S., the AP wrote.

Typically, would-be bombers pack the inside with shrapnel and an inflammable material and detonate them with cell phones or timers.

USA Today also reported that instructions on making the bombs were published two years ago in Inspire, an online magazine with ties to al-Qaeda.

Independent Reports Says U.S. Engaged in Torture

By SCOTT SHANE
New York Times

WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.

To read more click here.

Home Searched in Boston Bombing

 

By CNN

Authorities including bomb experts searched an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, and removed items, after two deadly bombs struck the Boston Marathon. But investigators remained mum about just how the search may be linked to the bombing investigation.

A law enforcement official said the search was not a suggestion that police may have a suspect. At this point there is no suspect and no leading theory on motive, the official said.

The search on the home is connected to a young Saudi citizen who is visiting on a student visa and has been questioned, the official said. So far, the official told CNN, he has not heard of anything being found connecting the person to the bombings.

Authorities also plan to search through videos from surveillance cameras near the attack in Boston’s Copley Square. So far, no footage has been spotted showing someone placing the bombs.

To read more click here.