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Archive for July, 2013

Weekend Series on Crime History: U.S. Atty. Chris Christie Talks About Anthrax Probe in 2002

httpv://youtu.be/rL0q8J0g6bo

ATF Official Who Oversaw Botched Sting Will Oversee Phoenix Office

By John Diedrich
Journal Sentinel

The ATF leader who oversaw a botched undercover operation in Milwaukee will now be in charge of the agency’s embattled Phoenix office, where agents allowed more than 2,000 guns to walk into the hands of suspected criminals through the infamous “Operation Fast and Furious.”

Bernard “B.J.” Zapor will be reunited in Phoenix with Fred Milanowski, another key figure in Milwaukee’s “Operation Fearless,” where a Journal Sentinel investigation found agents lost government guns, had their storefront ripped off and arrested at least four of the wrong people.

Zapor was in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul Field Division, which covers Wisconsin and three other states. In November, shortly after the Milwaukee sting was abruptly shut down, he was promoted to a position in Washington, D.C., supervising eight field divisions.

Officials from the ATF and the U.S. Department of Justice told congressional staffers in April that disciplinary action was under way against Zapor because of the Milwaukee operation. They won’t say if Zapor’s assignment to Phoenix is punishment.

To read the full story click here. 

Appeals Court Denies Ex-FBI Agent Robert Lustyik Jr. Freedom Pending Trial

Robert Lustyik Jr.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI agent Robert Lustyik Jr. won’t be getting out federal prison in Utah any time soon.

The website Lohud.com reports that afederal appeals court in Utah has denied his request to get out of the fed prison pending trial on conspiracy charges. His freedom was revoked March 19 after a judge found he violated his bail conditions and had contact with a witness in his case.

An FBI agent was charged with using his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner, the Justice Department announced.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City charged Lustyik Jr., 51, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass., the principal of Boston-based American International Security Corporation (AISC); and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn., each with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.

At the time of his indictment, the Justice Department issued a statement by then Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“According to the indictment, while active in the FBI, former Special Agent Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer in a statement. “He allegedly acted through a childhood friend to secure promises of cash, purported medical expenses and business proceeds in exchange for abusing his position as an FBI agent. The alleged conduct is outrageous, and we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

To read more click here.

 

 

Radical Anwar al-Awaki Liked the Hookers, FBI Documents Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

So much for holiness and disdain for the vices of the west.

CNN reports that in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,  FBI agents surveilled U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and found he was visiting prostitutes.

The network reports Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time and visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex.

The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Judicial Watch, a consevative watch-dog group.

Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 in Yemen in a U.S. missile strike.

To read more click here. 

 

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Secret Service Tracks Threats Against President Obama on Social Media

white house photo

 
By ROBBIE BROWN
New York Times

One night last summer, Jarvis Britton of Birmingham, Ala., sent out a series of Twitter messages that he later described as “stupid” jokes. Prosecutors did not think they were funny.

When Secret Service agents showed up at his house to question him, Mr. Britton said he had been drunk and apologized. But in September, he posted another round of death threats against President Obama and was arrested. Last month, he was sentenced to a year in federal prison.

“Because of the repeated threats on Twitter, we took him seriously,” said Joyce White Vance, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, who prosecuted the case.

To read the full story click here.

GOP Resistance to Confirming Todd Jones as ATF Director is Stiffening

Todd Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Anyone who follows politics inside the Beltway knows the confirmation process for ATF director, by it’s nature, is challenging.

That’s certainly the case with Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, who has been the acting head of ATF.

Kevin Diaz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that GOP resistance to Jone’s confirmation is “stiffening.”

The paper reports that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday requested that top federal law enforcement officials in Washington turn over documents that might reveal “conflicts” with Jones.

The requests were made in a series of letters from Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the paper reported.

The paper writes:

The letters, obtained by the Star Tribune, allude to three unnamed witnesses, presumably all law enforcement officials in Minnesota, who reportedly talked privately to Grassley’s staff. Sources close to the matter say they are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation. Nevertheless, Grassley cited them to contradict Jones’ testimony before the Senate last month that he was unaware of any “deterioration” in relations between his office and law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.

The letters also refer indirectly to a whistleblower complaint brought against Jones by Jeffrey Paulsen, an assistant U.S. attorney in Minneapolis, who says he was unfairly disciplined by Jones for raising management concerns.

To read more click here.