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January 2014


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for January, 2014

Retired FBI Official Says Ray Kelly’s Criticism of FBI “Is Seriously Misplaced”

Michael Mason is a retired Executive Assistant Director of the FBI. His column is in response to former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s criticism of the FBI in a New York Times article. Kelly suggested the FBI should have shared information regarding its suspicions about one of the Boston Marathon bombers before the bombing ever took place.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Michael Mason

I am a big fan of Ray Kelly. I believe he is an innovative, thoughtful police executive. But I think his criticism of the FBI is seriously misplaced.

Precisely what would the FBI have shared with Boston, that in a steady-state environment would have led to them in engaging in any different actions toward the suspects? There are suspicions about hundreds of suspects that exists every day of the week.

Does anyone really think the FBI could have told Boston authorities, “Hey, we think these two guys are targeting the Boston Marathon for a bombing incident?” That is patently absurd.

It’s really time to stop the “blame game” in the aftermath of terrible events such as the Boston Marathon bombings. It is way too easy to say “We should have known anything you had about those suspects” after they have engaged in a heinous act against innocent civilians.

So, are we suggesting that the FBI should share all the information it has on every subject of interest who might potentially engage in a criminal act in the territory of any police agency?  I can assure you that is not the sharing environment we want.

The media needs to press officials when they complain of not receiving information from the FBI in a timely manner by asking two simple questions: 1) What is the precise information you are suggesting the FBI did not share with you in a timely fashion? and 2) In a steady-state environment, i.e. before the bad act has occurred, precisely what would you have done with the information you claim was not share with you in a more timely fashion.

Ray Kelly

Over the course of my career the offices I ran had an interest in hundreds of suspects. However, to share that information would have been utterly meaningless unless there was something to be accomplished by doing so.

I had outstanding relationships with the entire law enforcement community because I assured them I would share any actionable information as soon as I received it. However, the interest we had in the vast majority such “suspects” eventually waned without any additional actions being taken by my office.

I hope the time for using the FBI as an information hoarding piñata every time something bad happens in this country soon goes the way of the dinosaurs.

FBI’s Legal Attache in Nairobi Talks about the Attack at the Shopping Mall

Part 2 of an interview with Dennis Brady, the FBI’s legal attaché in Nairobi, Kenya. This is interview is  from the FBI website.

Q: On September 21, 2013, al Shabaab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Over a period of several days, they killed more than 70 people. What was the FBI’s response?

Brady: The attack started on a Saturday. I was called to the embassy, and we immediately began securing resources to assist the Kenyans. Our people were on the scene from the first day. The FBI’s role was—and continues to be—to facilitate, enable, and assist the Kenyan investigation and prosecution regarding a crime that occurred largely against Kenyan citizens on their soil.

World mapFBI Legal Attaché OfficesThe FBI has offices around the globe. These offices—called legal attachés, or legats—are located in U.S. Embassies.  More

Q: After the attack ended, what was the crime scene like?

Brady: Very complicated. Westgate was a large mall, four stories, with underground parking and an attached parking structure. In the process of fighting the attackers, there were explosions and a fire. The area where the attackers were had home furnishings that caught fire. The fire spread and continued to burn, causing that part of the structure to collapse into a pit that smoldered for weeks.

Q: Was it dangerous for investigators working to collect evidence?

Brady: It’s amazing we got our Evidence Response Team [ERT] people down into that pit. It was a very difficult place to work. While ERT was doing its work, every now and then a propane tank would explode or vehicles on the edge of the collapse would fall in and catch fire. But there was a lot of attention paid to the soundness of the structure and where we could reasonably collect evidence. Safety of the investigators was paramount. We had an FBI structural engineer and hazardous materials experts on scene in addition to our other assets. At the height of the initial investigation, the Bureau had more than 80 people on the ground there.

Q: Where does the investigation stand now?

Brady: The Kenyans have charged four individuals in connection with the terror attack, and the case is moving through the court process. The four are directly connected to the individuals who physically carried out the attack. Nobody is under the impression that we have fully identified the entire network in this attack, however. That’s why the investigation continues.

Q: There have been conflicting reports about what happened to the gunmen. Can you comment?

Brady: We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed. Our ERT made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area where they made their last stand. Three sets of remains were found. Also, the Kenyans were on the scene that first day and set up a very secure crime scene perimeter, making an escape unlikely. Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for propaganda purposes by al Shabaab. That hasn’t happened.

Q: All in all, are you pleased with how the legat responded to the crisis?

Brady: Very much so. Our people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Kenyans through some very difficult days. It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t just Americans helping the Kenyans. It was an international effort. But yes, I am proud of how the legat responded and how we were able to assist our host country when they most needed us.

Read Part I

Weekend Series on Crime: The Kidnapping Tactics of the Mexican Cartel


Column: ATF Agent Says Goodbye to a Legendary Fellow Agent Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns/his website

Vince Cefalu is an ATF agent.
By Vincent A. Cefalu

 Beginning Monday January 13, 2014, Senior Special Agent Jay “Jaybird” Dobyns will join the civilian ranks after what can only be described as an incredibly storied career.

Dobyns, a college standout wide receiver from the University of Arizona decided on a law enforcement career. However, one must wonder if knowing what he knows now, whether he would make the same choice today.

The answer is a resounding YES. Before Agent Dobyns could collect his first ATF paycheck, he was taken hostage and shot in the Arizona desert. Barely escaping death, lesser committed Agents may have seen the writing on the wall. However, ATF would learn that Dobyns was not the average Agent.

Special Agent Dobyns would recover and return to duty with a vengeance and what can only be described as a fixation with protecting those who could not protect themselves. His career brought him in contact with some of the most violent groups in U.S. history.

Dobyns went on to become involved in another near lethal encounter involving himself and fellow Agents of the Chicago field division. Known and loved throughout the Bureau, Agent Dobyns was often asked to share his expertise, cunning and professionalism.

As one of the Agency’s premier and battle tested undercover operatives, Dobyns willingly accepted assignments that placed him face to face with hardened drug dealers, murderers, rapists and subversive groups and gangs coast to coast.

Special Agent Dobyns is the recipient of the prestigious Top Cop award, multiple decorations for valor, and is regarded as one of the Agency’s most notable undercover operatives.

Jay Dobyns

Dobyns again received notoriety when his unprecedented infiltration of the infamous Hells Angels Motorcycle gang was made public. What should have been the pinnacle of a career of service became a nightmare for Dobyns and his family.

Death threats abounded unlike the Agency had ever experienced. At a time when the Bureau was experiencing a breakdown in leadership, the death threats went unaddressed causing a furor in the field nationwide. Dobyns was dismayed at the lack of protection and appropriate action by ATF leadership and ultimately challenged ATFs practices through the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The dispute was later resolved with an undisclosed settlement, but Dobyns problems were not yet over.

Dobyns public challenges to gross mismanagement and corruption within the Bureau did not make him friends in ATF headquarters. Dobyns became publicly vocal about the direction of the Bureau and joined others in exposing misconduct and waste fraud and abuse within the Bureau to the Office of the Inspector General and members of Congress.

Dobyns became instrumental in exposing the agency’s acts during the “Fast and Furious” hearings and has been outspoken regarding the abusive tactics being employed by ATF managers against whistleblowers.

As Dobyns settled into his final approach to retirement, yet another near fatal attack on Dobyns and his family left his family home burnt to the ground. The agency failed to respond to the arson and attempted murder of Dobyns and his family. This failure to act by ATF resulted in an ongoing litigation and resulted in the Agency countersuing Agent Dobyns.

Throughout these years, Agent Dobyns continued to do what “The Bird” does. He continued to offer his expertise in undercover operations to his fellow Agents as well as outside State and Local Agency’s. Dobyns was a coveted speaker and trainer in all walks of law enforcement and even military training environments. With very public disputes with ATF swirling, Dobyns continued his infectious praises for the Agency and its personnel he loved.

Vince Cefalu

Dobyns gave his time and energy to his community, coaching children’s football, and acted as an emissary for his local church on a good will mission to impoverished villages in Africa.

Agents Dobyns has given selflessly, to his Agency, his Family and the Community. Agent Dobyns is leaving the Agency 4 years before he would be required to retire mandatorily, and with that, taking irreplaceable institutional knowledge and experience with him.

Perhaps most notable, Dobyns penned the New York Times best selling book, No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels.


FBI Director Comey: NSA Leader Snowden Is No Hero or Whistleblower

Steve Neavling

FBI Director James Comey can think of a few adjectives to describe NSA leaker Edward Snowden, but “whistleblower” and “hero” are not among them.

NPR reports that Comey can’t understand why Snowden would be held up as a hero when all three branches of the U.S. government have approved surveillance of phone records.

“I see the government operating the way the founders intended,” Comey said, “so I have trouble applying the whistleblower label to someone who basically disagrees with the way our government is structured and operates.”

That’s not good news for Snowden’s supporters, who are calling on President Obama to grant Snowden clemency or leniency.

Dozens of FBI Personnel Headed to Russia to Help Secure Games from Terrorist Attacks

Steve Neavling

Dozens of FBI agents and other experts will travel to Russia to help protect the Winter Olympics from any terrorist attacks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that about two dozen FBI personnel will be in Moscow, while about a dozen others will be in Sochi, where the Olympic games take place.

Comey noted improved cooperation between Russian and U.S. intelligence officials.

“I know that we have been in regular communication, including me personally, with their security organizations to make sure we are coordinating well, and I think that we are,” Comey said.

So What Prompted Shooting of Ibragim Todashev in Florida? FBI Finishes Up Internal Probe

Steve Neavling

A lot of mystery has surrounded the shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

Now the FBI say it’s “eager” to release the results of an internal investigation into the May 22 shooting, which happened during a lengthy interrogation by an agent, the Boston Globe reports.

The report is expected to be released soon – once the Justice Department reviews it and writes a report.

The FBI has declined to comment on the shooting, and the father of Todashev has called for justice.


Video: Friendly Border Patrol Agent Thanks Driver for Expressing Constitutional Rights

It’s hard to imagine a federal law enforcement official thanking you for not cooperating.

But that’s exactly what a friendly Border Patrol agent did when a group of people questioned his authority to interrogate them.

The car reached a border stop, where they were asked whether they were U.S. citizens.

A passenger in the car filmed the encounter.