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Archive for July, 2016

Mob Experts Says East Coast Gangsters Didn’t Have a Hand in Jimmy Hoffa Murder 41 Years Ago

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Mob historian and author Andy Petepiece says the feds, historians and investigative reporters have it all wrong when it comes to the killing of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa 41 years ago this month.

In a piece in Gang Land News, an online site specializing in mobster news, Petepiece dismisses decades of talk that Mafia guys from New Jersey and Pennsylvania had a hand in the killing. Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975.

He insists it was the Detroit mobsters who likely did the deed without the help of their east coast brethren, and writes that it was a mob associate, Ralph Picardo, who concocted erroneous accounts linking Genovese capo Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano and Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino to Hoffa’s killing to get a reduced sentence for a 1974 murder in New Jersey. Picardo was a former driver for Provenzano.

Petepiece, a contributor to Gang Land News, writes:

After 41 years, no one really believes that anyone is going to find Jimmy Hoffa — alive or dead. But even if someone does discover his remains, it’s a safe bet that the usual suspects from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, whose names have been bandied about for decades, had nothing to do with Hoffa’s demise, or the disposal of his remains.

This includes Pennsylvania Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, Genovese capo Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, soldier Salvatore (Sally Bugs) Briguglio, Teamsters Union official Frank (The Irishman) Sheeran, and Philip (Brother) Moscato, the mob­connected owner of a dump on the Hackensack River where Hoffa’s remains were supposedly disposed of 40 years ago.

I say this with all due respect to the FBI, and my good friend Dan Moldea, who has written extensively about the subject and who knows more about the late Teamsters Union president than anyone.

I believe they, the media and the entire law enforcement community were all taken in by Ralph (Little Ralphie) Picardo, a low life murderer with ties to Tony Pro who came up with a tall tale to get out of a 17­ to ­23 years prison term for the slaying of a New Jersey man.

To begin with, it makes no sense that North East mob families would be given the task of whacking Hoffa, whose murder was likely sanctioned by the Mafia Commission since he was such a prominent national figure. He was an associate of the Detroit family. They could do it without raising Hoffa’s suspicions. And too many things could go wrong with a plan involving a New Jersey hit team traveling to Detroit, killing Hoffa and then transporting his body 600 miles for burial in the Garden State.

The only so­called evidence that links Tony Pro’s guys to the hit are the words of Picardo, who told the FBI he learned about Hoffa’s demise from gangster buddy Steve Andretta in August of 1975, less than a month after Hoffa

At the time, Picardo was not a happy camper. He had a very strong motive to find a way to freedom. Tony Pro’s crew had taken his business interests when he was in jail. The only thing of value he had was his connection to Tony Pro and the suspicion he was involved in the Hoffa hit. Andretta’s visit after the Hoffa hit provided the link.

Isn’t it highly unlikely that Andretta would tell Picardo about the sensational killing of Hoffa while he was on one side of a glass partition talking to him on a prison phone that could easily be bugged? It’s hard to believe that any gangster, even the dumbest alive, would do such a thing.

The FBI, which was floundering around making no progress, was delighted with the story he told them four months later in November. There is no report of him passing a polygraph exam, but even if he did, since then no one has found any evidence that confirms his account.

With Picardo’s information, the FBI developed this theory on the Hoffa murder: Bufalino, the boss of the tiny Northeast Pennsylvania family had given the contract to Tony Pro. Detroit mob capo Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone lured Hoffa to a fake peace meeting with Provenzano. Hoffa was picked up by his associate, Charles (Chuckie) O’Brien, and taken to a home where he was killed.

Provenzano associates Briguglio, his brother Gabe, and Thomas Andretta had all flown to Detroit by private plane and did the job, the theory goes. Some allege that Frank Sheeran was involved in some way. Hoffa’s body was placed in a 55­gallon drum and driven to Jersey City for disposal by a Gateway Transportation truck.

Neither the FBI, nor anyone else, has come up with any evidence to support this theory.

Even the feds realized it was nuts to think that gangsters would drive a body from Michigan to New Jersey to dispose of it. In January of 1976, a little more than a month after the FBI got a federal judge to authorize a search of Brother Moscato’s dump, the Department of Justice announced it had decided not to bother.

Petepiece concedes that he has no hard evidence to back up his theory, but says his theory makes the most sense.

Read more »

Ex-Homeland Security Head: Trump’s Plan to Build Wall Will Hurt GOP

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is warning Republicans that it’s a mistake to embrace Donald Trump plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ridge, the first head of the department formed after the Sept. 11 attack, said the wall will hurt the GOP

“It’s a bad idea,” he said Wednesday on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” “It’s a bad idea short-term, and it’s a bad idea long-term. I just can’t believe my party has basically drawn a wall between us and our ability to attract Hispanic voters.”

He added: “This whole proposition of a wall: I say shame on us, we’ve lost our way. I prefer presidents who tear down walls, not build them.”

Most impacted will be Hispanic voters, he aid.

“There was a time when our party was very attractive to Hispanic family members, and then because of some loud and incriminating accusations towards Mexicans and Hispanics generally, we’ve kind of lost it,” he said.

“If then, on top of that, you start building a wall, you’re not going to win, nor are you going to sustain a nationwide support for the Republican Party, pure and simple. In presidential elections, you have to build by addition, not subtraction. I can’t believe it’s happening to the GOP.”

Secret Service, Police Say They’re Prepared for RNC Protests in Cleveland

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Thousands of protesters are planning to converge in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.

But the Secret Service and Cleveland police said the city is prepared for potential unrest, Fox8 reports.

Crew have set up barricades to create a security perimeter around the venues for the RNC.

“It’s gonna cause complications to people coming in and out of downtown,” said one downtown worker.

“It’s gonna cause complications to people coming in and out of downtown,” said one downtown worker.

“I heard about the security measures they’re putting up down here…downtown Cleveland is about to be as safe as it’s ever been,” said a Cleveland resident walking through downtown.

“We are prepared, we are ready to welcome the world to Cleveland,” said Agent Ronald Rowe with the U.S. Secret Service.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Confirms Agents Are Sworn to Secrecy in Hillary Clinton E-Mail Case

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI took the unusual step of demanding its agents never peak about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

The agents also are subject to lie detector tests.

Agents signed a “Case Briefing Acknowledgment,” which forbids disclosure of information, Fox News reports. 

“The purpose of this form is to maintain an official record of persons knowledgeable of a highly sensitive Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence investigation,” the agreement attached reads, “….I (FBI agent) also understand that, due to the nature and sensitivity of this investigation, compliance with these restrictions may be subject to verification by polygraph examination.”

Fox News wrote:

The measures show the extent to which the bureau has gone to keep additional details of the politically sensitive case from going public. While Comey has provided some information ‎on why the FBI did not opt to pursue charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch repeatedly ducked questions on specifics of the case at a House hearing Tuesday. 

A recently retired FBI agent, who declined to speak on the record, citing the sensitivity of the matter, said a “Case Briefing Acknowledgement” is reserved for “the most sensitive of sensitive cases,” and can have a “chilling effect” on agents, who understand “it comes from the very top and that there has to be a tight lid on the case.” 

The former agent said the agreements can also contribute to “group think” because investigators cannot bounce ideas off other agents, only those within a small circle.

FBI Investigated Orlando Shooter for 10 Months But Found Nothing

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI investigated the Orlando shooter for 10 months but found no evidence to charge him.

The Los Angeles Times said counter-terrorism investigators pursued Omar Mateen from May 2013 to March 2014, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The FBI and local sheriff’s office ran his name through criminal and terrorism databases and checked his phone records for suspicious contacts. They watched him from unmark cars. And they even sent two confidential informants to record his conversations.

Still, the agent and his supervisor believed Mateen was not a threat and closed the case.

About two years later, on Jun 12, he killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.

FBI Director Comey Says Lack of Diversity Among Agents Is ‘a Crisis’

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said the bureau has “a crisis” because of the decline of minorities working for the bureau.

Speaking at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Comey said the FBI’s agents are 83% white, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We have a crisis in the FBI and it is this: Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,’’ he said without saying why that occurred.

Comey’s comments come after high-profile shootings of black men by white police officers. Comey said he worries that the controversies around race and policing may prevent younger people from joining the FBI.

FBI to Turn Over Clinton’s E-Mails to State Department for Investigation

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI plans to hand over to the State Department thousands of work-related emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server.

The FBI agreed to return the emails Tuesday and said it would cooperate, the Washington Post reports.

“In accordance with our policies and procedures, the FBI will be providing this information to your Department for review and determination of record status pursuant to the Federal Records Act and subsequent [Freedom of Information Act] processing as appropriate,” FBI General Counsel James A. Baker wrote in a letter dated Tuesday and filed in federal court in Washington.

The disclosure may help the federal government hand over email records as part of dozens of pending public records lawsuits, including one filed by Judicial Watch.

“If State obtains additional State Department records, it intends to search them for records” that would respond to requests from Judicial Watch, Justice Department senior trial counsel Caroline Lewis Wolverton wrote in a court filing.

Clinton’s attorneys are suggesting the records are private because her email account “has never been the property of or possessed by the State Department.”

FBI: No ‘Credible’ Security Threats at RNC in Cleveland – Yet

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Local, state and federal authorities are bracing for what could be violent clashes outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

As thousands of protesters plan to gather in Cleveland, federal agents have learned of some plans to disrupt the event.

But still, FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said there’s no evidence too a large-scale attack at the convention, Cleveland.com reports. 

“That’s not to say there aren’t things that concern us everyday, regardless of whether the RNC is here or not,” Anthony said at a Tuesday morning security briefing.

Authorities held a briefing Tuesday to discuss security with the media.

Local police and federal authorities feel confident about their security plan.

One concern is a “lone-wolf” attack, like the one in Orlando or Dallas.