Site Search

Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

May 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ex-FBI Agent Cites High Level Dysfunction Over 9/11 in His Book

By Scott Shane
New York Times

WASHINGTON — In a new memoir, a former F.B.I. agent who tracked Al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks paints a devastating picture of rivalry and dysfunction inside the government’s counterterrorism agencies. The book describes missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot, and argues that other attacks overseas might have been prevented, and Osama bin Laden found earlier, if interrogations had not been mismanaged.

The account offered by the agent, Ali H. Soufan, is the most detailed to date by an insider concerning the American investigations of Al Qaeda and the major attacks that the group carried out, including bombings of American Embassies in East Africa and the American destroyer Cole, as well as the Sept. 11 attacks. The book is scheduled to be published Monday, with redactions to several chapters by the Central Intelligence Agency, the target of much of Mr. Soufan’s criticism.

In the 571-page book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda,” Mr. Soufan accuses C.I.A. officials of deliberately withholding crucial documents and photographs of Qaeda operatives from the F.B.I. before Sept. 11, 2001, despite three written requests, and then later lying about it to the 9/11 Commission.

To read more click here.



The Issue of Torture

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST Salutes Federal Law Enforcement in Its Battle Against Terrorism and Honors Those Who Died on Sept. 11, 2001

istock image

 By Allan Lengel

I still remember walking down Connecticut Avenue in Washington, headed to the subway, when I ran into a friend who told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

About 20 minutes later, when I got off the subway downtown at the Farragut North stop, I bumped into an editor at the Washington Post who told me the city was under attack. There was eerie feeling in the city. Some people were already heading home even though they had just gotten downtown. There was a sense of chaos. A sense of fear. A sense of uncertainty.

When I got into the Post newsroom, everyone was standing around television sets, watching the events of Sept. 11 unfold. Shortly after, we all got our assignments for the day.

In the days that followed, I felt like life would never be the same, we would never feel safe again. We all felt so vulnerable. A few days later, I was at the BWI airport near Baltimore, waiting for a flight to Detroit to report on a story for the Post. Everyone in line was looking at everyone else, paranoid, looking to see if there were any potential terrorists.

Thankfully, in time, a sense of normalcy returned to our lives. But we knew things would never be the same, from the the airport experience to concerns about abandon packages to the threat of al Qaeda.

We learned about Code Orange. We saw law enforcement change, most notably the FBI, that shifted significant resources to address counterterrorism. We got involved in two wars.

Since 9/11, federal law enforcement has unearthed a number of terrorist plots. It deserves a great deal of credit.

Granted, things haven’t been perfect. Some folks at the FBI aren’t happy with the way resources were divided up. Groups like the ACLU have raised questions about privacy, about stings, about civil rights, about torture. Republicans and Democrats have had heated debates about the proper venue to prosecute suspected terrorists and about reading Miranda Warnings. Politics have sometimes hijacked the true concerns about terrorism.

Federal law enforcement can’t stop everything. It can’t make us feel 100 percent safe. And yes, it can still improve upon what its done and how it does it. But its deserves a great deal of credit for the job its done since 9/11.

It ain’t easy and it won’t be in the future.


The Survivors of 9/11

Weekend Series on Crime: 9/11

ICE Busts Website that Let People Download Current and Yet-to-be Release Movies

By Allan Lengel

The feds have busted operators of, a website that enabled millions of visitors to download  movies that were playing in the theaters and some that had yet to be released. The site also offered television shows.

The probe, lead by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, resulted in charges out of Alexandria, Va., against five people for conspiracy and copyright infringement, authorities said Friday.

Authorities alleged that the NinjaVideo website operated from February 2008 until it was shut down by law enforcement in June 2010.

NinjaVideo enabled visitors to download copyright-protected movies and television programs in high-quality formats. Many of the movies and shows were offered free of charge. In some cases, it offered the materials for a “donation” of at least $25, ICE said.

On top of that, the website generated significant revenue through advertising, authorities said.

“The defendants allegedly collected more than $500,000 during the website’s 2.5 years of operation and facilitated the infringement of millions of dollars of copyrighted movies, television programs and software products,” an ICE press release stated.

The indictment charged Hana Amal Beshara, 29, of North Brunswick, N.J., and Matthew David Howard Smith, 23, of Raleigh, N.C., identified in the indictment as founders and administrators of NinjaVideo; Joshua David Evans, 34, of North Bend, Wash., and Zoi Mertzanis, 36, a resident of Greece, alleged to be two of the most active uploaders of copyrighted material to the site; and Jeremy Lynn Andrew, 33, of Eugene, Ore., the alleged head of security for the website.

The Motion Picture Association of America issued a statement Friday, saying:

“The action today marks one of the first such prosecutions of an illegal download and streaming site – indeed, one of the most notorious infringing sites on the Internet until it was shut down by law enforcement in June 2010.”

“These ‘worst of the worst’ rogue websites victimize not only the buyers of these products, but the more than 2.2 million hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on a healthy motion picture and television industry.”


Senate Judiciary Gives Nod to 5 Nominees for U.S. Atty in Texas and Oregon and a U.S. Marshal in Fla.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pitman is a nominee

By Allan Lengel

Nearly three years after being elected President, the Obama administration is still working to fill the U.S. Attorney spots.

The latest: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave the go ahead by voice vote for four U.S. Attorney nominees in Texas and one in Oregon. The full Senate must now vote on the matter.

The Texas nominees include: Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas; U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman for the Western District of Texas; John Malcolm Bales for the Eastern District of Texas; and Sarah Ruth Saldana for the Northern District of Texas.

S. Amanda Marshall got the nod for the U.S. Attorney spot in Oregon.

Additionally, the committee gave the nod for nominee Edward M. Spooner for the U.S. Marshal job in Northern District of Florida.


Authorities Chase Unconfirmed al Qaeda Bomb Threat

9/11 Changed Career for Ex-FBI Agent John Pistole: He Now Heads TSA

John Pistole/dhs photo

Also read AP Story: TSA Chief Optimistic About Everything But Terror 
By Tim Evans
Indianapolis Star

Anderson native John Pistole was an FBI agent performing routine audits of the agency’s local offices when the terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Counterterrorism wasn’t exactly Pistole’s area of expertise. Nonetheless, he was quickly pulled into the investigation of the attacks on New York and Washington. It was a move that changed his career path and his life.

Today, Pistole heads the Transportation Security Administration — an agency that didn’t exist on Sept. 11, 2001, and, in fact, was created in response to the terrorist attacks.

In the aftermath of those attacks, Pistole’s work propelled him to the No. 2 position in the FBI before being named last summer to lead the TSA.

To read more click here.