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NY Auction House Auctioning Fed’s Mob Files from 50s and 60s

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some fed mobster file lost in a New York cab nearly 20 years ago– with an estimated pre-sale worth of $10,000 to $15,000 — are going up for auction at Bonhams New York, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. government file in a three-ring binder — stamped “Mafia” and “United States Treasury Department Bureau of Narcotics” — includes mug shots, mug shots, criminal associates and favorite hangouts of over 800 Mafia members during the 1950s and early 1960s, AP reported.

AP reported that mobsters Carlo “Don Carlo” Gambino, Meyer Lansky and Salvatore “Lucky Luciano” Lucania each had their own entries.

The file was compiled sometime between 1957 and 1962, AP reported.

AP reported that 50 copies of the file were likely printed, and the one on auction is the only one still in existence.

Jon Stewart Goes After ATF’s Troubled “Operation Fast and Furious”

Secret Service Investigating Counterfeit Money in Ala.

Ohio State Student Pleads Guilty to Sending Fake Bomb Threat to FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Ohio State University student Jonathan Birkmeyer: Try just not showing up for the test next time. Or make up some crazy excuse. But don’t send the FBI a fake bomb threat.

Birkmeyer pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to sending a fake bomb threat to FBI headquarters that resulted in the evacuation of four Ohio State University building being evacuated in November, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The paper reported that he apparently sent the bogus message to get out of taking a test.

On Nov. 16, the former Marine emailed the FBI, saying: “I have a paper that I found that has a detailed map of nine bombs placed in four different buildings on the Ohio State University campus.”

The paper reported that FBI traced the threat by tracking down the IP address to a stolen iPod touch in Birkmeyer’s possession.

Latest FBI Campaign to Find Mobster “Whitey” Bulger Brings in Tips Beyond “Our Expectations”

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest FBI campaign to try and nab Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is paying off — at least if you measure it by the bulk of tips.

The Boston Globe reports the FBI has gotten a number of tips that have “exceeded our expectations”, the result of  a new ad campaign aimed at finding Bulger’s girlfriend, who is believed to be with him. Still, nothing yet in terms of capturing the ever-elusive gangster.

The new campaign includes billboards and 30-second daytime television spots in 14 cities, and focuses on Bulger’s companion Catherine Greig, 60.  The FBI hopes people will recognize Greig, and that will lead to Bulger’s arrest. She is also wanted for harboring a fugitive.

“We’ve been effective and efficient in reaching the geographic areas that we intended to,’’ FBI Special Agent Gregory Comcowich of Boston told the Globe. “The number of tips has exceeded our expectations.’’

Ex-Seattle U.S. Atty. John McKay Backs Push to Legalize Pot

John McKay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Granted, the irony is rich. But ex-Seattle U.S. Attorney John McKay, a President Bush appointee, says he has his reasons for joining a coalition that’s pushing an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state of Washington.

McKay, 55, contends that criminalizing marijuana creates a black market that benefits  international cartels and crime rings, according to an article in the Seattle Times.

“That’s what drives my concern: The black market fuels the cartels, and that’s what allows them to buy the guns they use to kill people,” McKay said, according to the Times.  “A lot of Americans smoke pot, and they’re willing to pay for it. I think prohibition is a dumb policy, and there are a lot of line federal prosecutors who share the view that the policy is suspect.”

The group is being led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. The group decided to push for the initiative after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical-marijuana bill that had passed the state Legislature, the paper reported.

The paper reported that the group will have until  the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get the initiative before the Legislature, which could approve it or let it go before the voters.

McKay was one of eight U.S. Attorney’s fired by the Bush administration in 2006 in what became a highly controversial matter.  Critics accused the administration of playing politics. The administration claimed the firings were based on performance.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

More Shakeups at ATF

Mark Potter/atf photo

Mark Potter/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Besides the anticipated change at the top at ATF, other changes are coming.

Ronald B.  Turk, special agent in charge of the New York office, has been named Deputy Assistant Director  for Field Operations for the Central Region of  the U.S.

Mark Potter, head of the Philly office, has been named Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations for the Western Region of the U.S. and International Operations.

And Gregory K.  Gant, special agent in charge of the Atlanta office, has been named Deputy Assistant Director for Public and Governmental Affairs.  Those changes are due to take effect in August.

In Phoenix, in eye of the hurricane, where “Operation Fast Furious” was run, Thomas E. Brandon, who headed the Detroit office, has already been permanently assigned there to try and clean up the mess and raise morale.

He replaces William D. Newell, who was supposed to become the ATF attache for Mexico. But Newell has been temporarily assigned to Washington to supposedly help in the Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious.

Ken Melson, acting head of ATF, is expected to be replaced by Andrew Traver, who has been nominated for the permanent spot.   Traver met Tuesday afternoon with Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

On top of that change, some think it’s just a matter of time before the second in command, William J. Hoover, is replaced.

Rep. Issa Pushes for ATF Chief Melson to Step Down; Likely to Happen Anyways

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa on Tuesday told Fox News that acting ATF director Ken Melson should resign — something that’s likely to happen anyways.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called Melson “part of the bad judgment” that led to the disastrous and ill thought out program “Operation Fast and Furious.” The program encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hope of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

Melson is expected to step down this week and be replaced by Andrew Traver. Traver would likely become acting director pending the outcome of his presidential nomination for the post.

His nomination has already run into problems in the Senate after the NRA came after Traver, the head of the Chicago ATF office. The NRA claims he’s anti-gun owner rights.

Issa also told Fox others should take the blame as well.

“It wasn’t just him,” he said. “This was a program so stupid from the start. … Clearly at Justice, at high levels, they knew the details because they were funding and coordinating this project.”

He said Atty. Gen. Eric Holder “should have known. It was his obligation to know.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) released a letter Tuesday that he wrote to Melson complaining that ATF inaccurately reflected the scope and source of the problem of firearms in Mexico and the drug trafficking organization violence.

The letter is as follows:

Kenneth Melson
Acting Director
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives
U.S. Department of Justice
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Dear Acting Director Melson:

I write today in response to a June 10, 2011, article in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Mexican Guns Tied to U.S.”, which cites a letter you sent to Senator Diane Feinstein, the Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control (“Caucus”).

As the Co-Chairman of the Caucus, and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (“Committee”), I have been investigating serious allegations raised by whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that agents knowingly allowed weapons to be sold to straw purchasers who then transferred those weapons to Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (“DTOs”).

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