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Ex-FBI Agent Turned Congressman Described as Hotheaded Agent in New Yorker Piece

Rep. Michael Grimm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Was New York Congressman Michael Grimm a hotheaded FBI agent with a chip on his shoulder?

That’s apparently the conclusion of an article in the latest edition of the New Yorker, according to the Staten Island Advance newspaper. Grimm, a former FBI agent, represents, Staten Island. He is a Republican.

“The 10-page story has unearthed a decade-old allegation that Grimm, during his days as an FBI agent, abused his authority and waved his gun during a nightclub dust-up with the husband of a woman he was dating,” the Staten Island Advance wrote.

The article quotes unnamed FBI colleagues. Some applauded him for his undercover work and others said they were bothered that he used his FBI career as a political springboard, the Staten Island reported.

The magazine piece includes agent Lawrence Ferazani, who said, “I wouldn’t question his integrity,” and “he never, ever, challenged the rules,” according to the Staten Island Advance.

Another agent called Grimm “a very good undercover” with a “big ego.” A former agent said, “He was not thought of very highly.”

On his Congressional website, here’s how he describes part of his career:

“It was during his tenure with the Fraud Squad that Michael started his undercover career becoming the first FBI Agent to successfully infiltrate Wall Street. Posing as a hedge fund manager during Operation Wooden Nickel, arguably one of the most successful White Collar undercover investigations in the history of the FBI, Michael obtained evidence against more than 50 individuals committing frauds spanning the spectrum from stock manipulation and currency scams to money laundering. After establishing a reputation as a reliable, “go-to” undercover agent, Michael was enlisted to investigate corrupt politicians in New Jersey, corrupt police officers in Florida, and various other cases. Michael has relentlessly fought corruption and served our country proudly.”

Madoff’s Family Was Unaware of Fraud, Book Concludes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A new book penned by New York Times senior financial writer Diana B. Henriques concludes that swindler Bernie Madoff’s immediate family was unaware of the fraud he was perpetrating.

A review in the New York Times on the book “Wizard of Lies” says of Madoff’s crimes:

“In some ways it was highly sophisticated (software that duplicated the screens of other financial software and created thousands of precisely faked statements); in other ways, it was extremely crude. (Some of his claims were often ludicrous to experts.) We also learn that Mr. Madoff was dishonest even as early as the 1960s.”

The review by Charles Ferguson calls the book “frequently compelling but ultimately disappointing.”

To read more click here.

It’s an Oprah World We Live in; Prospective Blago Juror Wants to Attend Taping of Oprah Show


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let’s face it: There are few things in life more important than Oprah — at least in some circles.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a prospective juror in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said she didn’t want the trial to ruin her chance to attend a taping of the Oprah Show, which is in its final season. The final show will air May 25.

She said she has four tickets to attend the May 10 taping. The whole thing came up during the second day of jury selection on Monday.

The Sun-Times reported that U.S. District Judge James Zagel of Chicago said he could reschedule the trial that day, but added: “That seems a little over the top.”

“It’s the last year, judge,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said smiling, according to the Sun-Times.

Interestingly, the paper reported that the judge seemed open to a defense lawyer’s suggestion court be scheduled that day to accommodate the juror. No decision was made.

“Everybody here knows that this juror will survive” if she doesn’t make it to the show, Zagel said, according to the paper.

The paper reported that the juror is Hispanic, is a onetime domestic violence counselor at Mujeres Latinas En Accion, is a mother and a current member of AFSCME Local 106.

Blagojevich is on trial for the second time. In his first trial, he was convicted of 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

Atty. Gen. Holder Delivers Uplifting, Cheerleader-like Speech to the Troops

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes the troops need an uplifting, cheerleader-like speech.

And that’s what Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. — who has sometimes been the Republicans’ favorite pinata — delivered Monday to a crowd of more than 100 employees at the Great Hall at the Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

“I have been privileged to serve this Department, I have worked alongside – and learned from – some of the world’s most talented and dedicated lawyers, law enforcement officials, and public servants. Every day, you and your colleagues – a team that’s now more than 114,000 members strong – carry out your important jobs with the simple, but essential, goals of protecting and improving lives – and pursuing justice in every case, every circumstance, and every community.”

“Like you, I love this Department. And, like you, I am proud – not only to serve it, but also to champion its work.”

“Just over two years ago, together, we launched a new chapter in the Department’s extraordinary history. And I was honored that – on that February day – so many of you welcomed me home.

“That day, as I stood before you – and swore the oath of office for the last job I will ever hold here – I laid out three priorities that would guide our work. First, and most importantly, I promised that the Department’s top priority – and our chief responsibility – would be protecting the security, rights, and interests of the American people.

“I also pledged to reinvigorate the Department’s traditional missions and breathe new life into important areas that had been overlooked in recent years.

“Finally, I promised to heal the Department – by rebuilding morale and restoring credibility. As a young lawyer, I had seen my first boss and one of my personal heroes – Attorney General Edward Levi – do just that in the wake of the Watergate scandal.”

Read more »

ATF Agents Shoot Suspect in Suburban D.C.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF agents shot and wounded a suspect in suburban Washington in Prince William County Monday night, WUSA reported.

The TV station reported that agents were wrapping up an investigation and moved in to make an arrest. However, the suspect tried fleeing in a car and attempted to hit the agents with the car, the station reported.

Agents opened fire on Dumfries Road near I-95 in Dumfries, Va.

Limited details were available late Monday night.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI’s Chris Briese Who Oversaw Interrogation Team for Saddam Hussein to Head Up Charlotte Division

Chris Briese/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

M. Chris Briese, the deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Team at Quantico, and who once oversaw  the interrogation team for Saddam Hussein,  is headed south to take charge of the bureau’s Charlotte Division, the FBI announced Monday.

Briese joined the FBI in 1987 and was first stationed in Los Angeles where he worked bank robberies, interstate theft, foreign counterintelligence and international terrorism matters.

In February 1996, he was promoted to the National Security Division in the Counterterrorism Planning Section at FBI headquarters, the FBI said. He was a founding member of the Weapons of Mass Operations Unit, and specialized in chemical and biological terrorism issues.

Two years later, he transferred to the Minneapolis Division in a supervisory role, and oversaw international and domestic terrorism, foreign counterintelligence programs and the St. Cloud Resident Agency.

He established the Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was responsible for the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of crimes related to the 9/11 attacks.

In July 2001, he became the assistant special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division.

In August 2003, Briese returned to the mothership in Washington as a section chief in the Counterterrorism Division. His duties included oversight of half the FBI’s global terrorism operations, including the FBI’s deployment in Iraq and the Saddam Hussein interrogation team.

In January 2005, he headed up the Pittsburgh Division. The following year, he returned to FBI Headquarters and worked in multiple executive positions within the National Security Branch, the FBI said.

He has a law degree from Louisiana State University Law School. He is married and the father of two teenage boys.

FBI Tells W. Va. Coal Mining Victims’ Family They May “Be a Victim of a Federal Crime”


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has fired off a letter to families of the miners who were killed last April at the Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W. Va., saying  that “you may be a victim of a federal crime,” the Charleston Gazette reported.

The two-page, March 28 letter, signed by FBI agent Joseph I. Ciccarelli of the Charleston field office, stated, according to the Gazette:

“As you may be aware, the FBI has instituted an investigation into various activities at UBB in an effort to determine whether any Federal crimes have occurred,” the letter said. “In connection therewith, you may be a victim of a Federal crime.”

The letter added: “This investigation can be a lengthy process and we request your continued patience while we conduct a thorough investigation.” The feds told the families they may wind up being eligible for certain government benefits afforded victims of crimes.

Twenty nine miners died in the accident.

Mob Family Thicker than Blood? FBI Probing Whether Ex-Mob Boss Put Out Hit on His Son

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Among the die hard mobsters, the Mafia is more of a family to them than their real families.

Case in point: The New York Daily News reports that the FBI is investigating the possibility that one-time Genovese family boss Dominick “Quiet Dom” Cirillo ordered a hit on his son Nicholas Mother’s Day in 2004.

The Daily News reported that the son vanished shortly after getting into a brawl in the Bronx with Bonanno soldier Dominick Cicale and second-generation gangster Vincent Basciano Jr.

The paper, citing sources, said the son was high on crack during the scuffle.

“There was concern the kid [Nicholas] was out of control and he was going to cause problems for the [Genovese] family,” a source told The News.

To read more click here.