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Calif. Student Sues FBI for Putting GPS Tracking Device on Car

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 20-year-old Egyptian-American college student in California filed a lawsuit against the FBI on Wednesday, saying the agency violated his civil rights when it secretly placed a GPS tracking device on his car, the Associated Press reported.

Yasir Afifi, a student at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif., who insists the FBI has no reason to show interest in him, discovered the tracking device last October after a mechanic doing an oil change pointed it out, AP reported. The suit was filed by Council on American-Islamic Relations, claims the FBI violated his civil rights by putting the device on his car without a warrant.

AP reported that Afifi travels frequently to the Middle East and helps support his two brothers. His late father, awell-known Islamic-American community leader, died last year in Egypt.

FBI spokesman Michael Kortan declined to talk specifics, but told the AP: “The FBI conducts investigations under well-established Department of Justice and FBI guidelines that determine what investigative steps or techniques are appropriate. Those guidelines also ensure the protection of civil and constitutional rights.”

Mexico’s Calderon Expected to Discuss U.S. Agents Carrying Guns in His Country

President Calderon/file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The issue of allowing U.S. federal agents stationed in Mexico to carry guns is expected to surface when Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon comes to the White House Thursday, the Washington Post reports.

The anticipated conversation over guns comes in the wake of a shooting last month in which an ICE agent was murdered and another wounded as they traveled in northern Mexico. Both were assigned to the ICE attache office in Mexico City. Agents currently are banned from carrying guns.

In an interview last week in Mexico, Calderon sharply criticized the U.S. for failing to do enough to reduce America’s appetite for illegal drugs and to address the burgeoning problem of U.S. weapons coming into the country.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Trial Set for March 16 for Man Who Made Terrorist Threats on Facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Trial begins later this month for a Virginia man who wrote on Facebook that he planned to blow up the D.C. area subway system, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The paper’s Bruce Alpert reports that the trial against Awais Younis,25, will only deal with the threats he made against the Louisiana woman who turned him, and not the actual threats he posted on Facebook. The trial is set for March 16 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

Alpert wrote that “the decision not to charge Younis with terrorist-related charges might indicate that either the Justice Department didn’t find evidence he was serious about his threats against the Washington subway and sewer system, or that he was incapable of carrying them out.”

The paper reported that authorities charged that an informant contacted the New Orleans FBI on Nov. 28 and said during a chat on Facebook that Younis discussed building pipe bombs and detonating them on the subway cars.

Once the FBI began looking into the matter, the defendant made threats against the informant and her father during a Facebook chat, the paper reported.

“Bitch, I know what you are up too and you better stop if you know what is good for you!!!!…that is the problem with americans they cant leave well enough alone until something happends then they sit there wondering why we dropped the twin towers like a bad habit hahaha,” was his message, according to the paper.

Ex-Justice Dept. Analyst Judith Socolov Who was Convicted of Espionage Dies at Age 88

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Judith Socolov, a former Justice Department political analyst in the 1940s, who fell in love with a Soviet agent and was convicted of espionage, died over the weekend in Manhattan, the New York Times reported. She was 88.

Judith Coplon, who later became Judith Socolov, was arrested by the FBI in 1949 while working at the Justice Department, the Times reported.

The Times reported that her convictions, one in 1949 for espionage and another for conspiracy in 1950, were both overturned. The Times reported one conviction was overturned “because federal agents overheard conversations with her lawyer, and in the other because she was arrested on probable cause but without a warrant.”

Still, the U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that ”her guilt is plain,” the Times reported. The paper wrote that Soviet documents released years later supported that conclusion.

”She was a very high priority to the F.B.I.,” John Earl Haynes, a cold war historian at the Library of Congress, told the Times on Monday, ”because she was clearly in a Justice Department office, the Foreign Agents Registration Section, that was receiving the F.B.I.’s own counterespionage reports.”

She went on to marry one of her attorneys Albert Socolov and raised four children, earned a master’s degree, published books and did other things, and ran two Mexican restaurants in New York with her husband.

To read more click here.

Fla. FBI Agent and Cops on Trial for Mortgage Fraud

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial began Tuesday in Ft. Lauderdale federal court for an FBI agent along with four local Florida cops and a former officer, who face charges of mortgage fraud involving the purchase of properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported.

The paper reported that the six are accused of lying to lenders about things like income or whether the homes would be primary residences.

The paper reported that the defendants attorneys claim their clients were victims, and they had no idea the two mortgage brokers working with them submitted false information and forged signatures on hundreds of lending documents so they could make more money off the deals.

The paper reported that the mortgage brokers have cut deals with the feds and intend to testify in court.

The FBI agent, Robert DePriest, has been removed from all investigative duties with the FBI, the paper reported.

TSA Worker Busted For Allegedly Helping Drug Dealers


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Minnetta Walker of the Transportation Security Administration lost her moral compass — or perhaps she never had one, authorities allege.

The TSA behavioral detection officer at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, who is supposed to walk around and look for suspicious behavior, was arrested Tuesday and charged with providing info to drug traffickers and helping them get past checkpoints with minimum scrutiny, the Buffalo News reported.

The Buffalo News reported that the 43-year-old was arrested off-duty when she drove to the airport to pick up a suspected drug dealer returning from Arizona.

The paper reported that federal charging documents allege that Walker tipped off one drug dealer that drug agents were tailing him and escorted dealers through screening checkpoints, the Buffalo paper reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-FBI Agent Jody Weis Steps Down as Chicago’s Top Cop

Private U.S. Spies Aid FBI in Afghan Probe

By Mark Mazzetti
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Not long after the Pentagon severed its relationship with a private spy network operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the F.B.I. quietly began tapping the same group to help investigate the killing of 10 medical aid workers in northern Afghanistan, according to American officials and private contractors.

The spy network, managed by Duane R. Clarridge, 78, a former top official at the Central Intelligence Agency, has provided agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kabul with intelligence reports about militants who may have been involved in the attack, which killed six Americans last August.

How the F.B.I uses the information, and whether it has been valuable, is unclear. But that the F.B.I would use Mr. Clarridge’s group — at the same time the Pentagon is investigating whether it and other private spies were hired in Afghanistan and Pakistan in violation of Defense Department policy — shows the limits of the American government’s own information sources in the chaos of a war zone.

To read more click here.