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FBI Ended DC Subway Sting Before Suspect Could Flee U.S.

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — The FBI decided to end its sting and arrest a Northern Virginia man now charged with plotting to blow up D.C. -area subway stations because it was concerned he was about to leave the country to go on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to a court document and law enforcement sources.

FBI agents arrested Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday on charges that he conspired with people he thought were al-Qaida operatives to blow up the Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House subway stations in Northern Virginia.

In some other cases involving stings, the FBI let the plot play out more. In Dallas, for example, FBI agents in 2009 actually provided fake explosives to Hosam Smadi, who drove a car bomb to a skyscraper downtown and tried detonating it.

In September 2009, FBI agents posing as low-level al-Qaida operatives provided Michael C. Finton — aka Talib Islam — with fake explosives in a van that he allegedly tried detonating in front of the Paul Findley Federal Building in Springfield, Ill.

In this latest case, Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, met with undercover FBI agents and FBI operatives over the past several months and provided video and diagrams of subway stops and conducted surveillance, authorities said. He also advised when the best time was to kill the maximum people, but never came close to carrying out the plot, investigators said.

To read more click here.

Read FBI affidavit

Atty. Gen. Holder Honors 303 Justice Dept. Employees

Holder at a recent press conference/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder recognized a whole lot of Justice Department employees — 303 to be exact — at the 58th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony here on Wednesday.

Additionally, 55 others outside the department were honored.

The Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service—the department’s highest award— went to two teams; one involved in the investigation and prosecution of the largest health care fraud settlement ever obtained by the department involving Pfizer Inc., and the team involved in the case of the al Qaeda plot against the New York City subway system.
To read who received awards, click continue.

Brooklyn Feds Vouch for Bonanno Crime Family Mobster

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors are putting in a good word for convicted killer and tough guy Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, a Bonanno family mobster who is set to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court. He hopes to avoid a life sentence.

Newsday reports that prosecutors, in a court filing, are advocating that Vitale get a break in sentencing because his cooperation was “devastating to the mafia” and worthy of a “substantial” sentencing break.

Prosecutors in a court document described the cooperation as “groundbreaking by any measure.”

Newsday reported that Vitale’s testified against his close friend and brother-in-law Joseph Massino, who was the boss of the Bonanno family.

Newsday reported that Vitale provided the FBI with evidence about more than 30 gangland murders or attempted murders. Court papers say he also helped identify hundreds of mobsters.

In court papers the prosecution described Vitale, who had been charged with racketeering,  this way:

Vitale was, for more than three decades, associated with the Bonanno organized crime family of Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”). He rose to leadership positions in that enterprise, and ultimately, as the underboss and acting boss, he served in two of the most powerful positions in the American mafia.

“He has committed, sometimes daily, a wide array of crimes that include horrific acts of violence. He engaged in murder repeatedly, including the eleven murders to which he pled guilty. For most of his adult life, Salvatore Vitale lived outside the laws of the United States.”

Read Government’s 128-Page Filing

U.S. Marshals Help Track Down Health Care Executive in Mexico

Rebecca Parrett/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sophisticated and a person of means, convicted health care executive Rebecca S. Parrett was one tough person to track down. She was on the lam for two years.

But the Justice Department announced Wednesday that Mexican authorities arrested Parrett, 62, Tuesday in the resort town of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, thanks to information provided by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus Ohio. She was immediately deported to the U.S.

The capture came after the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies followed leads in more than a dozen states and several foreign countries, the Justice Department said.

Parrett fled in March of 2008 after a federal jury convicted her on charges stemming from her role in a $2.8 billion fraud that led to the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprise, based in Dublin, Ohio. It was one of the largest health care financiers in the nation.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and this was the most detailed and far-reaching investigation I’ve ever been a part of,” Drew Shadwick, deputy U.S. marshal in Columbus, Ohio told the Washington Post. “She was difficult to find, because she is intelligent, she was a woman of means and she had plenty of time to plan her escape.”

“She was living comfortably – making friends and going out dancing,” Shadwick told the Post.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Bust Northern Va. Man Who Plotted to Blow Up D.C. Area Subways


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a northern Virginia man on charges that he conspired with people he thought were al Qaeda operatives to blow up subway stations in the Washington Metro system, authorities announced Wednesday.

FBI agents arrested Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday morning on charges of conspiring with others to blow up subway stations at Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House.

Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, initially grabbed the attention of law enforcement when he sought out unspecified materials.

An attack was not imminent and the public was never in danger, authorities said. The Associated Press reported that the case involved a sting, but the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va. declined to comment on that.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the defendant made his initial appearance on Wednesday. A detention hearing is set for Friday at 2 p.m.

Read more »

Atty. Gen. Holder Wears ATF Badge and Yellow Ribbon in Support of Agent Will Clark

Holder wearing badge and ribbon/aft webpage

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ORLANDO — ATF agent Will Clark, who is on trial in the Virgin Islands for murder, is getting support from some very high places in the U.S. government.

The ATF posted a photo on its webpage of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. addressing the annual conference for the  International Association of Chiefs of Police on Tuesday in Orlando and noted that  Holder was wearing “an ATF Badge and yellow ribbon in support of SA Will Clark.”

The website said Holder delivered the speech after meeting with Kenneth  Melson, head of ATF, and the agency’s  executive assistant director William J. Hoover.

Clark shot and killed a Virgin Islands man in September 2008 during a confrontation. The prosecution said Tuesday that Clark used unreasonable force, according to an account in the Virgin Islands Daily News. Clark’s attorney argued it was in self defense.

The incident in question happened on Sept. 7, 2008, in St. Thomas, where Clark was living at the time. He had been stationed in the Virgin Islands to help battle the territory’s problem with gun violence.

According to accounts by the ATF and Rep. Chris Lee, Clark left his apartment that morning and found his neighbor Marguerite Duncan crying and trembling.

“She pleaded for his help, knowing that Clark was a federal agent,” Lee wrote to congressional colleagues in a June 30 letter trying to stir support for his resolution backing the agent.

The woman’s boyfriend, Marcus Sukow, who was naked and supposedly intoxicated, reportedly started pounding on her car hood and throwing large landscaping rocks.

According to Lee, Clark tried calming the man, to no avail. The man allegedly made threats and eventually came charging at Clark with a Maglite flashlight, which is considered a potentially lethal weapon. The agent opened fire, killing Sukow.

An ATF shooting review panel found that Clark acted reasonably in the situation.

FBI Seizes Fake Andrew Wyeth Painting

The fake painting/fbi photo

The fake painting/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but in the art world it’s not always seen that way.

The FBI announced Monday that in July it had seized a fraudulent Andrew Wyeth painting “Snow Birds” from a New York auction house .

The FBI said the  fraudulent painting, which had been valued at up to $500,000, was up for sale at a major auction house in New York.

But before the auction began, questions surfaced about its authenticity.

Mary Landa of the Brandywine River Museum, which keeps records of the original painting,  “was able to identify discrepancies showing that the painting was a skillfully executed forgery,” the FBI said. The real “Snow Birds” painting was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1970. He died in January 2009.

The FBI said the man selling the fraudulent painting denied any wrongdoing and  agreed to forfeit it to the U.S. government.

” The fraudulent painting is being forfeited to remove it from the stream of commerce,” the FBI said.

Washington Post Editorial: How the Gun Lobby Keeps ATF From Doing its Job

The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — TAKING AND tracking inventory is a basic component of many businesses. Imagine, for example, a pharmacy that routinely could not account for its drugs. The store would quickly run into trouble with regulators.

Not so gun dealers.

Since 2005, 113,642 guns have been reported missing from the thousands of gun shops and dealers throughout the country.

It is not known whether these guns were lost, stolen, sold on the black market or delivered into the hands of felons or other prohibited users.

Yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is barred by law from requiring dealers to conduct inventories — which insulates gun sellers from even minor scrutiny at the possible expense of public safety.

To read more click here.

Read chat with ex-ATF official James Cavanaugh on the gun issue.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST