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Ex-Mich. Congressman Siljander Pleads Guilty in Connection With Work He Did With Islamic Charity Groups Linked to Terrorism

Mark Siljander/oak park news

Mark Siljander/oak park news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s pretty typical for Washington politicians to leave public office and cash in the chips in the private sector. Sometimes they go a little too far.

Federal authorities say ex-Michigan Congressman Mark Siljander, who was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, went too far. And on  Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to charges related to work he did for an Islamic charity linked to terrorist groups including al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Specifically, the  conservative Republican  pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and to acting as an unregistered foreign agent. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

To read more click here for the Detroit Free Press story.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

al Qaeda Man Indicted in NY Subway Plot

terrorism
By William Rashbaum
New York Times

A feared and elusive senior Al Qaeda leader and three other operatives were indicted in Brooklyn on Wednesday in the suicide bomb plot to attack New York’s subways last year and what prosecutors said was a related terror plot in Britain, the Justice Department announced in Washington.

The indictment, which supplements earlier charges brought against three other men accused of planning to carry out the subway plot last September, alleges that the senior figure, Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, a United States citizen who has been sought by the F.B.I. for seven years, helped recruit those men and played a role in organizing the attack.

The new charges for the first time link the subway plot with a planned Qaeda attack in Manchester, England, and contain the government’s most detailed account made public to date on the development of the subway conspiracy and identities of its authors in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

It also describes how prosecutors say Saleh al-Somali, who with Mr. Shukrijumah were then responsible for planning Qaeda attacks in the United States and other Western countries, communicated from the tribal areas through “an Al Qaeda facilitator” in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The facilitator, according to the authorities, used the same e-mail account to send coded messages to the central figure in the subway plot, Najibullah Zazi, 24, in Denver and New York, and one of the Manchester plotters, Abid Naseer, in England.

To read more click here

The White House, Drug Trafficking and a U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

White_HouseBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fair to say, no one in the Whitehouse including President Obama, Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod were involved in drug trafficking in Texas — methamphetamine to be exact.

Nonetheless, a press release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney in Texas seemed a bit curious: “Whitehouse, Texas Man Guilty of Drug Trafficking Charges.”

Turns out,  it wasn’t really thee Whitehouse, but rather a man named Jose Zavala, who pleaded guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine and  happened to be from Whitehouse, Texas, a little town in Smith County, Tex., with a population of 7,000-plus.

Sorry Rush Limbaugh. No Obama White House scandal this time.

“Altar Boy” Federal Prosecutor in Brooklyn Behind Many Terrorism Convictions

terrorismJeffrey Hayworth Knox may look like an altar boy, but he’s gone up against some serious evil in the terrorism world and prevailed. William Rashbaum of the New York Times tells us about Knox.

By William Rashbaum
New York Times

In March, the Justice Department released a lengthy list of its successful terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, part of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s response to Republican criticism that the Obama administration had mishandled several international cases by bringing them in the federal courts rather than before military commissions.

But in the political tumult — which included charges that the administration had no stomach for the fight against terrorism and had squandered opportunities to collect valuable intelligence because it was too quick to read suspects their Miranda rights — one aspect of the list attracted little notice: Over the last two years, about one-third of the international terrorism convictions around the nation, and nearly all of those involving the post-9/11 activities of core operatives of Al Qaeda, were won by the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

And all of those cases were supervised, and in many instances handled in court, by one assistant United States attorney: Jeffrey Haworth Knox, a prosecutor who looks like an altar boy, grew up in the conservative environs of Orange County, Calif., and Dallas, and has described himself as a traditional law-and-order Republican.

To read the full story click here.

Mexicans Thwart Plan By Hezbollah in Latin America

hezbollah_flagBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

JERUSALEM — Call it a case of very different worlds colliding.

The  top newspaper Haaretz here in Israel reports that Mexican authorities thwarted a plan by the Lebanese group Hezbollah to set up a network in Latin America and use Mexican Nationals with ties to Lebanon to go after Israel and western targets. Haaretz attributed the story to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Sevassah.

The report said Mexican police had under surveillance a Hezbollah group leader Jameel Nasr, who had traveled through Latin America and lived in Tijuana, Mexico. He was arrested by authorities.

Haaretz reported that U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick in June wrote the Department  Homeland Security to warn that Hezbollah was working with the Mexican drug cartels.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Arizona U.S. Atty. Dennis Burke Helped Draft Lawsuit Challenging State

TSA to Block Workers From Viewing Inapproprate Websites Including Ones With Controversial Opinion

tsa_logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is cracking down on workers’ access to certain materials on the web.

CBS New reports that the agency sent out an email on Friday saying that as of July 1 it was blocking workers from having computer access to websites with “controversial opinions” and other materials.

CBS reported that the memo said employees will be blocked from seeing sites “inappropriate for government access.”

The categories include: Chat/Messaging; Controversial opinion; Criminal activity; Extreme violence (including cartoon violence), gaming and gruesome content.

FBI’s Pete Cullen Who Ran Blago Wiretaps Retires at 61 as Most Senior Agent in the Nation

FBI agent Pete Cullen should have retired in 2006 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 57. But the FBI wanted to keep him around for his expertise.  He ended up running the wire taps on ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is currently on trial. Last week, after getting extensions to stay, he finally retired at age 61, which made him the most senior FBI agent in the country.

fbi logo largeBy Natasha Korecki
Chicago Sun-Times

It was a historic day on Dec. 9, 2008; Illinois’ sitting governor had just been arrested and FBI supervisor Pete Cullen found himself keeping watch over Rod Blagojevich.

“He was in his running suit. He was stretching, running in place, animated. I couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t sit still,” Cullen said. “He kept combing back his hair.

“It was almost like he’s awaiting going on camera. But we were just here [in the FBI office] — no one was going to see him.”

For more than two months preceding the arrest, Cullen spent every night coordinating more than 100 agents who, in shifts, monitored at least nine different phone lines belonging to Blagojevich and those in his inner circle.

By FBI rules, Cullen shouldn’t have even been there. He reached the FBI’s mandatory retirement age of 57 in 2006.

But again and again, Chicago’s FBI chief Robert Grant had something else in mind for the longtime agent and supervisor.

To read the full story click here.