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Informant Says FBI in Calif. Monitored Mosque Members at Gyms

istock_000007698493xsmallThese latest revelations can only create more tension between the FBI and the American Islamic communities. The FBI needs to make sure it lose all the ties it has made in Islamic communities since Sept. 11, 2001.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.

Sal Hernandez, director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, declined comment on the matter Monday. Another law enforcement source, however, confirmed that the surveillance occurred, but emphasized that it was a narrowly focused operation targeting people whom the informant had already implicated in alleged crimes.

The informant is Craig Monteilh, who said he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators.

Monteilh, a muscular man with a background as a personal trainer, said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents, he said, later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He said he was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.

For Full Story

Ex-Homeland Chief Michael Chertoff Praises Obama’s Security Measures

Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

It’s refreshing to see a former Bushee voice an independent opinion that is not steeped in bitterness or total partisanship.

By The National Journal

In a recent interview with NationalJournal.com, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff differed with two of his Bush administration colleagues — backing away from statements by former Vice President Dick Cheney that President Obama had made the country less safe and slamming former FEMA Director Michael Brown as “obviously bitter.”

Chertoff had nicer things to say about the current White House, praising the Obama administration for continuing Bush-era policies like the Merida Initiative to fund anti-drug efforts in Mexico and invoking the state secrets privilege.

Since leaving government, the former secretary has started his own security consulting firm, the Chertoff Group. Edited excerpts of his conversation with Alina Selyukh follow.

NJ: One of the issues you work on with the Chertoff Group is cybersecurity. Who do you think was behind the recent online intrusion onto the U.S. electricity grid?

Chertoff: The issue of attacks or intrusions on networks has been an issue we’ve been talking about for several years now. And without getting into things that are classified, obviously, some of these kinds of intrusions do come from other countries. Some of them come from criminal groups. Some of them just come from people who are hackers who want to prove that they can intrude in a network…. The key is to try to create a system that protects you from all of these groups.

To Read the Rest

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Homeland Sec. Napolitano Declares “Public Health Emergency” But Says Swine Flu Situation NOT Dire

Woman Charged With Exortion and Lying to FBI in Connection With Louisville Coach Rick Pitino

Who thought college basketball could be this exciting?

The Louisville Courier-Journal
LOUISVILLE — Six days after the disclosure that University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino was the target of an extortion attempt, a Louisville woman was charged today with extortion and lying to the FBI.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S District Court, Karen Sypher (see video below), with the help of unnamed others, tried to extort money from Pitino with threats to harm his reputation in connection with events that occurred in 2003.

The complaint, filed by FBI agent Steven J. Wight, said she lied to the FBI when she told investigators that she didn’t know the identity of the person who was making threatening phone calls to Pitino.

According to an affidavit by Wight, Pitino told investigators that he received three voice-mail messages in late February threatening to go public with criminal allegations against him.

Pitino said that after receiving the first two messages he met with Sypher and her husband, Tim, according to the affidavit, and asked what she wanted.

For Full Story

Nine-Year-Old FBI Report on Corruption in the Philly Police Narcotics Squad Remains Under Seal

philadelphia-policeSome information in the 9-year-old report on corruption in the Philly police narcotics unit is finally surfacing. Maybe it should have been publicly disclosed long ago. Perhaps the department wouldn’t be dealing with the same issues today.

By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — The FBI memorandum describes a pattern of corruption among a group of Philadelphia narcotics officers: false information used to get search warrants, planted evidence and perjured testimony, thefts of drugs, cash, and valuables from dealers.

It’s called the Roberts report and, though it’s nine years old, it deals with the same issues that a federal-city task force is now investigating.

The report, written on Sept. 5, 2000, by FBI Agent John Roberts – now head of the FBI’s public-corruption unit in Philadelphia – remains under seal by order of a federal judge and has never been made public. It’s unclear who received the report and what became of its recommendations.

But what has surfaced from court documents is that the report foreshadowed some of the allegations involving brothers Jeffrey and Richard L. Cujdik and other officers in the Narcotics Field Unit.

“At the very least, a department investigation should have been conducted into whether or not police were fabricating evidence simply to obtain convictions,” defense attorney Jerry S. Goldman said.

The report, according to court documents, looked at 12 allegations involving a group of narcotics officers. Some were determined to be credible, others unfounded.

For Full Story

Weekend Series: History: J. Edgar Hoover and His Relations With U.S. Presidents: Part 9

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHPKkjsJAgM

Disturbing Rise in Arrests of U.S. Border Enforcement Officers

istock_000000654506xsmallThe trend is not only disturbing, but it makes you wonder how many aren’t getting caught as we see a rise in drug cartel activity.

By Rick Jervis
USA Today
WASHINGTON – A rising number of U.S. border enforcement officers are being arrested on corruption charges as Mexican drug cartels look to bribes as a way to get around tougher enforcement, border officials say.

Investigators arrested 21 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on corruption charges in the fiscal year that ended last September, up from eight in the previous 12 months, according to CBP. This year, 14 have been arrested.

Since 2004, 84 officers have been arrested and 62 were convicted, says James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner for internal affairs at CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. That number represents a small fraction of the more than 52,000 people employed by the agency, which enforces U.S. law along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

Still, the trend is alarming, Tomsheck says. “We’re deeply concerned. The numbers are disturbing.”

For Full Story

Jason Weinstein Named Deputy Assistant Atty. Gen. in Criminal Division

justice-logo2Sounds like he is certainly qualified. And anyone who can quote Seinfeld episodes, as the author notes, can’t be all bad.

By Steve Levin
Fraud With Peril

Congratulations to Jason M. Weinstein, who has been asked to serve as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division.

AUSA Weinstein is a 1990 graduate of Princeton University (where he served as President of his class) and GW Law School (where he more often than not attended class. Actually, he must have gone to class. He did, after all, graduate cum laude).

Mr. Weinstein has previously served as a special investigative counsel in the DOJ IG office and as an AUSA in SDNY. Also, he signed my ketubah. While with SDNY, Mr. Weinstein was awarded the prestigious Director’s Award for his prosecution of a lawyer-gone-bad. AUSA Weinstein, clearly a lawyer-gone-good, currently serves as the Chief of the Violent Crime Section in the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland. He has been in the Maryland office since 2002.

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