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Weekend Series on Law Enforcement: Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Speaks

Former FBI Agent Blasts Newly Declassified CIA Reports on 9/11

Mark Rossini

 
By Jeff Stein
Newsweek

WASHINGTON — Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot.

Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis.

A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators “encountered no evidence” that the government of Saudi Arabia “knowingly and willingly supported” Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

Over 30 pages relating to Saudi Arabia in the report were blacked out. The Obama administration has also refused to declassify 28 pages dealing with Saudi connections to the hijackers in a joint congressional probe of the attacks.

To read more click here.

FBI: 3 Men Plotted Attack on Muhammad Cartoon Contest for Months

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The three men accused of plotting an attack at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas had been making plans for months.

The men were friends outside of a Phoenix mosque lighting off fireworks during a New Year’s Eve celebration when authorities said they expressed a desire to make pipe bombs, the Associated Press reports.

Two of them were killed in a shootout outside of the cartoon contest, and a third, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, was arrested last week in Phoenix.

Now investigators are trying to determine whether anyone else was involved.

Sacramento Bee: Gun Laws Can Help Prevent Attacks Like South Carolina Church Shooting

The church where the shooting happened.

By Editorial Board
Sacramento Bee

Nine people are dead. A lone gunman is to blame.

The gun he was wielding? It might’ve been one he got from his father for his 21st birthday, no paperwork required. The state where he lives? South Carolina has some of the loosest gun-control laws in the country.

We know this story all too well.

We know it from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where a lone gunman killed 20 children and six adults. We know it from Aurora, Colo., where a lone gunman killed 12 people in a packed movie theater. We know it from Tucson, where a lone gunman opened fire in a parking lot, killing six and wounding 13, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

And now there’s Charleston, S.C.

Police say Dylann Storm Roof, 21, walked into the historic Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday evening. He asked for the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who happened to be a state senator. He sat down among the black congregants for 49 minutes and participated in Bible study. Then he opened fire. One witness said he reloaded five times.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

How many more of these shootings must occur before we, as a nation, do something about it? That was what a clearly frustrated President Barack Obama wanted to know on Thursday.

“Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said.

To read more click here.

 

Justice Department Opens Hate Crime Investigation into Church Shooting

Dylann Roof

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department will investigate the motivations and facts behind the shooting that left nine dead at a historic black church in South Carolina.

Reuters reports that Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that the department has opened a hate-crime investigation.

“We will now be looking at all of the facts, all of the motivations all the things that led this individual – if he is in fact the shooter – to commit this crime. And we will determine which is the best ways in which to prosecute the case,” Lynch told reporters at a news conference in Washington.

It has not yet been determined whether the case will be a state or federal one.

The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was arrested and accused in the shooting.

1 Killed, 4 Injured When Boat Carrying Immigrants Collides with Border Patrol Vessel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A boat packed with undocumented immigrants collided with a Border Patrol vessel in Southern California on Thursday, killing one woman, the International Business Times reports.

Border Patrol agents spotted the boat and tried to stop it, but to no avail.

The boat capsized and dumped all 20 people into the water, injuring at least four undocumented immigrants.

It remains unclear how the boat capsized and who struck whom in the collision.

“It’s very unfortunate that there was a loss of life, but we also question the need to fire warning shots specifically when that might deter or scare people from actually making contact with CBP,” Pedro Rios, of the American Friends Service Committee, said to NBC San Diego. “In this case, it’s unclear who struck who, but we do know there was a fatality and that’s very unfortunate.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Assures Congress That Planes Aren’t Used for Mass Surveillance

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI assured Congress that its plane surveillance program is not intended to perform mass surveillance or bulk intelligence collection, the Associated Press reports. 

The FBI, however, declined to answer some questions about its planes, including how often they are used and how much they cost.

The briefing comes two weeks after the Associated Press revealed that the AP used fake company names to acquire at least 50 planes.

Most of the planes, the FBI said, don’t have high-definition cameras and rely on binoculars.

The planes were used only five times to track cellphones from the sky, according to the FBI.

Border Patrol Agents: Government Making It Impossible to Nab Drug Dealers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents said the federal government is making it impossible to make drug busts, a move that has contributed to a “morale crisis,” the Los Angeles Times reports. 

“We lack the political will to enforce the law and allow our agency to be effective,” said National Border Patrol Council spokesman Shawn Moran in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

Shane Gallagher, an agent in the San Diego sector, said the agency has been very successful at nabbing border crossers with drugs.

“Now the port of entry has to explain who was in the primary lane, what actions were taken, if the vehicle was inspected, so you can see there’s a whole host of implications,” he said.

Gallagher said fewer agents are responsible for drug busts.

“There was a lot of pressure for us to get out of the [drug] interdiction game,” Gallagher said.