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FBI

First Deaf FBI Agent to Work as Undercover Lip-Reader Inspires Students

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Any teens might be wowed by a former FBI agent, but the Mountain Lakes High and Briarcliff Middle School students who heard ex agent Sue Thomas speak in NJ this week weren’t ‘any’ students… they are hearing impaired just like her, reports New Jersey’s Daily Record.

That common challenge made Thomas’ story of special interest when she shared it with students Friday morning. She also inspired guests as key-note speaker for the Lake Drive Foundation’s For the Babies Gala benefitting the Lake Drive Sound Start program, on Thursday night.

The Daily Record recalls that Thomas was first hired by the FBI as a fingerprint examiner and became the first deaf person to work as an undercover investigator lip-reading suspects for the FBI. She wrote an autobiography called “Silent Night,” which inspired the TV show “F.B.Eye.”

Said Thomas, “Our kids have extraordinary lives ahead of them whether they speak or use sign language.

Whatever they do to communicate, the world is open to them.”

To read more click here.

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Questions Remain in Oklahoma Bombing: Book Excerpts from Oklahoma City: What The Investigation Missed — and Why It Still Matters

Perhaps no lead in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation was left hanging more glaringly than the radical community in eastern Oklahoma known as Elohim City.

It played host to some of dangerous radical criminals of the time, and there are multiple indications from law enforcement sources McVeigh himself either spent time there or met its residents nearby.

The ATF, through its undercover informant Carol Howe, knew that people at Elohim City were talking about waging war against the government and had made specific reference to blowing up federal buildings.

The failure to follow up on this intelligence speaks to a lot of the systemic problems that beset federal law enforcement not only in the lead-up to the bombing, but also in the lead-up to 9/11 — warnings signs that were missed, individual agents whose investigative instincts were ignored, and agencies more interested in protecting their own turf than in talking to one another.

Andrew Gumbel, co-author of Oklahoma City: What The Investigation Missed — And Why It Still Matters, talked to almost all the major players involved in the Elohim City fiasco, and he and his co-author, Roger G. Charles, gained access to all the government files that have been made available to date.

The characters in this extract include Dennis Mahon, a Ku Klu Klan leader from Tulsa, Oklahoma who first took Carol Howe into Elohim City; Bob Ricks, the FBI special agent in charge in Oklahoma at the time; Robert Millar, Elohim City’s spiritual leader; and Lester Martz, the head of the ATF’s Dallas field division, with responsibility for Oklahoma.

Excerpted from OKLAHOMA CITY, reprinted with permission from William Morrow

Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Gumbel & Roger C. Charles

The ATF made many excuses for failing to follow up on the leads Carol Howe had established at Elohim City. One was that Howe had been a nightmare from start to finish and her information unusable—an argument undermined by the reliability of much of what she reported back. Another was that they were ordered by Bob Ricks to back off.

That, too, appears to be untrue. John Magaw, the ATF director at the time, said the decision to stop almost certainly came from within his agency, before Ricks had a chance to express an opinion.

“I wanted to make sure that before we conducted any more raids of those kinds of places, we were properly retrained, had the right equipment, did really good intelligence, and had done very good practicing and planning,” Magaw explained in a 2010 interview. “We weren’t ready at that time.”

Magaw could not remember exactly how the decision was made, but Lester Martz most likely brought the problem to him, and he and his assistant director for operations supported Martz’s inclination to close Howe down. Remarkably, Magaw also acknowledged that the decision might have cost the federal government an opportunity to prevent the bombing.

Read more »

NY FBI Agent Honored for Doomed WWII Secret Mission

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

FBI Special Agent Harold Haberfeld is being honored for his service, nearly 70 years after his plane crashed in a WWII mission in northern Africa, reports Fox News. The FBI Buffalo office dedicated its main conference room to Haberfeld in an outdoor ceremony Thursday.

However Haberfeld’s ill-fated mission was so top-secret that his home bureau in Buffalo isn’t entirely sure what it was.

It has been surmised that Haberfeld and Percy “Sam” Foxworth, the assistant director of the FBI’s special intelligence services branch, were sent to interview the French-born American citizen living in Algiers. Charles Bedaux, a 57-year-old millionaire industrialist who admitted close friendships with Nazi party leaders, later killed himself. According to Fox, the agents’ plane apparently went down from mechanical problems and it took 5 years to recover any remains, which were laid to rest in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri.

Hoover wrote afterward, “… Special Agent Haberfeld had an outstanding record in the service. His excellent background and superior abilities were assurance of a splendid future in the Bureau.”

Buffalo agents are requesting that FBI headquarters declassify the details of the mission, but they didn’t wait for a response to dedicate a memorial in Haberfeld’s honor.

To read more click here.

FBI Affidavit: Minn. Supremacist Targeted Mexican Consulate

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

An affidavit unsealed in federal court reveals a bomb plot in Minnesota involving white supremacists.

The affidavit details the investigation into white supremacist Joseph Benjamin Thomas’ plot to blow up the Mexican consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota, reports the AP. Thomas, 42, and Samuel James Johnson, 31, wanted to form a militant supremacist group called the Aryan Liberation Movement targeting minorities, liberals, and government officials.

Authorities have been observing them as potential domestic terrorists since 2010, however Thomas is not facing any terrorism-related charges. He was indicted in April on four charges related to possession and sale of methamphetamine, according to the AP, while Johnson was indicted on weapons charges. Johnson was found with 5 weapons including a semi-automatic assault rifle, despite having prior convictions which bar him from owning weapons.

Mark Pitcavage, Anti-Defamation League director of investigative research, said it’s hard for prosecutors to prove terror charges based on plotting alone.

“In my 18 years of having tracked extremists, I think that weapons charges are among the most sure to stick,” he said, according to AP. “Weapons charges are pretty common among most major right wing extremist movements because they love guns.”

To read more click here.

NYPD’s Kelly Barks Back After FBI Snub on al Qaeda Plot

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In case you hadn’t notice, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is no shrinking violet.

So one day after FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III testified before Congress that he hadn’t bothered to call Kelly about the latest al Qaeda/ underwear bomber plot, Kelly spoke up. FBI agents waited a week to brief Kelly’s folks.

“We can’t be treated like just any other city,” Kelly insisted Thursday, according to the NY Daily News. “We had 14 plots here. We had almost 3,000 people killed just five blocks from [City Hall\]. We had another attack in 1993. We’re different.”

“I’m not looking for a call from the FBI director,” added Kelly, who called Mueller “a personal friend.”

“I’m looking for information as quickly as possible for New York City.”

To read full story click here.

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Former FBI Agent Quits Connecticut House Race

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agent Mike Clark was running to fill the Connecticut House seat once held by the governor he investigated, reports the AP, but he’s thrown in the towel.

Clark is instead urging supporters to help state Sen. Andrew Roraback win the Republican race in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.

The Connecticut Republican convention to endorse candidates for the U.S. House and Senate meets Friday.

To read more click here.

FBI Investigating Leaks to Media about Foiled al Qaeda Plot

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Authorities are investigating leaks about a thwarted al Qaeda plot to blow up a U.S.-bound plane, reports the New York Times. FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Congressional Committee Wednesday that the the leaks are compromising national security efforts and would be pursued accordingly.

White House efforts to prosecute individuals who leak security information have found bipartisan support.

Said Senator Charles Grassley (R. Iowa), the ranking member of the committee, “Our international partners have been wary of cooperating with us in the wake of the WikiLeaks affair, in which our ability to keep their confidence was severely damaged.” For the record, the AP reportedly held the information about the foiled plot for two weeks before publishing in response to pleas from the White House and CIA.

Since his administration started cracking down on the sources of media leaks that potentially threaten national security: the NY Times reports there have been 6 prosecutions under Obama in contrast with only 3 ever before.

To read more click here.

NY Daily News Editorial: FBI Director Robert Mueller Must Stop Shutting Out NYPD

Director Mueller testifying on the Hill/fbi file photo

By The New York Daily News
Editorial Page

The pettiness was appalling as FBI Director Robert Mueller explained why the feds had left Police Commissioner Ray Kelly out of the loop on the underwear bomb plot.

“As I told Ray, he’s always welcome to call,” Mueller said. Question, Mr. G-man: Must Kelly say, “Pretty please,” too?

Mueller’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was disturbing. Heretofore, he had shown no tolerance for the guerrilla warfare his terror fighters have waged against the NYPD. But his remarks under questioning by Sen. Chuck Schumer suggested infection by the same strain of professional jealousy.

Too many in the FBI chafed as Kelly built a domestic and international intelligence division that has been crucial to protecting New York. The force has foiled numerous homegrown plots.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST