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FBI

Head of NJ FBI Not Happy With NYPD Spying on Muslims

Michael Ward/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New York Police Department’s spying on Muslims in New Jersey is not only ticking off Muslims. The FBI is none too happy.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that the NYPD activity, which as been written about in the media, is rubbing Michael Ward, head of the New Jersey FBI, the wrong way.

Ward, according to the paper, says the NYPD activity is damaging his agency’s ability to gather info.

“What we have now is (Muslim communities) … that they’re not sure they trust law enforcement in general, they’re fearing being watched, they’re starting to withdraw their activities,” Ward told The Star-Ledger in an exclusive interview. “And the impact of that sinking tide of cooperation means that we don’t have our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the community as well — we’re less knowledgeable, we have blind spots, and there’s more risk.”

To read more click here.

Hacker Helped FBI Break Big Case With Anonymous

istock photo

By Donna Leinwand Leger
USA TODAY

An influential computer hacker turned FBI informant led investigators to his former accomplices, helping federal agents make their first significant crack into Anonymous, a cybergroup that attacks corporate and government websites.

Four members of the international computer hacking group LulzSec were charged Tuesday with a worldwide conspiracy after the legendary hacker known in Internet circles as Sabu exposed the inner workings of the sophisticated attacks.

LulzSec hackers are allegedly part of a loose confederation of computer saboteurs known as Anonymous, which has “waged a deliberate campaign of online destruction, intimidation and criminality,” according to an indictment made public Tuesday in a federal court in New York.

To read the full story click here.

How The Feds Turned a Hacker Against His Own (Fox News)

 

Obama Orders Atty. Gen. Holder to Investigate Oil Price Speculation

Pres. Obama at state of the union/white house photo

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Tuesday at a press conference that Attorney General Eric Holder will reconstitute the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to probe the rising prices at the gas pumps around the nation.

The move comes amid a consensus that speculation is what has driven the cost of a gallon of gasoline  up 42 cents from the beginning of January to the end of February when the average retail price per gallon of gasoline jumped  from $3.30 to $3.72.

Obama did not detail when the group will report its findings or just what the panel would do. The group was created in 2011 to root out speculators who buy and sell oil futures based on the predicted price of oil. The task force, which has met bout a half dozen times,  has been helping the Federal Trade Commission investigate  gas prices since June 2011.

Oil speculation is generally legal unless the investor has relied on insider information.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Announces $1 Million Reward to Help Find Ex-FBI Agent Who Vanished in Iran in 2007

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On the five-year anniversary of his disappearance– which happens to be this week — the FBI is offering a $1 million reward and is launching a publicity campaign in Asia to try to locate and bring home ex-FBI agent Robert A. Levinson, who vanished while on business in Iran.

The FBI said that on March 8, 2007, Levinson traveled to Kish Island, Iran as a private investigator “and has not been publicly seen or heard from since his disappearance on March 9, 2007.”

“On the fifth anniversary of Bob’s disappearance, the FBI continues to follow every lead into his abduction and captivity,” James W. McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a statement.

“We are committed to bringing Bob home safely to his family. We hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about Bob or his captors, no matter how insignificant it seems, to contact the FBI.”

Director Mueller, seen with Robert Levinson’s wife Christine and Deputy Director Sean Joyce, announces a $1 million reward in the Levinson case./fbi photo

Authorities said a year ago Sec. of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying the U.S. had info that Levinson was being held captive by a group in southwest Asia.

Authorities said they were launching a publicity campaign in southwest Asia to heighten awareness of Levinson’s abduction and $1 million reward  via billboards, radio messages, and flyers. A tip line will be provided to listeners and viewers.

 

ATF’s #2 Says Agency Mistakenly Used Drug Strategy in Operation Fast and Furious

Tom Brandon/atf photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The number two person at ATF says a key mistake in the controversial Operation Fast and Furious was that “a narcotics based strategy was applied to a firearms trafficking investigation.”

Tom Brandon, who stepped in last October as ATF’s deputy director as part of an effort to clean house after the failed Operation Fast and Furious came to the public’s attention, explained that while drug agents sometimes let drugs and money walk to further an investigation, it’s not good to do the same for gun probes.

“When you use that in firearms, that’s not good,” he said during an interview  on the radio show “The Badge” with Howard Safir.

He said people in management at the Phoenix ATF office had good intentions when they launched the operation, but “their decisions were bad.”

Fast and Furious encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border including one involving the murder in Arizona of U.S. Border agent Brian Terry.

“We made mistakes and we’re owning up to them,” he said of the operation.

Reader Responses

I am Mike Grimes, DEA retired, and a frequent reader of Tickle the Wire.

Tom Brandon at ATF is very misinformed about DEA’s policy on allowing drugs to “walk.” He makes it sound as though it is an every day occurrence. This is not the case. Yes, DEA will occasionally allow (the taxpayers’) money to walk. Money, as it exists, is not dangerous.

Yes, DEA will occasionally allow a very small drug sample to walk for testing purposes, not for use or distribution. DEA allowing a drug sample to walk is a rare occurrence because of the liability potential.

Mr. Brandon needs to find another avenue to deflect ATF’s foolish operational standard.

*********

Comment from BobbyT7 | [e]

Time March 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Mike Grimes tells it like it is. I was assigned to a DEA group for several years and participated in dozens of undercover buys. I doubt the group let even a total of an ounce walk in those years.

I retired from the former USINS and was a border patrol agent for ten years, prior to my USINS special agent experience.

The part I don’t understand is how Fast & Furious got through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) process??? This is a major DOJ program in the criminal division. It requires review and approval by all of the member agencies of OCDETF, which includes ATF, DEA, FBI, ICE, IRS/CID and the U.S. Marshall Service. How could anyone sign off on such an operational proposal, much less experienced agents of all of these federal agencies, plus numerous federal prosecutors that review ALL proposals.

Did the operational plan come from the top (very high political level) down, so it didn’t matter what was written in the proposal??? Was there ever a proposal written???

ICE had an agent assigned directly to the ATF group that conducted Fast & Furious, what was he reporting through his chain of command???

Who decided to NOT tell the Mexicans??? Not some civil servant, I can certainly assure you.

Who decided not to tell the U.S. Department of State, our embassy etc…???

Atty. Gen. Holder Defends Right to Kill American Terrorists Overseas

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. on Monday defended what he sees as America’s right to kill suspected American terrorists overseas.

“Let me be clear: an operation using lethal force in a foreign country, targeted against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to kill Americans, would be lawful at least in the following circumstances,” he said in a speech at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago.

“First, the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; second, capture is not feasible; and third, the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.”

To read the rest of his speech click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

 

 

Policing Crime Stoppers

fbi photo

BY ANDREW STRICKLER
The Daily

A host of financial issues at the nation’s largest Crime Stoppers programs is calling into question how wisely some are using funding received from their often cash-strapped communities.

Many are spending just a fraction of their revenue on rewards or costs related to call centers, according to information from federal tax filings. Others have seen rewards paid to tipsters plummet. And a handful who rely on employees rather than volunteers are paying salaries that sometimes dwarf total reward payouts.

Many of the groups are funded through court fines and fees, and public watchdogs wonder if the primary community crime-fighting program has strayed from its central philosophy — cash for information.

To read the full story click here.

New FBI HQ in Tucson Opens

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

About 180 federal employees have begun moving into the FBI’s new Tucson-area headquarters, which officially opened on the first of this month, reports Inside Tucson Business. The building, 92,000 square feet, consolidates three scattered locations in the area.

The building is owned and operated by the Kansas-based Quality Group of Companies and was constructed by Sundt Construction. The bureau has a 20-year lease on the building, which has a LEED gold rating and “many upgraded technology systems and state-of-the-art security components,” according to Inside Tucson Business.

To read more click here.