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FBI

Book Review: J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s War on Civil Liberties

By Ben Jacobs
The Daily Beast

 Tim Weiner’s fast-paced new book, ‘Enemies: A History of the FBI,’ explores almost a century of the agency’s domestic spying, infringing on the Fourth Amendment, abuse of power, and handling of famous cases like the Pentagon Papers and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Many books about the FBI focus on J. Edgar Hoover’s psychology, from his mother issues to his alleged predilection for dressing in drag. Enemies: A History of the FBI, by Tim Weiner, is not one of these. There is no racy gossip about Hoover or exciting tidbits about famed Depression-era gangsters like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd whom Hoover and the bureau helped catch.

Instead, Weiner’s history has an exciting and fast-paced narrative that focuses on the bureau’s perennial enemy, the Fourth Amendment, and civil liberties generally.

To read more click here.

State Patrolman Pleads Guilty to Multiple Charges of Fraud

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper pled guilty in a US District Court on Monday to charges of mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud and witness tampering, the FBI announced.

Benjamin W. Richardson, 46, of Powell, Ohio, plead guilty to the eight-count indictment before US District Judge Gregory L. Frost. Richardson was arrested in September of 2011 by FBI agents and has been in custody since. Richardson resigned from the Ohio State Highway Patrol when the charges were returned.

In 2005, Richardson took part in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending institutions out of $678,275 in loans involving three properties he was buying, as well as the refinancing of his own home, he admitted. He admitted to under-reporting his income when filing for bankruptcy in 2007 as well.

With a guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Richardson faces up to 30 years for each crime, though a sentencing date has not yet been set. Five more years are possible for each of two additional counts: making false statements and false oaths in bankruptcy. For attempting to prevent a witness from talking with law enforcement during the investigation, Richardson also pled guilty to witness tampering, which can carry up to 20 years.

 

Nigerian Scam Emails Mention FBI Officials

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I once got a Nigerian email scam telling me I was entitled to millions of dollars for FREE! All I had to do was give my name and bank account number and assist with moving the cash out of Nigeria.

I was a reporter at the time at the Washington Post. I responded with enthusiasm and  wrote something like: “This sounds great. Please contact me ASAP at 202.278-2000.” That was the phone number for the FBI Washington field office.

I got a response a short time later: “Mr. Lengel, how dare you give me the FBI number.”

I wrote back: “How dare you try to scam me.”

Well, apparently the Nigerian scam letter has gone the way of the FBI.

The FBI Baltimore field office issued a press release Monday that says: “The Baltimore FBI office is receiving a large number of telephone calls concerning e-mails supposedly from the FBI Director, the Baltimore Special Agent in Charge, or other top Bureau officials.

“These e-mails claim that you are the ‘rightful beneficiary’ of large sums of money wired from the Central Bank of Nigeria but intercepted by the FBI and that you can release the funds by obtaining your ‘Diplomatic Immunity Seal of Transfer’ through the Baltimore FBI office. The e-mails also threaten legal action against you, including arrest and detention, if you do not comply.

“These e-mails are not from the FBI and entirely fraudulent. Please do not respond to them or contact our office. Instead, please report this scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.”

 

Two Chicago Cops Busted in FBI Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Chicago cops find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

The feds in Chicago on Monday announced that they had charged Sgt. Ronald Watts and officer Kallatt Mohammed with stealing $5,200 from someone they thought was transporting money for drug dealers, but who was actually an informant working for the FBI.

Both cops were assigned to a 2nd District tactical team.

Watts, 48, is an 18-year police veteran and Mohammed, 47, who joined the department 14 years ago.

Authorities said that last Nov. 21, a cooperating witness for the FBI told the cops about transporting the drug money.

Agents on surveillance video-recorded the alleged theft, which occurred when Mohammed, driving his personal auto, approached the informant in the 2700 block of South Vernon and took a bag containing $5,200 from the informant, authorities said.

Later, authorities alleged, the officers paid the informant $400 for allowing them to steal the drug proceeds.

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Credit Card Counterfeiter Busted by Feds in New York

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Agents with the FBI have arrested a group of individuals operating a fraud ring out of a luxury high-rise Brooklyn condo, reports the New York Post.

The alleged ringleader, Kwan Miller, used a European instant-messaging service to obtain stolen credit card numbers while chatting with contacts in Russia, according to the Post. Miller ran the operation from the BridgeView Tower, an opulent apartment building with a 24-hour concierge, a fitness room, indoor parking and free shuttle service to Manhattan.

More than a year ago an ID-theft probe began in which investigators intercepted e-mails sent by Miller containing more than 100 credit cards, according to the FBI. Miller had also bought a number of special printers which he used to emboss numbers and encoded information onto blank credit card plastic to create counterfeits, according to the FBI.

To read more click here.

900-Plus Law Enforcement Officers Involved in Arrests of 27 and Execution of Search Warrants in SF Bay Area

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

More than 900 law enforcement officers and agents followed through on arrests and search warrants in the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday, according to a press release, as part of a large-scale takedown of a narcotics trafficking ring.

Local, state and federal officers, including an FBI SWAT team, made 27 arrests and seized “a significant amount” of drugs, money and automobiles, mostly in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, as part of “Operation Phallen Gardens.”

The operation was the result of a two-year investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the San Francisco Safe Streets Task Force focusing on a group of individuals who supplied drugs to local gangs.

To read more click here.

Good Leads, Still No Suspects in FBI Search for “Potomac River Rapist” in D.C. Area

Sketch of Potomac River Rapist/fbi

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It’s been more than a month since the FBI began publicly seeking a man dubbed “The Potomac River Rapist”, who suspected in a series of sexual assaults and a slaying in the D.C. area, reports the Associated Press, and, despite “multiple good leads and tips,” the bureau has not identified a suspect yet.

Investigators have met with a few men, according to the AP, and some have even volunteered DNA samples, yet still there are no suspects.

“We’re continuing to get very strong tips and good phone calls — and that’s all law enforcement, not just FBI,”  said Lindsay Godwin, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office. She said that analysis is ongoing.

A website and digital billboards went up around the end of December along the East Coast seeking tips about a man believed to be connected to nine sexual attacks between 1991 and 1998, according to AP.

To read more click here.

Uzbekistan Man Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Charges in Ala. and Threatening to Kill Pres. Obama in Fed Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
 
Alabama isn’t exactly considered a hotbed of terrorism activity.

But on Friday, an Uzbek national living in the U.S. pleaded in Birmingham, Ala., to providing material support to terrorist activities and threatening to kill President Obama — all as part of a federal sting.

Ulugbek Kodirov, 22, of Uzbekistan, becomes the first person to be convicted of providing material support to terrorist activity in the Northern District of Alabama. He had been indicted on the charges in July.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance praised the investigative work and prompt action of the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the Northern District of Alabama. “Today, Ulugbek Kodirov became the first person to be convicted of providing material support to terrorist activity in this district,” U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said in a statement. “Kodirov was apprehended during an undercover operation in which he was attempting to obtain weapons and explosives that he intended to use to kill the president of the United States. Effective action by law enforcement protected our community and potentially our country.” she said.

“I also want to express my appreciation to the Muslim community of Birmingham, which was instrumental in helping law enforcement shut down this threat,” Vance said.

Authorities charged that Kodirov was in communication with someone he thought was a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which has been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department. Kodirov had a student visa, but never enrolled in school.

The case was investigated by the FBI, ATF, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Secret Service.

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