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FBI

FBI Considered a Sting Aimed at Newt Gingrich in 1997

By James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post

WASHINGTON –It is a curious case in the annals of the FBI: The bureau considered a sting operation against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich after sifting through allegations from a notorious arms dealer that a $10 million bribe might get Congress to lift the Iraqi arms embargo.

The FBI ended up calling off the operation in June 1997. It decided there was no evidence that Gingrich knew anything about the conversations the arms dealer was secretly recording with a man who said he was acting on behalf of Gingrich’s then-wife, Marianne, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

But details of the case, which became public this week in an article and documents posted online by a nonprofit journalist, show how a series of second- and third-hand conversations alleging that the top man in Congress might be for sale caught the attention of federal investigators.

To read full story click here.

ATF’s Tom Brandon Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed of the Year

Tom Brandon/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas E. Brandon, the straight-shooting, well respected and extremely able veteran of ATF, who was sent around the country this year to try and mend some of the agencies pressing problems, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2011.

Brandon, an ex-Marine who is currently ATF’s number two person in Washington, started the year off as special agent in charge of ATF’s Detroit office, where he was very well respected.

In the spring, after the agency started coming under Congressional fire for Operation Fast and Furious, Brandon was sent off to Phoenix to head up that office and try and improve morale and straighten out matters.

Fast Furious was created in the Phoenix office. Under Fast and Furious, ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

Problem was, ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some members of Congress like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) went on the attack, criticizing ATF. Some even suggested folding it into the FBI.

In late August, acting director  Ken Melson stepped down. In October, as part of a major shakeup at the agency,  Brandon was summoned from Phoenix to become the number two guy in Washington.

We think it speaks volumes that Brandon has been sent to the agency’s hotspots to help straighten out things at a time the agency has come under fire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Waco.  To boot, it’s easy to find street agents who respect Brandon, who has been an agent since 1989.

Brandon is the fourth person to receive the Fed of the Year Award.  Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008),  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

FBI Faces Lawsuit in Ft. Hood Shooting

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan/dod photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI could be in for a big legal battle — and a costly one at that —  as more than 80 claimants seek damages of $750 million from the bureau, the US Army, the Justice Department and the Department of Defense for a 2009 incident at Ft. Hood  that left 13 dead, reports Safety BLR.com.

Beside the deaths, dozens were left wounded when Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas in November of 2009 in the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Processing Center.

Despite “clear knowledge and warnings that Hasan posed a grave danger” to soldiers and civilians, claims the suit, government agencies did not respond accordingly. “On the contrary, bowing to ‘political correctness,’ the DOD, DOA, DOJ, and FBI in wanton disregard of the safety of military and civilian personnel, intentionally ignored the threat he presented,” says the suit.

To read more click here.

D.C. FBI Announces Intense Media Blitz to Catch “Potomac River Rapist” From the 90s

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Using media and social media as it did to  help capture Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger earlier this year, the FBI field office in D.C. announced plans this week to to go after  the “Potomac River Rapist”, believed to be responsible for eight sexual assaults, one attempted one and one murder between 1991 to 1998.

The FBI announced a $25,000 reward, plus an intense media campaign to try and heat up the cold case. Authorities linked the multiple crimes through DNA.

“The digital media campaign includes the launch of a dedicated website; digital billboards up and down the East Coast; social media alerts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; as well as podcasts on iTunes and radio spots to raise awareness of the investigation,” an FBI press release said.

“The multi-pronged effort is designed to develop new leads and raise awareness of the ongoing cold-case investigation. The campaign implements similar techniques that have led to the arrests in cases including the East Coast Rapist as well as Ten Most Wanted fugitive Whitey Bulger.”

The FBI said that one of the victims, Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old intern, was sexually attacked and murdered while walking to her residence in Georgetown on Aug. 1, 1998. The rest of the sexual assaults took place in Montgomery County, just outside of D.C.

“In law enforcement, we understand that justice delayed does not mean that justice will be denied,” D.C. U.S Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. said in a statement. “We are committed to obtaining justice for Christine Mirzayan and the other victims of the Potomac River Rapist, but we need the public’s help. One piece of information from the public—no matter how insignificant it might seem—could crack this case and allow us to apprehend this killer.”

See website on the Potomac River Rapist

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

On 1 Year Anniversary, Family of Slain Border Agent Critical of ATF and Justice Dept.

 

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On the one year anniversary of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the family issued a statement that included a sharp rebuke of ATF and the Justice Department.

“Brian’s death has been extremely difficult to accept. As most know, we had to learn from the news media that two assault rifles carried by the men that killed Brian and found at the murder scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious, a failed gun trafficking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice,” said the statement that was issued on Wednesday, one day before the Dec. 15 anniversary of the death of Terry, who was killed while on patrol in southern Arizona.

“We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian’s murder. Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.”

Terry’s name has often surfaced among critics of Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some which surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Two of the guns were found at the scene where Terry was murdered, though authorities have been unable to confirm through ballistics whether the guns were actually used in the shooting.

The family, in its statement also said: “December 15th will mark the one year anniversary of the murder of Brian A. Terry. On that day in 2010, our family lost an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend. Our country lost an incredible young American who was fully committed to his job in keeping our Nation safe and its borders secure. Brian’s life was dedicated to public service as a U.S. Marine, police officer, U.S. Border Patrol agent and finally as a member of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC.”

“Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian’s murder,” the family wrote.”However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable.”

The family added: “We would like to acknowledge the work conducted by agents from the FBI Tucson Office in the homicide investigation and the continued work by federal prosecutors in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office who are working to bring Brian’s killers to justice. We would also like to thank those members of ATF that recognized Operation Fast and Furious as fundamentally flawed and came forward with information that exposed this foolish operation to the American public. These individuals have continued to speak the truth at great professional risk.”

 

ATF’s Tom Brandon Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed of the Year

Tom Brandon/atf photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas E. Brandon, the straight-shooting, well respected and extremely able veteran of ATF, who was sent around the country this year to try and mend some of the agencies pressing problems, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2011.

Brandon, an ex-Marine who is currently ATF’s number two person in Washington, started the year off as special agent in charge of ATF’s Detroit office, where he was very well respected.

In the spring, after the agency started coming under Congressional fire for Operation Fast and Furious, Brandon was sent off to Phoenix to head up that office and try and improve morale and straighten out matters.

Fast Furious was created in the Phoenix office. Under Fast and Furious, ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

Problem was, ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some members of Congress like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) went on the attack, criticizing ATF. Some even suggested folding it into the FBI.

In late August, acting director  Ken Melson stepped down. In October, as part of a major shakeup at the agency,  Brandon was summoned from Phoenix to become the number two guy in Washington.

We think it speaks volumes that Brandon has been sent to the agency’s hotspots to help straighten out things at a time the agency has come under fire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Waco.  To boot, it’s easy to find street agents who respect Brandon, who has been an agent since 1989.

Brandon is the fourth person to receive the Fed of the Year Award.  Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008),  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

Republican Candidates Run Wild with FBI Falsehoods, Associated Press Finds

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman told a group of Republican faithfuls on Oct. 28 that “Obama is allowing terror suspect groups to write the FBI’s terror training manual,” a wildly false statement, according to the Associated Press.

But that didn’t stop other Republican hopefuls from repeating the claims, reports the Associated Press in a story published on the Washington Post website. This past weekend primary candidate Newt Gingrich told a Des Moines, Iowa veterans’ forum that the Obama administration “issued instructions, for example, that in developing training papers on terrorism that no mention should be made of radical Islam.”

The latest, according to AP, was fellow candidate  Rick Santorum’s statement, made to another Des Moine crowd, that Obama “actually ordered all references to Islam and Muslim sanitized out of our national security documents.”

The statement’s stem from FBI efforts to deal with problems that arose when it came to light that an FBI instructor was giving lectures highly critical of Islam. Investigating the matter, the FBI found a small amount of inappropriate material–suggestions that mainstream American Muslims are terrorist sympathizers, for example–and immediately got rid of it, AP reported.

To read more click here.

Sen. Kohl Asks FBI Director Mueller Not to Close Wisc. Offices

Sen. Herb Kohl/gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Senator Herb Kohl warned FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday morning about the danger of the FBI’s plan to close three FBI offices in the senator’s home state of Wisconsin, reports WXOW.

Kohl opposed the closures of offices in La Crosse, Kenosha and Wausau, Wisc., telling Mueller that if the closures go through “the Western District of Wisconsin will be especially hard hit, and will lose half of its FBI offices,” according to WXOW. “I have strong objections to these closures,” he said.

Mueller said that the FBI, looking at the Western part of Wisconsin, hopes the coverage will remain the same, with just as many agents overall, despite the office closures. He told Kohl there remained an open “crack” as to the final decision.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST