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FBI

Mi. Cops Have Questions for FBI in Robbery Where a Cop Was Killed

FBI Investigating Dead Infant on St. Maarten Cruise

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier is heading to the island of St. Maarten, a popular vacation spot, but it’s not for fun.

Couvertier will be working with Dutch authorities on an investigation of the death of a newborn baby on a Carnival cruise ship, reports USA Today.

The baby was found in a passenger cabin by a crew member last week the day the ship docked in St. Maarten. The cruise line reported the issue to Dutch authorities on the island, who have taken custody of the body.

The baby’s 20-year-old mother remained in St. Maartens for some time, returning home to the United States only recently. Because the investigation is still under way, little information is being release, including the name of the mother. The local news site sxmislandtime.com reported that she allegedly told investigators she didn’t know she was pregnant, the birth being a surprise.

“We are continuing to gather additional facts about what occurred during the cruise trip,” Couvertier says.

To read more click here.

Son of Ex-LA Fire Chief and TSA Officer Arrested at LAX in Drug Smuggling Operation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The son of a former Los Angeles fire chief and a Transportation Security Administration officer find themselves in big trouble.

Authorities on Monday charged Millage Peaks IV with bribing TSA officer Dianne Perez to smuggle marijuana past security at Los International Airport on nine separate trips, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Times reported that Peaks confessed to FBI agents that he and associated paid the TSA officer $5,000 to $6,000 in bribes to smuggle the dope.

The Times reported that Peaks and TSA Officer Dianne Perez were arrested Sunday after a baggage handler smelled 14 pounds of marijuana in the luggage.

The Times reported that Peaks is the son of Millage Peaks III, who was the LA fire chief until earlier this year. His sister works for the airport police department. Both said they were unaware of what was going on.

 

Rep. Cummings Attacks Rep. Issa: Calls His Allegations About FBI and Fast and Furious “Reckless” and “Baseless”

 

Rep. Elijah Cummings/govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The political tension inside the Beltway over the Operation Fast and Furious appeared to escalate on Monday, one day after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) went on CBS’ Face the Nation and criticized Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and the FBI.

On Sunday, Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, tried to imply that the FBI might be hiding the fact that a third gun linked to Operation Fast and Furious may have been recovered at the murder scene last December of Border Agent Brian Terry, who was killed near the Arizona border. The flawed operation encouraged guns dealers to sell to middlemen or “straw purchasers”, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

Rep. Issa/gov photo

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)  issued a press release late Monday attacking Issa, saying there was no third gun, and then chastised him for trying to besmirch the reputation of the FBI.

The release stated:

“Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a statement expressing serious concerns with statements made by Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa in a Sunday interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

“During that interview, Issa irresponsibly fueled baseless speculation that the FBI tampered with evidence to conceal a third gun that he alleges was recovered at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. Issa did not disclose that the FBI had already dispelled these claims repeatedly both in public and in closed briefings with Committee staff.

Cummings stated: “It is unbelievably reckless for Chairman Issa to go on national television and repeat these baseless accusations, which attack the integrity and credibility of entire law enforcement agencies and undermine the prosecution of those responsible for Agent Terry’s death. In a closed briefing with Committee staff earlier this month, the FBI dispelled any allegation that they recovered a third gun at the scene, and the Committee has no evidence to the contrary.”

Cummings release noted that Face the Nation Host Bob Schieffer noted that “two guns connected to this operation were found at the scene of the crime,” and explained that the “FBI has said the evidence was inconclusive as to whether those guns were the ones responsible for this murder.”

Cummings noted that Schieffer then asked Issa about his claim that the FBI is withholding evidence about a third gun found at the scene:

“Are you suggesting that maybe that might be the gun, that evidence shows was the murder weapon, and for some reason the FBI has not disclosed that?”

Issa responded: “Well, we certainly want to know in some cases, as you know, there are investigations where there’s materials that people feel are very sensitive.

Issa added that “the FBI has a history in some cases of working with felons and criminals and hiding their other crimes.”

Cummings release concluded: “Issa’s statements on Sunday continue an unfortunate pattern of reckless actions, including leaking a document that had been ordered sealed by a U.S. Federal District Court, interviewing a potential trial witness in the ongoing prosecution, and publicly discussing the use of confidential informants in ongoing investigations.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mark Morgan to Head FBI’s El Paso Division


Mark Morgan/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mark A. Morgan, the chief of the FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center, Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), has been named head of the FBI’s El Paso Division.

Morgan joined the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to the Los Angeles Office, where he was a member of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, the crisis response squad, and the SWAT team.

In 2002, he became a supervisory special agent and served as a crisis management coordinator in the Crisis Management Unit in CIRG.

In 2005, Morgan returned to Los Angeles, where he supervised an FBI-led Hispanic gang task force that focused on the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs.

In 2007, he was picked to serve as the assistant section chief of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime Branch, where he managed the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Units and the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, the FBI said.

In 2008, he became the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Baghdad, where he was responsible for all FBI personnel deployed to Iraq under the Counterterrorism Division.

In 2009, he was assigned to the New Haven Field Office as the assistant special agent in charge with responsibilities for the criminal, critical incident response, surveillance, and aviation programs, the FBI said. In 2010, he assumed his current post.

He has a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

 

Robert J. Holley to Head FBI’s Indianapolis Office

Robert Holley/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Robert J. Holley, a native of Indiana, and a section chief of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, is leaving the mothership to head up the Indianapolis office.

Holley began his career as a special agent in 1995, and was first assigned to Chicago where he investigated domestic and international terrorism cases.

In November 2005, Holley was promoted to a unit chief in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters. He was deployed to Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Tanzania, and Israel “in support of the FBI’s number one priority, counterterrorism,” the FBI said.

Holley transferred back to the Chicago Division, where he served as assistant special agent in charge of the National Security Branch from 2008-2010.

Prior to his FBI career, he served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer.

 

Feds, Scientists’ Split on Expanding DNA Profiles for Investigations

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s plan to expand the range of genetic markers that generate genetic profiles in their DNA database is bumping up against some criticism from scientists,  reports the BBC.

Dr. Bruce Budowle, a former senior scientist for the FBI, who helped create the current set of genetic markers-known as the Codis system-for the agency in the 1990s, says the plan is not being driven by the needs of scientists’. He and colleagues Arthur Eisenberg and Jianye Ge outlined objections at the Promega 22nd Internation Symposium on Human Identification.

Updating standards is a good idea, Budowle,  who is now of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and was involved in the anthrax investigation while at the FBI, told the BBC. But he said it  needs to be done with more consultation from scientists to ensure that the right markers are chosen. The FBI has not been properly consulting with the forensic science community, he says, according to the BBC.

Dr Budowle said some of the markers in both the old and new Codis systems used DNA fragments so large that they can be difficult for forensic scientists to detect. The longer fragments can be prone to degradation or only available in small amounts. Even if the longer fragments can be useful, Bodowle told the BBC, degraded DNA or undetected DNA is useless.

Bruce Budowle/univ. photo

“The first time around we took a community-wide approach – 21 laboratories rolling up their sleeves and generating data we could analyse and [use to] make decisions,” Budowle, of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, told the BBC.

“This time around, they formed a working group of around five [scientists] and an FBI person to decide what the core set should be.

“Should the needs of Codis – our national database system – drive the casework processes, or should the needs of casework drive the Codis processes?

“I would hope the latter is obviously what should be done.”

To read more click here.

 

LA Co Jail — the Target of FBI Probe — is Condemned in ACLU Report

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

LA County Sheriff Lee Bacca won’t be winning any managerial or humanitarian awards any time soon.

Ticklethewire.com has reported on Baca before. He has been accused of allowing a culture of violence and inmate abuse run rampant in LA prisons.  And the Sheriff previously expressed anger that the FBI smuggled a cell phone to a prisoner acting as a mole to investigate claims of abuse. Now, reports the LA Times, an ACLU report has documentation of dozens of cases of abuse under Baca’s jurisdiction.

“If he were a CEO, he’d have been out a long time ago,” former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI‘s Los Angeles office Tom Parker told the Times.

Parker, hired by the ACLU to conduct his own research and compare it against the ACLU findings, says he has been in over 40 jails and prisons nationally. And in his report, he wrote he has “never experienced any facility exhibiting the volume and repetitive patterns of violence, misfeasance and malfeasance impacting Los Angeles County.”

“To an astonishing extent, unchecked violence, both deputy-on-inmate and inmate-on-deputy, permeates Men’s Central Jail and Twin Towers Jail,” he wrote.

Writes Steve Lopez, of the LA Times: “Baca, as I’ve said before, is an unorthodox guy — more of a shaman than a sheriff — who’s distinctly progressive on some issues. But he’s been a lousy administrator and leader in many ways, whether he’s handing out badges and guns to celebrity pals, giving special treatment to acquaintances or loading up on more gifts than all the state’s other county sheriffs combined.”

To read more click here.