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FBI

VP Biden’s Brother Got White Powder Package in Fla.

Management Shakeup Expected at ATF


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones in place, and the new fiscal year beginning, rumors are swirling about that ATF is soon expected to make a lot of changes in top management, which will result in a serious round of musical chairs.

One rumor circulating within ATF is that Thomas E. Brandon, who had just recently moved from Detroit to Phoenix to help clean up the mess in wake of the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, will be headed to Washington to take on a senior leadership role.

Agents around the country have told tickethewire.com that Brandon has the respect of fellow agents.

The changes come in wake of the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged Arizona firearms dealers to sell to questionable straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of some weapons, and some surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)  and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.)  have  been investigating the fall out from  Operation Fast and Furious and have been raising questions about ATF’s leadership.

In the midst of their probe,  ATF acting director Ken Melson stepped down to head over to a post at the Justice Department. In stepped Jones, who has kept his post as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.

The White House had nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Chicago office, to become the new director. But his confirmation process got stalled, and the NRA put up a strong fight against him.

At this point, it appears Traver’s nomination will simply die out for lack of momentum. And it’s not likely that the Obama administration will spend its political capital trying to get any director confirmed before the election in November 2012.

Rumors have been circulating that the Justice Department wants to fold ATF into the FBI, but a federal source said that won’t happen.

The Examiner.com reported last week that there were rumors of  “a possible big shake up” at ATF,   but gave no specifics.

 

Suspected Mi. Terrorist Charged With Trying to Ram Car into FBI Agent’s Car

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com

Apparently Reed S. Berry, who was suspected of have terrorist links, didn’t like the FBI tailing him before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Associated Press reports that a fed judge in Grand Rapids, Mi. ordered him detained last week after he allegedly tried ramming his car into an FBI agent’s car while the agent tailed him.

Reed S. Berry, 26, of St. Joseph, Mi., was under surveillance after the FBI discovered he’d had communications on the Internet with one or more groups of international terrorists, AP reported. The FBI wanted to keep an eye on him before the Sept. 11 anniversary.

His attorney Elias Muawad told AP said that his client’s online speech was protected by the Constitution and he was feeling caged in after being subjected to searches and barred from air travel.

AP reported that at one point on Sept. 9, when an FBI agent and other law enforcement were following him in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area in the western part of Michigan, he became upset.

AP reported that Berry allegedly shifted his car into reverse and moved at a high rate of speed toward the FBI agent’s car. The agent was able to move out of the away and avoid a collision.

“I believe Berry’s actions created a dangerous and violent situation,” FBI agent Samuel J. Moore of the Grand Rapids office wrote in an affidavit.

 

FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List Really Just Eight Most Wanted for Now

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s legendary Ten Most Wanted list is really only the Eight Most Wanted list these days.

Two of the the most well-known figures on the list — Osama bin Laden and Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger — are no longer wanted. Bin Laden was killed by the U.S. military in Pakistan in May and Bulger was captured by the FBI in California in June. No one has replaced them.

Their pictures remain on the list on the FBI webpage. But the word “Captured” has been added to Bulger’s photo and “Deceased” has been added to bin Laden’s.

The FBI told ticklethewire.com on  Friday that there’s “no time frame” for when the two vacancies will be filled. The process of filling the spots is a detailed one that includes FBI field offices around the country submitting recommendations that are then reviewed at headquarters and ultimately approved by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

So in the meantime, it remains the FBI’s Eight Most Wanted list.

The list currently includes less well-known names like Jason Derek Brown, Robert William Fisher and Eduardo Ravelo.

Eduardo Ravelo appears to be one of the more notable fugitives.

The FBI said he is a Captain (Capo) within the Barrio Azteca organization and issues orders to the Barrio Azteca members residing in Juarez, Mexico. He also has ties to El Paso, Tex.

Eduardo Ravelo/fbi photo

Authorities alleged that Ravelo and the Barrio Azteca members act as “hitmen” for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Drug Trafficking Organization and are responsible for numerous murders. The FBI said he may have had plastic surgery and altered his fingerprints.

Fisher is wanted on charges of killing his wife and two young children and then blowing up the house in which they all lived in Scottsdale, Az. in April of 2001.

Brown is wanted for murder and armed robbery in Phoenix, Arizona.  Authorities say Brown allegedly shot and killed an armored car guard outside a movie theater in November of 2004 and then fled with the money.

 

Great Strides Made in Nation’s Biodefenses Since 2001 Anthrax Attacks; But Concerns Linger

One of the real anthrax letters in 2001/fbi photo

By Dan Vergano
USA TODAY

Anthrax-laced letters that killed five people, targeted U.S. senators and paralyzed post offices a decade ago have reshaped the nation’s biodefenses.

While confidence is higher that the United States is better protected, there are continuing worries about potential threats in the coming era of “synthetic biology,” man-made designer microbes.

Nationwide, subways and airports now have germ-sniffing sensors, new federal biodefense labs have been erected and specially trained FBI teams stand ready to investigate bioterrorist attacks, all absent in 2001.

Bruce Budowle/univ. photo

“We are certainly better prepared for another anthrax attack,” says former FBI scientist Bruce Budowle, now of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. “But we still don’t know everything else that is out there in the environment, and ‘synthetic biology’ is a whole new concern.”

To rad the rest of the story click here.

FBI Plans to Change Definition of Rape to Better Capture Stats

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Are rapes recorded accurately?

Apparently not, which is why the the FBI is in the process of changing the definition of rape for the first time in 80 years, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The Sun reports that critics have insisted the definition is too narrow, resulting in fewer stats and less resources for victims and law enforcement.

The paper reports that a subcommittee of the Criminal Justice Information Service of the FBI plans to address the matter at an Oct. 18 meeting in Baltimore.

Recommendations will go to an advisory board and then to FBI Director Robert Mueller for approval, the Sun reported.

Greg Scarbro, the FBI’s unit chief for the Uniform Crime Report, said the agency has been discussing revisions since last year.

“From the highest levels of the FBI, there’s an understanding that this needs to change, Greg Scarbro, the FBI’s unit chief for the Uniform Crime Report, told the Sun. “We just need to make sure it happens in the right way,” he said.

The paper reports that rape has long been defined “as forcible male penile penetration of a female — which excludes cases involving oral and anal penetration, where the victims were drugged or under the influence of alcohol, and male victims.”

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

Rumor Mill Works Overtime in Controversy Between FBI and LA County Sheriff’s Dept.

 
Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The rumor mill has been working overtime involving the controversy between FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Lee Baca is fuming that the FBI didn’t tell him about its investigation into inmate abuse, or the fact that the FBI, in an undercover sting, paid a sheriff’s deputy about $1,500 to sneak a cellphone into an inmate who happened to be an FBI informant. When  Baca learned of it all, he was none too happy.

The sheriff announced an investigation into the whole matter and into the sheriff’s deputy who snuck the phone in the jail. The deputy has since resigned, the LA Times reported. It is a crime to sneak a phone into the jail.

Things have been heating up.

A source tells ticklethewire.com that sheriff’s deputies on Monday night visited the home of the FBI case agent in the matter and told her they planned to arrest her. They did not on Monday. On Wednesday, after ticklethewire.com reported the incident, Sheriff Baca told the Los Angeles Times of the possibility of charging the agent:  “No, I don’t think so. It’s not worthy of pursuing, in view of the greater good.” He said the agent directed the deputies’ questions to her supervisor,and Baca dismissed suggestions the visit by deputies was intended to intimidate the agent.”

At the same time, word began circulating this week that the case agent’s supervisor,  Victor Cockrell, an FBI supervisor in the Los Angeles civil rights division, which was handling the case, suddenly decided to retire. Some suggested there might be a connection between the retirement and the case.

But Cockrell told ticklethewire.com on Wednesday that his decision to retire has nothing whatsoever to do with the case.

“It was time to retire,” he said. “I have served my country and it’s time to do something else.”

He declined to comment on the case, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on any case.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI Los Angeles office, told ticklethewire.com on Wednesday via email: “Mr. Cockrell’s comment speaks for itself and we wish him the very best.”

Regarding the overall investigation, she told the Times: “With regard to the investigation, FBI agents at all times were acting within the course and scope of their duties and were in compliance with FBI policy and practices.”

Whatever the case, people in law enforcement in Los Angeles have been talking about the controversy, which is sure to percolate  for a while.

Sting in North Texas Nets 28 “Outlaw” Motorcycle Gang Members

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

“Rebel Rider Ben” may ride no more. The 58-year-old of Alvarado, Tex., known to his mother as Benjamin Edward Neuner, sold five guns, 15 boxes of ammunition, smoke grenades and gun magazines to undercover FBI agents, reports the Star-Telegram newspaper. Neuner changed the rifling on the guns to make the bullets harder to trace, alleges a criminal complaint, and also possessed a machine gun.

Neuner was one of 28 “outlaw” motorcycle gang members — most of whom are in the Ft. Worth, Tex. area — charged in criminal complaints in a major crackdown on trafficking guns and drugs. The gangs included the Bandido Motorcycle Outlaw Gang (BMOG) and its affiliates the Bandidos, Homeboys and Rebels.

The charges are the result of a multi-year investigation into motorcycle gangs, says the Star-Telegram, mostly in the Fort Worth, Tex. area, but arrests were made in Denver and San Antonio as well.

Others arrested sold drugs to undercover agents, including John Pena Medellin, 61, also known as “Papa John” and “Uncle John.” Medellin is being accused of conspiring to possess more than 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute.

To read more click here.