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FBI

Good News for the Feds; Bad News for Detroit’s Ex-“Hip Hop Mayor” Kwame Kilpatrick


Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Good news for the feds. Bad news for Kwame Kilpatrick, the  ex- “hip hop mayor” of Detroit, who is eye-brow deep in legal trouble.

Derrick Miller, 41, a Kilpatrick confidante who worked as the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to corruption and tax charges and agreed to cooperate and testify for the feds against Kilpatrick, who faces federal corruption charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit announced.

Federal authorities said that Miller admitted, among many things, that “at the direction of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Miller and other members of the City administration assisted Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson by steering millions of dollars of City business to Ferguson.”

Ferguson is a contractor and close friend of Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick, as well as his top assistants, including Miller and Victor Mercado (ex-head of the city Water Department), pressured contractors to put Ferguson on City contracts they had received, or risk having the contracts held up or canceled, authorities alleged.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Mercado and other City officials influenced the award of contracts to teams that included Ferguson on them, including re-evaluating bids if Ferguson was not part of the winning team. Miller and other City officials also gave Ferguson inside information about contracts or bid evaluations to give Ferguson’s team an edge over competing bidders.

Kwame was sometimes referred to as the “hip hop mayor” because of his hip, young image as an up and coming mayor.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Kilpatrick told reporters he would “absolutely not” answer questions as he left a book signing. His father and codefendant, Bernard, said of Miller, according to the Free Press: “I know the kind of pressure that the government puts on people in these kinds of situations. They pushed him right in a corner. He felt he had no choice.”

“This guilty plea marks an important step in the investigation and prosecution of those involved in municipal corruption during the Kilpatrick administration of the City of Detroit,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement. “It also serves as a warning to those who hold public office throughout this region that there are serious consequences to abusing the trust of the citizens they are supposed to serve.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena added: “This plea is part of a multi-year, multi-agency investigation in to the corruption plaguing the City of Detroit.”

 

Coke Kingpin Charged in Miami; Considered Among Colombia’s Most Wanted

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Miami are taking aim at some big guys in the drug world.

Authorities filed charges against  Daniel Barrera-Barrera, an international drug smuggler with alleged ties to terrorist groups in Columbia, reports the Miami Herald.

The report calls Barrera-Barrera, 42, one of Columbia’s most-wanted, and says he “maintains a partnership with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC,” a leftist guerrilla group.

Barrera-Barrera, also know as “Loco Barrara,” remains at large. He was charged in Miami along with two brothers, Javier Fernandez-Barrero, 43, and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero, 45, also known as “Los Gorditos.” The brothers are in custody.

The family’s “criminal enterprise is responsible for distributing tons of cocaine into the U.S and other countries,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Gillies, according to the Herald.

To read more click here.


Ex-Acting Genovese Family Crime Boss and Two Associates Sentenced to Life

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The former acting boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family Arthur Nigro and two associates were sentenced to life in prison Monday in Manhattan federal court for multiple crimes including racketeering, extortion and loansharking and murders of people they suspected of snitching to authorities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Nigro and associates Fotios Geas and Ty Geas, who are brothers, were all convicted in April.

“The catalogue of vicious and lethal crimes committed by these three defendants provides a stark reminder of the lengths to which the mob will go to protect their turf and exact revenge,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “With today’s sentences, these men will now be put out of the mafia’s ugly and violent business for life.”

Authorities said that Nigro rose to the position of Acting Boss of the Genovese Family in the early 2000s, running operations in the Bronx, Springfield, Mass. and other places.

The defendants were convicted in Manhattan federal court of the November 23, 2003, murder of Adolfo Bruno, a Captain in the Genovese Organized Crime Family, in Springfield, Mass. Authorities alleged that Nigro ordered the hit to increase his in power in the Genovese family, and to punish Bruno for speaking to the FBI.

Fotios and Ty Geas ultimately enlisted the person who carried out the murder.

Fotioius and Ty Geas were also convicted of the Nov. 4, 2003, murder of Gary Westerman in Agawam, Mass. The defendants shot and killed Westerman after they suspected him of cooperating with the Massachusetts State Police.

The three men were also convicted of the attempted murder of Frank Dadabo, which NIGRO had ordered because of a union-related dispute. On May 19, 2003, Ty Geas shot shot Dadabo nine times on a Bronx street. Fotios helped plan the hit and drove the getaway car, authorities said.

All three defendants were also convicted of conspiring to murder Louis Santos, who they suspected was cooperating with authorities.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mark F. Giuliano Named FBI’s Exec. Assist. Director of National Security Branch

  

Mark Giuliano/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mark F. Giuliano, the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, has been named the agency’s executive assistant director of the National Security Branch, the FBI announced Monday.

“I am confident that under Mark’s leadership in managing international and domestic counterterrorism investigations, NSB will continue its strategic focus and address new and emerging threats that endanger the United States and its citizens,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a statement.

Before becoming assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division, Giuliano was the deputy assistant director for Operations Branch II, Counterterrorism Division, at headquarters, and oversaw all domestic terrorism operations in the U.S., as well as the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Lone Offender Task Force, the Yemen fusion cell, the Pakistan threat group, human intelligence and strategic terrorism operations, communications exploitation and terrorist financing for FBI counterterrorism operations worldwide, the FBI said.

Prior to that, he served as section chief of the Domestic Terrorism and Strategic Operation Section.

Before joining the Counterterrorism Division, he served as assistant special agent in charge of national security for the Atlanta Division.  He also served as the FBI’s on-scene commander in Afghanistan.

He started his career at the Washington Field Office’s Safe Streets and Gang Task Force.

FBI Probing Hacking of NBC Twitter Account: False Report Posted

  
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yes, you can’t believe everything you read in the media, particularly when it’s posted by a hacker.

NBC reports that early Friday evening someone hacked into the NBC Twitter account and posted some false information about an attack.

The network reported that the FBI computer crimes unit is investigating the matter along with NBC and Twitter. A hacker group called The Script Kiddies claimed responsibility.

The false tweet said:

“Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed in the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops.”

The website Search Engine Journal  reported that its social media director Ryan Osborn noticed the false tweet within seconds and contacted Twitter, which shutdown the account in eight minutes. Within hours, the account was back up and running, the station reported.

The station issued a statement saying: “The NBC News Twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act.”

 

FBI Efforts to Foster Better Relations With Islamic Community Still Hits Bumps

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI efforts to strengthen the bonds with the Islamic American community haven’t always gone smoothly.

The latest of example of that came Saturday in Seattle when the the FBI, Seattle Police and U.S. Attorney’s Office participated in an outreach workshop Saturday with Seattle’s Muslim, Arab, East African and Sikh communities at North Seattle Community College, the Seattle Times reported.

The paper reported that “the event grew confrontational during the FBI’s presentation, which community members complained was too focused on Islamic terrorist groups. Then, the agents showed a PowerPoint slide about state-sponsored terrorism that included a photograph of a man many in the audience believed was a Shia Islamic leader based on his clothes. Several people in the audience asked whether it was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a political and religious leader who led the 1979 Iranian Revolution and died in 1989.”

The Times reported that two FBI agents giving the presentation didn’t know who it was.

“That offended members of the audience even more, and one of them compared it to calling the pope a terrorist or serving pork to Muslims,” the paper reported.

The Seattle Times siad that the FBI agents Brenda Wilson and Daniel Guerrero declined to comment to the media afterwards, but told community leaders they welcomed their feedback.

To read more click here.

 

Ex-FBI Agent Cites High Level Dysfunction Over 9/11 in His Book

By Scott Shane
New York Times

WASHINGTON — In a new memoir, a former F.B.I. agent who tracked Al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks paints a devastating picture of rivalry and dysfunction inside the government’s counterterrorism agencies. The book describes missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot, and argues that other attacks overseas might have been prevented, and Osama bin Laden found earlier, if interrogations had not been mismanaged.

The account offered by the agent, Ali H. Soufan, is the most detailed to date by an insider concerning the American investigations of Al Qaeda and the major attacks that the group carried out, including bombings of American Embassies in East Africa and the American destroyer Cole, as well as the Sept. 11 attacks. The book is scheduled to be published Monday, with redactions to several chapters by the Central Intelligence Agency, the target of much of Mr. Soufan’s criticism.

In the 571-page book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda,” Mr. Soufan accuses C.I.A. officials of deliberately withholding crucial documents and photographs of Qaeda operatives from the F.B.I. before Sept. 11, 2001, despite three written requests, and then later lying about it to the 9/11 Commission.

To read more click here.

 

 

The Issue of Torture

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

ticklethewire.com Salutes Federal Law Enforcement in Its Battle Against Terrorism and Honors Those Who Died on Sept. 11, 2001

istock image

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I still remember walking down Connecticut Avenue in Washington, headed to the subway, when I ran into a friend who told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

About 20 minutes later, when I got off the subway downtown at the Farragut North stop, I bumped into an editor at the Washington Post who told me the city was under attack. There was eerie feeling in the city. Some people were already heading home even though they had just gotten downtown. There was a sense of chaos. A sense of fear. A sense of uncertainty.

When I got into the Post newsroom, everyone was standing around television sets, watching the events of Sept. 11 unfold. Shortly after, we all got our assignments for the day.

In the days that followed, I felt like life would never be the same, we would never feel safe again. We all felt so vulnerable. A few days later, I was at the BWI airport near Baltimore, waiting for a flight to Detroit to report on a story for the Post. Everyone in line was looking at everyone else, paranoid, looking to see if there were any potential terrorists.

Thankfully, in time, a sense of normalcy returned to our lives. But we knew things would never be the same, from the the airport experience to concerns about abandon packages to the threat of al Qaeda.

We learned about Code Orange. We saw law enforcement change, most notably the FBI, that shifted significant resources to address counterterrorism. We got involved in two wars.

Since 9/11, federal law enforcement has unearthed a number of terrorist plots. It deserves a great deal of credit.

Granted, things haven’t been perfect. Some folks at the FBI aren’t happy with the way resources were divided up. Groups like the ACLU have raised questions about privacy, about stings, about civil rights, about torture. Republicans and Democrats have had heated debates about the proper venue to prosecute suspected terrorists and about reading Miranda Warnings. Politics have sometimes hijacked the true concerns about terrorism.

Federal law enforcement can’t stop everything. It can’t make us feel 100 percent safe. And yes, it can still improve upon what its done and how it does it. But it deserves a great deal of credit for the job its done since 9/11.

It ain’t easy and it won’t be in the future.