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FBI

John Giacalone Named Head of N.Y. FBI Counterterrorism Division

John Giacalone/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Agent John Giacalone is leaving the mothership at headquarters in D.C. and heading north to become special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office Counterterrorism Division.

Giacalone most recently served as the section chief of the Counterterrorism Division’s Domestic Terrorism Strategic Operations Section at FBI headquarters.

Giacalone is no stranger to New York.

In 1991, he was the case agent for an investigation into organized crime’s control of the airfreight industry at John F. Kennedy International Airport. That resulted in the indictment and conviction of seven members and associates of the Luchese crime family.

In 1994, Giacalone formed a task force consisting of FBI, Department of Labor and New York Police Department to investigate the Garment Center. The probe reuslted in the convictions of 15 organized crime members and associates, the FBI said.

In 2003, Giacalone created the Field Intelligence Group in Philadelphia. And in 2005, he was the deputy on-scene-commander in the Iraqi theater of operations.

There he coordinated the efforts of the FBI, the intelligence community, and the U.S. military, which resulted in the rescue of kidnapping victim Roy Hallums.

In 2008, Giacalone was a member of the Attorney General Guidelines Task Force. With the assistance of 10 supervisory special agents, he helped draft the FBI’s new domestic investigative policy.

Ala. Newspaper Editorial Calls Fed Prosecution in Ala. Incompetent

By The Daily Home
Editorial

Rather than settle any questions of guilt or innocence, the acquittals and mistrials returned last week in Alabama’s gambling corruption trial have only exacerbated mistrust of state government and the legal system.

What are we to make of a trial that charged nine people, including four state legislators, with 125 crimes, took 10 weeks of court time after months of FBI investigation, cost an untold amount of money and produced not a single conviction?

Given that three of the original defendants pleaded guilty and testified against the nine who were tried, one word comes to mind: incompetence.

Incompetence in the investigation that produced such flimsy evidence that federal prosecutors could not put together a convincing case against any of the accused, or incompetence in the prosecutors who bungled their presentation of the evidence available to them. Maybe both.

To read more click here.

Ouch! Feds Comes Up Empty in Big Ala. Gambling Trial (ticklethewire.com)

Dead End? U.S. Authorities Push Probe into Murdoch’s Reporters

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. authorities have expanded their probe into Rupert Murdoch’s  News Corps phone hacking allegations, but so far have come up with no hard evidence of wrongdoing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reporters Cassell Bryan-Low and Devlin Barrett reports that U.S. investigators so far have found nothing concrete to back allegations written in a London paper saying reporters at the now-closed Brit paper News of the World might have hacked phones of 9/11 victims.

The Journal reported that British police investigating the scandal have told the FBI their probe has come up with no names or numbers of the Sept. 11 victims.

“The new, broader inquiry remains at an early stage and may prove a dead end, people familiar with the case say,” the Journal reported.

FBI Report Show Mortgage Fraud on the Rise

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI report shows that mortgage fraud appears to be on the rise.

The FBI said it had 3,129 pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009 and up 90 percent from 2008 when the economy tanked and the real estate market was already in dire straights.

The FBI said 71 percent of the pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010 involved losses of more than $1 million.

“Mortgage fraud continued at elevated levels in 2010, consistent with levels seen in 2009, the report said. “Mortgage fraud schemes are particularly resilient, and they readily adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.”

The report said the top states for known or suspected mortgage fraud included California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

J. Edgar Film to be Released in November

DiCaprio as Hoover/ studio released photo on slashfilm.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The film “J. Edgar” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover will be released this Nov. 9,  according to the website Movies.com and other film websites.

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, also stars Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Lea Thompson and Judi Dench.

The film is expected to stir controversy because of Hoover’s portrayal as being gay and having a romantic affair with FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, his constant companion and alter ego.

Some current and former FBI agents have expressed concern over the portrayal of Hoover as gay.

Nonetheless, FBI agents are expected to be among those who shell out the cash to see the film.

High Ranking New England Mobster Was FBI Informant, Court Documents Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mark Rossetti, a reputed capo in the New England Mafia, has been working all along as an FBI informant or “rat” as they say in the mob world.

The Boston Globe reports the revelation came out in court documents filed this week in Suffolk Superior Court. Rossetti was indicted last year on state charges of running a sprawling criminal enterprise of drug trafficking, gambling, and loan sharking.

The Globe reported that two lower-level players in Rossetti’s alleged crime ring filed the papers as part of a legal strategy in their own case.

The Globe reported that the papers do not identify Rossetti by name, but “he can be clearly identified through descriptions of his conversations with his FBI handler, and through a State Police organizational chart of his alleged crime ring, the Rossetti Criminal Organization.”

The Globe reported “that State Police recorded more than 40 conversations between Rossetti and his FBI handler in the spring of 2010, through a wiretap on Rossetti’s FBI-issued phone, according to the court documents. In the conversations, they discussed other Mafia figures and the possible role of Rossetti’s cousin in the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as Rossetti’s debt collections. According to the documents, it was during these conversations that State Police discovered Rossetti was an FBI informant.”

Ex-FBI Agent Mike Mason Expresses Concern About Sabotage in Verizon Strike

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI official Mike Mason, who heads up security at Verizon, is voicing concern about the strike by company workers on the east coast that has resulted in the sabotage at some facilities including a police department and hospital.

“I consider that an unpatriotic act,” Mason, a former executive assistant director of the criminal division  at the FBI, told the Associated Press. “These cuts aren’t just affecting a faceless, monolithic company.”

The AP reports that Verizon has discovered 90 acts of sabotage since the strike began last week involving 45,000 landline employees from Massachusetts to D.C.  The FBI is involved in the investigating the matter.

An FBI spokesman said the agency is involved in the probe.

“Because critical infrastructure has been affected, namely the telecommunications of both a hospital and a police department, the FBI is looking into this matter from a security standpoint as part of our security efforts leading up to the 9-11 anniversary,” Special Agent Bryan Travers said in an email, according to AP.

Candice Johnson, a union spokeswoman from the Communications Workers of America, said:

“CWA does not condone illegal action of any kind, and instructs its members to conduct all strike activities in accordance with labor law.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Won’t Charge Son of Late Sen. Ted Stevens

Sen. Ben Stevens

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Stevens family has had its share of legal luck.

The latest: The Anchorage Daily News reports that ex-Alaska state Senate President Ben Stevens, son of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, won’t be prosecuted in what the paper described as  a “rapidly fading Alaska political corruption investigation.”

The paper reported that family friends of Stevens said he recently received a letter from fed prosecutors saying he won’t face charges. The paper reported that a “government source” confirmed that the letter had been sent.

The paper reported that the FBI raided Steven’s office in 2006 along with five other state lawmakers. Four were convicted.

Steven’s father, the late Sen. Ted Stevens, was convicted of public corruption charges in 2008. However, a fed judge, at the request of the Justice Department, vacated the conviction because of prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors failed to turn over materials to the defense team.

To read the full story click here.