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FBI

Confessed Terrorist Tried to Help FBI Track Down Other Terrorists; Tells of Plot to Kill CEO of Drone Manufacturer

By Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica

CHICAGO—Confessed terrorist David Coleman Headley was so eager to cooperate after his 2009 arrest that he worked with FBI agents to try to engineer the capture of a suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks and proposed setting up another kingpin for a missile strike, according to testimony in federal court Tuesday.

Headley, a Pakistani-American businessman who has pleaded guilty in the Mumbai case and a plot against Denmark, testified that during two weeks of interrogation in October 2009 he worked with FBI agents to try to lure Sajid Mir, a member of the Lashkar-i-Taiba militant group and a suspected mastermind of the Mumbai attack, out of Pakistan so he could be arrested. The attempt failed, Headley testified, and Mir remains a fugitive.

Headley also offered to travel undercover to the tribal areas of Pakistan and present Ilyas Kashmiri, an al Qaeda-connected leader indicted in the Denmark plot, with an ornate sword that Headley suggested could be outfitted with a homing device to set up a U.S. missile attack, according to his testimony.

Headley revealed Tuesday that Kashmiri wanted to assassinate the chief executive officer of the Lockheed Martin Corp, which manufactures the Predator drone, as retaliation for the missile strikes that have killed scores of militants in Pakistan.

“Kashmiri was working on a plan,” Headley testified. “He said he knew people who had already done surveillance. And he asked if weapons were available in the U.S.”

Headley, who did not further describe the details of the plot, met with Kashmiri twice in Pakistan in 2009, according to his confession. Officials with the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment on Headley’s mention of a plot targeting Lockheed CEO Robert J. Stevens. Lockheed officials also declined comment, citing a policy of not discussing specific threats against the company.

Read more »

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ashcroft Dodges Bullet; Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Him

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft is off the hook.

In an 8-0 ruling, the Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit against Ashcroft. It overturned a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, saying the former Attorney General under President Bush  enjoyed “qualified immunity” from a lawsuit filed by Abdullah al Kidd, a former University of Idaho football player who converted to Islam.

The court ruled that Ashcroft did not clearly violate the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

FBI agents arrested Kidd in 2003 at Dulles Airport and detained him for 16 days in three different states as a material witness supposedly for a pending case. He was never charged and never called as a witness.

Kidd claimed Ashcroft abused his power by detaining him as a material witness. He also alleged the arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims, regardless if whether they had ties to terrorism.

But the Supreme Court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote: “The affidavit accompanying the warrant application (as al-Kidd concedes) gave individualized reasons to believe that he was a material witness and that he would soon disappear.”

“Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects ‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law’,” the court wrote.

”We hold that an objectively reasonable arrest and detention of a material witness pursuant to a validly obtained warrant cannot be challenged as unconstitutional on the basis of allegations that the arresting authority had an improper motive. Because Ashcroft did not violate clearly established law, we need not address the more difficult question whether he enjoys absolute immunity.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor voted to overturn the lower court ruling, but conceded that the law in this area is not completely clear. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

Read Opinion

The U.S. Secret Service Goes Tweeting


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service is tweeting.

The agency launched a Twitter page earlier this month to help recruiting efforts and distribute news and information about the agency. So far, the Twitter page has 24,904 followers and has issued 50 tweets including alerts to meet recruiters at job conferences.

“The internet is a valuable resource for people all over the world,” Secret Service Assistant Director Mickey Nelson said in a statement. “By using social media sites, we hope to supplement our recruitment efforts, while providing an informative, helpful tool to businesses and individuals who are interested in information from our agency.”

Some other federal agencies already have established Twitter pages. The FBI has 169,866 followers and the Department of Homeland Security, which is the umbrella agency for Secret Service, has 36,715 followers.

N.M. U.S. Atty. to Hire Prosecutor to Deal With Domestic Violence on Tribal Lands

U.S. Atty. Ken Gonzales/ doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Recognizing the ever-disturbing problem of domestic violence on U.S. tribal lands, U.S. Mexico U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales plans to announce the hiring of a prosecutor to specifically  address the problem, the Associated Press reported.

AP said the move is part of a pilot program by the Office of Violence Against Woman that will provide funding for a handful of U.S. Attorneys around the nation.

The statistics are overwhelming.

AP reports that three-fifths of Native women have been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. Plus, one-third will be raped during at some point in their life.

Additionally, AP reported that in some tribal areas, the murder rate of Native American women is ten-fold the national average.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

California “Geezer Bandit” Strikes Again; Has Thousands of Fans Cheering Him On

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On one Facebook fan page, where the California “Geezer Bandit” has 6,798 people who “like this”, fan Carl Randall wrote on Saturday: “So THIS is what happens when the government freezes Social Security COLA raises!! LOL! YOU GO GEEZER BANDIT!!”

Fan Ronnie Israel wrote: “Geezer has the FBI going around in circles, Geezers a pimp!”

The comments came after the elder looking bandit, who appears to be around 70,  hit his 14th bank in the San Diego area on Friday in San Luis Obispo County. The bandit has continued to  dumbfound agents who have been on the hunt since August of 2009.

The bandit, with revolver in tow,  stuck up  the 14th bank — the Heritage Oaks Bank branch in Morro Bay, the FBI said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported he may have fled in a light-colored, two-door car.

The Geezer Bandit is suspected of robbing 10 banks in San Diego County and one each in Temecula, Bakersfield, Goleta and Morro Bay, the Times reported.

Previously, authorities had said they had not ruled out the possibility that the Geezer Bandit might be a young person wearing a mask to look like a senior citizen.

This would be his 14th robbery since August 2009.

“The agents and detectives who have been working this case since the beginning, strongly believe that this was the work of the Geezer Bandit,” Special Agent Darrell Foxworth of the San Diego FBI office told Fox 5 San Diego.

Atty. Gen. Holder Gets Grief in the Heartland; Protesters Interrupt Speech

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.  gets his fair share of grief inside the Beltway, particularly from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But some of that grief on Friday came from elsewhere: the heartland.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Holder’s speech in Minneapolis at a conference on preventing youth violence was  interrupted several times by protesters who say the FBI, under Holder’s reign,  has expanded surveillance on Arabs and Muslims and targeted peace groups.

The Star-Tribune reported that several protesters were led out of the morning speech after repeatedly standing to shout. Another 50 or so stood outside banging on drums and chanting for the FBI to stop violating First Amendment rights of people.

One of the protesters, Tracy Molm, told MPR that after the speech she spoke to Holder, who said they would have to agree to disagree on what activities are protected by the First Amendment, MPR reported.

“He can disagree all he wants, but people around the country believe these attacks need to end because they’re killing our free speech rights, our ability to question our government, and our ability to speak out,” Molm said, according to MPR.

Dir. Robert Mueller Overcame the FBI’s Biggest Threat

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax

For FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the biggest threat to the bureau was a movement to do away with the FBI’s counterterrorism effort and replace it with a new terror-fighting agency similar to the British MI5.

Such an agency would have investigative powers but none of the FBI’s law enforcement powers.

Former National Security Agency director William E. Odom, a retired general, first floated the idea back in 2002. In a later Washington Post op-ed headlined “Why the FBI Can’t Be Reformed,” Odom wrote that the bureau’s shortcomings in fighting the terrorist threat were systemic.

“No one can turn a law enforcement agency into an effective intelligence agency,” he said.

To read more click here.

FBI Raids Home of 91-Year-Old Woman Who Sells Suicide Kits

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents in San Diego raided the home of a 91-year-old woman who was peddling mail order do-it-yourself suicide kits, the station KTLA reported.

FBI agents on Wednesday raided the home of Sharlotte Hydorn, the station reported. Agents seized a computer and three boxes, a neighbor told the station.

The station reported that the kit included a plastic hood and tubing that connects to an inert gas. The gas is not supplied.

She grabbed headlines late last year  when one of her customers committed suicide. She claims the kits are for people who are terminally ill, the station reported.