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FBI

Column: Ex-FBI Official Says New FBI Director Should Be “Someone Who Has Lived the Life of a Law Enforcement and Intelligence Officer”

Anthony Riggio is a former lawyer who went on to work for the FBI for 24 years. He held a number of posts during that time including assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office. He retired in 1995 as a senior executive at FBI headquarters.

Tony Riggio

By Anthony Riggio
For ticklethewire.com

There is no more important a job in Law Enforcement anywhere on the planet than the Director of the FBI. He is the person whose views, counsel and influence are sought anytime major criminal or terrorist actions occur.

As a retired FBI Agent who has worked for three Directors — having applied during J. Edgar Hoover’s long reign but coming on board just after he died — I have watched the FBI evolve into a worldwide force in both the area of intelligence and criminal investigations.

Each successive Director has built upon the Hoover’s legacy and have brought the FBI to this point in its recognition and reputation.

Each Director has done his absolute best to keep the FBI apolitical in an ever increasing and demanding political environment.

The FBI, must remain free of the influences of politicians who have a tendency to point the finger of blame every time something goes wrong.

The media pundits, who often represent destructive cynicism and reporting, often times, from a wide base of poor information, speculation and hidden agendas, cause the elected officials to get nervous.

The result: the event reported becomes an avalanche heaped upon the dedicated institutions, who are neither Gods nor Prophets, but are human beings with all the frailties of the fallible called upon to deal with super heroic dramas.

Read more »

Ill. State Police Worked With FBI in Blago Case; Pretended Not to Know About Bugs

Blagojevich as governor/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When it came to loyalty, the Illinois State Police chose the FBI over Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that in the Fall of 2008, the Illinois State Police, tasked with protecting the governor, passed on a chance to help him find listening devices at his North Side campaign office.

The paper reports that Blagojevich ordered a state police technician to search the campaign office for bugs.

The tech told the Blago staff that no bugs were found, even though there were some and he knew where they were, the paper reported.

The Sun-Times reports that the state police were working with the FBI on the probe and providing critical info.

The Sun-Times reported that Blago and his wife Pattie were surprised by the revelation.

“Wow,” Blagojevich told the paper. He described the State Police security detail as “quasi-family.”

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in ex-governor’s retrial.

Death of bin Laden Creates Opening on FBI Ten Most Wanted List


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The death of Osama bin Laden will open a spot in on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

Bin Laden had been a fixture on the list for years.

As what typically happens now, the FBI  will solicit from its field offices a candidate to replace bin Laden.

Often, dozens of recommendations come in to headquarters. Field offices submit packets with information about the case, including a case file, photos and reasons why the person is worthy of joining the list. Some submissions include endorsements from local police chiefs.

The Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit also solicits input from the media representatives at headquarters.

The candidates for the list are reviewed by a committee of agents from the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders unit, who carefully look over the submissions and case files.

Then higher ups at headquarters decide who makes the list. The FBI director ultimately signs off on it.

The information on the Top 10 list said bin Laden was “wanted for “Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death.”

“Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world”

“Bin Laden is the leader of a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda, “The Base”. He is left-handed and walks with a cane.”

FBI Agents Association: Mike Mason “Embodies Our Principles” For FBI Director

Reprinted with permission from the website Main Justice.

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

By Konrad Motyka
President of the FBI Agents Association

With FBI Director Robert Mueller’s 10-year term expiring in September, President Obama faces one of the most important decisions of his presidency in the fight against terrorism: the selection of the next FBI Director. There are already calls for the President to nominate a judge or prosecutor, fields where the majority of the former Directors served before assuming office.

The Bureau’s leadership must evolve just as the challenges facing the Bureau have evolved, and the President should not limit candidates to judges or prosecutors, as accomplished as some of these individuals may be. The first Director selected post 9-11 must continue to enhance the effectiveness of the FBI in i the fight against terrorism, while not compromising the Bureau’s established expertise at both criminal and counterintelligence investigations.

The FBI Agents Association, representing over 12,000 current and former FBI Agents, believes the President should be guided by a new set of principles.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

The FBIAA’s first principle is that a new Director must recognize that FBI Special Agents are Central to the Bureau’s core mission. In the wake of 9-11, there was  a concerted effort to transfer the Bureau’s domestic, intelligence-gathering responsibilities to a proposed M15-styled agency. Quashing that effort, Director Mueller advocated the important linkage between criminal investigative principles and experience, intelligence gathering and analysis, and counterterrorism efforts. While priorities may change, Agents are as essential to the Bureau’s primary mission of protecting our country as they are to combating a wide array of crimes ranging from street gangs to mortgage fraud.

Second, effectively combating 21st century crimes requires bridging counterterrorism and traditional investigative efforts. Therefore, the next Director must have an understanding of more than just criminal prosecutions — he or she must be able to negotiate the unique issues associated with simultaneously working towards intelligence and criminal prosecution objectives.

Third, the new Director must advocate effectively for the Bureau, and therefore must understand and respect the work of Agents. History has show that when the senior-level men and woman who lead the Bureau understand Agents — the obstacles we overcome, the burdens our families endure, and the often life-threatening circumstances we face — the Bureau is a more effective agency.

As the FBIAA developed these principles, one candidate was brought up repeatedly by Agents in the field as someone who embodies them: Michael Mason. While our association is not limiting itself to the candidacy of Mr. Mason, we believe he is the type of person who embodies our principles.

Mr. Mason served the Bureau in a wide variety of positions and locations over his 23 year career, culminating in his assignment as Assistant Director in charge of the Washington Field Office, and ultimately, as the Executive Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI. He has unique private sector experience as director of security for a major international telecommunications company. His experience as a Special Agent in the field and as a leader in a variety of FBI management positions provides him a unique perspective that will enable him to formulate, implement, and communicate policies that maximize the effectiveness of the Bureau.

Just as unexpected challenges confronted Director Mueller when he  assumed his position one week before 9-11, the next Director will have new obstacles to overcome and new opportunities to lead. There are many fine candidates  who will likely be discussed in the coming weeks. In the post9-11 world, special attention should be paid to candidates like Michael Mason, who possess experience in criminal investigation, management of national security and intelligence operations, and who have worked with foreign countries and intelligence community partners.

Time Magazine: Is The FBI Up to The Job 10 Years After 9/11?

“They haven’t done everything perfectly. They’ve made mistakes. By and large, he has moved the FBI in the right direction.” — Glenn A. Fine, former Justice Dept. Inspector General in Time article on Robert Mueller

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Barton Gellman
Time

FBI Director Bob Mueller glanced at the black chronograph he wears Marine-style, the face inside his wrist. It was 7:38 a.m. Not quite time. He reviewed his inbox. Drummed a four-fingered staccato on the desk. Consulted his wrist again: 7:39.

Mueller had already slashed through the red leather briefing book that headquarters dispatched to his Georgetown home before dawn. The title embossed on the cover was simply “Director,” above the words “Top Secret/Contains Codeword Material.” Yellow highlights flagged the points Mueller wanted to probe.

An al-Qaeda affiliate was evading surveillance with a new covert channel of communication. Cyberintruders had breached a defense contractor’s firewall. The Tucson, Ariz., shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords had become a grotesque recruiting tool for antigovernment extremists. Turmoil in Bahrain had left FBI agents unable to serve a fugitive warrant. Egypt’s meltdown was causing trouble for a valuable counterintelligence source.

One of three deputy U.S. marshals shot in West Virginia had succumbed to his wounds. Two more federal officers, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had been ambushed in northern Mexico, one fatally. Mexican authorities wanted access to FBI files, and Mueller had to decide how much to share. (See pictures of a Mexican drug gang’s “holy war.”)

Something more pressing was on Mueller’s mind on Feb. 17, when TIME shadowed him through much of his day. The director had locked his sights on Lubbock, Texas, and Spokane, Wash., where his agents were closing in on a pair of unrelated terrorist plots.

To read full article click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: Ex-FBI Agent Jack Garcia Talks About Public’s Fascination With the Mob

FBI Official James Nice to Become Akron, Ohio Police Chief

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Veteran FBI agent James Nice,  who is stationed at headquarters in Washington, is heading to his hometown of Akron, Ohio to become police chief, according to a city press release. He will assume the post on June 6.

Nice, 56, currently serves as Chief of Undercover and Sensitive Operations at FBI Headquarters. He directs all undercover operations for the bureau in the U.S. and overseas, the city said.

Several years back, he got assigned to the Cleveland FBI so he could be closer to his father during his last illness.

“Five years ago, I knew I wanted to return home,” Nice said, according to the release.  “My dad spent 81 of his 83 years in Akron, and I was glad to care for him before his death in 2008.”

During that time, Nice said:

“I had the opportunity to get to see Akron’s police department in action. “Without exaggeration the men and women of the Akron Police Department who worked with me on that case were among the most professional officers I have ever served with in 26 years. The people of Akron are lucky to have law enforcement that works together better than any place I have ever seen.”

Portland Votes to Rejoin FBI’s JTTF — Sort Of

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After endless debate, the Portland City Council in Oregon voted unanimously Thursday for its police department to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — sort of.

The city quit the JTTF in 2005, citing concerns that the FBI was violating civil rights. It was also concerned its officers might snoop on citizens and violate local laws. Then-police chief and mayor were also angry that they did not have access to the same classified information task force officers had.

But on Thursday, the council reached a compromise: It decided not to permanently assign manpower to the JTTF, but to get involved  with the anti-terrorism task force on an “as-needed basis” when it deemed the investigations worthy, The Oregonian reported.

Under the plan, the police chief will have the discretion to assign officers to investigations after consulting with the police commissioner, the Oregonian reported. Some community members were adamantly against the city having a relationship with the JTTF.

U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton praised the vote, The Oregonian reported.

The issue to rejoin bubbled up again late last year after the FBI set up a sting and busted a man who was plotting to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.