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FBI

FBI Says Violent Threats Against Lawmakers Set Record in 2010

house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Politics can be a dirty game. It can also be a dangerous one.

The FBI reports that lawmakers were the target of more threats of violence in 2010 than in any other year on record, according to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Some threats involved health care legislation, The Hill reported. And politicians from both sides of the isle were targets including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The Hill reported the FBI opened, investigated and closed at least 26 threats against lawmakers.

Last March, The Hill reported, Pelosi got a call from a man who said: “I’m going to come down there and put a bullet in your a– when you leave.”

A McConnell staff member got a call last year from someone who said: “I’m going to kill you and your senator and your staff.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Time Magazine: How The G-Man Got His Groove Back

“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.

Editorial Urges Portland Police to Rejoin FBI’s JTTF Squad

fbi photo

By The Portland Tribune
Editorial

PORTLAND, Ore. — In 2005 the Portland City Council voted to pull out of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force – leaving not only Portland, but also the region, with a void of local engagement in investigating and preventing acts of terrorism.

That absence should end this week as the City Council considers a resolution that not only returns Portland police officers to the terrorism task force, but also sets a national model for ensuring that civil rights are protected and local and national laws are followed along the way.

If the City Council needs a reminder of why it is important to act, it need only consider a Beaverton-area resident’s plot late last year to detonate a bomb on the night of the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

But in Portland – a community that seemingly fears imagined threats to civil rights more than the direct threat of terrorism – elected leaders often make strange choices.

To read more click here.

Judge Rules Against Muslim Groups But Blasts Government

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There was good news and bad news for Muslim activists who sued to get FBI files on their activities.

The bad news was that a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif., ruled Wednesday that the groups cannot have access to most of the files because of national security issues, the Associated Press reported.

The consolation prize for the group was that the judge blasted the government for misleading the court about the existence of the files, AP reported.

“The government’s representations were then, and remain today, blatantly false,” Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote. “The government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the court.”

Six Muslim groups and five individuals sued the government in 2007 to gain access to records after they alleged the government was unlawfully targeting Muslims in Southern California, AP reported.

Suspected Terrorists Can Still Legally Buy Guns


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Apparently suspected terrorist have the right to buy guns too.

The Associated Press reported that 247 people with suspected terrorism ties bought guns last year in the U.S. after going through the mandatory background check, according to FBI stats.

AP reported that it is not illegal to buy guns even if you’re on the terrorist watch list.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. has been trying to change the law to address that issue, AP reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Wash. Field Office Gets Piece of Pentagon Wall From 9/11 Attack

James McJunkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI agents at the Washington Field Office hardly needed anything to remind them of the devastating aftermath of 9/11,  and the plane crash at the Pentagon that killed 184 folks.

Nonetheless, it was nice gesture Wednesday when the office  was presented with an 800-pound limestone block recovered from the west facade of the Pentagon after the plane crash.

The stone was presented during a military ceremony at the field office in Washington, blocks from the U.S. Capitol. It  will  be displayed in the lobby of the building.  Agents responded to the Pentagon minutes after the crash.

“The relationship we share with the Military District of Washington, Arlington County Fire, and other first responders was formed long before that fateful day,”  James McJunkin, assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said.

“In the years since, these bonds have grown as one of the few positive legacies of September 11. The FBI is stronger now because of these partnerships. What emerged from that scene at the Pentagon ten years ago should instill in every American today a sense of confidence in the skill, courage and keen coordination within of our Nation’s law enforcement and first responders.”

John Perren

“This stone serves as a reminder of the past and is a tribute to the injured and the 184 lives lost at the Pentagon nearly ten years ago,” said Karl Horst, Major General, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. “Today we remember how our partners at the Bureau reacted with extraordinary heroism when – without warning – they were called upon to perform their duty in the midst of an unimaginable act of terrorism. ”

Mike Rolince/knights of columbus photo

Speakers at the ceremony included former FBI agent Michael Rolince, who was Section Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI Headquarters on 9/11 ; FBI Deputy Assistant Director John G. Perren, Criminal Investigation Division, FBI Headquarters , who was a supervisory special agent for the WFO’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on 9/11; Major General Karl R. Horst, Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and  McJunkin, who now heads up the FBI Washington Field Office.

FBI Agent Commits Suicide in Maine

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wasn’t saying much last week about the suicide of an FBI agent, who shot himself  in the Portland, Maine area over the weekend of April 24, according to sources.

The agent was in his early 50s, one source said.

FBI agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the Boston FBI Division, which includes Maine,  told the ticklethewire.com:

“The type of question which you are inquiring (about)is not something the FBI would comment on.”

Last year, an FBI agent assigned to Quantico committed suicide.

IG Report Says Some FBI Agents Lack Skills to Probe Computer Intrusions


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department Inspector General report issued Wednesday says a third of the agents it interviewed, who probe national security-related computer intrusions, lacked certain skills to competently do their jobs.

Specifically, the  report said of the of 36 agents interviewed at 10 field offices, 13 “lacked the networking and counterintelligence expertise to investigate national security intrusion cases.”

“One agent told us that he was assigned his first counterterrorism intrusion case but he did not know how to investigate a national security intrusion case,” according to the report.

The report also said the FBI’s inter-agency cyber security task force sometimes failed to share essential info with its task force members.

Jenny Shearer, an FBI spokeswoman, told Bloomberg news that the report was a snapshot of the FBI’s cyber division taken from a few field offices.

She said Congress has limited appropriations, but the FBI spends more in this area than appropriated, she told Bloomberg.

“We’re working hard on it,” she said.

Read report