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FBI

Atty. Gen. Holder Says He Hopes FBI Director Confirmed Way Before Sept.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The hunt for a new FBI director — and the Senate confirmation —  will hopefully be completed way before Robert Mueller III retires Sept. 4, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Tuesday.

“The goal is to have somebody nominated and ready to go,” Holder told reporters, according to USA Today. “We have to move relatively soon.”

“Bob is a hard person to replace,” Holder said of Mueller, according to USA Today. In September, he will have served out his 10-year term.

The names of a number of candidates have surfaced including Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald; ex-FBI agent Mike Mason, who heads of security at Verizon; ex-deputy attorney general James Comey; Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole, who was the number two person at the FBI; Ken Wainstein, who oversaw the Justice Department’s National Security Division; former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton and N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

For a period of time, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald appeared to be on the very short list. But his chances — at least for a while — were damaged when he showed too much swagger publicly when announcing the indictment of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

To boot, the trial ended up being an embarrassment to Fitzgerald and his office. The jury only convicted Blagojevich of 1 of 24 counts — lying to the FBI.

The retrial could help his standing in the FBI director race if the outcome is more favorable to his office. Jury selection in downtown Chicago is currently underway.

The FBI Agents Association has endorsed Mike Mason. The endorsement could be helpful, but it only carries so much weight. He would become the first African American FBI director.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

Sen.  Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)  has been pushing N.Y.  Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who certainly has the resume. But Kelly has clashed repeatedly with the FBI over the years, and some folks in Washington might try to undermine his chances. Simply put:  There are plenty agents who hate him.

Plus,  he will be 70 in September.  It’s a 10-year appointment. Then again, nothing says he would have to serve out his full term.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-FBI Agent Turned Congressman Described as Hotheaded Agent in New Yorker Piece

Rep. Michael Grimm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Was New York Congressman Michael Grimm a hotheaded FBI agent with a chip on his shoulder?

That’s apparently the conclusion of an article in the latest edition of the New Yorker, according to the Staten Island Advance newspaper. Grimm, a former FBI agent, represents, Staten Island. He is a Republican.

“The 10-page story has unearthed a decade-old allegation that Grimm, during his days as an FBI agent, abused his authority and waved his gun during a nightclub dust-up with the husband of a woman he was dating,” the Staten Island Advance wrote.

The article quotes unnamed FBI colleagues. Some applauded him for his undercover work and others said they were bothered that he used his FBI career as a political springboard, the Staten Island reported.

The magazine piece includes agent Lawrence Ferazani, who said, “I wouldn’t question his integrity,” and “he never, ever, challenged the rules,” according to the Staten Island Advance.

Another agent called Grimm “a very good undercover” with a “big ego.” A former agent said, “He was not thought of very highly.”

On his Congressional website, here’s how he describes part of his career:

“It was during his tenure with the Fraud Squad that Michael started his undercover career becoming the first FBI Agent to successfully infiltrate Wall Street. Posing as a hedge fund manager during Operation Wooden Nickel, arguably one of the most successful White Collar undercover investigations in the history of the FBI, Michael obtained evidence against more than 50 individuals committing frauds spanning the spectrum from stock manipulation and currency scams to money laundering. After establishing a reputation as a reliable, “go-to” undercover agent, Michael was enlisted to investigate corrupt politicians in New Jersey, corrupt police officers in Florida, and various other cases. Michael has relentlessly fought corruption and served our country proudly.”

It’s an Oprah World We Live in; Prospective Blago Juror Wants to Attend Taping of Oprah Show


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let’s face it: There are few things in life more important than Oprah — at least in some circles.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a prospective juror in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said she didn’t want the trial to ruin her chance to attend a taping of the Oprah Show, which is in its final season. The final show will air May 25.

She said she has four tickets to attend the May 10 taping. The whole thing came up during the second day of jury selection on Monday.

The Sun-Times reported that U.S. District Judge James Zagel of Chicago said he could reschedule the trial that day, but added: “That seems a little over the top.”

“It’s the last year, judge,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said smiling, according to the Sun-Times.

Interestingly, the paper reported that the judge seemed open to a defense lawyer’s suggestion court be scheduled that day to accommodate the juror. No decision was made.

“Everybody here knows that this juror will survive” if she doesn’t make it to the show, Zagel said, according to the paper.

The paper reported that the juror is Hispanic, is a onetime domestic violence counselor at Mujeres Latinas En Accion, is a mother and a current member of AFSCME Local 106.

Blagojevich is on trial for the second time. In his first trial, he was convicted of 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

ATF Agents Shoot Suspect in Suburban D.C.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF agents shot and wounded a suspect in suburban Washington in Prince William County Monday night, WUSA reported.

The TV station reported that agents were wrapping up an investigation and moved in to make an arrest. However, the suspect tried fleeing in a car and attempted to hit the agents with the car, the station reported.

Agents opened fire on Dumfries Road near I-95 in Dumfries, Va.

Limited details were available late Monday night.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI’s Chris Briese Who Oversaw Interrogation Team for Saddam Hussein to Head Up Charlotte Division

Chris Briese/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

M. Chris Briese, the deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Team at Quantico, and who once oversaw  the interrogation team for Saddam Hussein,  is headed south to take charge of the bureau’s Charlotte Division, the FBI announced Monday.

Briese joined the FBI in 1987 and was first stationed in Los Angeles where he worked bank robberies, interstate theft, foreign counterintelligence and international terrorism matters.

In February 1996, he was promoted to the National Security Division in the Counterterrorism Planning Section at FBI headquarters, the FBI said. He was a founding member of the Weapons of Mass Operations Unit, and specialized in chemical and biological terrorism issues.

Two years later, he transferred to the Minneapolis Division in a supervisory role, and oversaw international and domestic terrorism, foreign counterintelligence programs and the St. Cloud Resident Agency.

He established the Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was responsible for the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of crimes related to the 9/11 attacks.

In July 2001, he became the assistant special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division.

In August 2003, Briese returned to the mothership in Washington as a section chief in the Counterterrorism Division. His duties included oversight of half the FBI’s global terrorism operations, including the FBI’s deployment in Iraq and the Saddam Hussein interrogation team.

In January 2005, he headed up the Pittsburgh Division. The following year, he returned to FBI Headquarters and worked in multiple executive positions within the National Security Branch, the FBI said.

He has a law degree from Louisiana State University Law School. He is married and the father of two teenage boys.

FBI Tells W. Va. Coal Mining Victims’ Family They May “Be a Victim of a Federal Crime”


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has fired off a letter to families of the miners who were killed last April at the Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W. Va., saying  that “you may be a victim of a federal crime,” the Charleston Gazette reported.

The two-page, March 28 letter, signed by FBI agent Joseph I. Ciccarelli of the Charleston field office, stated, according to the Gazette:

“As you may be aware, the FBI has instituted an investigation into various activities at UBB in an effort to determine whether any Federal crimes have occurred,” the letter said. “In connection therewith, you may be a victim of a Federal crime.”

The letter added: “This investigation can be a lengthy process and we request your continued patience while we conduct a thorough investigation.” The feds told the families they may wind up being eligible for certain government benefits afforded victims of crimes.

Twenty nine miners died in the accident.

Mob Family Thicker than Blood? FBI Probing Whether Ex-Mob Boss Put Out Hit on His Son

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Among the die hard mobsters, the Mafia is more of a family to them than their real families.

Case in point: The New York Daily News reports that the FBI is investigating the possibility that one-time Genovese family boss Dominick “Quiet Dom” Cirillo ordered a hit on his son Nicholas Mother’s Day in 2004.

The Daily News reported that the son vanished shortly after getting into a brawl in the Bronx with Bonanno soldier Dominick Cicale and second-generation gangster Vincent Basciano Jr.

The paper, citing sources, said the son was high on crack during the scuffle.

“There was concern the kid [Nicholas] was out of control and he was going to cause problems for the [Genovese] family,” a source told The News.

To read more click here.

FBI Steps Up Nationwide Hunt for Man Suspected of Trying to Bomb Colo. Mall

Earl Albert Moore/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Sunday stepped up its nationwide hunt for a 65-year-old, tattooed man suspected of  placing a crude bomb at  the Southeast Plaza Mall in Jefferson County, Colo. last Wednesday. The bomb never detonated.

The Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force released five additional photographs of suspect Earl Albert Moore, who the FBI described as being 200-225 lbs, 6’0” – 6’2”, gray mustache and multiple tattoos.

The FBI requested that he media distribute the new photos.

Authorities found a pipe bomb and two propane tanks in the stairwell of  the mall.

The Denver Post reported that Moore had been released from prison a week before the incident. He was serving time for bank robbery.

The bomb was planted on the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.