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FBI

Movie Director Is Critical of Upcoming J. Edgar Hoover Film

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Larry Cohen has issues — 17 pages’ worth — with “J. Edgar,” the movie now being shot here by Clint Eastwood for Imagine Entertainment and Warner Brothers with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role as J. Edgar Hoover.

Mr. Cohen is a writer and director who was in the news when his sister, the publicist Ronni Chasen, was murdered last year, and whose “The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover” was released in 1977 with Broderick Crawford in the lead. He has now compiled a lengthy critique of the new Hoover film, based on his reading of a screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for “Milk.”

Mr. Cohen’s biggest gripe is what he describes as the film’s portrayal of Mr. Hoover, the longtime director of the F.B.I., “as a closeted gay man.”

To read more click here.

Ex-Ohio Judge Convicted of Lying to FBI

Judge Bridget McCafferty/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It could be prison time for a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty in Ohio, who was convicted on Friday in federal court of 10 counts of lying to the FBI,  the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Authorities charged that she lied to agents investigating a political ally, then-County Auditor Frank Russo, and improper influence in the court, the paper reported. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Authorities claim the judge lied to FBI agent who came to her Westlake, Ohio home on Sept. 23, 2008, the Plain Dealer reported. The paper reported in closing arguments that the prosecutor said she lied because she didn’t want to help the FBI build a case and she wanted to avoid public embarrassment as a judge.

Sentencing is set for June 2.

FBI Tries to Keep Unsolved Murder of Seattle Fed Prosecutor in Public Eye

Thomas Crane Wales/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to keep the unsolved 2001 murder of Seattle federal prosecutor Thomas Crane Wales out in the public eye.

The latest: The FBI has posted on its website a summary of the case along with Wales’ photo and reminder that the Justice Department is offering up to a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman.

Authorities said Wales, who was a federal prosecutor for more than 18 years, was shot in his basement around 10:40 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2001 as he sat at a desk working on his computer.

Authorities said the shooter stood in the backyard of Wales’ home and shot him several times through a basement. Wales died the next day.

Wales graduated from Harvard University in 1974 and went to Hofstra Law School. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle in 1983 and specialized in fraud prosecutions. He is survived by two adult children.

FBI Casts Wide Net Under Relaxed Rules for Terror Probes

By Charlie Savage
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Within months after the Bush administration relaxed limits on domestic-intelligence gathering in late 2008, the F.B.I. assessed thousands of people and groups in search of evidence that they might be criminals or terrorists, a newly disclosed Justice Department document shows.

In a vast majority of those cases, F.B.I. agents did not find suspicious information that could justify more intensive investigations. The New York Times obtained the data, which the F.B.I. had tried to keep secret, after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

The document, which covers the four months from December 2008 to March 2009, says the F.B.I. initiated 11,667 “assessments” of people and groups. Of those, 8,605 were completed. And based on the information developed in those low-level inquiries, agents opened 427 more intensive investigations, it says.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Gives Out Community Leadership Awards

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wr8YjpHW1A

Here are some examples of the individuals and organizations selected to receive the award.

  • An Arkansas woman who became a tireless advocate for the elderly after members of her family experienced nursing home abuse;
  • An organization in Buffalo that provided resources and assistance to victims who came to light during an FBI human trafficking investigation;
  • A former NASA astronaut and successful businessman in Houston who established a foundation that invests in community-based initiatives that empower individuals, particularly minorities and the economically disadvantaged;
  • A former deputy fire chief from Louisville who promotes emergency preparedness among first responders and members of the public;
  • A St. Louis doctor who risked his career to help uncover massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud being perpetrated by the health care company he worked for; and
  • A county school employee in Tampa who created a program for at-risk young males that is now used by the state attorney’s office as a diversion program for first-time offenders

To see photos of award winners click here and then click on the individual states on the right hand side of the page.

FBI Agent Gets 2 Years for Threatening Head of Dallas FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s off to prison for ex-FBI agent Carlos Ortiz Jr. who threatened to harm his estranged wife — an FBI analyst — and the head of the Dallas FBI.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater in Dallas on Friday sentenced Carlos, 49, to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to a charge of retaliating against a federal official, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He had been locked up since his arrest in August.

Robert Casey Jr. , head of the Dallas FBI, suspended Ortiz without pay in May after Ortiz’s wife accused him of domestic violence. They have a elementary school aged son.

Authorities alleged that in August Ortiz spoke to a friend by phone, who is a licensed firearms dealer, and said he was looking for a .50 caliber rifle, which are used by military snipers.

He also made threats against Casey and his wife and accused them of having an affair, something FBI officials denied. A friend notified the FBI. Casey fired Ortiz on Aug. 25.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, during a phone conversation with a friend, Ortiz said of the Casey, head of the Dallas FBI: “I’m definitely gonna [expletive] on his grave, I might just put a .308 down his [expletive] (unintelligible).”

During the call, Ortiz expressed anger at losing his job with the FBI, saying “and what do I have for 26 years, one more year away from retirement? [expletive]. And an OPR.”

In August, on the day of his arrest, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said agents executed a federal search warrant at Ortiz’s home and car and found a “signed sworn statement” by Ortiz that said about his boss:

“Mr. Casey has broken me as a man and human being, with his constant threats and follow through terminating me leaving with no way to sustain my son. Mr. Casey never listed (sic) to me and has left me no options.”

“Finally that if Mr. Casey was not allowed to have so much power unchecked this would have never happened.”

Authorities said the statement was in an envelope with the notation: “DAD TAKE TO THE PRESS.”

Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover Movie to Film in D.C. This Weekend

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Signs of Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film on J. Edgar Hoover should be popping up in Washington this weekend.

The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column reports that the film will shoot scenes on Saturday and Sunday involving Leonardo DiCaprio, who will play the big guy, J. Edgar Hoover.

That’s all according to the D.C. Film Office.

Scientists in Anthrax Case Still Have Doubts and Questions

One of the real anthrax letters in 2001/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Like the JFK assassination, the mystery and the persistent questions about anthrax killings in 2001, won’t go away.

The latest is a detailed article in the magazine WIRED, by Noah Shactman, who writes that scientists involved in helping the FBI crack the deadly mystery still have lingering doubts and questions about the probe that concluded that civilian government scientist Bruce Ivins mailed the letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others.  Ivins committed suicide in July 2008 before prosecutors could file charges.

Schactman writes that Clair Fraser-Liggett, a  genetic specialist in Maryland who led the team that sequenced the DNA of the anthrax in the letters,  has reservations.  “There are still some holes,” she told the author.

In Flagstaff, Arizona, scientist Paul Keim, who first identified the anthrax strain in the case, told WIRED: “I don’t know if Ivins sent the letters.” The author also spoke to FBI agent Edward Montooth, who headed up the investigation, who said he’s convinced Ivins mailed the letters but he’s uncertain about the motivation and when he concocted the deadly anthrax.

“We still have a difficult time nailing down the time frame,” he says. “We don’t know when he made or dried the spores.”

The WIRED article was posted on the website on Thursday, just days after the FBI got some welcoming news from a report by the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel, which concluded Ivins’  psychiatric records “does support the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s)determination that he was responsible.”  A federal judge had ordered the panel to review the case and Ivins.

The FBI and Justice Department have faced a wave of skepticism from politicians on Capitol Hill, Ivins’ attorney and Ivins fellow scientists at Ft. Detrick in Maryland, who question whether Ivins was actually the culprit.

Their skepticism was bolstered in February by  a 170-page report by the National Research Council, which  found that the Justice Department overstated its case when it definitively concluded that the anthrax used in the deadly mailings came from a flask from Ivins’ laboratory at Fort Detrick labeled RMR-1029. The report, which was commissioned by the FBI,  said it did not rule out other possible sources.

“The scientific link between the letter material and flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary,” the report said.

However, Lehigh University President Alice P. Gast, who led the 16-member National Research Council Committee that reviewed the cutting-edge science used in the investigation, said: “We find the scientific evidence to be consistent with their conclusions but not as definitive as stated.

To read the full WIRED story click here.