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FBI

FBI Agent Adrian Johnson Fired After Fatal Drunk Driving Accident in Maryland

Column: Congress Playing Games With USA Patriot Act

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax.com

Once again, members of Congress are putting our lives at risk by playing games with the USA Patriot Act.

Because of opposition of Democrats and some Republicans, crucial components of the act are set to expire on May 27 after Congress agreed to a temporary extension.

The provisions deal with roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” terrorism suspects, and the government’s ability to seize “any tangible thing” such as records.

Roving wiretaps simply allow a judge to authorize electronic surveillance of a terrorist suspect regardless of what phone he uses.

Prior to passage of the law, the FBI had to return to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for new authorization each time a terrorist changed phones. While the FBI applied for new authorization, a terrorist could have changed phones again and blown up an airplane in mid-flight.

To read full column click here.

WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST

Insurance Co. Sues After FBI Agent Smashes Up $750,000 Ferrari

Photo of Ferrari F50 -- not the one involved in suit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Lesson here: Be careful with the evidence.

A Michigan insurance company is suing to find out more details about a $750,000 Ferrari  F50 an FBI agent smashed up while it was being held as evidence, the Detroit News reports.

Motors Insurance filed a federal lawsuit this week in Detroit to get records under the Freedom of Information Act about the incident. The Justice Department has refused to release the information, the suit claims.

The lawsuit says the car was stolen from a dealership in Rosemont, Pa., in September 2003, and that Motors Insurance paid the claim, the News reported.

Five year later, law enforcement recovered the car in Kentucky.

The lawsuit claims the car was stored during an investigation and prosecution of a thief, the News reported.

At some point, while still in the hands of federal authorities, an FBI special agent took it for a ride, lost control and smashed it into a tree in Lexington, Ky., the News reported.

The insurance company then filed a claim against the FBI for $750,000. But last March, the feds rejected the claim on the grounds that the car was evidence being detained by the FBI. A second claim by the company was rejected in September, the New reported.

Then attempts by the insurance company to get documents from the feds relating to the car were unsuccessful, the News reported.

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller told the News: “Needless to say we need to see the suit and make a determination on how we’d respond in court.”

FBI Sends Letter Warning Stores About Suspicious Purchases of Fertilizer and Chemicals

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –The easy to purchase farm supplies and chemicals continue to concern the FBI.

The bureau has sent out a reminder to farm supply stores and other businesses in the U.S. to watch for unusual or suspicious purchases of fertilizer, pesticides and other substances that could be converted into explosives, ABC News reports.

ABC reported that the letters were not sent in response to a specific threat or the arrest this week of a Saudi student in Texas who had purchased chemicals as part of a plot to blow up nuclear plants, President George W. Bush’s home and the homes of some soldiers who had been stationed at Abu Ghraib.

“It’s a continuing outreach effort to develop relationships with business and entities that may come across suspicious activities,” Michael Rankin, acting special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Denver told ABC News.

According to ABC, the letter said:

“Current trends in terrorist bombings show that fertilizer-based explosives are continuing as a threat throughout the world,” the letter states. “Ammonium nitrate and urea-based fertilizers pose an explosive threat if prepared and initiated properly. In addition, certain pesticides can be used to cause widespread harm to people.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Saudi Student in Texas Arrested in Bomb Plot; Had Dallas Address of Pres. Bush

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari/lubbock sherrif's dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 20-year-old Saudi student living in Lubbock, Tex., who allegedly considered  targeting Americans including President George W. Bush and soldiers formerly stationed at Abu Ghraib, was arrested late Wednesday on terrorism-related charges.

The Justice Department charged Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his purchase of chemicals and equipment to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

“As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purchased ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researching potential targets in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of many agents, analysts, and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before it could advance further,” Assistant Attorney General David Kris said in a statement.

Read more »

NYT Report Questions FBI’s Role in Pirate Case That Resulted in Murder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — A New York Times story is questioning the actions of the FBI in connection with the four-day standoff with pirates off the Somalia coast that ended with all four crew members aboard a 58-foot yacht being murdered.

The Times reported that an F.B.I. hostage-rescue negotiator aboard the U.S.S. Sterett Naval ship was skeptical that two pirates who came aboard were serious about negotiating.

The Times reported the Americans subsequently held the two and sent word back to the yacht to send over someone serious about talking. The Times said what happened after is in dispute.

The paper reported that a fight broke out among the leaderless pirates, who may have feared being attacked by the Navy warships. The paper also wrote that “one person who has talked to associates of the pirates said their leader had told them that if he did not return, they should kill the hostages, though American officials say they do not know that to be the case.”

To read more click here.

Prosecutors in Blago Case Drop 3 Counts in Hopes of Simplifying Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After presenting what may have been too complex of a case for the jury to digest the first time around, prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption case moved Wednesday to drop three counts for the upcoming retrial, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The number of counts will now drop from 23 to 20. Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor, was convicted of only 1 of 24 counts in the first trial — for lying to an FBI agent. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

The Sun-Times reported that lawyers in the case said just dropping two racketeering counts should eliminate at least 30 pages of jury instructions.

One of the allegations is that Blagojevich tried selling President Obama’s Senate seat.

The paper reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in court the reduction in counts will help “streamline the length of the indictment” and the jury instructions.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Busts 17 Baltimore Cops in Towing-Car Repair Scheme


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI on Wednesday busted 17 Baltimore cops in an extortion scheme involving  two brothers who own a car repair, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The Sun reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint alleging that the brothers paid the cops to arrange for their company to tow cars at accident scenes, rather than city-authorized companies. The brothers also did the repairs on the cars.

An FBI affidavit alleged that the scheme had been going on since 2009.

The charges triggered some reader comments on the Baltimore Sun website including this one:

“Boy I’m so glad I retired in May, I’m so ashamed to have even been a part of the organization, when I see all the negative stuff going on there. I can’t help but feel that due to the consistently high attrition rate the place will always be sub standard. With the economy and all I understand money is a non issue but the working conditions have always been deplorable. I honestly feel so sorry for the citizens, they deserve so much better, COME ON LADIES AND GENTLEMAN OF THE AGENCY, HAVE SOME PRIDE!”

Read the Criminal Complaint