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FBI

FBI Arrests Palm Springs Man for Threatening Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott

Rep. Jim McDermott

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday arrested a 32-year-old Palms Spring, Calif., man on charges of making intimidating phone calls to a Democratic Washington state Congressman Jim McDermott that included threats to kill him, his family and friends.

Charles Turner Haberman was slated to appear in federal court in Riverside, Calif. on Wednesday.

Authorities said that Haberman made threatening expletive-laden calls to McDermott’s Seattle office on Dec. 10 around midnight. The rants included outrage over Congressional spending.

Justice Dept. Fights Back Against Attempts to Muzzle Holder and Others in Portland Terrorism Case

Eric Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is fighting back attempts by defense attorneys to muzzle Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. and other government workers when it comes to pre-trial comments in the terrorism case involving a teen who tried to detonate a bomb in Portland during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December. It ended up being an FBI sting.

Holder publicly defended the sting and subsequently the defense for Mohamed Osman Mohamud filed a motion to try and prevent pretrial comments, alleging that remarks could taint the case.

Responding to that motion, Portland Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan Knight and Jeffrey Sweet filed a brief Monday, saying:

“It is clear that the Attorney General’s remarks struck a proper balance between defendant’s due process rights and the need to inform the public on law enforcement actions.

“The need to inform the public was especially true with respect to sting operations, which although not new have garnered a lot of publicity in the context of this case and others like it.

“Based on the statements described above, defendant now seeks an Order from this Court prohibiting the Attorney General from making “inappropriate pretrial comments.” Defendant’s argument is predicated on the assumption that the Attorney General’s comments were, in fact, somehow inappropriate. They were not.

“As the chief law enforcement official for the United States government, it is entirely appropriate for the Attorney General to address issues of public concern in pending federal cases.”

Moreover, defendant has cited no precedent for the type of order he seeks, and we have found none.”

Read Government Filing

Hundreds of FBI Agents Investigating Arizona Shooting

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Days after the tragic shooting in Arizona, hundreds of FBI agents are tracing the steps of shooter Jared Loughner, trying to figure out motive, a timeline leading up to the incident and who he had been in contact with, NPR radio reports.

NPR reported that inside the bureau the investigation is known as a “bureau special”, which means agents from around the country are working the case.

The public radio station reported that Loughner isn’t talking.

“Usually in a case like this, agents will try to account for literally every day of a suspect’s life going back years,” Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director with the bureau told NPR. “Investigators will look for other possible associates, or any indication that someone might have talked Loughner into the attack. Even though it appears he was caught red-handed — in this case he was literally tackled at the scene — it helps the prosecution if there is a motive.”

Listen to NPR report

Border Patrol Agent Busted for Harboring Illegal Immigrants Including His Father

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent in San Ysidro, Calif., was busted Monday on charges of harboring illegal immigrants in his home including his father, who had been convicted of  marijuana possession for sale and was twice deported to Mexico, Fox5 San Diego reported.

The station, citing the FBI, reported that agent Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station.

On Tuesday, a federal SWAT team raided Manzano’s house and arrested suspected undocumented immigrant Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena,26, the station reported. He had been living in the house since late last year along with Mazano’s 46-year-old father, authorities alleged.

The father, who is on the run, faces federal immigration violation charges, Fox5 reported. Manzano is also charged with lying to Border Patrol agents who asked about his father’s whereabouts.

Ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Gets 3 Years in Prison; Remains Free On $10,000 Bond

Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The once powerful U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who had been under FBI investigation in  connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal,  but was never charged,  was sentenced  in state court Monday in Austin, Tex., to three years in prison for a scheme in which he illegally helped funnel corporate contributions to Republican Texas legislative candidates, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that DeLay remained defiant to the end, denying wrongdoing. He was jailed for three hours before he posted a $10,000 bond. He will remain free pending an appeal that could potentially take years.

“Everything I did was covered by accountants and lawyers telling me what I had to do to stay within the law,” the ex-House majority leader said in court. “I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did.”

AP reported that Senior Judge Pat Priest disagreed with DeLay, saying those who write laws should be bound by them.

DeLay had been convicted in November of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money launder for using a political action committee to illegally send corporate donations to Texas House candidates in 2002, AP reported.

The FBI and Justice Department had investigated DeLay in connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal. DeLay was never charged, but two of his political aides pleaded guilty in the case.

Men in FBI Gear Ransack Buffalo Home; Shoot Man and Pistol Whip Wifeles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Buffalo police are investigating a Monday morning home robbery that reportedly involved at least four men who were wearing FBI badges and jackets, radio station WBEN reported. A man was shot in the hand and his wife was pistol-whipped.

The station reported that  the  man claimed he was stopped by four or five men in FBI gear who forced their way into his van and forced him to drive to his home around 8:45 a.m.

The station reported that the men ransacked the home, tied up the wife and pistol-whipped her and shot the husband in the hand.

The suspects fled in a newer model Dodge Ram pick-up truck with black stripes on the hood and tinted windows, WBEN reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Movie Depicting Hoover as Having Gay Affair Rankles Some in FBI

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The bulldog-like mug of J. Edgar Hoover has long been synonymous with the FBI, a world-renowned law enforcement agency forever hyper-sensitive about its public image. Still, Hoover’s legend has taken its lumps over the years.

Now comes the latest: an upcoming movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover, in which the iconic G-man reportedly has a romantic affair with FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, his constant companion and alter ego.

Word of the movie — with the working title “J. Edgar” and slated for release later this year — is already stirring feelings among current and former FBI agents and employees, and raises the question: What does the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover mean to today’s FBI?

“Obviously it upsets me when he’s commonly portrayed wearing a dress or having an alleged relationship with Clyde Tolson,” says Terry Booth, a retired FBI agent who works for the bureau as a contract employee for its Law Enforcement Online program. “There are those who choose to believe it and those who choose not to. I think 99 percent of the agents don’t believe it.”

Some agents don’t care how Hoover is sexually portrayed in the movie. But there are plenty of others who do, who admire Hoover and feel his reputation is being unfairly besmirched as head of an agency that is still considered conservative and male dominated.

Whatever the case, there are those who say the FBI has moved on.

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website

“There are certainly people who are protective of his image,” says former FBI official Mike Mason, who left the bureau in 2007 as executive assistant director at headquarters. “As to his entire legacy, I don’t know how much time agents today think about it. I think the FBI has grown beyond the shadow of Mr. Hoover.”

It is certainly not the first time agents have seen Hoover portrayed in a fashion they find less than flattering. There have been articles and books and YouTube videos portraying him as a sexist and carrying on an affair with Tolson — and yes, even being a cross-dresser. In his later years, he was accused of overstepping his bounds, harassing political dissidents, building files on enemies and becoming far too powerful.

But a movie — which can sometimes have broader impact these days than print in shaping public opinion — has some current and former agents and employees uneasy.

Greg Stejskal, a retired 31-year veteran of the FBI and a columnist for the website ticklethewire.com, says Hoover should get credit for creating a first-rate law enforcement agency that lives on today.

“I think most of my generation and prior to that think Hoover has been done a disservice,” said Stejskal, who concedes that Hoover was far from perfect.

“He’s been vilified in the media, in Hollywood,” Stejskal said. “Unfortunately, he’s not around to defend himself. I think he’s blamed for a lot of things. But people forget things like the wiretaps on Martin Luther King were signed off by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers sat around and listened to some of the tapes, and they didn’t complain then.

“If in fact the reports are based on fact and he’s going to be portrayed as having a sexual relation with Clyde Tolson — or alluding to it — I don’t think that’s fair. There’s no evidence. I suspect Hoover was asexual and married to the bureau. I hate to see the new generation take this as fact.”

Hoover first became director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and 11 years later helped found the FBI, which he headed up until his death on May 2, 1972, at age 77.

Some agents and former agents referred to him as a trail blazer in law enforcement, a man who created a sophisticated machinery that relied on science and a world-class fingerprint collection and electronic listening devices.

“The guy was probably the founding father of modern law enforcement,” Stejskal said. “Did he do some things wrong? Probably. But there were a lot of good things. I think the FBI is what it is because of Hoover. I think we owe him. The American citizens owe him a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices he made. The worst crime is that he stuck around too long.”

Most agents agreed that the tactics Hoover used early on in his career did not play well, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the time he left, the FBI had no female employees and relatively few African-Americans.

Former agent Terry Booth says that even though he arrived at the FBI in 1983 after Hoover had long passed, his presence was felt.

“He was a legendary figure we heard about during our entire career,” Booth recalled. “When I was a new agent, I would see an older agent who worked under Hoover and had an autographed picture of him or a letter of commendation signed by Hoover; I was in awe.”

But some agents dismiss concerns about the new movie.

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry

“First off, who cares?” said one veteran FBI agent who asked not to be named. “I thought a little higher of Mr. Eastwood than that. But I don’t think it hurts the FBI. To me it’s just silliness. Why do it? The guy has been dead since 1972.”

Another agent simply said: “I think the bureau takes the good part of what he did. Without him we don’t have an FBI. He was kind of a visionary. That’s the backbone of how we got started. I think certainly some of the people still in the FBI who worked for him (support staff) drank the Kool-Aid and support him to the end. But I don’t care what he did in his free time. I could care less.”

Added another fellow agent said, “If he were gay today, everyone would applaud it.”

“Is he important? Yes, as the founding father. Is he George Washington? No,” said William M. Baker, who worked under Hoover, was former assistant director of the FBI at headquarters and is a director of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.

As for the movie, Baker said: “I think it could do damage to his reputation more than the FBI.”

But he dismisses suggestions that Hoover had a romantic tie to Tolson.

“It would be wrong I think if (Clint Eastwood) goes in that direction in any explicit detail. It would be imagination. I worked with agents who protected him and many who were close to him, and no one ever saw anything between the two men that one could use to jump off to depict a sexual relationship. I believe he was truly married to the FBI.”

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller’s Presence in Arizona Sends a Strong Message


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s a good thing that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III hopped a plane to Arizona to deal with the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed a federal judge and seriously wounded a member of Congress.

Sure, Mueller could have stayed back in Washington and gotten briefed regularly and made statements back here. But President Obama sent him out there, and it sends a strong message to the American people– even if just symbolic — that this country won’t tolerate such violence, particularly when it strikes at the heart of our government and our system.

Sure, Arizona has FBI agents on the ground and a special agent in charge, Nathan Thomas Gray. But it can’t hurt to have the big guy there.

Chances are, the gunman acted alone. But FBI and other law enforcement have to make sure. The FBI says its working on that.

In the meantime, Mueller’s presence sends a message that no resources will be spared in investigating this senseless tragedy.