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FBI

FBI Director’s Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel W. Lee Rawls Dead at Age 66

W. Lee Rawls/ u of va. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — W. Lee Rawls, who served as chief of staff and senior counsel to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III until 2009, died earlier this month of acute leukemia in Washington, the Washington Post reported. He was 66.

The Post reported that he had previously served as assistant attorney general for legislative affairs under President George H.W. Bush and, from 2003 to 2005, as chief of staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

In the course of his career, Rawls also served as  vice president of the lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Kelly, and led government relations efforts for Pennzoil and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Post reported.

He also taught at the National Defense University in Washington and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Forcefully Defends FBI Stings in Terrorism Cases

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. delivered a forceful speech Friday night before the Muslim Advocates’ Annual Dinner in suburban San Francisco, strongly defending the FBI stings involving terrorism.

“Our nation’s law enforcement professionals have consistently demonstrated not just their effectiveness, but also their commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct, integrity, and fairness,” he said at a ballroom before hundreds of people.

Holder particularly honed in on an FBI sting in which a Somali born teen  Mohamed Osman Mohamud  tried to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., only to learn the plot was part of a sting.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law.”

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

“Their efforts helped to identify a person who repeatedly expressed his desire and intention to kill innocent Americans. As you may have read – and as the affidavit alleges – Mr. Mohamud chose the target location months in advance; provided FBI operatives with bomb components and detailed operational instructions; and repeatedly refused to change course when he was reminded that a large crowd – including children – would be in harm’s way.”

“Because of law enforcement’s outstanding work, Mr. Mohamud is no longer plotting attacks. He is now behind bars. And he will be brought to justice.

But he offered a conciliatory message as well, adding: ” But you also have my word that the Justice Department will – just as vigorously – continue to pursue anyone who would target Muslims, or their houses of worship.”

Holder then went on to defend law enforcement.

“Our nation’s law enforcement officials deserve our gratitude – and respect. Without their work – and their willingness to place public safety above personal security – government simply could not meet its most critical responsibility of protecting American lives.”

“Meeting this responsibility has never been more difficult. Our nation faces a determined and sophisticated enemy. As I’ve said repeatedly, I am committed to using every available tool to protect the American people. But I will not sacrifice or compromise our civil liberties.”

Read full text of speech

FBI Asks for Delay in Release of Anthrax Report by National Academy of Sciences

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy surrounding the conclusion of the anthrax investigation is surfacing again.

The New York Times reports that the FBI has requested a last minute delay in the release of an independent scientific report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The delay prompted Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), a critic of the probe, to proclaim that the bureau “may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure” the academy’s scientific panel “to reach a conclusion desired by the bureau,” the Times reported.

Holt, a physicist, made the remarks in a letter Thursday to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the Times reported. He said he found the delay disturbing.

The Times reported that the F.B.I. has told the committee that it wants to turn over an additional 500 pages of investigative documents even though the committee had requested all materials back in April 2009 when it began looking at the science involved in the probe that eventually pointed to scientist Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the Army’s bio-defense research center in Maryland. For years, investigators had mistakenly focused on another scientist from that laboratory, Steven Hatfill, who ended up successfully suing the government.

Ivins killed himself in July 2008 before federal authorities could file criminal charges.

FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said the FBI “continues to work with the National Academy of Sciences to support their ongoing review of the scientific approaches employed in the Amerithrax investigation,” according to the Times.

Prosecutor Drops Remaining Charges Against Miss. FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI agent Hal Neilson is no longer in trouble.

Federal prosecutor Richard Bourgeois on Wednesday dismissed three remaining counts the jury deadlocked on on Nov. 20, the Northeast Mississippi Journal reported.

The prosecutor indicated that U.S. can no longer “meet its burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Neilson, 49, of Oxford, Miss., was indicted Jan. 13 on five counts that he lied about his financial interests in the Oxford FBI building at 2106 University Ave., where he worked, the Journal reported.

“I am so happy to hear that,” said jury foreman Don Lambert of Booneville, Miss.

“Personally, I did not see enough evidence to convict him,” said Lambert, a resource officer for the Booneville schools, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Fed Jury Convicts 3 New Orleans Cop in Case Involving Murder and Burning of Body


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Thursday convicted three New Orleans cops in the Post-Katrina fatal shooting of citizen Henry Glover and the burning of his body and the cover up, the Justice Department announced. Two other cops were acquitted.

The jury found former New Orleans cop David Warren was guilty of a civil rights violation, resulting in death, for the Sept. 2, 2005, shooting of civilian Henry Glover, as well as use of a firearm during a crime of manslaughter, the Justice Department said.

The jury heard evidence that Warren shot Glover in the back as Glover was running away from him behind the Algiers strip mall.

During trial, evidence showed that Glover’s brother and a friend flagged down a passing motorist, “Good Samaritan” William Tanner, who put the wounded Glover in his car to try to get medical attention.

But when the group of men drove up to a makeshift police station seeking help for Glover, police officers surrounded them at gunpoint, handcuffed them, and let Henry Glover die in the back seat of the car, the Justice Department said.

Officer Greg McRae drove off with Tanner’s car, with Glover’s body inside, and burned both the body and the car with traffic flare, the Justice Department said.

McRae was convicted on two counts of civil rights violations. Lt. Travis McCabe was convicted of obstructing justice by writing and submitting a false report about the shooting of Henry Glover. He was also convicted of lying to the FBI and committing perjury by lying to a federal grand jury.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

The History of the First Joint Terrorism Task Force that Began in NY

Joe Valiquette is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and J. Peter Donald is a public affairs specialist for the FBI in New York. This is the first of a three part series written for the FBI.

By Joe Valiquette and J. Peter Donald

Thirty years ago, in the heart of New York City, on the 28th floor of 26 Federal Plaza, the very first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in the nation was established.

It was April of 1980; Supervisory Special Agent Barry Mawn would head up the newly designed task force with 10 agents from the FBI’s New York Field Office and 10 New York Police Department (NYPD) detectives.

They would pursue threats from the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, the Croatian Independence Movement, and many other domestic and international terrorist groups.

Along with pursuing these threats, some of the first investigations would be of major bank robberies perpetrated by domestic terrorist groups as well as bombings and other heinous crimes. The JTTF would be focused on continually gathering intelligence to proactively prevent attacks.

As FBI Director Robert Mueller recently said, “The New York JTTF was the first of its kind, and today, it remains among the very best of its kind. It has long been the ‘gold standard’ by which other JTTFs are modeled.”

Read more »

Suspected Baltimore Terrorist Caught in FBI Sting Was Aware of Sting in Portland

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The 21-year-old  Baltimore man busted  in an FBI sting on charges of trying to blow up a military recruitment center in Catonsville, Md., , was aware of the  FBI sting in Portland in November involving a suspected terrorist, but decided to move forward with his plan anyways, the Associated Press reported.

Antonio Martinez, who converted to Islam and goes by the name Muhammad Hussain, was arrested Wednesday. AP reported that Martinez told an FBI informant that he was aware of the Portland incident in which a Somali born teen was arrested after trying to detonate a car bomb in Portland at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony which turned out to be a phony one provided by the FBI.

AP reported that Martinez, after hearing about the Portland case in late November, called the informant and demanded to know who he was.

“I’m not falling for no b.s.,” he told the informant, according to AP. The informant told him to think about the thing overnight and call him, which he did. Martinez said he wanted to move forward.

FBI Busts Baltimore Man in Sting Who Tried to Blow Up Armed Forces Recruiting Station

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

In what has become an increasingly familiar scenario played out around the country, a Baltimore man was arrested Wednesday right after trying to detonate a phony bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Md., in what turned out to be an FBI sting.

FBI agents on Wednesday morning arrested Antoino Martinez,  also known as Muhammad Hussain, 21, in Catonsville on charges of attempting to murder federal officers and employees, and attempted use of weapon of mass destruction against property owned, leased or used by the United States, according to a criminal complaint.

In recent times,  similar FBI stings have been carried out in Portland,  Northern Virginia, Dallas and Illinois.

Read more »