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FBI

NY Times Editorial: A Reminder to the FBI

spy graphicBy The New York Times
Editorial Page

The day after Thanksgiving, 2002, was a slow day in the Pittsburgh office of the F.B.I., so a supervisor sent a special agent to a rally against the threatened war in Iraq to look for any terrorism suspects who might be there, just to ”see what they are doing.”

The peace rally was sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, which has opposed violence and armed conflict since the days of Vietnam, and consisted largely of people distributing leaflets.

There was not the slightest indication that there were any terrorists there or even the hint of a connection to terrorism. Nonetheless, the agent kept the leafleteers under surveillance and even took pictures.

It sounds like the paranoid approach to dissent of J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., but this and other abuses took place during the Bush administration. A report on the subject by the Justice Department’s inspector general is a reminder of how easily civil liberties can be cast aside during suspicious frenzies, such as that unleashed after the 9/11 terror attacks.

To read more click here.

FBI’s Troubled Computer Project to Go In House

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– The FBI is making a new move to try and bring its troubled computer project called the “Sentinel” under control, according to the Washington Post’s Capital Business report. The program has been plagued by endless glitches.

The paper reports that the FBI has decided to bring the project in house, with its IT division taking over from contractor, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin. The system has been designed to replace the FBI’s paper-based system for criminal investigation records.

The paper reports that the project is expected to go quicker and come within the $451 million budget. Lockheed Martin will be retained as a subject matter expert, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Weekend Series on Crime: The Detroit Mob

Drug Dealer Whose Wife Killed Pitts. FBI Agent Gets 25 Years

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The convicted drug dealer whose wife shot and killed a Pittsburgh FBI agent in 2008 during a raid at their home was sentenced Friday in federal court to 25 years in prison, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The paper reported that Robert Korbe, who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, gun and insurance fraud charges, faced a mandatory 20-year term, but could have gotten life.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti said Korbe threatened witnesses in his case from jail even after pleading guilty, the paper reported.

Law enforcement agents raided his home in November 2008. Korbe ran in the basement to get rid of cocaine and his wife Christina opened fire from upstairs and shot and killed FBI agent Sam Hicks, the paper reported. She faces charges in the shooting.

Korbe reportedly laughed when learning that the agent had been shot.

More TSA Workers to Get “Secret” Clearance

John Pistole/dhs photo

John Pistole/dhs photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration, which protects our airports, will be giving more employees secret clearances so they’ll have more access to intelligence, CNN reports.

CNN reports that the number of employees with “secret” clearances will go to 10,000 or one sixth of the agency’s workforce.

TSA Administrator John Pistole, formerly the number two person at the FBI, said the access will give frontline workers more information when trying to stop terrorists, CNN reported.

Pistole, who spoke before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee this week, said “a key lesson I took from my 26 years at the FBI is that one of the best tools we possess in our effort to combat terrorism is accurate and timely intelligence. Our enemies constantly evolve their methods and their tools…and it’s our job to stay ahead of them.”

Clint Eastwood Movie on J. Edgar Hoover Likely to Stir More Speculation

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Speculation over the lifestyle of J. Edgar Hoover is likely to heat up again as Clint Eastwood prepares to make a film at Warner Bros. on the legendary FBI director.

New York magazine’s website Vulture reports that that actor Joaquin Phoenix “is said to be the director’s top choice to play J. Edgar Hoover’s reputed paramour and protégé, Clyde Tolson.” Leonardo DiCaprio, at this time, is supposed to play Hoover.

In other words, the website is saying Tolson, the associate director of the FBI, will not  only play Hoover’s good buddy, but his lover as well.

For decades now there have been persistent  rumors about Hoover that some insist are simply that — just rumors with no basis or fact.

Still, the site reports: “For those unfamiliar with Tolson and Hoover, they really were the original “Ambiguously Gay Duo”: As the associate director of the FBI from 1947 to 1972, Tolson was in daily close contact with Hoover at the office, but even more interesting, the pair also dined, socialized in night clubs, and even vacationed together.”

“Neither man ever admitted to being gay, and Hoover was known for hunting down and intimidating those who dared questioned his sexual preference while he was alive,” the website reported.

“But Hoover’s actions in death seem to suggest they were more than simply pals in life: When Hoover died, Tolson was not only the beneficiary of Hoover’s life-insurance policy, he also inherited Hoover’s estate and moved into his house.”

Ex-New Orleans Detective Gets 3 Years For Helping Cover Up Police Shootings in 2005

new orleans police badgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-New Orleans police detective is headed off to prison.

Jeffrey Lehrmann was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for his role in covering up two police-involved shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured, the Justice Department announced.

He’s the first to be sentenced in the wide sweeping probe into the infamous bridge shootings.

Court documents show that Lehrmann learned from a supervisor that an officer on the bridge “shot an innocent man.”

He admitted that he and his supervisors created a report that included false statements by the officers involved in the shootings; false claims about a gun that had been planted by the investigator; and fabricated statements that came from non-existent witnesses, authorities said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Dir. Mueller Expresses Concern About al Qaeda’s Broadening Influence

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Senate Committee Wednesday that he’s concerned about terrorist plots against the U.S. coming primarily from three sources: core al Qaeda, al Qaeda’s affiliates, and homegrown extremists.

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, al Qaeda’s plots and plans primarily focused on using individuals from the Middle East or South Asia for such attacks,” Mueller told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“More recent plots—beginning in August 2006 with the attempted plan to commit attacks against U.S.-bound aircraft using improvised explosives devices—suggest al Qaeda is also putting more emphasis on finding recruits or trainees from the West to play key roles for these homeland-specific operations.”

He went on to testify:

“The 2009 plot led by Najibullah Zazi to attack the New York subway was the first known instance since 9/11 that al Qaeda had successfully deployed a trained operative into the United States.”

“The fact that Zazi and his associates had access to the United States and were familiar with the environment here from an operational security and targeting perspective demonstrates how al Qaeda can leverage Americans.”

Read more »