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FBI

FBI Hunts for Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

The bombing occurred on Aug. 24, 1970. The country was in turmoil. Richard Nixon was president. The rock ‘n’ roll landscape was flush with giants like the Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. And campuses like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor were bubbling with the anti-war, anti-establishment sentiments that were polarizing the nation.

According to published reports, the protesters parked a van loaded with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil outside the East Wing of Sterling Hall, which housed the Army Math Research Center that conducted research for the military. The building also housed the physics department.

The potent bomb went off at 3:42 a.m. The bombers said the explosives were never intended to hurt anyone. But the blast killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, a father of three, who was reportedly finishing up some work before heading off on a family vacation. It also wounded three others and caused an estimated $2.1 million in damage to the the university. As an aside, The New York Times reported that Fassnacht’s family said he was against the Vietnam War.

After the bombing, the hunt for the attackers was on. Karleton Armstrong was captured in Toronto in 1972 and sentenced to 23 years, but served only about seven. His brother Dwight Armstrong, who just died this year, was caught in Toronto in 1977 and served three years. And David Fine was captured in California in 1976 and served about three years.

Retired FBI agent Kent Miller, a deputy coroner in Wisconsin, was assigned to the case in the late 1990s. He said he “goes back and forth” as to whether fugitive Burt is still alive.

“I think there’s a good chance he’s still alive,” he told AOL News. “If he’s alive, he’s living quietly somewhere, most likely outside the country.”

Over the years, he said, the bureau followed up on hundreds of tips — including ones that Burt was homeless in Denver and working at a Costa Rican resort.

Forty years later, the incident is still not easy for some to talk about. In 1971, Paul Quin, a physics researcher at the the university who was injured in the blast, told the Wisconsin State Journal: “Sometimes I still think about [the bombing]. It sends a shiver up my spine when I’m working late on Sundays.”

But on Monday, Quin, who is listed as a physics professor emeritus, declined an interview with AOL News.

“I do not discuss this event,” he responded by e-mail.

As time passes, some of the links are vanishing. In June, Dwight Armstrong died at age 58 in Madison, Wis., The New York Times reported. After getting out prison, he served additional time for involvement in a methamphetamine ring. He then drove a cab, the Times reported.

His level of remorse was left in question.

He once told the The Capital Times in Madison: “We did what we had to do; we did what we felt a lot of other people should have done,” he said. “I don’t care what public opinion is; we did what was right.”

Head of Boston FBI Vows to Try and Catch Whitey Bulger and Solve 1990 Museum Heist

Richard Delauriers/fbi photo

Richard Delauriers/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest head of the Boston FBI hopes to accomplish what his predecessors did not: Catch fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and solve the famous 1990 Gardner Museum art heist.

Richard DesLauriers said he plans to use “laser like focus” to solve the cases that will be among the top local priorities, the Associated Press reported.

DesLauriers, a 23-year veteran, took over the Boston office last month as special agent in charge.

Bulger is wanted in 19 murders and has been on the lam since 1995. Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist in 1990, valued at more than $500 million, remains a big mystery.

Ex-FBI Agent Gets 2-Year Prison Term for Illegally Selling Guns

50 caliber barrett rifle

50 caliber barrett rifle

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An El Paso FBI agent is headed off to prison.

John Shipley, now formerly of the FBI, was sentenced Tuesday in El Paso to two years in prison for illegally selling more than $118,000 worth of guns without a license and lying to ATF agents about the sales.

U.S. District Judge David Briones also ordered Shipley to be under supervised release for three years after serving in prison and that he forfeit 17 firearms including two 50 caliber Barrett rifles, ammunition, a silencer and $7,340 seized during the execution of a search warrant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A federal jury convicted him in April after less than three hour of deliberation. He was busted while working for the FBI and then put on unpaid leave.

ATF agents arrested Shipley last year after tracing back to him a .50 caliber rifle that was used in a drug cartel shootout in Chihuahua, Mexico, authorities said.

“This investigation shows ATF’s commitment into stopping the illegal trafficking of firearms that are fueling the cartel violence south of the border,” Robert Champion, ATF special in charge of the Dallas Division, said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Book Review: Ex-FBI Agent’s 7th Book “Intricate” and “Fast Moving”

Bricklayer_mm_c[1]

“The Bricklayer” by Noah Boyd is published by Harper Collins.

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethwire.com

In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Noah Boyd for over 30 years. I first met him in his former incarnation, Paul Lindsay, an FBI agent in Detroit. I was fresh out of the FBI Academy and had been assigned to the fugitive squad in Detroit .

Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was to my very good fortune to have Lindsay/Boyd as my training agent. (I will use Lindsay’s pen name Noah Boyd for simplicity.)

Boyd had earned a reputation as one of the best fugitive agents in the Bureau, that is, he was very good at finding bad guys who didn’t want to be found. Later in his career, Boyd would apply his considerable talents to cold cases and serial killers.

Boyd also had a talent for creative writing. In fact, he penned his first book in 1992 while he was still an agent in Detroit (under his true name). Since then he’s chalked up a total of seven novels – the latest being “The Bricklayer”. His writing has a gritty realism to it.

In “The Bricklayer,” he introduces a protagonist, Steve Vail, who is the quintessential American- Lone Ranger kind of hero. The first scenes in the book involve a bank robbery in which Vail physically subdues the bandits while the security cameras roll. Then before anyone can figure out who he is, he slips away.

Read more »

LA Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Inside Stock Info on Walt Disney Co. to Undercover FBI Agents

walt disney
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yonni Sebbag won’t be going to Disney World any time soon. In fact, he’s probably going to a place far scarier.

On Monday, in New York, Yonni Sebbag, 30, of Los Angeles,  pleaded guilty to conspiring with his girlfriend to sell insider information about Walt Disney Co. stock, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said.

Authorities say that Sebbag’s girlfriend Bonnie Hoxie, an assistant to Disney’s corporate communications chief, obtained confidential information about the company and gave it to Sebbag to sell.

Read more »

DEA Seeking Experts in Ebonics for Narcotics Cases

dea_color_logoBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

If you speak Ebonics, the federal government may have a job for you.

The Drug Enforcement Administration wants to hire people fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, transcribe and translate secretly recorded conversations in narcotics investigations, according to the website The Smoking Gun and DEA documents.

The Smoking Gun reports that up to nine Ebonics experts will work with the DEA Atlanta Division after obtaining “DEA Sensitive” security clearance.

Ebonics, or “Black English,” generally is defined as a nonstandard form of English spoken by African-Americans.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Hunts For Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

To read more click here.

FBI Tracked Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant

Bear Bryant

Bear Bryant

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI kept tabs on civil rights lawsuits filed by blacks 40 years ago against legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama’s  Crimson Tide, the Associated Press reported.

The AP, which obtained FBI documents under the Freedom of Information Act,  reported that for nearly two years agent tracked suits by blacks who were trying to force Bryant to recruit African Americans.

The AP reported that it was unclear why the FBI followed the case, but suggested the agency under Hoover was interested in civil rights infractions.

Bryant died in 1983 at age 69.