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FBI

Somali Pirate Pleads Guilty in Manhattan

pirates-of-the-caribbeanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After decades of seeing pirates portrayed in Hollywood as sword waving, one eye-patched, mythical figures, America has gotten a real life glimpse of the 21st Century Pirate. And he’s not nearly as suave.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali pirate, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court to leading the attack on the U.S. vessel Maersk Alabama about 350 miles off the coast of Somali in April 2009. He also pleaded guilty to the hijacking of two other vessels in March and April of last year.

In the case of the  Maersk Alabama, authorities alleged that he and a group of pirates boarded the ship and then took Capt. Richard Phillips hostage on a life boat.

CNN reported that he apologized through an interpreter during court proceedings.

“What we did was wrong. I am very sorry for all of this,” Muse said, according to CNN. “All of this happened because of the government in Somalia.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement after the guilty plea, saying:

“Today, Abduwali Abdukhadir Musé admitted his leadership role in the armed hijacking of an American-flagged vessel and two international ships in the Indian Ocean. The five-day Maersk hijacking and the events leading up to it make clear that modern-day piracy is a crime against the international community and a form of terrorism on the high seas.”

Read Justice Department Press Release

Pakistani Ambassador Says 3 Men in NY Bomb Case Not Terrorists

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The three Pakistani men rounded up last week as part of the ongoing probe into the New York car bomb incident don’t appear to have links to terrorism, the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. told the Boston Globe.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani of Washington, whose statement was based on briefings from Pakistani officials, said it appears the men were taken into custody during questioning because of immigration violations, the Globe reported.

“For all we know, there will be no connection at the end of it,” Haqqani told the Globe in a telephone interview. “I’m a little critical of law enforcement who ran to the press first, because you can actually destroy people’s lives. So far, there is nothing that implies anything of a terrorist nature.”

After the FBI raids in three different states last week, authorities said the men may have provided money to the suspected car bomber Faisal Shahzad, but it was unclear if they knew what he was up to.

The Globe reported that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New York and Boston declined comment.

To read more click here.

EX-FBI Agent Who Was Always in the Thick of It Pens First Novel

Herman Groman

Herman Groman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While I was a reporter at the Detroit News covering the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit, FBI agent Herman Groman left his mark.

When the FBI ran a massive sting that netted a number of crooked local judges, Herman Groman was in thick of all of that.

A few years later, when the FBI conducted an undercover sting and got a bunch of crooked cops to provide protection for fake cocaine shipments, Groman was in the middle of all of that as well. Not only were cops convicted, but so was the common-law brother-in-law of then Mayor Coleman A. Young, who helped recruit some of the cops.

groman bookGroman eventually went off to the Las Vegas FBI office, where he went undercover, posing as a mobster.  In other words, if there was danger and excitement, Groman was often involved.

Now Groman, who has since retired from the FBI and is the director of security for a Las Vegas hotel/casino,  has taken all that knowledge and excitement and penned his first novel, a suspense thriller called “Pigeon Spring” that stars a fictitious lead character Matt Steel,  who happens to be an ex-FBI agent who is director of security at a Las Vegas hotel.

I should mention, for full disclosure, that I wrote one of the reviews on the book jacket before the book came out. So did entertainer Wayne Newton, ex-FBI agent Joe Pistone (aka Donny Brasco)  and NBC’s Chris Hansen.

Newton,  Mr. Las Vegas, wrote:  “Danke Schoen to Groman. His novel “Pigeon Spring” really captures the crazy hustle of Las Vegas and the wild pristine beauty of Nevada’s other side…the Sierra Nevada. He knows his way around a horse too. I enjoyed it cover to cover.”

The book goes on sale on  Tuesday.



President Nominates Deputy FBI Dir. John Pistole to Head Transportation Security Administration

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday announced plans to nominate FBI deputy director John Pistole — the number two man in the agency — to head up the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for the safety of the nation’s airport passengers.

He becomes the third Presidential  nominee for that position. The two others withdrew after questions were raised about their background.

“The talent and knowledge John has acquired in more than two decades of service with the F.B.I. will make him a valuable asset to our administration’s efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports,” President Obama said in a statement.”I am grateful that he has agreed to take on this important role, and I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.”

Pistole, who has a fair amount of fans over at FBI headquarters, has been the second in command since 2004.

The nomination comes at time the TSA is under increasing scrutiny and pressure to provide safe travels for the millions who pass through the nation’s airports. Pistole, who is regarded as a straight shooter,  is unlikely to face many problems in the confirmation process.  He’s expected to stay in his current post until the confirmation process is complete.

Previously, his name surfaced as one of four candidates being considered to head up the Drug Enforcement Administration. But in the end the nod went to the acting head of DEA,  Michele Leonhart. After that, his name had surfaced as a possible head for ATF, but that idea never went any where.

Read more »

Ex-FBI Agent Wants Director Mueller to Stand Up for Miranda Warning

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A retired FBI agent well versed in interrogating spies and terrorists, says he wants FBI Director Robert Mueller III to speak up and defend the reading of Miranda Warnings to suspects, the website Spy Talk reported.

Retired agent Joe Navarro said the Miranda Warning — giving suspects the right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney — doesn’t inhibit questioning, according to the Spy Talk.

“In 25 years working as an FBI agent, I found that the Miranda decision did not interfere with me in either obtaining usable information or making prosecutable cases,” Navarro wrote in an opinion piece in the weekend Tampa Tribune, according to Spy Talk.

“Miranda doesn’t interfere with making cases,” he added. “Incompetent investigators do.”

“It is unfortunate that the current head of the FBI has refused to step forward and say, ‘This is the law, and FBI agents will abide by it, end of story. We can do our job with Miranda,’ ” Navarro wrote.

“Sadly, few people in government have risen up to set the record straight and demand respect for the law.”

FBI Had Discussions About Moving Headquarters to Suburban Maryland

fbi headquarters2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI has had talks about moving its aging headquarters to Maryland, but the tanking economy may have put any plans on hold, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

A lawsuit filed by Greenbelt Ventures against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, says Metroland Developers was “secretly meeting with WMATA and the FBI analyzing a potential use of the WMATA property for the FBI’s relocation” in Greenbelt, a Washington suburb in Prince George’s County, Md, the Post reported. The FBI’s possible relocation was first reported in the Greenbelt News Review.

FBI spokesman Bill Carter told the Post there had been preliminary discussions to move the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW “before the economy tanked.” He said many sites were considered, but he was not aware of the Greenbelt location.

Carter told the Post that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) had pushed for a Maryland location, and that the National Harbor in Prince George’s County was under consideration.

Carter told the Post talks have not evolved since the economy tanked and that “I’m not aware of imminent plans to relocate the FBI at this time. Nothing has been decided.”

To read more click here.

FBI Files Show CBS’s Walter Cronkite Collaborated With Anti-War Protesters

Walter Cronkite/asu photo

Walter Cronkite/asu photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

No surprise that the FBI kept files on Walter Cronkite, one of America’s most influential newsmen.

Yahoo! News reported that it obtained FBI files through the Freedom of Information Act that show “Cronkite allegedly collaborated with anti-Vietnam War activists in the 1960s, going so far as to offer advice on how to raise the public profile of protests and even pledging CBS News resources to help pull off events.”

The documents said Cronkite encouraged Florida college students to invite Sen. Edmund Muskie to speak at a protest in 1969. The document said that Cronkite told the students that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser and that CBS would fly Muskie by helicopter to and from the rally, Yahoo! reported.

Cronkite died last year at age 92.

To read full story click here.

About 500 N.Y. Feds, State and Local Cops Bust Up Bloods and Latin King Gangs in Small Town

About 500 FBI and other law enforcement officers gather get briefed before raids/fbi photo

About 500 FBI and other law enforcement officers gather to get briefed before raids/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

About 500 federal, state and local police on Thursday converged on the town of Newburgh, about 50 miles north of New York City, to round up gang members of the Bloods and the Latin Kings, who authorities say have been responsible for a good chunk of crime and drug trafficking in the city along the Hudson River.

Law enforcement agents and officers raided dozens of homes, and as of Thursday, 23 of 78 gang members named in federal indictments had been arrested. About 34 were already in custody, authorities said. Newburgh has a population of about 29,000.

FBI agent Jim Gagliano (left) briefs acting adic George Venizelos (right) /fbi photo

FBI agent Jim Gagliano (left) briefs acting adic George Venizelos (right) /fbi photo

“In a city as small as Newburgh and as violent—there have already been four homicides this year, all directly related to gang violence—these arrests will have a substantial effect on the crime rate in the city,” FBI special agent Jim Gagliano, who who headed a 16-month, FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force investigation said in a statement.

The FBI said the task force had made nearly 100 drug buys totaling more than five kilos of crack cocaine.

“The majority of these buys were done while we recorded video and audio,” Gagliano said. “Not only did we get the subject’s voice on tape, we also see the exchange.”