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FBI

Justice Dept. Reviewing FBI Policy on Recording Interviews

sony tapeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In a practice that has long been a contentious issue, a Justice Department advisory committee is reviewing the FBI practice of memorializing interviews with suspects in handwritten notes rather than recordings, the website Main Justice is reporting.

The website reported that the issue has become pronounced since an increasing number of local and state law enforcement agencies are recording statements via video and audio recording devices, Main Justice reported.

The website reported that FBI police forbids agents from recording interviews without the OK of the special agent in charge.

“In the past, the bureau and other federal law enforcement agencies have strongly argued against proposals that would require agents to electronically record interviews, on the grounds that they could hinder rapport-building, discourage suspects from speaking candidly and expose juries to unsettling interrogation techniques,” the website reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

UPDATE: Video Shows White Man in 40s Suspiciously Walking Away from Area of NY Car Bomb

Law enforcement officials hold press conference/fbi photo

Law enforcement officials hold press conference/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

New York law enforcement investigators on Sunday were looking at a surveillance tape that showed a white man in his 40s who appeared to be walking away from the area where a car bomb was placed Saturday evening in Times Square, looking over his shoulder and removing a layer of clothing, the New York Times reported.

The Times also reported that there was no evidence  supporting a claim by a by a Pakistani Taliban group that it was responsible for the car bomb. The group has a reputation for making such false claims, the Times reported.

On Sunday, the FBI office in New York issued a press release stating:

“FBI and NYPD investigators are aware of the various reports of claims for placing the car and device in Times Square. As we’ve seen previously, it is not uncommon after any similar event for claims of responsibility to be made—and those claims will be investigated. Knowingly providing false information can be a crime.

“Since the beginning of the investigation, there have been numerous reports in the public domain, many of which will eventually be determined to be inaccurate.”

The New York Daily News reported that investigators were also looking into the possibility of a link to threats made to Comedy Central after an Islamic group expressed anger about a South Park cartoon that mocked Islamic Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a mascot bear.

FBI and NYPD Hunt For Culprit Who Left Crude Car Bomb in Times Square

Bye Bye N.Y.?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and New York police were trying to find out Sunday who left a Nissan Pathfinder with a crude bomb inside in Times Square Saturday night that prompted the evacuation of parts of the city on a busy Saturday night.

FBI agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI in New York, told ticklethewire.com Sunday morning that investigators were sifting through the evidence and following up leads around the country.   Authorities said the bomb, comprised of propane, gasoline, fireworks, clocks and wires, could have caused serious damage.

News reports said the device had started to detonate, but there was no explosion.

“We are very lucky,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a 2:15 a.m. press conference in Times Square, according to the New York Daily News. “We avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

He said investigators were checking video cameras around the city, but so far they had not come up with anything showing someone running from the car.

“We had no idea who did this or why,” he said.

The Daily news reported that a large chunk of Midtown — from 43rd Street to 48th Street, and from Sixth to Eighth Avenues — was closed for much of the evening. The smoking car was spotted by a t-shirt street vendor off Broadway on 45th Street, who notified police, the Daily News reported.

The federal government views the incident a “potential terrorist attack,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday, according to the Daily News.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Napolitano told CNN‘s “State of the Union” program. “We’re treating it as if it could be a potential terrorist attack.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWKAQG86hM

Justice Dept. Won’t Appeal $101.7 Mil Verdict for 4 Framed by Boston FBI in 1965 Murder

bostonBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has decided not to appeal a $101.7 million civil suit award to four men framed by the FBI in a Boston area murder, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ruled in 2007 that the FBI was “responsible for the framing of four innocent men’’ in the 1965 murder of a small-time criminal, Edward “Teddy’’ Deegan just outside Boston, the Globe reported. The judge ruled the FBI deliberately withheld the info. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ruling last year, though it said the award was at the outer edge of permissible awards.

Victor J. Garo, the lawyer for one of the framed men, Joseph Salvati, said his client will receive $31 million, plus $2 million in interest, the Globe reported. His client spent more than 29 years in prison for the wrongful conviction.

The Globe reported that other wrongfully accused men in the lawsuit are Peter J. Limone and the families of Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo. Greco and Tameleo died in prison.

To read more click here.

Ex-Chicago FBI Agent Lead Double Life as a Gangster

Vo Duong Tran was an American success story who escaped Communist Vietnam as a kid and grew up to be an FBI agent. Problem was, he was crooked. Reporter Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of an FBI agent gone bad. Tran was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for planning a home invasion of a drug stash house in California in what ended up being an FBI sting.

fbi logo large

By Steve Warmbir
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — Vo Duong Tran spent his 11th birthday in November 1978 on a cold, rainy Malaysian beach after he and his family made a treacherous voyage during monsoon season across the South China Sea to escape Communist Vietnam.

The old boat they rode in almost capsized a few times, then Tran and his family completed the journey by having to make a dangerous swim to shore.

After such a perilous trip, Tran’s family forgot all about his birthday, as an uncertain future in a refugee camp loomed before them.

But their luck soon turned. A Catholic church in Connecticut brought them to America, where for years Tran would make his family proud.

Once hobbled by asthma as a boy, Tran turned himself into a hulking man, bulging with muscles.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Tran went on to fight crime and join the FBI, where he investigated traditional and Asian organized crime in Chicago.

In his new homeland, Tran would use the first name Ben, and Ben Tran was an American success story.

At least on the surface.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Probing West Virginia Mining Accident That Killed 29

west virginiaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — We certainly haven’t heard the last of the explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 miners a few weeks ago.

NPR News is reported that the FBI is investigating the possibility that Mine Safety and Health Administration workers, who inspect mines, took bribes and whether the owner of the mine Massey Energy was criminally negligent.

NPR reported that unsubstantiated rumors have long circulated that inspectors have been on the take.

A federal law enforcement source told NPR that the probe was not focusing on the mine safety inspectors, but NPR said it was standing by its report.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Story of FBI Top 10 Fugitive “Whitey” Bulger

FBI Official Says Kidnappings in Texas Border Town “Off the Charts”

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI official in Texas told state lawmakers Thursday that kidnappings in the border town of McAllen, Tex., have nearly quadrupled over the last fiscal year, and most were drug related, the Associated Press reported.

John Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI McAllen office, said 42 people were kidnapped between October 2008 to September 2009 compared to 11 the year before, the AP reported. On top of that, he said, many kidnappings have gone unreported.

“Fiscal ’09 was off the charts,” Johnson said in McAllen to lawmakers who were holding a hearing to determined the security needs at the border, the AP reported.

To read more click here.