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FBI

Police Chiefs Convention Adopts Community Watch Program for Terrorism

It’s good to use people in the community to help look for suspicious activities. But this, as agencies like the FBI have learned in the Post 9/11 era, can create an endless stream of worthless tips. Too much encouragement may create endless busy work. FBI Director Robert Mueller III is scheduled to speak at the conference later today.  It will be interesting to see if he addresses this particular issue.police-chief-logo

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and P. SOLOMON BANDA
Associated Press
DENVER — A store clerk’s curiosity about why Najibullah Zazi was buying large quantities of beauty supply products indicated that something about the transaction wasn’t quite right – and it’s an example of the kind of citizen vigilance that can combat terror, a police commander said Saturday.

Los Angeles police Cmdr. Joan McNamara cited this summer’s incident as police chiefs meeting in Denver adopted a model for a nationwide community watch program that teaches people what behavior is truly suspicious and encourages them to report it to police.

For Full Story

Terrorism Probes Test FBI-Muslim Relations

This endless tightrope act will continue so long as these types of investigations pop up. And so far there’s no sign of these probes vanishing any time soon. The FBI is going to have to work hard on it’s relations with the Muslim community, something it has tried to work on in the post-9/11 era, and not always with success.

mosque

By Carrie Johnson and Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Investigators seeking to uncover terrorist plots for years have walked a fine line between keeping tabs on the Muslim community and alienating the same people who could serve as an early warning signal.

That tenuous balance has been tested again in what law enforcement authorities say is one of the most worrisome terrorism investigations in decades, the unfolding case against Denver shuttle bus driver Najibullah Zazi, who has been charged with conspiracy to unleash weapons of mass destruction in the form of hydrogen peroxide bombs.

For Full Story

FBI Busts Man Who Secretly Filmed Nude Videos of ESPN Reporter Erin Andrews in Hotel

It’s these little things in life — like this — that make you lose just a little more faith in mankind. Defendant Michael David Barrett may have saw this as a game, but ESPN and the FBI didn’t.  The FBI arrested him Friday at O’Hare Airport.

Erin Andrews/ espn photo
Erin Andrews/ espn photo

By CAROLINE KYUNGAE SMITH, DAVE NEWBART AND DAN ROZEK
CHICAGO SUN-Times
CHICAGO — Before secretly taking nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in at least two cities, Michael David Barrett allegedly called several hotels to find out where Andrews was staying and in one case, reserved the room next door to hers.

The 47-year-old Westmont man then altered the peepholes to Andrews’ room, so he could record videos of her as she undressed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says.

Today, Barrett appeared in federal court and was ordered transferred to California, where interstate stalking charges were filed against him.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys scheduled a hearing Monday to determine whether Barrett would be freed on bond, as his attorney requested, or taken to California in custody.

For Full Story

FBI Busts 39 in Scheme to Bribe D.C. Taxi Official for Licenses

Sean Joyce Named Assist. Dir. of FBI’s International Operations Division

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Sean Joyce, a Boston native, is the new assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division. He replaces Tom Fuentes, who retired.

“The International Operations Division’s scope of responsibilities is greater than ever, given the importance that relationships with international law enforcement partners and other parts of the government hold to our overall national security mission,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller III in a statement. “Sean’s knowledge and his experience in criminal and national security matters make him an excellent fit for the job.”

Joyce joined the FBI in 1987 and initially went to the Dallas Division, where he investigated violent crimes. He then went on to focus on Colombian drug trafficking in the Miami Division, the FBI said.

Read more »

FBI Seizes Well-Traveled Fake Andrew Wyeth Painting

fbi-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If only this were our biggest crime problem in America.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the FBI seized “a well-traveled forgery of a 1939 Andrew Wyeth watercolor, the fourth such counterfeit painting to surface since the artist’s death in January.” Art fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry.

The paper reported that U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss of Wilmington said the same painting — “Wreck on Doughnut Point” — has been offered for sale several times since 1998 even after Wyeth had said it was a forgery.

Authorities announced that a California man who was trying to sell the painting won’t be charged because he too thought it was real. The real painting is worth about $100,000.

Wyeth’s paintings have gotten attention from the FBI in the past including in 2001 when it recovered a painting that had been stolen from a Chicago art gallery in 1967.

Fed Judge Orders Govt. to Release Substantial Part of FBI Interview With Ex-V.P. Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney/meet the press

Dick Cheney/meet the press

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A federal judge issued a ruling Thursday saying the government has to release a substantial portion of  an FBI interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney tied to the probe into the leak identifying CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations wanted to keep the 2004 interview confidential. They argued releasing the materials might prevent future vice presidents from cooperating in criminal probes.

But Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting to see what amounted to 67-pages of records documenting the interview.

U.S. District Judge Emmet J. Sullivan, in his ruling on Thursday wrote because the case is over: “The court concludes that the agency has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the requested documents were properly withheld in their entirety under any FOIA exemption protecting law enforcement interests.”

But he added: “Limited portions of those documents, however, were properly withheld under exemptions designed to protect information that is privileged or that could impinge on personal privacy or threaten national security.”

Read Judge’s Ruling

Fed Judge Says FBI is Liable For Murders by Boston Mobsters; Awards Families $1.85 Mil

The outcome was certainly not surprising. But what may be interesting is whether this ruling opens the door for any similar cases around the country. Surely there have been other cases around the country in which federal informants have killed people while snitching for the FBI or DEA or ATF.

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — A federal judge ruled yesterday that the government is liable for the killings of two young women and a man allegedly slain by longtime FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, but awarded limited damages to the women’s families.

US District Judge William G. Young ordered the government to pay $350,000 to the families of each of the three victims, because of the conscious pain and suffering endured by Debra Davis, 26, who was strangled in 1981; Deborah Hussey, 26, strangled in 1985; and Louis Litif, 45, who was stabbed and shot in 1980.

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The judge awarded an additional $800,000 to Litif’s widow and two children, who were 15 and 20 when he died, for the loss of his financial and emotional support.

For Full Story