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FBI

FBI Letting Terror Plots Develop More to Get Offenders on More Serious Charges

The FBI seems to be taking a new approach to terrorism plots. Instead of quickly picking up people, often on lesser charges, authorities are letting the plots unfold a little more so they can charge suspected terrorists with more serious offenses. The tactic seems to have worked in recent cases around the country.

Aftermath of the World Trade Center/fbi photo

Aftermath of the World Trade Center/fbi photo

By ED TIMMS
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — After terrorists slammed airliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, the law-enforcement community had one overriding priority – preventing another attack.

Making criminal arrests or detaining noncitizens on immigration violations was seen as an expedient way to disrupt any nascent terrorist plots after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the majority of those taken into custody were never prosecuted, or they were charged with relatively minor offenses.

“With 3,000 people incinerated, we weren’t going to take the chance that we were sacrificing security for prosecution of the more serious offenses,” said Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio.

For Full Story

Some Think Small-Time Denver Atty In Over His Head in Latest Terrorism Case

FBI Agent Outside Zazi's Colo. Apt/fbi photo

FBI Agent Outside Zazi's Colo. Apt/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is it petty jealousy or just honesty? Some lawyers think that small-time Denver attorney Art Folsom is in over his head representing Najibullah Zazi in the biggest terrorism case in recent times.

Stephanie Simon of the Wall Street reports that Folsom has made a career out representing clients for drug possession, drunk driving and divorce. Now he’s big time, up against the weight of the U.S. government. To read the full story click here.

Legal Experts Chastise FBI For Not Disclosing Sooner Agent’s Sexual Affair With Informant in Jefferson Case

Informant Lori Mody

Informant Lori Mody

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON –– Transparency, transparency, transparency.  And yes, disclosure. That’s often the best policy when the federal government takes a  case to trial, particularly a big one.

But Bruce Alpert and Jonathan Tilove, reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, have put together an intriguing report on how the FBI failed to disclose early on that an agent who was working undercover in the ex-Rep. William Jefferson case had an affair with a key informant, who wore a wire. Instead, the disclosure was made to the court just days before trial began in June (it became public last week).

The paper quotes various legal experts, including George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, as saying the tardy disclosure involving FBI agent John Guandolo and informant Lori Mody was unacceptable.

“This is just unbelievable, ” Turley told the Picayune. “If the FBI was aware that an agent had an improper relationship with a confidential source, it is information that should have been disclosed to the court.”

The defense asked for a new trial based partly on the affair, but the trial judge rejected the request. In all likelihood, it’s not likely to get much traction in the appeal process considering the minor role the agent played in the case — he pretended to be Mody’s chauffeur — and the affair did not change the facts in the case.

Ticklethewire.com reported last week that the married agent had drawn up, at the urging of his therapist,  a list of  women he had an affair with to show how it all impacted his marriage.  The list included other  female FBI agents and an unnamed confidential source who ended up being Lori Mody.

Someone found the list and gave it to his supervisor, which became his undoing. Guandolo, who was considered a good agent, resigned last December. Jefferson was convicted on 11 of 16 public corruption counts.

Click here to read the full story in the Times-Picayune.

FBI Shuts Down Bridge in Probe of Police Shootings in 2005

new-orleans-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There were signs over the weekend that the FBI was still very actively probing the New Orleans police related shooting deaths six days after Katrina in 2005.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the FBI shut down the infamous Danziger Bridge for several hours Saturday to scour for evidence where two men were killed and four others were wounded. Police were responding to shots fired at officers.

FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne confirmed to the newspaper that the evidence gathering mission was part of the civil rights probe into the shootings.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Releases Soundless Videotapes of OK Bombing Aftermath

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The infamous bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 sent a collective shiver up America’s spine, a moment that will never be forgotten, particularly for those who lost family, were injured or had to run for their lives in the immediate aftermath.

It was a rude awakening that highlighted the hatred of the American government that lurked in the heartland of America among folks like farmers and militia members. The FBI has released some soundless videotapes showing the chaos that errupted after the bombing on April 19, that killed 168 and injured hundreds.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12EPeCZqYzk

NYPD vs FBI: The Hatfield and McCoys of Counterterrorism

Under the category of “can’t we all get along”, comes the ungoing saga of the FBI and the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism unit. The bottom line is: both need to work together. Ex-NYPD official Michael Sheehan offers his view of it all.

nypd-badge1
By MICHAEL A. SHEEHAN
NYPD Former Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism
New York Times Op-Ed

THE recent arrest of Najibullah Zazi, the suspected terrorist in Denver, highlights several important aspects of our domestic counterterrorism programs. First, even as the memory of 9/11 fades, there are terrorists in this country intent on attacking us again. Second, the F.B.I. and New York Police Department remain engaged in a counterproductive bureaucratic struggle.

fbi-logo

Eight years ago, shortly after the attack on the twin towers, the police commissioner, Ray Kelly, with the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, assigned more than 100 detectives to the F.B.I.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The bureau warmly welcomed this commitment.

However, Commissioner Kelly also built a unilateral N.Y.P.D. counterterrorism unit and hired David Cohen, the former head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, to run it. The F.B.I. was in fierce opposition to New York’s having unilateral capacity, and some people there still are.

I know all about the tension between the F.B.I. and the Police Department. During my tenure at the department, I had bruising battles with the bureau. In one case, the F.B.I. and the department had different informants covering the same suspect. Each agency fought for control of the case and questioned the validity of the other’s information. At times, I worried that this internecine feuding might jeopardize the case, but we worked it out.

To Read More

Dallas Morning News Editorial Praises FBI in Texas Terror Plot

Fountain Place Skyscraper
Fountain Place Skyscraper

By Dallas Morning News
Editorial Page
DALLAS — The FBI depicts Hosam Maher Husein Smadi as a blustering big talker who espoused anti-American jihadist sentiments over the Internet. But the 19-year-old Jordanian became more than an angry loudmouth, the FBI says, when he tried to detonate what he thought was a car bomb in the parking garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place skyscraper in downtown Dallas on Thursday.

The bomb was a fake – thanks to a sting operation by the FBI, which locked onto his online boastings and painstakingly monitored him. In fact, the agency apparently was so deeply involved that it provided the SUV the bomb was in, too.

It’s unclear this early in the investigation whether Smadi – had he not been intercepted by undercover Arabic-speaking FBI agents – might have been able to hook up on the Internet with a sleeper jihadist cell with the resources to create mayhem.

To Read More

FBI Probing American Youth Involvement in U.N. Bombing in Somalia

somalia-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities in the Post 9/11 era have long worried about people training in al Qaeda camps and coming to the U.S.

But the Associated Press reports a disturbing trend of Somalian American youth returning home to fight for an Islamist militia linked to al Qaeda.

The latest, the wire service says, comes with news of the FBI focusing on an American teen in the bombing of one of two stolen U.N. vehicles that killed 21 in Somalia at a peacekeeping base.

Agents have apparently visited the Seattle home of the youth to check into the matter.