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FBI

Parole Denied for American Indian Activist Convicted in 1975 Killing of 2 FBI Agents

FBI Agent Ronald Williams

FBI Agent Ronald Williams

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It seemed like a no brainer for the U.S. Parole Commission.

American Indian activist Leonard Peltier was convicted in the 1975 fatal shootings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald A. Williams on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation. The agents were serving arrests warrants for robbery and assault.

And after the shootings, while on the lam, Peltier shot at an Oregon Highway Patrol Officer, authorities say. In 1979, he escaped from prison and shot at a prison employee. In all, he had 12 prison infractions, four of which were drug related.

So considering all that,  this may not have come as any great shock:  After his July 28 parole hearing at his federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa., the parole commission turned him down, according to an announcement Friday by U.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley of North Dakota, where Peltier was convicted in 1977.  The next parole hearing will be in July 2024 for the Peltier, who is 65.

On Friday, FBI Assistant Director Thomas J. Harrington issued a statement lauding the parole commission’s decision and added:
“His time served in jail for their 1975 murders has not diminished the brutality of his crimes or the pain and sorrow felt by the families of his victims or the FBI family.”

FBI Agent Jack Coler

FBI Agent Jack Coler

Peltier denied actually shooting the agents. He has conceded that he was present and shot in the area of the agents, authorities said. The parole board said the evidence was convincing that he was the actual killer.

U.S. Atty. Wrigley issued a statement saying: “Leonard Peltier’s guilt is certain and has been upheld time and time again by every appellate court. The evidence is overwhelming . And the loss suffered by the Coler and Williams families is equally overwhelming.”

After the shooting, authorities say Peltier was captured in Canada in February 1976 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“He was heavily armed when arrested…and said he would have blown the Mounties out of their shoes had he known they were coming to arrest him,” the U.S. Attorney’s press release said.

In 1979, he escaped. The FBI captured Peltier who possessed a semi-automatic rifle at the time, authorities said.

In other words, how hard of a decision was it to keep the guy behind bars?

Read 6-Page U.S. Attorney Press Release

FBI Chief Intelligence Officer Don Van Duyn Retiring

Don Van Duyn
Don Van Duyn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Don Van Duyn, the FBI’s chief intelligence officer who regularly briefed FBI Director Robert Mueller III, is stepping down, the FBI confirmed Friday.

Van Duyn, who was appointed to the post of Chief Intelligence Officer for the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence in Sept. 2008, is retiring at the end of the month, the FBI said.

He joined the FBI in 2003 after working as an analyst for the CIA  and  as the agency’s liaison to the FBI.

A 2008 FBI press release said he started his FBI career in 2003 as the chief of the Counterterrorism Analysis Section where he  “shaped the early development  of the FBI’s Intelligence Program.”

FBI spokesman Paul E. Bresson said no replacement has been named.

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Criticizes Release of Libyan Convicted in Lockerie Bombing

panamBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III responded to Scotland’s  release  on Thursday of the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103,  saying he was “deeply disappointed” and figured the man had served less than 14 days in jail per victim.

“We are deeply disappointed over the decision to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi from prison,” Mueller said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Megrahi’s guilt was firmly established by the court. His conviction resulted in a life sentence for his part in the loss of 270 innocent lives, including 189 Americans.”

“He never admitted to his role in this act of terrorism, nor did he or the government of Libya disclose the names or roles of others who were responsible,” Mueller said. “In a case of mass murder over Lockerbie, Mr. Megrahi served less than 14 days per victim. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those victims today, for the ongoing pain and loss caused by this horrific attack.”

Scottish authorities released the terminally ill Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, on compassionate grounds, according to media reports.  He was convicted in 2001  in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over the town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

Fed Law Enforcement Launches Effort to Track Dangerous “Lone Wolf”

Sure, some fringe organizations scare the public and federal law enforcement. But it’s the lone wolves– those that go off on their own — that really scare the feds. Those people are too often invisible and fly under the radar.

wolf

By Kevin Johnson
USA TODAY

Federal authorities have launched an effort to detect lone attackers who may be contemplating politically charged assaults similar to the recent murders of a Kansas abortion doctor and a Holocaust museum security guard.

The effort, known as the “Lone Wolf Initiative,” was started shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, in part because of a rising level of hate speech and surging gun sales.

“Finding those who might plan and act alone, the so-called lone offenders … will only be prevented by good intelligence, the seamless exchange of information among law enforcement at every level, and vigilant citizens reporting suspicious activity,” said Michael Heimbach, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism.

For Full Story

N.Y. Times Reporter Spends 2 Days With FBI Counterterrorism Squad

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI’s number one focus has been terrorism. But the shift in resources has not come with sacrifice. It’s meant less time focusing on some white collar and violent crimes. And domestically, it means chasing a lot of false leads.

fbi-globe

By ERIC SCHMITT
New York Times
NORWALK, Calif. – The report last month was chilling: a 55-gallon drum of radioactive material had gone missing during shipment from North Carolina to California. Even worse, the person who signed for the cargo was not an employee of the company that ordered the load.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation here ramped up, consulting health officials, questioning radiation specialists and tracking down the trucker who dropped off the material, which could be used in a radioactive-bomb attack.

Three hours later, the shipper found the drum – still sitting on a loading dock 20 miles from its destination in the Los Angeles area – having confused it with a similar shipment sent to a different company on the same day.

For Full Story

Head of Boston FBI Says Local Police Need to Upgrade Firearms in Case of Terrorist Attacks

The FBI in Boston has sounded a warning that makes sense. Let’s see if the police respond.

FBI Agent Warren Bamford

FBI Agent Warren Bamford

By Jonathan Saltzman and Maria Cramer
The Boston Globe
BOSTON — Boston is making itself vulnerable to a terrorist attack like the rampage in Mumbai last year by not adequately arming its police with the semiautomatic assault rifles widely available to officers in many of the nation’s other major cities, the top FBI agent in Boston said yesterday.

Not only could the police force not easily defend against an attack by well-armed terrorists, but the absence of weapons could actually make the city a target, said Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Head of LA FBI Salvador Hernandez to Retire

Salvador Hernandez/fbi photo
Salvador Hernandez/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Salvador Hernandez, who has headed the FBI in Los Angeles since October 2007, is retiring, according to two people familiar with his situation.

Hernandez, the assistant director in charge of the L.A. office,  is expected to take a job in the private sector. He first joined the FBI in 1984.

Born in Mexico City, he moved at an early age to St. Louis where he earned a bachelors degree in history and a law degree from St. Louis University.

UPDATE:  Wed. 1:20 p.m. — Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman for the Los Angeles office, said Hernandez will be departing “toward the end of September”  to take a position as Director of Security at Enterprise Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, National and Alamo, in St. Louis.

Blogger Questions the FBI’s Pitch to Promote its Computer Forensic Lab

Ulrich Boser
Ulrich Boser

By Ulrich Boser
The Open Case
WASHINGTON — I received an email earlier today from the FBI press office hailing their computer forensics labs.

“A domestic terrorist. A kidnapper. A corrupt politician. An identity thief. These are just of a few of those brought to justice with the help of our Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories,” reads the breathless prose. But if you read the text closely, you wonder what sort of technology the FBI is actually using to catch criminals.

First, there’s the lead picture. Take a close look. While it’s hard to tell for sure, it looks like the FBI agent is examining a computer from the early 1990s. Is that really the type of machine that they analyze on a regular basis?

More importantly, there’s the data on their forensics work over the past year, and according to the FBI, their team examined more than 10,000 floppy disks. That’s remarkable. I mean I haven’t even seen a floppy in five years.

To Read More

Ulrich Boser is founder of the website The Open Case

And author of the Book The Gardner Heist