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October 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Family Takes Note of Former FBI Agent Robert Levinson’s Disappearance After Seven Years

Robert Levinson

Steve Neavling

It has been seven long years since FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared while on a mission for the CIA in Iran.

“Today we remind the world that, after seven years, Bob is still not home with those who love him – his wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren and friends,” the family said in a emailed statement Friday, ABC News reports. “Bob’s continued imprisonment defies the humanity in all of us. After seven years, we have almost no words left to describe our life without Bob… We miss everything about [him]. No matter where we turn, Bob is absent.”

Levinson was retired from the FBI when he was kidnapped from Kish Island off Iran’s coast on March 9, 2007.

Only recently was it discovered that Levinson was working as a freelance spy for the CIA.

The family’s attorney expressed anger that the real story of his work as a CIA was never divulged.

“[R]ather than acknowledge what they had done and try and save Bob’s life, they denied him,” McGee said.

Border Patrol Chief Says Agents Can Still Shoot Rock Throwers, As Long As They Pose Threat

Steve Neavling

The Border Patrol has been under fire recently for using lethal force on people who throw rocks at agents near the U.S.-Mexico border, Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher said in a new directive Friday, according to the Washington Post.

“Agents shall not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles unless the agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, to include the size and nature of the projectiles, that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious injury,” Chief Fisher said in the directive.

The decision by Fisher roiled critics who say Border Patrol agents often are too quick to shoot.

“Border Patrol Chief Fisher’s new guidance on use of force leaves much to be desired. It is largely a restatement of existing policy, which is a shame because clearly existing policy isn’t working,” said Chris Rickerd, policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Rickerd is calling for an investigation into the past five years of deadly force by the Border Patrol.

Washington Post Editorial: FBI Has Responsibility to Come Clean about Ibragim Todashev’s Death

By Washington Post 
Editorial Board

There is no greater threat to the legitimacy of the U.S. political system, at home and abroad, than the perception that an obsession with terrorism and other threats has given rise to an unaccountable American national security apparatus. Much of this perception reflects hyperbole from those who do not understand the U.S. system and the threats it faces, or who do understand but wish the United States ill. Yet many of those who have lost trust in the U.S. government have good-faith concerns about genuine issues — such as waterboarding under the Bush administration or the failure of Congress and President Obama to establish better oversight of the National Security Agency.

It is with this latter group of good-faith critics in mind that the Obama administration must approach the troubling matter of Ibragim Todashev’s violent death at the hands, apparently, of an FBI special agent on May 22. An associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the late suspected mastermind of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, Mr. Todashev was shot several times, under murky circumstances, while being interrogated by the FBI in his Orlando apartment. He was reportedly suspected of involvement in a separate triple homicide that may also have been perpetrated by Mr. Tsarnaev. Not only is his death regrettable, doubly so if it was avoidable, but it also silenced, forever, a witness who may have had much to tell about Mr. Tsarnaev’s alleged criminal and terrorist careers.

According to the sketchy reports that have emerged since, Mr. Todashev, 27, who had a history of arrests for violent offenses, suddenly attacked his FBI questioner, who fired in self-defense. But the conflicting and downright strange leaked accounts — some indicated that Mr. Todashev had a knife or a sword, others that he merely knocked over a table — have been more than enough to fuel reasonable suspicions, let alone the multiple conspiracy theories reverberating globally via the Internet.

Click here to read.

Naming of New ATF Headquarters Causing Heated Debate

Steve Neavling

An ugly debate is brewing over the naming of the glassy new ATF headquarters in Washington D.C.

The Los Angeles Times reports that many people aren’t happy with the Senate’s decision to name the new building after famous federal agent Eliot Ness, who helped bring down Al Capone.

Opponents of the new name want the new headquarters to be dedicated to former ATF Agent Ariel Rios, who was shot and killed during a drug deal in Miami.

In 1985, the ATF headquarters was designated the Ariel Rios Building.

The ATF dedicated a reflecting pool at its current headquarters in Rio’s memory.


Yoo-hoo, FBI: Here’s Evidence You Can Use on My Facebook Page

Alan Stamm

 There’s no such thing as an easy bust of a serial bank robber, FBI agents would say. Still some careless suspects certainly are simpler to snare than others.

Consider the willful self-incrimination by Jules Bahler, 21, that’s described in a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, according to Detroit News coverage.

He’s accused of bank robberies in Pontiac on Feb. 26 and March 4, and one March 5 in Bay City, 90 miles north. The same day as that last stickup, the complaint says, Bahler posted the above photo and others on his Facebook page – including one of his newly purchased Pontiac house.

That’s where he was arrested Friday by members of the FBI-Oakland County Violent Gang Task Force. A sheriff’s sergeant reported the Facebook shots of Bahler with what appeared to be the weapon and clothes seen in security videos from the banks. That black submachine gun was in a duffel bag at his feet during Friday’s vehicle stop, the criminal complaint says.

Bahler reportedly confessed, the newspaper says.

One of his savvier Facebook buddies, using the screen name King Machete, tried to warn Bahler he was foolhardy, the Deadline Detroit news site notices Saturday.

“U tripping brotha. I wouldn’t show that shit off like that,” the friend comments under his March 5 gun poses. “Cops be watching this shit brotha.”

Two days later, flashing lights and handcuffs confirmed that observation.


Parker: Marijuana Legalization Triples Poison Calls for Young Children

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker

The data on the costs to children–both in human and monetary terms—in states which have legalized marijuana continues to mount.

Not only have medical studies shown serious health risks, increased hospital admissions, and more prevalent use by teenagers in those states, but now a study has shown that even younger children will also pay the price.

The Center for Substance Abuse Research out of the University of Maryland reported this week that the rate of Poison Center calls concerning unintentional pediatric exposure more than tripled in states where marijuana had been legalized in some form. Using information from the National Poison Data System, the study tabulated the number of calls from 2005 to the end of 2011 to U.S. poison centers involving children age 9 and younger.

In states which had legalized marijuana either for recreational or medical use prior to 2005, these numbers increased from 3.9 calls per million population in 2005 to 14.8 calls in 2011. States which had passed such legislation during the 2005-2011 period also had substantial increases in the number of calls to poison centers. States without such legislation showed no increase in the number of calls.

What the study means is that states which legalize marijuana in some form will have increased use by adults. When that happens, there will be more children who accidentally ingest marijuana and need medical advice or end up in a medical facility or hospital emergency room.

The authors of the study concluded that such potentially harmful exposures are likely to increase and more children will need medical care. They suggested the need for state legislation for childproof packaging, warning labels, and public education about the dangers of marijuana to children.

On a related note, Vanderbilt University Medical Center published a study in the magazine Neuron this week that cannabinoid receptors have been identified for the first time in the part of the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the fight/flight response. Researchers suggested that, although initial use of marijuana may act as a sedative in the effect on these receptors, chronic use could paradoxically increase anxiety by down regulating the receptors.

The question is whether state legislators who are considering legislation on legalization for adults as part of this trend are considering the inevitable costs to children.


Weekend Series on Crime History: Lobbyist Jack Abramoff


FBI Takes Note of the 7th Anniversary of the Disappearance of Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel

The FBI issued a press release on Friday denoting the seven-year anniversary of the disappearance of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

The release said that Levinson, who turns 66 on March 10, retired from the FBI in 1998. On March 8, 2007, he traveled to Kish Island, Iran, “as a private investigator. He went missing the next day and is now one of the longest-held Americans in history.”

The release makes no mention of his wife Christine Levinson’s statements in January to CBS that her husband was a consultant for the CIA.

The FBI announced two years ago that it was offering a $1 million reward in the case.

“Bob’s absence over the past seven years has exacted an enormous toll on his family, and we will not waver in our commitment to bringing him home safely to his loved ones and his country,” FBI Director James B. Comey said in a statement. “We continue to request the assistance of our international partners, as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we continue to ask anyone with information regarding Bob’s disappearance to contact the FBI.”