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June 2021


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Would-be Bomber Pleads Guilty to 2010 Attempt to Target Chicago Hot Spots

Shoshanna Utchenik

A 2010 sting nailed a  would-be bomber for attempting to plant an explosive device in the bustling Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. Now, he’s likely to be out of commission for a long time.

The FBI announced Monday that Sami Samir Hassoun, a 24-year-old green card holder from Lebanon, pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device.

The plea  capped the  FBI probe that began in July 2010, when a cooperating source introduced undercover agents to Hassoun.

Believing the agent and the FBI source were collaborators, Hassoun led the planning of a “series of escalating violent attacks” intended to “damage Chicago’s sense of security, its economy, and trust in leadership.”

According to the plea agreement, Hassoun’s targets included Chicago entertainment hot spots, civic buildings, commercial high-rises and transportation infrastructure. He was finally busted for planting a backpack with what turned out to be a FBI-provided inert bomb, in the heart of one of Chicago’s busiest neighborhoods in September 2010.

According to the plea agreement, the court must impose a minimum 20 year, max 30 year sentence or reject the plea agreement. Hassoun will also be obligated to cooperate with authorities at their request.

To read more click here.

FBI Seeks Help from Public in Solving Coastguard Killings

Shoshanna Utchenik

More than 100 people memorialized two slain U.S. Coastguard employees in Alaska last week as “full of honor, courage and passion for their families,” but the FBI offered little closure on their deaths.

The L.A. Times reports that the April 12th shooting of Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and civilian employee Richard Belisle at a Kodiak communications station remain unresolved with no arrests. The FBI is seeking information from the public about two vehicles that may have been used in connection with the shooting: a white 2002 Dodge Ram pickup and a blue 2001 Honda CRV.

FBI spokesman Darrin Jones stressed there is no indication that the public is at risk. Meanwhile, various local Kodiak news outlets reported a search of the home of the victims’ coworker, according to the Times.

To read more click here.


Ex-FBI Agent and Wife on Trial in Va. for Fraud

By Allan Lengel

It’s showtime  for former FBI agent John Robert Graves and his wife Sara Turberville Graves.

Trial began Monday in fed court in Richmond for the two who are accused of defrauding 11 Virginians out of $1.3 million, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Graves, 52, and his wife Sara, 44, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud, the paper reported.

“This is a case of a husband-and-wife team who lied to investors and who stole from investors,” Jamie L. Mickelson, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the jury in her opening statement, according to the paper.

Graves resigned from the FBI in 1999.

To read more click here.

Don Oswald Hanging Up the Gun and Badge as Head of FBI in Minn.

Donald Oswald/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

It’s adios for Don Oswald after a short stint as head of the FBI in Minneapolis.

Oswald ,53, tells the Associated Press that he’s retiring to practice practice law. He eventually wants to become a judge. He was assigned to the job last May.

“I really would like to pursue that other career option, so I made a personal decision that I was going to close the bureau chapter and move on,” Oswald said. “I don’t know how it will unfold.”

The office covers Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Oswald joined the FBI in 1992 and first served in the Los Angeles Division where he investigated bank robberies and street gang activities and also served as a division legal adviser, the FBI said.

Two years later, he was off to new York, where he investigated complex multi-agency public corruption cases. He also served for more than three years as associate division counsel in the New York Division.

Read more »

FBI: More Than 300,000 Could Lose Web Access in July


In the wake of a multi-million-dollar online scam, more than 300,000 computer users worldwide could find themselves without Web access this summer.

Luckily for them, it will only take a few clicks to clean things up.

The FBI announced that it’s created a website where users can check whether they’re infected with malware and remove it if they are. Check your computer here — The site was at times difficult to access on Monday, presumably due to heavy traffic.

To read more click here.




Long-Time U.S. Atty. Spokesman Patrick Crosby Departs to Start PR and Media Consulting Firm

Patrick Crosby

By Allan Lengel

Patrick Crosby, the quick-witted press spokesman and long-time fixture in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, is moving on. He had been with the office for 15 years.

Crosby, a former investigative reporter and anchorman, has opened a media and public relations service called While in the media, he won two  Emmys and a national Telly.

“For Georgia’s legal community, business and other independents, why is someone else making headlines, or used as an expert source and not you?,” his website says. “Have you had true media training from a true professional and not someone who happens to have some peripheral experience and works for a PR firm?”

“It is your opportunity to play to your strengths, exhibit your expertise, and have the opportunity to be a public figure expert, case study, feature, or participant in the mainstream, in the media, print, broadcast, narrowcast, specialty media, social media, and community events, all arranged for you, and written for you as well,” the site says.


Column: Secret Service Scandal is Not Indicative of Agency’s Current Culture

James G. Huse is a retired Inspector General for Social Security and the retired assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service. He occasionally writes a column for He currently a Senior Advisor for a major consulting firm.

James G. Huse

By James G. Huse

I have been somewhat “retired” from this column for many months, but the No. 1 news story in Washington this past week, the Secret Service personnel who broke the code of conduct rules in Cartagena on an advance assignment for President Obama’s trip, has motivated me back to the keyboard.

I have waited a bit for the media hysterics to somewhat abate before making these observations.

Contrary to the hue and cry, this is not the greatest crisis in Secret Service history.

That was, as we all know, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. That was a true crisis. This instant mess is an egregious failure of discipline on the part of the personnel involved. The breach was reported to leadership and instant remediation action ensued.

This is not, by any gauge, proof of a pandemic culture of immorality and irresponsibility in today’s Secret Service, nor is it the first time in Secret Service history that agents and officers have been disciplined for breaking the rules.

As in all organizations there are people who fail to meet or perform to acceptable standards. Dealing with those individuals has been a continuing Secret Service focus through the years.

I know this because it was my job as a Secret Service Assistant Director. In this current matter the Secret Service process of discipline and correction was well underway before it became public knowledge.

When the failure became known to management the situation was immediately addressed and the miscreant agents and officers immediately replaced.

While this event is certainly an embarrassment to the Secret Service it is not -as some strident media experts suggest – a complete condemnation of its leadership, professionalism and public service to the United States. The over-the-top posturing of these so-called experts should raise some questions about the substantiation behind their pronouncements they endlessly tout on the news media. I wonder what their professional experience is and what their qualifications are, to advance these opinions.

I also question why their inside sources remain anonymous? During my years as Inspector General of Social Security Administration a steady stream of provocative allegations about agency leaders were reported to my office from anonymous sources.

Very few proved to have any validity. I am wary of unidentified sources. To me, it’s the old courage of your convictions test. Too much exists as fact today that is never substantiated by good validation and verification before it is proclaimed to our over-connected world.

I know I am very subjective about my views on the Secret Service. I spent the balance of my federal career in it. I served with the finest men and women I know. I also know that the agents, officers, and all the Secret Service staff of today hold to the same commitments and standards that I did in my time.

On this past Wednesday evening, April 18, a wreath was placed at the Law Enforcement Memorial on E Street NW, here in Washington to commemorate the 29 officers and agents who have died in the line of duty since the Secret Service was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The Secret Service has a long and rich history of public service to the United States. It is made up of real people, steadfast men and women who respect these traditions, and serve their country with honor and commitment.

Where there are individuals who fail to keep this compact they are identified, and following due process, are removed. This is the abiding core culture of the Secret Service.