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October 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

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Prolific Retired-ATF Official Bernie La Forest Cranks Out His Third Novel

Bernie La Forest/facebook

By Allan Lengel
Ex-ATF official Bernie La Forest is at it again.

The prolific La Forest has just knocked out his third mystery novel, “A Matter of Lex Talionis,” the story of a Lt. Andre de Avilés, who heads the Detroit Police Department’s Intel Squad.

Described as a forty-somethin’, ‘balls-to-the-wall” detective known for fighting organized crimes, the lieutenant gets tied up in a probe involving a bombing in Detroit’s Mexican Town that appears to be an act of terrorism.

He joins up with ATF and eventually some retired associates.

La Forest headed up ATF offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Phoenix, and was a former Detroit cop. He retired from ATF in 1998.

I asked La Forest a few questions about his writing.

Here’s how he responded:

What kind of discipline does it take to write three books? Do you write everyday at a certain time?

I do not prepare an outline or chapter guide. However, I do spend a few months rolling potential plots around in my head. The first day that I begin writing is the most difficult. But, once I type the first paragraph . . . it’s off to the races. As you probably know, my novels are based loosely on a series format. I do not have one single hero or heroine, but rather, I lean on what I always believed. Most large law enforcement agencies . . . federal state or local . . . have many characters working on complex investigations. There may be one or two “case writers” or “lead detective or special agent,” but many more are involved in the day-to-day operation. For example, these are just a few tasks that might break the case wide open: Forensics, intelligence gathering, informants, surveillance, undercover, investigators on multi-agency task forces, timing of arrests or raids, etc. So in the end, on many investigations there are usually many heroes or heroines. Which in the end, allows an author using my style and POV . . . to spread the credit around instead of picking one standout.

The bottom line, while working in two DPD precincts and being an original member of the expanded TMU . . . followed by my thirteen moves around the country with ATF, I have come in contact with hundreds of cops, deputies, troopers, and specialized investigators. Stories are not a problem . . . the well is deep and the water is constantly refreshed by memories of partners, friends and associates who toiled on The Job.

How long did it take you to write this one?

I get up around 6 a.m. every day and take the mountain bike into the desert behind our place. After four or five miles on the dirt trails on the backside of the McDowell Mountains, sometimes more, I clean up, watch the news, check out, WSJ, for local news, and the Detroit News and the Freep for hometown “stuff.” Then I station my self next to a twenty-four cup coffee urn with a free flowing spigot . . . around Ten o’clock. Then I begin—after opening pages in Wikipedia, Google Maps and others that will provide definitions or descriptive material . . . and, most importantly Dictionary/ I began writing A Matter of Lex Talionis on October 6th of last year. I finished in May of 2012. Review and editing took us . . . my two editors and me, another three months . . . including the galley which contains errors caused by the printing setup at the publisher.

Here’s a hint, almost every street, highway, business address, and location mentioned, e.g., surveillance routes . . . is viewed by me on Google street image program . . . in every country where the trucks have uploaded images. I usually wrap up a session around 4:00 p.m., although, sometimes I will continue until dark. There are occasions where I may spend two or three hours working an one or two pages . . . or, start moving sections back toward the beginning or further into the story. That can be a dangerous proposition if I’m not careful . . . lots of copies of what is, what was, what might be, and what looks best.

Does  it get easier or harder?

It gets easier with every book, and hopefully, a much improved product.

To find out more about the book click here. 


Report on controversial Fast and Furious to be Released by Tuesday

Michael Horowitz

By Steve Neavling

 The Justice Department inspector general expects to issue the long-anticipated report on the ATF gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious by next Tuesday morning, CNN reports.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Tuesday morning, following the report’s release.

Attorney General Eric Holder said he won’t take disciplinary action until the report is released, according to CNN.

The report is believed to assign blame on Phoenix officials who led the effort, CNN reported.

Judge: Suspected Murderer Can’t Use Old FBI Records to Prove His Innocence

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

By Steve Neavling

 A Seattle man will not be able to use old FBI records to help prove he did not kidnap and kill a 7-year-old Illinois girl in 1957, the Associated Press reports.

A judge ruled the records relied on hearsay and shouldn’t be admissible.

The records indicate Jack McCullough was in Chicago on the day Maria Ridulph went missing, the AP reported.

The remains fo Maria Ridulph were found less than a year later, about 120 miles away.

McCullough’s trial starts Monday, according to the AP.

FBI Is Building New Complex in Suburban Boston

Steve Neavling

It was a long time coming, but the Boston office of the FBI is finally beginning to build a new complex in nearby Chelsea, the Boston Globe reports.

The FBI expects to move into the 200,000-square-foot building by early 2015.

The agency is moving forward with the construction after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a South Boston property owner who wanted to host the FBI, according to the Globe.

The FBI wouldn’t say how many employees would be assigned to the field office, the Globe reported.

FBI: No Evidence That Agency Had Access to Millions of Apple Devices

By Steve Neavling

The FBI on Tuesday disputed reports that it possessed a database with personal information on millions of Apple devices.

It also said there’s no evidence that an FBI laptop was compromised.

“The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs (unique identification numbers) was exposed,” the agency responded. “At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”

A group that calls itself AntiSec said the proof is online, where it posted more than 12 million downloadable UDIDs.

Partner group, Anonymous, has been linked to other high-profile computer attacks targeting the FBI and CIA.


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FBI Clears San Diego State Basketball Team Cleared of Fixing Games

By Steve Neavling
It’s hard to imagine a team with a 34-3 record throwing games, right?

Well, the FBI tracked San Diego State during its fantastic  2010-11 season, unbeknownst to coaches, players and school officials, CBS Sports reports.

The FBI cleared the university of wrongdoing.

The investigation began after one of the 10 men tied to the University of San Diego case was found to have contacted five San Diego State players in the fall of 2010, according to CBS. Apparently, the FBI then thought it should probably look at San Diego State just in case.

But the FBI couldn’t find evidence that any players tried to throw a game.

Book: Reagan Used Close Relationship With FBI and Hoover to Get Special Attention

By Steve Neavling

Former President Ronald Reagan exploited his relationship with the FBI  and J. Edgar Hoover as an informant to get the agency to provide information on  his children Michael and Maureen and to obtain information unavailable to the public, LA Observer reports.

Citing Seth Rosenfeld’s new book, “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power,” the Observer reports that Reagan was a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime FBI director.

Reagan also reported secretly to the FBI about suspected Communists, even when evidence was scant, according to the Observer.

While president of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s and ’50s, Reagan cooperated with the FBI.

According to the book, Reagan asked the FBI to conduct investigations of family members when he became suspicious of people around them.