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News Story

ATF Targets in Sting Were FBI Informants

 

atf file photo

By Richard Serrano
Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.

Documents obtained by the Tribune Washington Bureau show that as far back as December 2009 – five months before Celis-Acosta was detained and released at the border in a car carrying 74 live rounds of ammunition – ATF and DEA agents learned by chance that they were separately investigating the same man.

To read the full story click here.

Ex-Secret Service Agent Tom Rosfelder to Help Head Up Security for 2012 Dem Convention

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Secret Service Agent Tom Rosfelder, who worked for the agency for 26 years, has been hired as the security director for the organizers of September’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Charlotte Observer,

The native Ohio man will work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Secret Service, the paper reported.

“He is well versed in the many issues we’re going to have to deal with,” convention CEO Steve Kerrigan told the paper.

 

Defense Wants Mistrial in Mi. Militia Case; Claims Prosecution Withheld Evidence

 

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– The federal trial involving a Michigan militia known as the Hutaree has raised questions about the right of free speech and what constitutes talk versus reality.

Defense attorneys claim the government has overstepped on the case. The government insists there was serious talk of killing a cop and trying to revolt against the government.

On Wednesday, the case got a little more complicated when defense attorneys asked for a mistrial, saying the prosecution of withholding evidence that might be beneficial to their clients.  There are seven of them on trial.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the defense said the evidence involved info it discovered last week. That info at issue was that the undercover FBI agent who had infiltrated the Hutaree was the handler for New Jersey, right wing, racist shock jock Hal Turner who worked as an informant for the FBI, helping collect info on hate groups and White Supremacists. The prosecution claims the info is not relevant to the case.

Turner, 48, was charged in June 2009 for writing Internet postings proclaiming “outrage” over the pr0-gun control, handgun decision  by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer and wrote: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.”

His postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address, and room numbers of these judges. It also included a photo of the building they worked in and a map with its location, authorities said. He was sentenced to 33 months after being convicted. Jurors deadlocked in the first two trials, but the government prevailed in the third.

Turners defense, which apparently worked in the first two trials — or worked enough to raise doubts in some jurors’ minds — was that the FBI had encouraged him to take his racist rhetoric up a notch to help them with a case involving the murder of a Chicago federal judge’s family members.  The defense apparently felt that info might be helpful while cross examining the undercover FBI agent to see what, if anything, he might have done to encourage hateful rhetoric within the Hutaree group.

The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience. Perhaps Turner might be able to draw the person out.

So Turner said he obliged and said at the time the judge was “worthy of death”. Last summer, he posted on the Internet the photos of three Chicago federal judges who upheld a gun ban and wrote that they too were “worthy of death”.

 

Scientist Gets 13 Years in FBI Sting that Involved Spying for Israel

Stewart Nozette/nasa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scientist Stewart David Nozette, 54, will have some time to think over his espionage ways. He was nabbed in an FBI sting trying to spy for Israel.

The suburban D.C. scientist who once worked for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the White House’s National Space Council, was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. said the sentenced covered two cases. In one of those, he pled guilty in September 2001 to attempted espionage for providing classified information to a person he believed was an Israeli intelligence officer, but was actually an FBI undercover agent.

In the other case, he pled guilty in January 2009 to fraud and tax charges stemming from more than $265,000 in false claims he submitted to the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Nozette had been in custody since his arrest for attempted espionage on Oct. 19, 2009. At the time, authorities said, he was awaiting sentencing on the fraud and tax evasion charges.

“Stewart Nozette’s greed exceeded his loyalty to our country,” said U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said in a statement. “He wasted his talent and ruined his reputation by agreeing to sell national secrets to someone he believed was a foreign agent. His time in prison will provide him ample opportunity to reflect on his decision to betray the United States.”

 

Ex-FBI Dir. Freeh Doing Thorough Job in Penn State Probe

Louis Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have been doing a pretty thorough job looking at the child-sex scandal at Penn State involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Associated Press reports that the group has conducted 200 interviews, trying to get insight into the relationship between the football program and the administration.

Authorities there hope to figure out ways to prevent a scandal from going undetected as it did for so long.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Agent Assoc. Sides With Secret Service Agents in Supreme Court Case

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI Agents Association voiced its strong support for two Secret Service agents involved in an immunity case that was argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

A Court of Appeals had ruled  that Steven Howards could sue Secret Service agents Virgil Reichle and Dan Doyle, who arrested him in 2006 in Colorado after he confronted Vice President Cheney and tapped him on the shoulder. He was also overheard on his cell phone saying he was going to ask Cheney how many kids he killed.

The agents and the Obama administration have argued that they should be immune from a lawsuit. Howards claimed the agents retaliated against him for exercising his constitutionally protected free-speech rights.

In a statement on Wednesday, Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, said:

“FBIAA members are very concerned about the impact of this case on federal law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the public and this country’s national security. That is why the FBIAA, representing over 12,000 active and retired FBI Special Agents, joined with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), representing over 25,000 federal law enforcement officers from 65 federal agencies, in filing an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court on this case. The brief argues that the Court needs to uphold the immunity standard in order to avoid interjecting undue uncertainty and liability risks into the law enforcement context.”

Along with the statement, the association included an excerpt of the Amicus Brief:

“FBIAA and FLEOA members are directly involved in the arrest and detention of persons and the investigation of crimes that threaten the security and safety of the United States and its citizens.

“FBIAA and FLEOA members are required to use their skills and education to make quick decisions in complex situations. Requiring them to defend against allegations that an arrest supported by probable cause had an improper retaliatory motive would undermine their effectiveness, introducing unnecessary second-guessing and risk of personal liability into the law enforcement process.

“Accordingly, FBIAA and FLEOA submit that, consistent with the holdings of the Second, Sixth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, their members should be immune from retaliatory arrest claims when probable cause exists for the underlying arrest.”

Column: Stevens Case Shows that Prosecutors Need Supervision

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens/campaign photo

Michael Carey is the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News and the host of the weekly public affairs show “Alaska Edition” for Alaska Public Television.

 By Michael Carey
Los Angeles Times

ANCHORAGE — As his trial on corruption charges approached in the fall of 2008, Ted Stevens railed to me in an email: “What did I do, Michael? What did I do?” The wounded rage smoldering in that rhetorical question to a reporter reflected his belief that he had done nothing wrong. He continued to insist on his innocence after aWashington, D.C., jury found him guilty of lying on financial disclosure forms.

Stevens’ conviction was dismissed in 2009 after the Justice Department’s admission that government lawyers failed to turn over evidence the Stevens defense should have received. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over Stevens’ trial, soon authorized an investigation of the prosecutors’ conduct, a move as rare as the trial of a U.S. senator.

Last week, the judge’s investigator, Special Counsel Henry F. Schuelke, issued his findings, which Stevens will never read. He died in a 2010 airplane accident.

To read full column click here.

New Orleans Fed Prosecutor Resigns in Midst of Scandal Over Anonymous Postings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An assistant U.S. Attorney  in New Orleans who posted remarks under an alias on a comment section of the local paper about federal judges, local and national politicians and cases being handled by his office,  resigned on Tuesday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The paper, in an editorial, wrote that “Sal Perricone’s resignation was warranted and necessary to let U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office begin repairing the damage caused by Mr. Perricone’s actions. Mr. Perricone showed an astounding lack of professionalism and common sense by posting inappropriate comments online about people under federal investigation, judges, elected officials and others. His resignation couldn’t have come soon enough.”

The Justice Department is reviewing the matter in which he used the alias “Henry L. Mencken1951” to post comments on the Times-Picayune website.

News reports have suggested he used other aliases as well, the editorial noted.

“A particularly disturbing comment by ‘campstblue’ regarding then-Mayor Ray Nagin warrants special attention from investigators,” the editorial page noted. “On June 1, 2009, “campstblue” wrote: ‘For all of you who have a penchant for firearms and how they work, Ray Nagin lives on Park Island.'”