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Georgia Senior Citizens Arrested in Plots to Kill Feds, Local Cops and Others

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Four senior citizens, suspected of being members of a fringe militia group in Northern Georgia, may have been better off venting their frustrations with the federal government by occupying a metropolitan park.

The four gents–Frederick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68–were arrested Tuesday by federal authorities on charges of plotting to buy explosives and trying to make a deadly bio-toxin to use on neighbors and government officials including those from the IRS and local law enforcement, according to a Justice Department press release.

The men sought explosives and the methods and materials to manufacture ricin, a toxin lethal in small doses, according to the FBI. They had spoken of covert operations since at least March of this year, and spoke to undercover agents about theft, murder and the use of the ricin against state and federal government workers, specifically employees of the IRS, according to the Justice Department. Thomas even discussed a “bucket list” of federal employees, politicians and individuals in the media he felt needed to be “taken out,” according to investigators.

“These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government,” said Atlanta U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in a statement.

“To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin. While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.”

 

Tenn. ATF Agent Fights Firing; Denies Allegations by Snitch

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Nine months from retirement, a Tennessee ATF agent was notified in August that the agency intended to fire him.

But the ATF agent Steve Parris, an African American,  says the recommendation to fire him is rooted in nothing more than an informant’s racism, backed by the informant’s law enforcement buddy, Vonore, Tenn. Police Department officer Mathew Watson and disgraced former Vonore Police Chief Mike Myers,  according to a report on the website of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

At issue: the informant and the police officers claim that Pariss gave the informant Andy Maltby–a convicted felon–his gun at a barbecue in March of 2008 for some target shooting, the paper reported.  ATF sided with in a follow-up probe in which Parris was accused of lying about the incident.

“By hook and by crook, they’re trying to terminate him for some unknown reason,” Parris’ attorney Hugh Ward, a former federal prosecutor, told the paper. Ward is representing Parris in his appeal of the matter.

Ward got affidavits from law enforcement offices at the picnic who said Parris wasn’t even armed, according to the paper.  The paper reported  that Ward claims in an affidavit that the informant made the allegations because he was angry at Parris for only paying him $50 for some snitch work.

“As a prosecutor, if someone had given me that case for us to prosecute, I’d say, ‘You’re kidding me,'” Ward said of ATF’s probe into Maltby.

ATF declined comment, according to the paper.

To read more click here.

Ex-NY FBI Agent Convicted of Lying About Helping Informant He Had An Affair With

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
It was bad news for ex-FBI agent Adrian Busby of the New York Division.

A federal jury in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday convicted Busby, 37, of lying to protect a married female confidential source he was having an affair with.

“In roughly three hours, Adrian Busby was found guilty by a jury of his peers on all four counts of making false statements that were contained in the indictment,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. “Law enforcement agents who break the law dishonor their fellow officers, disserve the public and must be held to account.”

It all began in 2008 when Busby, who was investigating mortgage fraud, started using a female real estate loan officer as a confidential source. He also began having an affair with her.

On Feb. 5, 2008, the source was arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for identity theft and related charges.

Authorities charged that Busby “actively assisted with her criminal defense, met with her attorneys on multiple occasions, and during trial “provided her defense attorney with confidential, law enforcement reports…related to her case….in violation of FBI regulations.”

In December 2009, she was convicted.

Beginning in January 2008, authorities said Busby made numerous false statements regarding the things he did to assist her in the trial.

Busby denied wrongdoing to The New York Daily News earlier this year.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Thousands of Inmates to be Released Under Changes in Crack Cocaine Law

 Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A wave of prisoners could be released this week as a result of a change in sentencing for crack cocaine violations.

The Associated Press reports that nearly 2,000 federal prisoners will be eligible for early release Tuesday as a result of a bill signed into law by President Obama last year that reduced the disparities between those convicted of crack cocaine charges and powder cocaine.

Critics argued that the crack cocaine laws discriminated against black defendants. AP reported that the U.S. Sentencing Commission is applying that law to past cocaine convictions, which could mean an estimated 12,000 inmates could eventually benefit.

Justice Dept. Official Apologizes For Not Notifying Boss About “Gun Walking” Cases

Lanny Breuer

By Carrie Johnson
NPR

WASHINGTON — A top political appointee in the Obama Justice Department says he made a “mistake” when he didn’t flag questionable tactics used by federal agents in a gun-trafficking case for his superiors last year.

Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, told NPR he found out in April 2010 that agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had let more than 400 guns connected to suspicious buyers cross the Southwest border during the Bush years, but he didn’t tell senior leadership at the Justice Department.

“Knowing what I know now, I wish that I had alerted the deputy or the attorney general at the time,” he said.

To read more click here.

 

Read NY Times story 

Artist Offers Whole Life’s Details to FBI, Public

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

When Hasan M. Elahi landed in Detroit, Mich., and walked into the country on June 19, 2002, a customs official asked that Elahi follow him to an Immigration and Naturalization Services office at the airport.

That incident initiated a period of “questioning went on for the next six months and ended with a series of polygraph examinations,” Elahi wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, and it “turned my life upside down,” he said.

Elahi, an associate professor and interdisciplinary artist at the University of Maryland,  describes himself as neurotic about record keeping, and in the office at the airport he and the investigator were able to look at his electronic personal assistant and retrace the steps he took on September 12, 2001, he wrote in the Times. Seeming pleased, the interrogator let Elahi go. But Elahi was soon contacted by federal authorities for more questioning.

The level of detailed information he began sharing with the FBI in the months following inspired a project Elahi pursued on his own websites. Elahi was nervous about the FBI’s interest in him and wanted to cooperate in letting them know all of his travel plans and whereabouts. When an interrogator finally cleared him and said for Elahi to let them know if he needed anything, Elahi-not wanting another hassle upon his return-sent agents his plans for traveling outside of the country in the near future, he wrote.

But Elahi piled the information high. “Soon I began to e-mail the F.B.I. I started to send longer e-mails, with pictures, and then with links to Web sites I made. I wrote some clunky code for my phone back in 2003 and turned it into a tracking device … I created a list of every flight I’ve ever been on, since birth. For the more recent flights, I noted the exact flight numbers, recorded in my frequent flier accounts, and also photographs of the meals that I ate on each flight, as well as photos of each knife provided by each airline on each flight.”

On his own websites, which he sent links to federal agents to, he included databases of his personal financial records, his daily habits and whereabouts, pictures he had taken.

Elahi wrote in the Times: “In an era in which everything is archived and tracked, the best way to maintain privacy may be to give it up. Information agencies operate in an industry that values data. Restricted access to information is what makes it valuable. If I cut out the middleman and flood the market with my information, the intelligence the F.B.I. has on me will be of no value.”

Elahi went further. The actions may be more symbolic than anything, he admitted, “but if 300 million people started sending private information to federal agents, the government would need to hire as many as another 300 million people, possibly more, to keep up with the information and we’d have to redesign our entire intelligence system.” He derided the current intelligence system as stuck in a Cold War mentality, and encouraged the many “incredibly intelligent people and very sophisticated computer systems in various agencies in Washington” to move beyond a 20th century mentality and start creating better ways to use and analyze information, rather than endlessly collect it.

Whether the project seems a poignant response to his experience, or just the overly academic philosophizing of an abstract University artist, questions about responding to and dealing with the flood of information federal agents face is something to be pondered. “What I’m doing is no longer just an art project; creating our own archives has become so commonplace that we’re all — or at least hundreds of millions of us — doing it all the time. Whether we know it or not,” Elahi wrote.

 

FBI Testing Somali Bomber’s DNA, May Match Minnesotan Youth

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The remains of a suicide bomber in Somalia are being tested by the FBI. Some believe the bomber may be one of at least 21 young Somali-American men that in recent years have left Minneapolis to join al-Shabab, the Somali terrorist group, reports the Associated Press.

If tests confirm the deceased to be Abdisalan Hussein Ali, he will be the third Minnesotan to have been involved in a Somali suicide attack. The state is home to the nation’s largest Somali population.

“I don’t understand,” a Minnesota Somali community leader, Nimco Ahmed, told the AP.  “It’s really really painful to actually see one of the kids who has a bright future ahead of them do this. … It’s a loss for our whole society.”

The suicide attack was carried out Saturday against an African Union base in the capital city of Mogadishu, killing 10, including 2 suicide bombers, according to the AP report.

Al-Shabab claimed over the weekend that the attack was carried out by a Somali-American named Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah. Al-Shabab posted a recording online they said was Taqabalahullaa, and Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali mission to the United Nations, said friends of Ali identified the recording as Ali’s voice.

The Anthrax Investigation: The View From the FBI

Michael P. Kortan is the assistant director of Public Affairs for the FBI at headquarters in Washington.

Michael Kortan (left) talking to ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh /fbi file photo

By Michael Kortan
N.Y. Times Letter to the Editor

WASHINGTON — I take issue with several points in your Oct. 18 editorial “Who Mailed the Anthrax Letters?”

First, the National Academy of Sciences report concluded that the anthrax in the mailings was consistent with the anthrax produced in Dr. Bruce Ivins’s suite. The report stated, at the same time, that it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the samples based on science alone. But investigators and prosecutors have long maintained that while science played a significant role, it was the totality of the investigative process that ultimately determined the outcome of the anthrax case.

Further, scientists directly involved in the lengthy investigation into the anthrax mailings — both from within the F.B.I. and outside experts — disagree with the notion that the chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest more sophisticated manufacturing.

To read the rest click here.