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Shakeups at Justice Dept. and FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Shakeups over at the FBI and Justice Department.

John Carlin, currently Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, is joining the leadership team at the Justice Department’s National Security Division as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff. He’s being replaced at the FBI by Aaron Zebley.

Anita Singh will be joining the leadership team of the Justice Department’s National Security Division as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel.

Signh is currently on detail from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division to the White House’s National Security Staff as a Director for Intelligence Programs.

And finally, Donald Vieira, who has served as Chief of Staff at the Justice Department’s National Security Division since March 2009, will soon be leaving the Department to join the partnership of the national law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the Justice Department said.

FBI Director Mueller Picks Aaron Zebley as New Chief of Staff

Aaron Zebley/uv law school photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s Aaron M. Zebley is movin on up.

The website Main Justice reports that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has promoted Zebley to his chief of staff. Zebley, an agent and a former federal prosecutor, had been the deputy chief of staff.

Zebley will replace John P. Carlin, who has been named principle assistant deputy attorney general in the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Main Justice reported.

Zebley was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Alexandria, Va., National Security and Terrorism Unit.

From January 1998 to April 2005, he was a Special Agent with the FBI in the New York City Field Office, and was assigned to counterterrosim investigations.

He was one of the lead investigators assigned to August 7, 1998 bombing of United States Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and was designated as the case agent in the terrorism case involving Zacarias Moussaoui, according to a bio on the website of the University of Virginia Law School.

Ohio Man Who Pointed Gun at FBI Agent Gets 21 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Among the dumb things to do in life, pointing a gun at an FBI agent is up there.

Ask Demond R. Johnigan, 19, of Dayton, Ohio.

Johnigan was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Ohio to 21 years in prison for, among other things, pointing a gun at an FBI agent who was trying to arrest him after a kidnapping in December, authorities said.

He had pleaded guilty on April 21 to one count each of kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Authorities said last Dec. 16 Johnigan and Jakova James-Sims, 19, of Dayton, went to the parking lot of Roosevelt Recreation Center in Montgomery County, Ohio and approached a victim, who was standing near his Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Johnigan pointed a gun at the victim and demanded money.  Then James-Sims patted down the victim, looking for cash and  other valuables.

The men then forced the victim into the backseat of his own car, continued to demand cash, and continued to threaten to injure him if he didn’t cough up the goods.

Shortly after leaving the parking lot with the victim and the victim’s car, Johnigan and James-Sims noticed an SUV was following them. They proceeded to park the car and fled by foot down an alley, authorities said.

As he fled down an alley, Johnigan raised his firearm and pointed it at the approaching SUV, which was being driven by an FBI agent who was following after observing the carjacking, authorities said.

The FBI agent put the vehicle in reverse and backed out of the alley and called for assistance. The two suspects were apprehended after a brief foot chase.

Charges against James-Sims are pending.

Gambino Crime Family Has a New Boss

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Gambino Crime Family has a new boss — Domenico (Italian Dom) Cefalu, marking a clear end to the Gotti era, Gang Land News reported.

Mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News writes:

“In a surprise move, the Gambinos have gone back to the old-fashioned way of running a crime family. They have selected a boss who is not in prison. He is a convicted drug trafficker with a well-earned reputation as a stand-up wiseguy who would never flip.”

Gang Land New reports that Cefalu, 64, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, came into the family during the Gotti reign. Many of the key Gotti folks are behind bars.

Cefalu’s rap sheet includes six years in prison for a 1982 heroin smuggling conviction, and 20 months in the joint for a 2008 extortion rap. He is a salesman for a local bakery.

Arizona Border Patrol Station to be Named After Slain Agent Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Ariz. will be renamed after agent Brian Terry, who was shot to death last December.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the bill in the House this week.

“Our nation’s Border Patrol agents have a distinguished history of working to protect our borders,” Issa said in a statement. “Agent Terry, who served our nation through his military service and his career with the Border Patrol, gave his life defending this country. Naming the Bisbee station in his honor recognizes his sacrifice, service and heroism.”

“In the past half-century, 70 U.S. Border Patrol agents – including Agent Terry – have been killed while protecting our nation,” added Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), whose office worked with Issa on the legislation.

Terry’s family issued a statement, saying, “From the very start, Brian loved his job as a Border Patrol agent and loved his fellow agents. The new Naco Station named in Brian’s honor will serve as a lasting memory for all those who knew Brian.”

Terry became a central figure in the investigation into the controversial ATF operation known as Fast and Furious. Under the program, ATF encouraged gun dealers to sell to middlemen or straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of those guns showed up at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

In December, Terry was shot and killed while on patrol 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Rio Rico, Ariz. after getting into an armed confrontation. Two guns from Operation Fast and Furious were found at the scene.

Judge Blocks Justice Dept. From Correcting Statement About Anthrax Suspect

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Justice Department from correcting a court filing that undercut the FBI’s conclusion that Army researcher Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax letter attacks in 2001, PBS Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica reported in a joint story.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley of West Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday issued a written order saying the government must “show good cause” before allowing Justice to amend the court filing.

The filing was part of a lawsuit filed by the wife of a National Enquirer photo editor Robert Stevens, claiming the government failed to do enough to protect people from an anthrax attack.

Monday’s court order  appeared more procedural than substantive.

The government in the original filing said that Ivins did not have access in the lab to the special equipment needed to make the deadly powder, the publications reported.

The Justice Department wants to correct that to say Ivin did in fact have access to the equipment at U.S. Army bio-weapons facility in Frederick, Md., where he worked.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

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Column: Norway Gunman Has a Lot in Common With OK Bomber Tim McVeigh

Andrew Gumbel, a Los Angeles-based journalist, is writing a book about the Oklahoma City bombing, due out from William Morrow next April.

By Andrew Gumbel
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Page

America’s violent far right would have no difficulty recognizing the tell-tale signatures of Friday’s killing spree in Norway — and not just because they would see the confessed perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, as an ideological soul mate who, like their own heroes, thought he could trigger a white-supremacist revolution with bombs and bullets.

Breivik appears to have been more than simply inspired by American predecessors such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber: The materials he used, the way he planned and carried out his attacks, and his own writings all suggest he was deeply familiar with the actions of some notorious political killers on this side of the Atlantic.

Breivik possessed a Glock semiautomatic, the same weapon McVeigh was carrying when he was arrested by a hawk-eyed Highway Patrol officer 90 minutes after the April 1995 bombing in Oklahoma. Breivik also possessed a .223-caliber Ruger assault rifle, just like McVeigh.

To read the full column click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Finds Islamic Educational Material for New FBI Recruits Offensive

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As recently as 2009, the FBI was presenting materials about Islam to new recruits  that former agent Mike German thought was a little shocking and might lead to abuse, according to the website Talking Points Memo.

“Certainly I was concerned with the approach the FBI was taking post-9/11, which is why I’m no longer with the FBI,” German, who is now with the ACLU,  told TPM. “I am shocked to see that this type of training material was produced in 2009.”

“The FBI is made up of human beings, and human beings make mistakes, but one would have thought by 2009 they would have understood this issue a little more clearly and realized how offensive that material would be read,” German said.

The website reported: “The FBI was telling new bureau recruits as recently as Jan. 2009 that Islam “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th Century Arabian ways” and recommending a book written by one of Norwegian terrorism suspect Anders Behring Breivik’s favorite authors as well as the Complete Idiot’s Guide To Understanding Islam.”

TPM reported that some of the books included on a “Recommended Reading” slide are The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam and The Truth About Muhammad by anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer, “who was cited 64 times by the Norwegian bombing suspect Breivik in his manifesto.”

The story was first reported by Spencer Ackerman in WIRED’s Danger Room.

The information was included in a 62-page slideshow produced by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit, and obtained by the ACLU and the Asian Law Caucus via the Freedom of Information Act request filed last year, TPM reported.

The FBI, in a statement told WIRED, that the bureau’s presentation “was a rudimentary version used for a limited time that has since been replaced.” It said the Robert Spencer’s book was no longer on the recommended reading list.

“We encourage our agents to seek out a variety of viewpoints,” the FBI said. “That does not mean we endorse or adopt the view of any particular author,” the bureau’s statement continues. “Broad knowledge is essential for us to better understand and respond to the threats we face. Knowledge also helps us defeat ignorance and strengthen relationships with the diverse communities that we serve.”