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FBI Agent Robert Hanssen’s Suburban Home Up For Sale for $725,000; He Now Lives in Supermax Prison in Colo.

FBI Spy Robert Hanssen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

To the FBI, the White House, the CIA and the American people, FBI agent Robert Hanssen was nothing more than a traitor, a Russian spy who did some serious damage to national security in exchange for diamonds and cash worth $600,000.

But in the real estate world, his name means little. His five-bedroom home in Vienna, Va., a nice little suburb of Washington, is just another listing.

USA Today reports that Hanssen’s dark wood and brick split-level is up for sale for $725,000. It makes no mention online of Hanssen.

“We’re not obviously marketing to that aspect,” real estate agent Patrick Kilner told USA Today. “It’s not a salient issue.”

USA Today reports that info Hanssen provided to the Russians over 15 years resulted in the executions of at least two Russian agents working for the United States.

USA Today reported when Hanssen, now 67, pleaded guilty to espionage charges in 2001, the family home was one of the few possessions  the government did not seize. The property was assigned to Hanssen’s wife, Bernadette, whose name remains on property records.

hanssen home/llewellyn realtors

Hanssen is serving a life sentence and is currently being housed in the Supermax prison in Colorado, a far cry from his cozy home in Virginia.

Rep. Peter King Busts Justice Dept.’s Chops; Claims it Overruled Wishes of Prosecutors and FBI to File Charges in Muslim Charity Case; Justice Dept. Calls Allegations Nonsense

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Peter King is busting the chops of the Justice Department, claiming the department overruled fed prosecutors and FBI agents who wanted to file  charges against unindicted co-conspirators  in  a prosecution of a  Texas-based Muslim charity —  the Holy Land Foundation — which had ties to Hamas in Gaza, the Washington Times reported.

King, a New York Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter on Monday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking that he answer questions regarding the 2008 terrorism-financing prosecution, the Washington Times reported.

“I have been reliably informed that the decision not to seek indictments of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its co-founder Omar Ahmad; the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case,” King stated.

King also wants to know if the White House intervened in the matter, the Times reported.

“I believe that in order to maintain the credibility of the department, there should be full transparency into the department’s decision,” King stated.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, issued a statement to ticklethewire.com disputing the allegations:

“The Justice Department brings prosecutions based on the facts and the evidence, nothing more or less. The investigation, prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its leaders for providing material support to Hamas, and determination of whether to charge unindicted co-conspirators, were guided only by the law and the facts; any suggestion to the contrary is false and unfounded.”

“The notion that an individual suspect or organization is immune from Justice Department prosecution solely because of their affiliations, memberships or political leanings is not only false but an affront to Department prosecutors nationwide who bring charges against defendants daily without regard to such considerations.”

To read more on Washington Times story click here.

Authorities in Awe of Drug Runners’ Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Super Subs


By Jim Popkin
WIRED

The clatter of helicopter blades echoed across the jungles of northwestern Ecuador. Antinarcotics commandos in three choppers peered at the mangroves below, scanning for any sign of activity. The police had received a tip that a gang of Colombian drug smugglers had set up a clandestine work site here, in a dense swamp 5 miles south of Colombia’s border. And whatever the traffickers were building, the tipster had warned, was truly enormous.

For decades, Colombian drug runners have pursued their trade with diabolical ingenuity, staying a step ahead of authorities by coming up with one innovation after another. When false-paneled pickups and tractor-trailers began drawing suspicion at US checkpoints, the cartels and their Mexican partners built air-conditioned tunnels under the border. When border agents started rounding up too many human mules, one group of Colombian smugglers surgically implanted heroin into purebred puppies. But the drug runners’ most persistently effective method has also been one of the crudest—semisubmersible vessels that cruise or are towed just below the ocean’s surface and can hold a ton or more of cocaine.

Assembled in secret shipyards along the Pacific coast, they’ve been dubbed drug subs by the press, but they’re incapable of diving or maneuvering like real submarines. In fact, they’re often just cigarette boats encased in wood and fiberglass that are scuttled after a single mission. Yet despite their limitations, these semisubmersibles are notoriously difficult to track. US and Colombian officials estimate that the cartels have used them to ship hundreds of tons of cocaine from Colombia over the past five years alone.

But several years ago, intelligence agencies began hearing that the cartels had made a technological breakthrough: They were constructing some kind of supersub in the jungle.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blago Says He Never Considered a Plea Deal; Appears a Little Nervous About Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With just days to go before his retrial, ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich is still speaking his mind. No surprise.

The chatty ex-Gov. told the Associated Press Saturday he never considered a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The retrial is set to begin Wednesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

“There will never ever, ever, ever be me admitting to things that are false and not true,” he said. “I acted honestly, with my heart in the right place, with honest intention.”

Blago was convicted the first time of 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI.

Still, with all his talk, he appeared a little nervous.

“I hate to admit it,” he told the AP. “But the truth is there is always an element of fear that if things don’t go as they should, the consequences are not something to look forward to.”

Park Dedicated to Murdered Seattle Prosecutor; Case Remains Unsolved

Thomas Crane Wales/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The dedication won’t right the tragedy, but it’s still pretty nice.

Friends and family gathered Saturday to dedicate a 1.3 acre park in the Queen Anne section of Seattle to assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales, who was murdered while he worked in his basement in Seattle 10 years ago, according to NWCN news. The shooting remains unsolved.

“It never gets any easier, but it gets more simple in a sense because he knows we’re OK and we’re happy and that is what he would want,” Wales’ daughter, Amy Wales said, according to NWCN news.

The news station reports that Wales had been on a neighborhood committee that helped keep the little park in public hands.

Say it Ain’t So: Someone Threatened Col. Sanders, FBI Files Show

Col. Sanders

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Threatening to kill Col. Sanders of KFC fame is almost as bad as threatening Santa Claus — at least for those of us who grew up on the 11 herbs and spices.

We last reported that the FBI opened a file on the legend after he asked for an autograph from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

But apparently there’s more.

The Associated Press reports that released FBI documents from the 1970s show someone threatened the life of Sanders.

AP reported that someone wrote a hand-written note addressed to Sanders and his wife who lived in Kentucky. It  stated  that he was in “grave danger of being murdered.”

AP reported that the note said “for details go to any recruiting station and call the Los Angeles Nike Missile Base.” The note was signed “The General.”

Sanders died in 1980 at age 90. He had leukemia.

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard told AP that Sanders received millions of correspondence and virtually all were positive.

“While it was prudent for the Colonel to take this isolated threat seriously, we have no reason to believe the anonymous letter was anything more than a prank,” Maynard said in an e-mail.

The FBI files were first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Thursday.

Politicians Voice Opposition to the Axing of Justice Unit that Cracked Down on Adult XXX

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some conservative politicians — mostly Republicans but some Dems — are beating their chest over pornography.

The politicians including Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter earlier this month that was sent to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. complaining about the Justice Department shuttering its Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. The unit was created  under President George W. Bush, according to Politico.

The group is complaining that the department isn’t doing enough to crackdown on pornography.

Politico reports that the Justice Department insists it’s not giving up the battle against pornography, but it’s best handled at the U.S. Attorney level.

“Attorney General Holder told the Judiciary Committee last year that this task force was the centerpiece of the strategy to combat adult obscenity,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told POLITICO in a statement Friday. “Rather than initiate a single new case since President Obama took office, however, the only development in this area has been the dismantling of the task force. As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight.”

In the letter sent to Holder, according to Politico, the politicians said: “We write to urge the Department of Justice vigorously to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.

“We know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking. This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse.”

Not all see the elimination of the unit as a bad thing.

“It’s a very smart and pragmatic move on the part of the administration,” Diane Duke of the Free Speech Coalition, a group representing businesses that produce sexually-explicit entertainment, told Politico. “It was a witch hunt against folks in the industry, and it wasn’t one that was particularly successful. … It just seems like, finally, the Department of Justice has caught up with the rest of the nation.”

Read full report

Jewish Defense League Schemed to Extort Money from Rapper Tupac Shukur, FBI Documents Reveal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The radical Jewish Defense League plotted to extort money from rappers including Tupac Shakur by threatening them, then offering them protection for a fee, recently released FBI records reveal.

Others who were targets of the plot included Eric Wright aka “EAZY-E” of Ruthless Records, who who died of AIDS, the FBI documents show

The scheme, according to the FBI documents, involved the JDL making death threats to rappers, then offering to provide protection and intervene to make the threat go away. The plot involved the victims and their family being taken to a “safe haven” with gun toting guards, the documents said.  One document said the extortion figure amounted to about $50,000.

It was unclear from the documents how far the plots got. Shakur was murdered in 1996 in Las Vegas.

Read FBI Documents

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