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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Weekend Series on Crime History: Ted Bundy




Program Features Civil Rights Slaying and the FBI Probe

Fed Judge Tosses Torture Lawsuit by “Dirty Bomber”

Jose Padilla

By Allan Lengel

A federal judge in South Carolina on Thursday tossed out a lawsuit against the government by the man known as the “dirty bomber.” Jose Padilla had claimed he was tortured and denied an opportunity to practice his religion.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that Padilla, who was arrested at Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2002 as an enemy combatant, could not sue for constitutional violations and that the government had “qualified immunity” in the case. After his arrest he was transferred to the Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C.

“Therefore, to the extent that a viable cause of action were found to exist under the Constitution, the Court finds that all defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on all issues relating to Padilla’s designation and detention as an enemy combatant,” the judge wrote.

“The Court finds that under the circumstances then existing during Padilla’s detention and interrogation, Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity for Padilla’s RFRA claims. There was then no “clearly established” federal law on these issues, and the courts were only then beginning to sort out the legal rights of those designated as enemy combatants.”

The lawsuit had named defendants including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Judge Gergel

Padilla was held as an enemy combatant for 3 1/2 years before he was transferred to Miami to face allegations in civilian court that he planned to build and detonate a “dirty bomb” in the U.S.

He was convicted in August 2007 and subsequently sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke in Miami to 17 years and four months in prison.

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Washington Post Editorial Calls For Congressional Commission to Review Anthrax Investigation

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — RESOLUTION OF THE 2001 anthrax attacks continues to prove elusive.

The Justice Department and the FBI identified Maryland scientist Bruce E. Ivins as having single-handedly carried out the attacks that killed five people and seriously sickened 17 others. The department was on the verge of seeking an indictment in 2008 when Mr. Ivins took his own life.

Doubts lingered about Mr. Ivins’s guilt, in part because the FBI had had its sights on a different Maryland scientist for several years before admitting he was not the culprit. Now, a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) raises new questions about whether Mr. Ivins was wrongly accused.

The lengthy report cites several instances in which the Justice Department appears to have overstated the strength of the scientific evidence against Mr. Ivins.

To read more click here.


Man Sentenced to Life in Brooklyn for Plotting to Blow Up JFK Airport

jfk airport

By Allan Lengel

A federal judge in Brooklyn on Thursday sentenced Russell Defreitas to life in prison for conspiring to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines under John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.

A federal jury convicted Russell Defreitas and co-conspirator Abdul Kadir in July 2010 after a nine-week trial, authorities said.

Evidence at trial showed that Russell Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, originated the idea to attack JFK Airport and its fuel tanks and pipelines. He had worked at the airport as a cargo handler.

In 2006 and 2007, he recruited recruited Abdul Kadir and others to join the plot during multiple trips to Guyana and Trinidad, authorities said.

Between trips, Defreitas did video surveillance of JFK Airport and transported the footage back to Guyana to show Kadir and their co-conspirators.

Authorities said “Kadir, a trained engineer with connections to militant groups in Iran and Venezuela, provided the conspirators with links to individuals with terrorist experience, advice on explosive materials, and a bank account through which to finance the terrorist attack.”

On Dec. 15,Kadir was sentenced to life. Another defendant, Abdel Nur was sentenced in January to 15 years in prison and a fourth man, Kareem Ibrahim, still faces trial.

As Expected White House Gives Nod to Thomas Harrigan For #2 Spot at DEA

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — As expected, the White House Wednesday nominated Thomas M. Harrigan as the number two person at DEA.

Harrigan, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is currently Chief of Operations for DEA, a post he has held since 2008.

Harrigan, a well respected figure in the DEA, started his career with the agency in 1987 and was assigned to the Bangkok in 1991.

Since then, the White House said “he has served as Group Supervisor in the Newark Field Division, Staff Coordinator in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Chief of the Dangerous Drugs and Chemicals Section, and Deputy Chief in the Office of Domestic Operations. He also served as Senior Advisor to the Chief of Domestic Operations and as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Washington Field Office.

In 2004, Mr. Harrigan was appointed to the Senior Executive Service to serve as the Chief of Enforcement Operations.

Column: White House Needs to Stop Being Wimpy About Gun Rules Tied to Mexico’s Violent Cartels

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — What’s it going to take for the White House to figure out that the situation in Mexico — endless bloodshed over money, drugs and power — is an “emergency”?

The ambush of two ICE agents on Tuesday in which one died?  The deadly ambush last March of a woman from the American Consulate and her husband?  The endless murders of tens of thousands of Mexicans including plenty cops?

It’s simply disturbing how Wimpy the White House has been — how it has bowed to NRA.

I’m referring to a very simple rule it refuses to implement. ATF last December announced that it hoped the White House would quickly implement an emergency request  calling for gun dealers in four border states  to report sales of two or more assault weapons to one person within five days.  The idea is to keep better track of the guns and gun traffickers who are helping supply the murderous drug war in Mexico.

The NRA opposes the regulation. So what. The White House needs a backbone. This is an emergency.

Former colleague James Grimaldi of the Washington Post reported on Feb. 5 that the White House had rejected the emergency request, which will delay implementing the regulation for at least two months. The White House claims it wants to be more transparent and get more public feedback.  Michael Isikoff of NBC reported that the White House just didn’t see it as “emergency” under federal rules.

No one expects this to be the magic bullet, so to speak, that will turn things around.  You need lots and lots of things to collectively create a magic bullet.  But this  could help. And it certainly couldn’t hurt.

I spoke to James Cavanaugh, a thoughtful and  respected former ATF official the other day who simply said of the White House: “It’s not a profile in political courage.  Everybody is beating their chest saying how much they want to stop  the slaughter of Mexican citizens down there. ”

“You either need to change the law that describes what an emergency is or change the leader who made the decision that it isn’t.”

I couldn’t agree more.

If Captured Bin Laden Might Go to Gitmo, CIA Head Says

bin Laden said getting weapons of mass destruction was a "religious duty"

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON – After almost 10 years, it seems like nothing more than a lot of “what ifs” and fantasy on the part of the U.S. government when it talks about what to do  with Osama bin Laden if he’s ever captured.

Still, CIA Director Leon Panetta testified Wednesday before a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill that the administration would probably take him to the military prison at Gitmo, the Associated Press reported.

AP’s Eileen Sullivan went on to write “that suggests that, at least under current law, bin Laden would not be transferred to US soil to be tried in the civilian court system.”

Bin laden has been indicted in federal court in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

But the new White House spokesman Jay Carney said, according to AP:

“The president remains committed to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, because as our military commanders have made clear, it’s a national security priority to do so.

“I’m not going to speculate about what, you know, would happen if we were to capture Osama bin Laden.”