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Milwaukee FBI Agent Shoots and Wounds Drug Suspect Who Tried to Flee

Oral Arguments Delayed in ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s Appeal

William J. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson of money-in-the-freezer fame has had his fair share of disputes with the federal government.

But this time around he’s got to be pleased with the government, which, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has asked and gotten more time to file briefs in the case.

After all, he remains free pending his appeal on his 2009 conviction on 11 of 16 public corruption counts. The judge sentenced him to 13 years.

The more delays, the longer he’s assured of staying out of prison in a case that began in 2005 with an FBI sting.

Oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals were set to begin the week of March 22, Bruce Alpert of the Times-Picayune reported.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. announced the delay, Alpert reported, to give prosecutors another month to file briefs, the Picayune reported.

The briefs must be filed by March 10 and Jefferson’s lawyers will have 10 days to respond.

Still, the Picayune reported that a ruling could possibly come by summer.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Senate Report Critical of FBI and Pentagon in Ft. Hood Shooting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Senate report on the Fort Hood shooting takes a sharp shot at the FBI for failing to share critical information with military about shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Associated Press reported.

AP wrote that the report — to be released Thursday — also criticized the Pentagon for failing to make changes to identify potentially violent Islamic extremists.

AP wrote that the report noted that the an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force failed to share information with the military that Hasan’s had repeated contact with U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was anti-American and encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

AP reported that the FBI did not share the information because it concluded Hasan was not linked to terrorism.

AP reported that FBI has since revised its procedures about notifying the military and plans to increase training for task force members when it comes to searching databases during investigations.

UPDATED: 1 p.m. Thursday; FBI response:

The FBI recognizes the value of congressional oversight and agrees with much in the report and many of its recommendations. During the internal FBI review undertaken immediately after the attack at Fort Hood, we identified several of the areas of concern outlined in the report, and, as noted in the report, have implemented changes to our systems and processes to address them. We will review each of the report’s recommendations and adopt them, as appropriate.

While concluding that the FBI’s transformation to an intelligence-driven organization remains a work in progress, the report recognizes the FBI’s substantial progress and many successes, led by Joint Terrorism Task Forces, in disrupting terrorist plots by homegrown extremists.

In addition, we look forward to the recommendations of Judge William H. Webster, who is conducting an independent, outside review of the FBI’s actions with respect to Fort Hood. Judge Webster and his team are evaluating the corrective actions taken to determine whether they are sufficient and whether there are other policy or procedural steps the FBI should consider to improve its ability to detect and prevent such threats in the future.

To read more click here.

An FBI Agent Looks Back at the Mysterious Murders at Ann Arbor’s Veterans Hospital; What Went Right and What Ultimately Went Wrong in the Case

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. He was assigned to the FBI task force investigating the mystery in the mid-1970s.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

ANN ARBOR, Mi. — In 1977, two nurses, Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez, were convicted of poisoning patients at the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Veterans Administration Hospital (VAH) after one of the longest trials in U.S. history.

The prosecution and verdict became a cause celebre in Ann Arbor, across the nation and in the Philippines. It was widely believed the nurses were made scapegoats as they were immigrant Filipinos.

Months after the convictions, the trial judge ordered a new trial because of his finding of prosecutorial misconduct. The case was never retried.

What little information about the case that is now available on the internet indicates that Narciso and Perez were innocent and “falsely accused.”

In an effort to at least balance the historical record, I have tried to write an objective account of the case.

The case was a classic “whodunit,” and its resolution was worthy of Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. If this had been a mystery story, the hospital would have been a dark foreboding place, but it wasn’t.

The Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital (VAH) was built in 1953 of reddish brick and generic government architecture. It sits on a hill above the meandering Huron River and on the edge of the north campus of the University of Michigan. This placid scene belied the events that occurred during the summer of 1975 in the hospital.

Greg Stejskal

During a six week period of that summer, there was a sudden spike of patients experiencing breathing failures requiring emergency resuscitation (termed Code 7 emergencies with in the VAH).

Initially the medical staff was not overly concerned as such resuscitations are routine albeit not as frequent as they were beginning to experience. But as the incidents continued and became more frequent, the staff did become alarmed. Some of the patients were not revived and died.

One staff member, Dr. Anne Hill, an Irish born, Chief of Anesthesiology, was not only concerned, but began to suspect foul play. On August 15th, her suspicion coalesced into a conclusion that someone was intentionally poisoning patients. On that day there were three respiratory failures with in twenty minutes – each resulting in a Code 7 alert and requiring emergency resuscitation.

Read more »

WikiLeak Cable Suggests Missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson was Imprisoned by Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A WikiLeaks cable suggests that missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in 2007 while working as a private investigator in the Persian Gulf, was being held — at least at one point — in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s prison, according to a report in the The Telegraph in London.

Iran has denied knowledge of his whereabouts despite endless pleas by the family for more information. Levinson was on Kish Island, a popular tourist resort, when he vanished, the paper reported.

The cable contains information from a political prisoner who managed to escape the country, the Telegraph reported.

“The informant, who was detained in August 2009 amid the civil unrest sparked by the country’s disputed presidential elections, claims that he saw the words “B. LEVINSON” written on the frame of his cell, beneath three lines of English which he assumed to be a ‘plea for help’”, the paper reported.

The American diplomat who spoke to the person wrote in the cable: “He said that at the time he did not know who Levinson was and only after his release did he use the search engine Google to find that Levinson was a missing American citizen.”

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial: Administration Reverses Proposal to Cut ATF Budget

govt photo

By The Washington Post
Editorial

WASHINGTON — MANY PRESIDENTS, fearful of alienating the powerful gun lobby, have neglected the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Funding requests are often skimpy, making it that much more difficult for the emaciated agency to crack down on illegal sales and trafficking of firearms.

The Obama administration was headed in this direction in mid-December, just weeks before the Arizona shootings that took the lives of six people and injured 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). As The Post’s James V. Grimaldi and Sari Horwitz reported, the administration contemplated reducing the ATF’s budget by some 13 percent – a $160 million cut that would have brought the agency’s budget to $1.09 billion and put in jeopardy key programs.

The administration wisely – and in this political climate, bravely – appears to have had a change of heart. “As part of the president’s commitment to strengthening core law enforcement and homeland security functions – even as we make tough choices across the government – the 2012 budget includes robust support for Southwest border security, including an increase above current funding levels for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” according to Margaret L. Reilly, a spokeswoman at the Office of Management and Budget. In plain English: The administration is promising to increase the ATF’s budget beyond the $1.13 billion currently included in the 2011 continuing resolution. OMB declined to provide the exact dollar amount.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sen. Carl Levin Wants to Address Vulnerable Canadian-U.S. Border Security Issues

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Most of nation’s border-anxiety seems to be focused on Mexico. But in northern states like Michigan, it’s a different story.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, responding to a Government Accountability Office report pointing to potential threats from smugglers and terrorists, called for meetings to improve security at the Detroit-Windsor border, MLive.com reported.

The website reported that the report released Tuesday stated that the Border patrol had reached an acceptable level of security on 32 of about 4,000 miles of U.S.-Canadian border.

“I have serious concerns that lack of coordination between Immigration and Customs Enforcement Personnel and Border Patrol personnel is hindering border security in Detroit,” Levin (D-Detroit) said a statement, calling on representatives for both agencies to meet with him in Detroit within two weeks, the website reported.

“Any failure to coordinate efforts between agencies that weakens security on the northern border is totally unacceptable.”

To read more click here.

Read GAO Report

“Jihad Jane” Who Plotted to Kill Swedish Cartoonist Pleads Guilty

Jihad Jane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The woman who went by the name “Jihad Jane” — a made-for-TV moniker — pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia  to terrorism charges that included allegations that she was involved in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support toterrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements and attempted identity theft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said. She faces up to life in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker.

LaRose, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Montgomery County, Pa.,  was indicted last year along with Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a U.S. citizen and former Colorado resident who is set to go to trial on May 2.

Authorities charged that  LaRose and her co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and were able to travel around Europe in support of violent jihad, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities said LaRose and her co-conspirators used the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions through the collection of passports and through marriage.

Additionally, federal authorities charged that she received a direct order to kill the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks in a way that would frighten “the whole Kufar [non-believer] world.”

Authorities said she agreed to carry out the plan, and  figured her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend in while executing the plan.  She was never successful in carrying out the plot.

“Today’s guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,”  David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security said in a statement. “I applaud the many agents and analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s result.”