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FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Warns About “Rapidly Expanding” Threat of Cyber Terrorism

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller warned Thursday that cyber terrorism threats are an ever growing problem “that could have the same impact as well-placed bombs.”

“In the past 10 years, al Qaeda’s online presence has become as potent as its physical presence,” Mueller said during a speech at the RSA Cyber Security Conference in San Francisco. “Extremists are not limitiing their use of the internet to recruitment or radicationlaizaiton, they are using it to incite terrorism.”

“We in the FBI, with our partners in the intelligence community, believe the cyber terrorism threat is real, and it is rapidly expanding,” he said. “Terrorists have shown a clear interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they will either train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward combining physical attacks with cyber attacks.”

The following is a full text of his speech.

Read more »

Mexico Extradites Drug Kinpin Oscar Arriola to U.S., DEA Announces

file photo/dea

file photo/dea

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mexico on Wednesday extradited drug kingpin Oscar Arriola to Colorado to face drug charges, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Thursday. He will appear in court in Colorado Thursday.

Authorities said he was flown on a DEA plane from Mexico to El Paso, Tex, to Denver.

Arriola had been custody in Mexico since his arrest on February 2, 2006.

Authorities alleged that Arriola headed an international cocaine ring that smuggled more than 2 tons of cocaine per month into the U.S.

“We deeply appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from Mexico in the extradition of Oscar Arriola to the United States to face this serious federal drug charge,” DEA Special Agent in Charge in Denver Jeffrey D. Sweetin said in a statement.

“According to the allegations, his organization’s drug trafficking in Mexico and the United States allowed him to amass incredible wealth, at the expense of the citizens of both countries,” he said.”He will now be held accountable in U.S. District Court in Colorado for those illegal activities.”

Detroit Area Attorney Ran Sports Betting Ring Out of Law Office

sports betting
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Michigan attorney John Stephen Shelly found a way to supplement his income from his law practice.

The 49-year-old ran part of a gambling ring out of his law offices in suburban Detroit in St. Clair Shores as well as bars in Detroit and Dearborn, authorities said.

Earlier this week, he and associate David Stronski, 55, of Grosse Point Park pleaded guilty to being part of a multi-state sports betting ring for college and pro sports that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say the operation made as much as $25,000 a week.

FBI Submits Evidence in Historical 1990 Boston Art Heist for DNA Analysis

One of the Rembrandt Pieces Stolen

One of the Rembrandt Pieces Stolen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Advances in DNA testing aren’t just being used to solve murders and rapes.

The FBI is hoping to take advantage of the new advances by submitting evidence from the great art heist 20 years ago at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston which included three Rembrandts and a Vermeer, the Boston Globe reports. It is believed to be the largest heist in world history in terms of dollars.

The FBI on the case declined to say what had been submitted for analysis, but the Globe reported that people familiar with the case “said it would probably include long strips of duct tape used to tie up the museum’s two night watchmen, whom the thieves overpowered to get access to the artwork.”

“If they left any sweat on that duct tape, a sample could be drawn, and with that sample there’s the possibility of a result,” Dr. Bruce Budowle, former senior scientist of the FBI’s Quantico lab told the Globe.

To read full story click here.

Read more »

Brooklyn Trial Illustrates Tough Balancing Act Dealing With an FBI Informant

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The trial in Brooklyn federal court involving right wing racist Internet radio host Hal Turner illustrates the tough balancing act the FBI has to deal with when handling an informant who is less than an ideal citizen.

Turner is accused of posting messages last summer on his blog advocating the death of U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Chicago who upheld a gun ban.

But on Wednesday he testified at his trial that the FBI talked to him in 2005 about helping solve the murder of the family of a federal judge in Chicago and suggested he “ratchet up the rhetoric”. The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience, according to the New York Times.

He in turn posted a photo of the Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow with the statement “worthy of death”, the Times reported.

This past summer, he posted on his blogs that  the Court of Appeals judges in the gun ban ruling were “worthy of death”. His defense is essentially  that he was doing the same thing the FBI had asked him to do in the past. One of those judges testified earlier this week that he felt threatened by the posting on the blog.

Turner’s first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked. That could happen again.

To read more click here

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Why Hasn’t Rep. Charles Rangel Been Indicted?

By Steven Levin

As a recovering federal prosecutor, I see an occasional injustice that I might not have seen when I was with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland. A businessman, for instance, is wrongfully targeted and subsequently suffers from the toll such an investigation takes on both his personal and professional life.

I also see the occasional injustice in which those who should be targeted and should be indicted avoid either one or both. Enter Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). So far, with him, the system has failed us. The question begs to be asked: Why has he not been indicted?

If Representative Rangel were (merely) Mr. Rangel, how long do you think it would take a prosecutor to seek an indictment for tax evasion based on, as reported by The New York Times, his alleged failure to report rental income earned from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic, or his alleged receipt of gifts related to his rental of four rent-controlled apartments for less than market value? The answer in part would simply be before the statute of limitations runs.

But all is not lost. At least the system seems to be working in North Carolina, where Ex-Sen. (Now “Mr” ) John Edwards appears to remain the target of a federal grand jury for his alleged improper use of campaign funds.

Only time will tell if Mr. Edwards goes from the target of an investigation to a defendant in an indictment. If so, I suspect that few would see an injustice in that.

Levin can be reached at slevin@levingallagher.com.

President Nominates Willie R. Stafford For U.S. Marshal in North Carolina

us-marshall2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Willie R. Stafford, a background investigator for the Greensboro, N.C. police epartment, for the U.S. Marshal spot for the Middle District of North Carolina.

His bio is a follows, according to a White House press release:

Willie R. Stafford currently serves as a background investigator for the Greensboro, NC, police department, and is an independent consultant providing pre-employment screening and promotional testing services for law enforcement agencies.

From 1975 to 2004, Stafford served with the Greensboro Police Department in a variety of operational positions. He retired as the Assistant Chief of Police for the Western Operations Bureau. Stafford earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs in 1988 and a Bachelor’s Degree in American History and Psychology in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina.

President Obama Nominates U.S. Attys for New Mexico and Washington State

Mike Ormsby/law firm photo

Mike Ormsby/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The slow, laborious process of filling the U.S. Attorney posts around the country continued on Wednesday when President Obama nominated attorneys to fill the spots in New Mexico and the Eastern District of Washington state.

The nominees include assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales for the New Mexico post and private attorney Michael C. Ormsby to serve as United States Attorneys.

The bios of the two are as follows, according to the White House press release:

Kenneth J. Gonzales currently works as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, where he has been since 1999. He also serves in the United States Army Reserve in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He recently returned from active duty at Fort Bragg, where he served as Senior Trial Counsel. He also spends one weekend a month working as a Judge Advocate Legal Assistance Attorney, working with Army personnel on estate planning and other legal matters. Previously, Gonzales worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Office of United States Senator Jeff Bingaman. Gonzales began his legal career serving as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Joseph F. Baca of the Supreme Court of New Mexico from 1994 until 1996. Gonzales is a 1988 graduate of the University of New Mexico and a 1991 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Michael C. Ormsby has been a partner at K&L Gates, LLP since 1988. He advises public entities and governmental institutions on municipal finance and other legal matters. He has also served on the Spokane Public School Board and the Eastern Washington University Board of Trustees. He started his legal career as an associate attorney at Lukins & Annis P.S., where he worked from 1981 to 1988. Ormsby graduated from Gonzaga University in 1979 and the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1981.