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Latest Book Review: Current and Ex-Secret Service Agents Revealed a Lot of Gossip About Presidents

secret-service-3

This book on the Secret Service is continuing to touch nerves inside and outside the agency. Some current and former Secret Service agents are disturbed that current and former agents disclosed secrets that should have remained secret. Here’s the latest review of Ronald Kessler’s new book: “IN THE PRESIDENT’S SECRET SERVICE:  Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect”

By James Bamford
The Washington Post Outlook Section

A few blocks from the White House, on the busy corner of H and 9th streets, stands a bland, unnamed, nine-story office building. On a wall in the lobby, large silver letters spell out the words “Worthy of Trust and Confidence.”

That is the motto of the Secret Service, and the anonymous tan-brick building is the agency’s headquarters. “The phrase,” said former director Lewis C. Merletti, “is the absolute heart and soul of the United States Secret Service. . . . And it must never be compromised.” Lest they forget, all agents have the motto emblazoned on their IDs.

But in light of an odd decision by the current director, Mark Sullivan, the motto should be changed to “Have You Heard This One?” During the Bush administration, hoping for some good, ego-enhancing publicity, Sullivan broke with his agency’s long-standing policy of absolute silence and allowed Ronald Kessler to get an earful.

The chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com, which bills itself as “the #1 conservative news agency online,” Kessler had written very positive books about CIA Director George Tenet, first lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush, and Sullivan was probably hoping for the same treatment.

For Full Story

Angry FBI Director Mueller Calls Release of Lockerbie Bomber a “Mockery”

Robert Mueller III/file photo

Robert Mueller III/file photo

It really is a disgrace that the man was released so early. Sick or or not sick, the man doesn’t deserve much compassion. Then again, clearly he was not the only one responsible for the death of 270 people.

By CNN
WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert Mueller harshly criticized the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber in a letter released Saturday, calling it “a mockery of the rule of law.”

Mueller, in a note to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, said MacAskill’s decision to release Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is “as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice.”

Al Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people, including 189 Americans, were killed.

For Full Story

Read Mueller’s Note

Weekend Series on History: Hunting Drug Lord Pablo Escobar

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJgKDOaC-34

Parole Denied for American Indian Activist Convicted in 1975 Killing of 2 FBI Agents

FBI Agent Ronald Williams

FBI Agent Ronald Williams

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It seemed like a no brainer for the U.S. Parole Commission.

American Indian activist Leonard Peltier was convicted in the 1975 fatal shootings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald A. Williams on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation. The agents were serving arrests warrants for robbery and assault.

And after the shootings, while on the lam, Peltier shot at an Oregon Highway Patrol Officer, authorities say. In 1979, he escaped from prison and shot at a prison employee. In all, he had 12 prison infractions, four of which were drug related.

So considering all that,  this may not have come as any great shock:  After his July 28 parole hearing at his federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa., the parole commission turned him down, according to an announcement Friday by U.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley of North Dakota, where Peltier was convicted in 1977.  The next parole hearing will be in July 2024 for the Peltier, who is 65.

On Friday, FBI Assistant Director Thomas J. Harrington issued a statement lauding the parole commission’s decision and added:
“His time served in jail for their 1975 murders has not diminished the brutality of his crimes or the pain and sorrow felt by the families of his victims or the FBI family.”

FBI Agent Jack Coler

FBI Agent Jack Coler

Peltier denied actually shooting the agents. He has conceded that he was present and shot in the area of the agents, authorities said. The parole board said the evidence was convincing that he was the actual killer.

U.S. Atty. Wrigley issued a statement saying: “Leonard Peltier’s guilt is certain and has been upheld time and time again by every appellate court. The evidence is overwhelming . And the loss suffered by the Coler and Williams families is equally overwhelming.”

After the shooting, authorities say Peltier was captured in Canada in February 1976 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“He was heavily armed when arrested…and said he would have blown the Mounties out of their shoes had he known they were coming to arrest him,” the U.S. Attorney’s press release said.

In 1979, he escaped. The FBI captured Peltier who possessed a semi-automatic rifle at the time, authorities said.

In other words, how hard of a decision was it to keep the guy behind bars?

Read 6-Page U.S. Attorney Press Release

FBI Chief Intelligence Officer Don Van Duyn Retiring

Don Van Duyn
Don Van Duyn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Don Van Duyn, the FBI’s chief intelligence officer who regularly briefed FBI Director Robert Mueller III, is stepping down, the FBI confirmed Friday.

Van Duyn, who was appointed to the post of Chief Intelligence Officer for the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence in Sept. 2008, is retiring at the end of the month, the FBI said.

He joined the FBI in 2003 after working as an analyst for the CIA  and  as the agency’s liaison to the FBI.

A 2008 FBI press release said he started his FBI career in 2003 as the chief of the Counterterrorism Analysis Section where he  “shaped the early development  of the FBI’s Intelligence Program.”

FBI spokesman Paul E. Bresson said no replacement has been named.

Ex-Agent Insists Author’s Article on Secret Service is Filled with “Half-Truths and Hyperbole” to Promote Book

Don Gambatesa, who retired from the U.S. Secret Service, was a special agent in charge of the agency’s training facility, James J. Rowley Training Center in Laurel, Md.  He wrote this letter to the editor of Newsmax.com, the online publication that  printed a story critical of the agency.

The artcile was written by  Ronald Kessler, author of the new book:  “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect”.

secret-service-book

By Don Gambatesa
Retired Secret Service Agent
Mr. Kessler’s article on August 10, 2009 “Secret Service is Putting the President at Risk” is not only a ploy to hype the sales of his “tell all” book, but it could possibly encourage individuals or groups to make an attempt on the life of the President or others.

Although I have only read excerpts from the book, the article is filled with half-truths and hyperbole. If asked, most former and current Secret Service agents would say that no security plan is without some risk.

The difficult job of the Secret Service is to minimize that risk in order to make it nearly impossible for someone or a group to successfully assassinate the President. I can tell you from my 24 years in the Service that protection of the President involves the use of many security features to include magnetometers.

Of course, the Secret Service is not going to speak openly about the complete package of security related activities that go on before and during a Presidential visit but there are many; and hopefully none of my former colleagues will enumerate them.

Read more »

U.S. Officials See Continuation of Mexican Cartel Violence

No question, with the stakes so high, the money so plentiful, the Mexican drug trade isn’t going away any time soon. The U.S. announcement on Thursday of a major indictment including major cartel figures is good, but it certainly does NOT mark the end, or anything close to it.

mexico-map1

By Anthony L. Kimery
HS TODAY

US counterterrorism officials continue to be increasingly concerned about the growth of Mexico’s narco-cartels and the Mexican military’s inability to substantially break up their operations.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier this year was forced to deploy military forces throughout regions of the country to try to break-up and disrupt the cartels’ activities.

But officials who spoke on background said the cartels and their “enforcers” have become emboldened and have less fear than they did several years ago to directly confront Mexican federal police and military forces, and that they no longer have hesitation about using violence to protect – and project – their operations there and in the United States.

For Full Story

NY Lawyer Convicted in Scheme to “Eliminate” and “Neutralize” Fed Witnesses

Atty Robert Simels

Atty Robert Simels

It’s good to be vigilante as a defense attorney and protect your client. Then there’s attorneys like Robert Simels who are downright criminal about it. Simply disgraceful. Simels didn’t walk free despite being represented by one of New York’s top lawyers Gerald Shargel.

By Patricia Hurtado
Bloomberg

Robert Simels, a New York criminal defense lawyer, was convicted by a jury of a scheme to “eliminate” and “neutralize” federal witnesses slated to testify against one of his clients.

Simels, a former Special Assistant Attorney General for New York’s Special Prosecutor’s Office who once represented pop artist Peter Max, was convicted of 12 of 13 charges against him, including multiple counts of witness tampering, bribery, and illegal possession of eavesdropping equipment. He was cleared of a sole charge of making false statements to the U.S.

For Full Story