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Travelers Left Behind $635,000 in Change at TSA Checkpoints in 2013

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ever search under your sofa cushions for change and find enough money for lunch?

The change adds up.

It did in a big way for the TSA last year, when travelers abandoned more than $635,000 in coins in the bins and bowls at airport checkpoints in 2013, The Business Insider reports.

That compares to $107,000 in 2012 and $150,00 in 2011.

FBI Agent: Divine Intervention Led to Arrest of Timothy McVeigh 20 Years Ago

Timothy McVeigh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent who played a key role in the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing credits more than talent or good training on capturing Timothy McVeigh.

In an interview with the Oklahoman, Special Agent R. Scott Crabtree said divine intervention played a role in McVeigh’s capture.

“At the risk of sounding a little corny, it’s like I was supposed to be there at that time,” Crabtree told The Oklahoman in a telephone interview for the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Crabtree’s idea to quickly get a sketch of the person who had picked up the bomb truck led to McVeigh’s arrest two days after the bombing. And Crabtree was the lead interviewer of McVeigh’s close friend, Terry Nichols.

“I believe to a great degree there was some guidance from somewhere, some divine power or fate — whatever you want to call it — that had me there,” Crabtree said.

 Other Stories of Interest

FBI Incensed Over Justice Department’s Leniency in Blackwater Security Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is not happy with how prosecutors handled the indictment of Blackwater security contractors involved in a deadly shooting in Iraq, saying political appointees in the Justice Department intentionally undermined the case. The FBI wanted to have charges filed that could have sent the defendants to prison for life.

Citing internal emails, The New York Times reports that the FBI also expressed serious concerns with Justice Department officials’ decision to refuse to bring two machine-gun charges, each of which carries a maximum 30 years in prison.

In part, officials were not comfortable with the mandatory minimum sentences.

“We are getting some serious resistance from our office to charging the defendants with mandatory minimum time,” Kenneth Kohl, a federal prosecutor, told the lead F.B.I. agent on the case, John Patarini, before the  grand jury to vote on an indictment in December 2008.

Patarini was not happy: “I would rather not present for a vote now and wait until the new administration takes office than to get an indictment that is an insult to the individual victims, the Iraqi people as a whole, and the American people who expect their Justice Department to act better than this.”

In 2007, Blackwater security contractors shot machine guns and grenade launchers into a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding many others.

 

 

 

Justice Department Negatively Impacted by Delay in Confirming Lorreta Lynch

Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The partisan delay in confirming Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general is beginning to impact promotions and policy decision at the Justice Department, The Los Angeles Times reports.  

The delay has prompted DOJ officials to question whether to hold a major intentional meeting on cybersecurity this spring.

“There is a constant complication about committing to things,” said Robert Raben, a former assistant attorney general who is advising Lynch on the nomination and remains in touch with department officials. “For April and May, there are an enormous amount of things that are on hold. It’s impossible for the leadership to know what to commit to, because they do not know if Ms. Lynch is going to have a different view.”

The Senate returns this week but it’s unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, will hold a vote.

“There are major policy decisions that are on hold,” said one department official who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal matters.

Both Republicans and Democrats have called for delays.

Another Secret Service Embarrassment: Child Breaches White House Fence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the latest embarrassment for the embattled Secret Service, a 4-year-old managed to breach the White House fence in broad daylight Sunday, forcing a lockdown.

The Weekly Standard reports that an unidentified child climbed under the fence.

“4 year old child climbed under temporary bike rack along PA Ave. Child was fine and was safely reunited with parents,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told the White House pool reporter.

Here’s an earlier pool report detailing the incident:

“Pool loaded the vans at 12:38 pm and motorcade is rolling at 12:51 pm to an undisclosed location.

“As the pool was initially gathering at the north doors of the Palm Room, security agents suddenly rushed to the north lawn with their weapons drawn and pool was told to get back inside. It turned out to be a non-incident, in which an individual jumped over the small bike fence outside the White House gate. After a few moments, pool was able to gather again. Your pooler has reached out to Secret Service for more details.”

Then came the update: “Update on brief security scramble at the White House prior to departure: It was just a child.”

Did FBI ‘Whitewash’ Investigation of Saudi Connection to Sept. 11 Attacks?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family left their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind expensive possessions without letting neighbors or the mail carrier know.

The New York Post reports that a couple made a hasty, suspicious retreat back to Saudi Arabia.

A subsequent investigation found that at least one of the family members trained at the same flight school as some of the hijackers.

The investigation was active for years and included the FBI’s Tampa field office and the bureau’s office in New York and Washington.

The New York Post wrote:

The Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11 investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.” Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it maintains the probe was a dead end

Off-Duty Secret Service Officer Arrested for Destruction of Property in D.C.

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Trouble continues for the embattled Secret Service.

This time an off-duty officer from the Uniformed Division was arrested Friday in Washington D.C., The USA Today reports. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the agent is accused of doing, but he will be charged with one misdemeanor account of detraction of property.

The office is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

Other Stories of Interest


Federal Grand Jury Probes A Rash Of Home Invasions In Howard Beach

Jerry Capeci is regarded as an expert on the mob. His website, Gang Land News, is a subscription-based website. This article was republished with permission.

By Jerry Capeci
Gang Land News

A federal grand jury in Brooklyn is investigating a violent gang of low level Bonanno crime family associates that is alleged to be behind a rash of home invasion robberies and burglaries in Howard Beach and nearby communities in Queens and Long Island, Gang Land has learned. Sources say federal prosecutors have been presenting evidence to a grand jury about dozens of robberies in a community that was immune to drug dealing and violent crime when John Gotti and the bosses of the Luchese and Bonanno crime families lived there.

That mob immunity apparently vanished, however, with the death of the Dapper Don and the removals of Vic Amuso to prison, and Joe Massino to the federal witness protection program. In several home invasions, sources say the masked marauders made off with thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry after beating residents.

Victims, both men and women, were allegedly forced to strip naked and bound with plastic ties. Sources say that on occasion the gang threw all caution — and good sense — to the wind by targetting the homes of organized crime figures and others with crime connections. The gang’s death-wish modus operandi mirrors the real-life plot of Rob The Mob, the 2014 movie about Thomas and Rosemarie Uva, a Howard Beach couple who robbed mob social clubs in the 1990s, and were whacked by the mob.

Local community leaders confirmed the crime outbreak to Gang Land. “In March and April (of last year), there were a lot of push-in robberies and burglaries,” said Joseph Thompson, a former Brooklyn resident who moved to Howard Beach 20 years ago and is president of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol Inc., HBCOP, a community watchdog group that was founded in June to try to help cops stem the tide. “For a while,” said one neighborhood denizen, recalling the onslaught of break-ins a year ago, “it got so bad it seemed like every other day, you’d hear about another one. The 106 (precinct) even set up a command station.” And those were “just the reported robberies,” said a knowledgeable law enforcement source who is familiar with a federal grand jury probe by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn in conjunction with the Queens District Attorney’s Office and Detectives with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID).

According to court records obtained by Gang Land, a ringleader of the group is Gene Borrello, a 30-year-old 6-foot-2inch, 200-pound former Howard Beach resident with numerous arrests and convictions for fraud, drugs and weapons charges in New York and Long Island since 2003. Borrello is currently cooling his heels on Rikers Island, where he’s been detained on burglary, and possession of weapons and burglars tools on a Queens arrest warrant. Borrello is also facing armed robbery charges lodged against him in Palm Beach Florida, where he was living last year and where he also is a suspect in home invasions.

In Queens, Borrello is charged with planning the armed robbery of a suspected drug dealer’s home last June 5, and with supplying the guns that two co-conspirators had with them when they set out from Howard Beach to hit a residence in the upscale Five Towns area of Long Island, according to an arrest complaint by OCID detective Gerard McNally. In mid-March of 2014, as the ring was moving into high gear, Borrello supplied a Howard Beach cohort, Frank Nunziata, also 30, with two loaded guns, a 9-millimeter pistol and a .22 caliber revolver, for use in the caper, McNally stated in the complaint. From his Florida base, Borrello later “sent him pictures of the target location” and gave Nunziata the layout of the house. In late May, Borrello allegedly instructed Nunziatta to meet up with the third member of the plot, Borrello’s brother, Frank Cipolla, 25, to give him the guns for safekeeping, and iron out the robbery plan.

The plan was for Nunziata to drive, and supply Cipolla a towel-covered-crowbar to break the sliding glass back door. They would find a safe with drugs, guns and more than $100,000 in the bedroom. Each would get a third of the haul, McNally wrote.

Unbeknownst to the brothers Borrello and Cipolla, however, Nunziata began cooperating with detectives and the Queens DA’s office following his arrest on drug and other charges a year earlier. And at 11:44 PM on June 5, shortly after Nunziata pulled away from his home at 115th Avenue and Bridgeton Street, OCID detectives stopped his dark blue BMW, and pulled both men from the car.

 In the glove box, they found a loaded .22 caliber revolver. Also allegedly found in the car were plastic zip ties, a pair of crowbars, two screwdrivers, a ski-mask and a bandana. Cipolla, whom police said had a 9millimeter pistol tucked in his waistband and a pair of black gloves in his lap, was arrested on numerous charges.
Since their arrests, hearings on charges against Borrello and Cipolla have been adjourned repeatedly with no objection from defense lawyers. Cipolla, who has a New Jersey drug conviction on his rap sheet, is free on $150,000 bail. Attorneys for each defendant, and Queens Rackets Bureau prosecutor Brian Kohm declined to comment.
The U.S. Attorney’s office also stayed mum. Howard Beach Community patrol president Thompson credited the law enforcement community, particularly the 106 precinct police, for squelching the recent robbery plague. He said crime in Howard Beach is down more than 25% since last year.
“We’re pretty much a quality of life patrol right now,” said Thompson, adding that his diverse group of community volunteers “serves as eyes and ears of the police department” and has proven to be “a deterrent against crime” since they began their patrols last August. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, sources say a federal grand jury impaneled to hear the case has heard testimony from several robbery and burglary victims in recent months as prosecutors push forward in an effort to obtain a racketeering indictment against several members of the violent home invasion gang of mob associates.