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Ex-FBI Investigator Claims Bureau Hid Evidence in 2001 Anthrax Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former director of the FBI’s anthrax investigation claims the bureau hid evidence that would punch holes in the case that Army scientist Bruce Ivins mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and sickened 27 others in 2001, Fox News reports. 

Richard Lambert claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee that investigators used flawed scientific methods to arrive at a conclusion to charge Ivins in the anthrax attacks. Ivina later committed suicide before any charges were filed.

Lambert alleges there’s a “wealth” of evidence casting doubt on the case, which “the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. ”

While he headed up the investigation, he focused heavily on scientist Steven Hatfill.

The FBI declined to comment because of the litigation.

House Members Declare ‘No Confidence’ in DEA Administrator Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers leveled harsh claims against DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart on Wednesday, saying they had no confidence in her ability to lead the agency.

The sharp words come a day after lawmakers learned that DEA agents received lax punishment for attending “sex parties” in Columbia, the Huffington Post reports. 

“After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive ‘good old boy’ culture that exists throughout the agency,” read the statement from 22 members of the Oversight Committee, including Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

“From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position,” the statement continues. “Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency.”

DEA critics were happy to chime in.

“There’s simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA’s so-called leadership,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of the reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a Maryland police veteran, in a statement. “Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy.”

 Other Stories of Interest


Feds Investigate Online Posting of Personal Information about U.S. Military Members

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether an Islamic group illegally obtained personal information of 100 U.S. military members  before posting it publicly.

A group called the Islamic Hacking Division posted the information online, urging its “brothers residing in America” to attack, The USA Today reports.

One investigator said it appears so far that the information was culled from social media sites, which has prompted the Army last month to rewrite its social media guidelines.

Now questions are being raised about changing the guidelines for officials in the Justice Department and FBI, The USA Today wrote.

DEA Agents Receive Lax Punishment Over ‘Sex Parties;’ Some Get Promoted

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the DEA has come under fire over lax punishments for DEA agents accused of participating in “sex parties” with prostitutes in Columbia, The Huffington Post reports.

In fact, some of the accused agents received promotions. No one was fired.

Allegations of a sex party emerged last month following a critical report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

While one of the accused agents retired, the others were suspended for between one and 10 days.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart defended the actions before Congress.

Lawmakers were not happy.

“This new internal report details years of allegations — beginning in 2001 — that portray DEA agents as completely out of control,”  Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement Tuesday. “They appear to have fraternized with cartel members, accepted lavish gifts, and paid for prostitutes with no concern for the negative repercussions or security vulnerabilities they created.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI, NSA Officials Urge Congress to Retain Spy Powers Under Patriot Act

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and National Security Administration are on the verge of losing surveillance powers that were gained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Authorities for both agencies are urging lawmakers to preserve the spy powers before the expire June 1, The Guardian reports. 

Some members of Congress want more surveillance reforms to protect the privacy of innocent Americans.

Losing the authority gained in Section 215 of the Patriot Act will make it difficult to conduct some federal investigations, authorities warned.

Whether Congress renews the powers may depend on the newest members of Congress.

“A lot of it is going to hinge on the freshmen. Right now, as far as I can tell, the select intelligence committee is making a real strong play to persuade the freshmen that all of these public concerns are overblown,” Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said.

 

 

FBI Director James Comey: ‘We’re Making Progress’ Against Lone-Wolf Terrorists

Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the FBI is making progress combating so-called lone-wolf terrorists who are becoming radicalized on the Internet and are willing to act alone.

Comey made the statements during a “Q&A” with the Sun Sentinel while visiting Broward County in Florida to dedicate the bureau’s new Miramar headquarters.

There are reports of investigations into lone-wolf types happening in every state. How worried should America be, and what is the FBI doing about it?

“I think Americans should be comforted knowing that we’re working on this all day long, every day. I have a lot of people focused on this in all 50 states and we are covering it, I think, in a good way. It’s a challenge for us given how hard it is to spot these people because they’re on the Internet, in their homes. But as you can see, we’re locking a bunch of them up. So we’re making some good progress against this.”

Is the FBI getting involved in any investigation of officers on behalf of Fort Lauderdale police?

“We’ve been in touch with the department, as has the Department of Justice, but I don’t want to comment on what we’re doing in particular.”

What kind of lessons has the bureau learned from the Tsarnaev case?

“Well we’ve learned a lot of lessons. The first is we did a pretty good job with that investigation, but that we could work better with our partners and our joint terrorism task forces, and then a bunch of things related to our systems. We use every single case as an opportunity to learn and grow and there was learning there. But I think on balance we did a pretty good job there.”

What could have been done better?

“One of the issues was local police chiefs felt like they didn’t have a clear view of what cases we were closing, in case they wanted to do something additional. So we changed our process so that we now meet in every joint terrorism task force with the local chiefs and review the inventory: ‘Here’s what came in, here’s what we’re closing, are there any questions?’ That was a very important change.”

So more people are watching these lone-wolf suspects?

“Yes. But our relationship with our state and local partners is critical to these investigations. So one of the things that grew out of Boston is we even improved that relationship.”

To read more click here. 

Current FBI Employee Reflects on Decade Following Whistleblower Complaints

Correction: The original headline read that Robert Kobus was a former FBI agent. He is currently employed by the FBI.
 
By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Robert Kobus blew the whistle on an FBI supervisor for allowing favorite employees to take off work during their birthday a decade ago, he found himself alone in an office in Lower Manhattan.

“You know, sitting on a deserted floor, you are basically a pariah,” Kobus told NPR. “My true friends stayed with me — the one, two that I had. But everybody else, they would avoid me like the plague.”

When Kobus asked for time off, his request went unaddressed.

The Justice Department later determined that Kobus was retaliated against for blowing the whistle, but it took nine years.

“This is a pattern,” says David Colapinto, a lawyer at the National Whistleblowers Center who worked on the Kobus case. “Robert’s case reflects how the FBI and the Department of Justice treat people who have the courage to come forward and report wrongdoing.”

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said he doesn’t like how the FBI handled a whistleblower.

“Whistleblowers should not have to fear retaliation for speaking up and they should not have to wait a decade for relief and they should not have to apply to Congress to see justice done,” Grassley says.

 

FBI Investigates Death of Black Teen Shot 16 Times by Chicago Cop

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the October 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager in Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the bureau opened an investigation into the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot by on officer 16 times.

The FBI is leading the criminal probe with the help of the state’s attorney’s office and the Independent Police Review Authority.

Chicago is expected to reach a $5 million settlement over McDonald’s death.

The officer who fired the shots said he was in fear of his life.

Other officers, who were investigating McDonald for allegedly breaking into cars, never pulled a trigger and trailed McDonald until another cop opened fire.