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Tag: Afghanistan

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate Named ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year for 2022

By Allan Lengel

The FBI is facing extremely challenging times, undertaking highly-sensitive investigations while dealing with intense and sometimes very harsh criticism from outside and within.

Paul Abbate

We can think of no better No. 2 person than Paul Abbate to try to help steady the ship. Unflappable and low key, Abbate, with more than 26 years on the job, brings a wealth of knowledge, level-headedness and integrity to the FBI.  He’s also worked diligently to increase diversity within.

From his early days as a street agent in New York, to heading up the Detroit and Washington field offices, and playing key operational roles for the FBI in Iraq and Afghanistan, Abbate understands the FBI’s mission as well as anyone.

With that in mind, we choose Paul Abbate as the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year Award for 2022.

Previous recipients of the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year Award include: Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008):  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010);  Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011); FBI agent John G. Perren, who was assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate (2012); David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism in the Los Angeles FBI Field Office(2013);  Loretta Lynch, who was U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn at the time (2014); John “Jack” Riley,  the DEA’s acting deputy administrator (2015); D.C.  U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips (2016); Joe Rannazzisi, a retired DEA deputy assistant administrator (2017); Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (2018); DEA agent Joe Piersante (2019); Geoffrey S. Berman, the ex-U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York (2020); Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman (2021).

Wray Warns That Afghanistan Could Become ‘Safe Haven’ for Terrorists

FBI Director Christopher Wray (file photo)

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday warned that Afghanistan could become a “safe haven” for terrorists after the U.S. withdrawal.

“We are, of course, concerned that there will be an opportunity for a safe haven to be re-created there, which is something we’ve seen in the past,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee.

“We are also concerned that the events that the events there could serve as a catalyst or inspiration for terrorists,” Wray added.

With U.S. forces and intelligence operations gone, Wray said terrorists could use Afghanistan as a launchpad for future attacks. 

“Most importantly we (are) concerned that foreign terrorist organizations will be able to reconstitute, plot, inspire in a space that is much harder for us to collect intelligence and operate against than was the case previously.”

FBI Arrests U.S. Woman Accused of Attempting to Provide Material Support to al-Qaeda

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. woman has been arrested on allegations of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the Justice Department announced.

The FBI on Wednesday arrested Jill Marie Jones at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where federal authorities say she planned to board a flight to Turkey to join the terrorist group in Afghanistan.

Two undercover FBI agents, including one who posed as a member of al-Qaeda, were communicating with Jones, who said she planned to send money to help al Qaeda buy scopes for rifles that would be used to kill American soldiers. She sent the undercover FBI agent a $500 gift card in May 2020, the DOJ says.

During the communications, Jones said she planned to travel overseas to assist al Qaeda, according to the DOJ.

DEA Agent Never Gave Up After Losing his Eyesight from a Gunshot Wound in Afghanistan

Joseph Piersante’s FAST squad, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

When DEA Agent Joseph Piersante was shot in the head in Afghanistan in 2011, he lost his eyesight but not his mission to combat drugs.

At the time, Piersante was serving on the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled drug cartels and smugglers.

“I had a frontal lobe brain injury because the bullet went to the front of my brain,” he told WDIV in Detroit. “I had two ruptured eye globes and two detached retinas, in which resulted in the brain injury, resulting in the craniotomy.”

Piersante, who became the first-ever member of the DEA to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, didn’t let the injury stop him from fighting drugs.

“In life we can’t always determine what happens to us, but what we can do is we can make the best out of our situation as we can,” Piersante said.

Unable to do his past job, Piersante began educating people about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies.

After more than 20 years with the DEA, Piersante is retiring this week.

In retirement, he hopes to write a screenplay or book.

DEA Helps Seize 20 Tons of Drugs in ‘Largest Known Seizure of Heroin in Afghanistan’

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, with the help of American Special Forces and an Afghan counternarcotics, seized a whopping 20 tons of drugs in what officials have described as “the largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

“This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region,” DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News Thursday. 

The estimated street value was $60 million for 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish, all of which was seized during an Oct. 17 raid that was just made public.

“If that was Pablo Escobar‘s stash, that would be considered a lot of frickin’ heroin,” said one combat veteran of the DEA’s 11-year counternarcotics mission to blunt the country’s heroin trade, referring to the Medellin, Colombia, narcotics kingpin killed two decades ago. “That’s going to make a dent in the European market.”

Other Stories of Interest

Records: CIA Imprisoned, Interrogated Man Knowing He Was Innocent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

New records reveal that the CIA imprisoned and interrogated a man that investigators knew was not a terrorist.

McClathy reports that the CIA realized it imprisoned the wrong man, a German citizen named Khaleed al-Masri, in Afghanistan.

Al-Mari was held in a secret prison with a “small cell with some clothing, bedding and a bucket for his waste,” according to a recently released internal CIA report.

McClathy wrote:

Adding to the sense of injustice: Even though the agency realized early on that al-Masri was the wrong man, it couldn’t figure out how to release him without having to acknowledge its mistake. The agency eventually dumped him unceremoniously in Albania and essentially pretended his arrest and detention had never happened.

Weekend Series on Crime: Afghanistan and the Opium Trade

Joseph Piersante Becomes First DEA Agent to Receive Secretary of Defense Medal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DEA Agent Joseph Piersante, who was shot and wounded by enemy gun fire while on a counter-terrorism and narcotics mission in Afghanistan in 2011, became the first DEA agent to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

The The Defense of Freedom Medal is the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart, according to a DEA press release issued Thursday, on the day of the award.

The press release said:

 Piersante’s recovery from this life-threatening event has been nothing short of miraculous. Through hard work and determination, as well as incredible doctors, EMTs, team members, therapists, trainers, family, and friends along the way, he has returned to his Special Agent duties at DEA FAST headquarters in Virginia. In addition, Piersante has inspired many in and out of law enforcement, participating in speaking engagements, motivational opportunities, and training in areas such as overcoming adversity, never giving up, and putting your life on the line for the good of our great nation. His inspirational story will continue forever to be told not just by him, but by many in and out of DEA.