Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Iraq

Former Iraqis Accused of Terrorism Are Sentenced to Federal Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Two former Iraqi residents who were living in Kentucky were sentenced to prison this week for their involvement with terrorist activities, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, was given a life sentence, while his conspirator, Waad Ramadan Alwan, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.

Both had already pleaded guilty.

“These are experienced terrorists who willingly and enthusiastically participated in what they believed were insurgent support operations designed to harm American soldiers in Iraq,” U.S. Attorney David Hale said. “The serious crimes of both men merit lengthy punishment, and only the value of Alwan’s immediate and extensive cooperation with law enforcement justifies our recommendation of a reduced sentence for him. Bringing these men to justice is the result of a comprehensive law enforcement effort.”

The defendants tried to ship weapons and money to Iraqi insurgents, the FBI said.

FBI’s John Perren Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2012

John Perren

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John G. Perren, assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate, who has been at the forefront of the FBI war on terrorism, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2012.

Perren, whose tenure has been extended beyond the FBI’s mandatory retirement age, has been with the bureau since 1987.

Perren earns the award for a variety of reason. First off, someone would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated FBI agent. Additionally, he’s well respected by his colleagues, and has been known as a fair and good boss over the years, important criteria in determining this award.

Perren has worked in a variety of positions. He was the acting assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office and was special agent in charge of counterterrorism at WFO, a position that included overseeing the Rapid Deployment Team of agents to the Middle East in probes involving attacks on U.S. citizens and American interests.

Perren was one of three On-Scene Commanders at the Pentagon following 9/11. From January to June of 2005, he was the On-Scene Commander for FBI Field Operations in Baghdad, with responsibility for over 125 FBI personnel in Iraq.

In his current position, he heads up a program the FBI describes as detecting, deterring, and defeating ” acts of domestic terrorism, as well as the actual or threatened use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Perren is the fifth recipient of the ticklethewire.com award and the second FBI agent to receive it.

Last year, Thomas Brandon, the acting number two person at ATF was the recipient.

Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008), Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

At FBI, Hope for Injured Soldiers Returning Home

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It was an IED that did it for Povas Miknaitis.

After an initial deployment to Iraq in 2008, he was later sent to Afghanistan as a Marine rifleman. In Afghanistan, an IED blast sent shrapnel flying; some hit his arm and abdomen; larger pieces struck his face, shattering his jaw and blowing his right ear clean off of his head.

“Part of my mouth was missing,”  Miknaitis tells ticklethewire.com. “It just broke my jaw completely.”

It was in a hospital, recovering from the blast in 2009, that Miknaitis heard about an FBI training program for injured soldiers called Wounded Warriors. He began filling out paperwork and initiating the process of joining the bureau’s Wounded Warriors internship program. In 2011, when the program was launched, he landed a spot in a program that seems to be taking off.

So far, so good.

Of the 21 soldiers who have completed various internships, two have been hired full time; one as a clerk and another in IT. Another 43 are currently serving as interns, 78 are being processed and more are in line pending a funding evaluation, says FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson. Interns work in a variety of capacities, from logistics, intelligence, investigations to computer- and technology-focused jobs.

“Our goal is to give them working experience and the clearances they need,” to get back to work, says Thoreson. “We think this is a really wonderful program. It’s really helping people get their lives back.”

The San Diego field office, where Miknaitis interned, is among the few offices that are participating in the program. Others include the Washington Field Office, Sacramento, Charlotte and the FBI’s International Operations Division, Operational Technology Division, and Laboratory.

As expected, landing a spot with the FBI — even a temporary one — requires an intensive background check.

“This was not the same background check I went through for the military,” says Miknaitis. Agents called friends and family of his. “I had relatives calling me from Chicago asking if I was okay, saying the FBI had called asking questions about me,” he recollects.

Once Miknaitis was cleared, he began he began an internship researching cases for ongoing FBI investigations. “I was always interested in law enforcement,” he says, “and the internship program really let me learn a lot more about it. It got me employed while I was still recovering.”

Miknaitis still spends much of his time at a San Diego hospital. “It takes a while to go through the treatment, for the doctors to make sure they have done absolutely everything they can,” he says.

The program had its genesis in November of 2009, when president Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518. That order focused on employing veterans in the federal government. The following July, president Obama signed Executive Order 13548, which focused on increasing the number of federal employee hires with disabilities.

As for Miknaitis, he’s grateful for the experience, but learned that the FBI might not be for him.

“I want to be able to go home and talk about my work,” he says, “not to have to say, ‘well, I really can’t talk about that honey, that’s classified information.”

After much physical therapy and plastic surgery, Miknaitis is doing well and poised to begin school in the fall, possibly for sports medicine, he says.

“I actually got pretty lucky,” he says. “If you saw my face and my body after the injury, you would not think I would have come out looking this good afterword.” He remains deaf in his right ear, but he and his doctors have spoken about cochlear implants in the future.

More than 47,000 soldiers have been injured in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

 

What’s in a Name? Ask Blackwater

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Blackwater, the controversial security contractor that got in a whole lot of legal trouble for its deadly cowboy antics in Iraq, is trying once again to  scrub clean that bad image.

First it tried by changing its name to Xe Services LLC. But inevitably most articles included the phrase “formerly known as Blackwater.” Now, the company will try it again.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Virginia based company on Monday will unveil a new name once again along with logo. The name: Academi.

The Journal reports that Ted Wright, president and chief executive, said he will try to make Academi more “boring,” the Journal reported.

In April, a federal appeals court reinstated the federal criminal case against a group of Blackwater security guards charged in Washington with manslaughter and weapons violations for their alleged roles in a shooting in Baghdad that killed more than a dozen civilians, according to the Blog of the Legal Times.

 

Iraq, Afghan War Veterans Might Join Dept. of Homeland Security

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Department of Homeland Security official on Wednesday announced a plan to hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan to operate satellite communications, blimps and other surveillance tech at stateside southern borders, reports NextGov.

Drawdowns in troop levels and overseas actions will leave the Pentagon with more equipment and personnel on hand at the same time that the Department of Homeland Security seeks to build a “virtual fence” along the southwest border of the nation. DHS officials were invited to share their plans for using the military systems with a House subcommittee on Wednesday, NextGov reported.

“We’ve got a huge number of personnel coming out of the military as we wind down in theater in Iraq,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, said. “There’s an opportunity there to hire already trained DoD personnel to run these systems.”

To read more click here.

 

Scott Sweetow Named Head of ATF’s Atlanta Division

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sweetow, who began his career with ATF in 1990 in Los Angeles, has been named special agent in charge of the agency’s Atlanta division.

Sweetow spent several years assigned in the Arson and Explosives group, and served as a Certified Explosives Specialist. His duties included being part of ATF’s elite National Response Team, which investigated such high-profile crimes as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Centennial Olympic Park bombings.

He also spent several years working criminal intelligence matters, including a weapons case targeting the “The Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman’s one time driver and bodyguard, Hikmat Alharahshah.

Specifically, in 1999, Sweetow became a supervisory special agent in the Phoenix Field Division, serving in operations and as violent crime enforcement group supervisor.

In 2003, he went to ATF headquarters where he served in the Policy Development and Evaluation branch, eventually becoming its chief. In July of that year, he became the first ATF agent to “deploy operationally to Iraq”, assisting the Defense Intelligence Agency as part of the Iraq Survey Group.

In 2004, Sweetow was promoted to a deputy division chief and later chief in the Arson, Explosives and International Training Division in ATF’s Training and Professional Development directorate. He remained there until  December 2006.

While division chief, Sweetow was instrumental in establishing ATF’s $50 million National Center for Explosives Training and Research at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

In January 2007, Sweetow became an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Atlanta Field Division. This month, he was named the SAC in Atlanta.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Soviet Area Studies and a masters in Strategic Intelligence. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executives in National and International Security program.

In 2009, Scott he  published an article in “Homeland Security Today” entitled “After Mumbai: Facing the Flames” which dealt with the use of fire as an asymmetric warfare tool by terrorists.

DEA Raids Wrong Suburban Detroit Home; Was Home of Retired Military Translator

FBI Returns Stolen Ancient Artifacts to Iraqis

Some of the artifacts returned/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Terracotta plaques and other ancient artifacts stolen in Iraq by defense contractors in 2004 were returned Thursday by the FBI to the Iraqi government in a ceremony at the Iraqi Cultural Center in Washington.

The FBI said it seized the invaluable items during a 2006 investigation.

The items included two pottery dishes, four vases, an oil lamp, three small statues, and the seven terracotta relief plaques, the FBI said. They ranged in age from 2,500 to 4,000 years old—from the Old Babylonian period to the Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylon periods.

“These artifacts are truly invaluable,” said Ron Hosko, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the Washington Field Office. “The FBI is pleased to be able to return them to their rightful owner.”

The FBI said the artifacts—some small enough to be held in the palm of a hand — were seized during a public corruption investigation conducted by the FBI’s International Contract Corruption Task Force, a multi-agency task force tasked with stop fraud and corruption related to U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere overseas.

The FBI said the artifacts were stolen by Department of Defense contractors who were traveling through the Babylon region of Iraq.

Investigators discovered that contractors collected the items and used them as gifts and bribes or sold them to other contractors who then smuggled them into the United States, the FBI said. Two of the contractors were sentenced to prison for their roles in the fraud scheme.

“Working abroad does not entitle anyone to remove historic artifacts and treat them as mementos for illegal sale,” Hosko said.