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Tag: NYPD

Column: The Feds Leak Investigation: Probe or Payback?

By Len Levitt
NYPD Confidential

The Justice Department’s bullseye on the FBI and NYPD via a grand jury probe into leaks in terrorism cases appears to have been prompted a year ago by a news story about an Al Qaeda mastermind, sources said.

The story was an Associated Press exclusive from Washington about the impending indictment of Adnan Shukrijumah, who had recruited Najibullah Zazi and his Flushing High School pals to blow up New York subways in 2009.

The indictment of the fugitive Shukrijumah, in New York’s Eastern District, linked the Zazi subway plot to another Al Qaeda terrorist plot in Manchester, England.

But the AP published its story before Shukrijumah’s indictment was announced.

The story forced law enforcement officials overseas — in Norway, of all places — to scramble and speed the arrests of two suspects in Oslo. The pair had been under surveillance for a year.

To read more click here.

NY FBI JTTF Opts Out of NYPD Terror Case; Says Case was Problematic

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Friction is mounting between the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and New York police.

Radio station WNYC reports that the FBI’s JTTF chose not to get involved in a case involving two New York men allegedly involved in a plot to blow up a local synagogue because it was problematic, was being over-hyped and might not hold up in court. The station cited two unnamed federal sources.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told the station: “When somebody acquires weapons and plans to bomb the largest synagogue in Manhattan he can find, what do you call it, mischief?”

The FBI and New York Police, which has its own sophisticated counterterrorism unit, have beefed in the past.

Some FBI agents have privately questioned the tactics used by the NYPD unit and vice versa.

Fed Judge Bothered that Justice Dept. Didn’t Appeal Death Penalty Ruling in NYPD Cop Killing Case

Judge Nicholas Garaufis/wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Brooklyn fed judge is none too happy with the Justice Department and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. in a case involving the murder of two New York police detectives,  the NY Daily News reported.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis “bristled” on Tuesday when expressing his displeasure that the Justice Department failed to  appeal to the Supreme Court a ruling by the Court of Appeals that tossed out the death penalty conviction phase for the convicted cop killer because of prosecutorial error, the Daily News reported.

The murder conviction still stands, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to retry the penalty phase to go after the death penalty again for convicted cop killer Ronell Wilson , the Daily News reported. The judge, bothered that the prosecutors simply didn’t appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, said he would not let the retrial for the penalty phase  go forward until he got a letter from Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. pledging the department’s intent to seek the death penalty, the Daily News reported.

The Daily News reported that the demand for the letter was the judge’s way of taking a shot at Holder   “in view of the fact that the attorney general failed to exhaust all appeals and abandoned the appeal of the case.”  The judge expressed concern about the emotional effects a second trial would have on the victims’ families.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has repeatedly said in the past that it is committed to retrying the death penalty phase of the case, the Daily News reported.

The attorney general must sign off when prosecutors seek the death penalty. The case was first prosecuted when  Roberto Gonzales was the attorney general.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, declined comment Wednesday morning. The Justice Department in Washington also declined comment.

Bernie Kerik Gets Bad News: Appeals Court Upholds Sentence

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-NY Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who once was considered for the top spot at the  Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, got some bad news Thursday.

The 2nd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his four year sentence, saying the judge was fair, the Associated Press reported. His attorneys had argued the judge was too harsh and gave a sentence that surpassed the three years called for under the sentencing guidelines.

Kerik, 55, who is being housed in a federal prison in Maryland,  pleaded guilty in 2009 to tax fraud, making a false statement on a loan application and lying to the White House, which was doing a background on him so he could become Homeland Security chief.

AP reported that the sentencing judge, Stephen Robinson in White Plains, N.Y., was bothered by Kerik’s behavior, and noted that he lied the President to get a cabinet post.

Kerik’s attorney Andrew Shapiro said, according to AP: “We’re very disappointed by the ruling and considering our next steps.”

To read more click here.

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FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICE ACT NEWS

Feds Say Retired NYPD Cop is Mob Associate

The late mobster  John J. Gotti

The late mobster John J. Gotti

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John McNally: Hero cop or mob associate? Perhaps both.

Federal authorities have filed court papers in U.S. District Court in Manhattan alleging that the retired New York cop, now 76, worked with the late mobster John Gotti’s hired gun Joseph Watts on extortion and money laundering crimes for years, the New York Daily News is reporting.

McNally is just named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case against Watts, who faces charges of racketeering in connection with a number of homicides “during the mob’s go-go 1980s,” the Daily News reported.

The Daily News reports that one of the mob hits in the case involves the 1985 slaying of Gambino godfather Paul Castellano. That murder opened the door for Gotti to take over the New York mob.

“At this point, he’s really old and really sick,” a friend of McNally told the Daily News. “They are just trying to besmirch his career, to embarrass him.”

The News reported that McNally worked for  attorney F. Lee Bailey on the Simpson defense team in the 1990s and did “security” in the 1980s for Gene Gotti, John Gotti’s brother.

Thursday AFTERNOON DEVELOPMENTS

NYPD Tries to Distance Itself From FBI Surveillance Lapse in Bombing Case

nypd badgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The talk among law enforcement on Wednesday was that the New York police were trying to distance themselves and blame the FBI for losing the surveillance of  car bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad.

The media was also pointing to it as a flaw in what still remains a remarkable case for the short time it took to arrest the suspect.

Still,  some current and former law enforcement members pointed out that it is not uncommon to lose a surveillance target. And they said it was often better to lose someone temporarily than to blow the surveillance and get spotted.

Newsweek reported that Shahzad was at JFK airport on Monday for more than three hours without FBI surveillance, and that agents had apparently lost track of him. Shahzad had gone to the airport to catch a flight to Dubai. He was arrested after he had already boarded the plane, but it had not yet taken off.

One law enforcement source on Wednesday defended the FBI’s work.

“This situation was extremely fast-moving, involving multiple locations. The FBI identified him and within a few hours had already located him and begun surveillance, which, by its nature, involves risk-benefit considerations with respect to potential effects on the course of the investigation if the surveillance is detected,” the source said, commenting on the condition that he not be named.

“Risks can be mitigated by building in layers of redundancy, especially in a situation such as this where the subject was aware of the numerous media reports which alerted him to the fact he was being pursued by law enforcement. In this case, he was added to appropriate watch lists and was caught as he tried to escape.”

FBI and NYPD Hunt For Culprit Who Left Crude Car Bomb in Times Square

Bye Bye N.Y.?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and New York police were trying to find out Sunday who left a Nissan Pathfinder with a crude bomb inside in Times Square Saturday night that prompted the evacuation of parts of the city on a busy Saturday night.

FBI agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI in New York, told ticklethewire.com Sunday morning that investigators were sifting through the evidence and following up leads around the country.   Authorities said the bomb, comprised of propane, gasoline, fireworks, clocks and wires, could have caused serious damage.

News reports said the device had started to detonate, but there was no explosion.

“We are very lucky,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a 2:15 a.m. press conference in Times Square, according to the New York Daily News. “We avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

He said investigators were checking video cameras around the city, but so far they had not come up with anything showing someone running from the car.

“We had no idea who did this or why,” he said.

The Daily news reported that a large chunk of Midtown — from 43rd Street to 48th Street, and from Sixth to Eighth Avenues — was closed for much of the evening. The smoking car was spotted by a t-shirt street vendor off Broadway on 45th Street, who notified police, the Daily News reported.

The federal government views the incident a “potential terrorist attack,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday, according to the Daily News.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Napolitano told CNN‘s “State of the Union” program. “We’re treating it as if it could be a potential terrorist attack.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWKAQG86hM

Column: NYPD “Cowboy Behavior” Screws FBI in Terrorism Case

Len Levitt wrote the police column “One Police Plaza” for Newsday for 10 years and has worked for several other publications including Time magazine. His website is nypdconfidential.com

len levittBy Len Levitt
nypdconfidential.com

There is more cause for concern about the NYPD’s Lone Cowboy behavior the more we learn about the department’s dealings with the Queens imam who jeopardized the investigation into the most serious threat to national security since 9/11.

It now appears that the NYPD spoke with Imam Ahmad Wais Afzali not once, as has been reported, but at least three times, urging him to spy on suspects in a plot to blow up New York City subways.

And the police apparently did this without informing their own partners in the terrorism investigation — the FBI.

The result: Instead of helping the investigation, the NYPD’s meddling led the imam to warn ringleader Najibullah Zazi that authorities were on to him, short-circuiting the crucial evidence-gathering surveillance and forcing the FBI to make arrests prematurely.

To read full column click here.

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