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Tag: Robert Mueller

FBI Commemorates Deadly 1986 Shootout That Killed 2 Agents and Wounded 5 Others

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and former director William Webster were among several hundred law enforcement folks who gathered in North Miami Beach Monday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in the agency’s history that ended with two agents dead and another five wounded, the Associated Press reported.

The incident happened in Miami when William Webster headed up the FBI, and resulted in the agency using more powerful weapons and taking other action to better prepare agents for potentially deadly confrontations, AP reported. Agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry Dove were killed.

Others attending the ceremony included  retired agent John F. Hanlon Jr. who was wounded in the incident, AP reported.

“I’m very, very proud of what we did that day. We all did our duty. And we did the best we could,” Hanlon said, according to the AP. “They laid down their lives gallantly for their country.”

On April 11, 1986, the FBI agents tracked down two bank robbers who were responsible for shooting several guards. They forced the robbers in a car  to pull over.

The robbers opened fire with a shotgun and a .223-cal. Ruger Mini-14 rifle, “which packed more power and carried more ammunition than anything the agents had,” AP reported. “Some had semiautomatic handguns and one had a 12-gauge shotgun, but many only were armed only with difficult-to-reload revolvers. Only two wore body armor, and even that wasn’t strong enough to stop the rifle’s rounds.”

Five other agents were shot and wounded including Edmundo Mireles Jr., who shot and killed both suspects, AP reported.

Mueller described the shootout as “one of the most difficult and dangerous days in the history of the bureau,” AP reported.

Since 1925, 36 FBI agents have been killed in the line of duty, AP reported.

Atty. Gen. Holder Sends Memo to Justice Dept. Employees on Possible Shutdown; FBI’s Mueller Complains About Potential Budget Shortfall


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The prospect of a government shutdown over the budget is causing some unease at the Justice Department, which includes the FBI, DEA and ATF.

“Should it become necessary to implement our contingency plans, you will receive notice from your manager no later than Friday April 8th regarding the designation of your position and status,” Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. wrote in a memo to Justice employees, who number more than 100,000. The memo was obtained by CNN.

That being said,  CNN reports that the Justice Department has unofficially said all employees involved in public safety will be considered essential employees who will continue to work.

That means all FBI personnel will work, and all 116 federal prisons will continue to operate, CNN reported.

But CNN reports that the Justice Department “will be forced to stop or curtail activities including most civil litigation, community outreach to victims of crime and the processing of grants.”

CNN said Holder told employees Wednesday that “as soon as funding lapses federal departments and agencies will not be permitted to incur further financial obligations performing activities funded by annual appropriations except those related to the orderly suspension of operations or performance of excepted activities.”

FBI Dir. Mueller testifies on Hill/ file photo

Meanwhile, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress Wednesday that the proposed short-term funding measure for the remainder of the year would create problems for the FBI in the area of intelligence, CNN reported.

“I can only say that under the proposed CR (continuing resolution) the FBI would be the only major partner in the intelligence community that is NOT fully funded. And while our intelligence community partners would be able to proceed with planned initiatives and programs, the Bureau (FBI) could not,” Mueller said, according to CNN.

CNN reported that Mueller also said: “We simply cannot afford to return to the pre-9/11 days where hiring and staffing at the FBI was a roller-coaster that left most field offices understaffed.” Mueller blamed pre-9/11 funding uncertainties for “degradation of the FBI’s physical and information technology infrastructure that contributed to shortcomings in our capabilities.”

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Says U.S. On Guard From Attacks That Might Emanate from Libya

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III assured a Congressional committee Wednesday that the FBI is working to make sure the homeland is safe from attacks emanating from Libya, Fox News reported.

Mueller, testifying before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, said the U.S. is “on guard” for Libyan operatives who “may well” be in the United States a result of crossing the Mexico or Canada border, Fox reported.

“We also want to make certain that we are on guard [for] the possibility of terrorist attacks emanating somewhere out of Libya, whether it be Qaddafi’s forces or, in eastern Libya, the opposition forces who may have amongst them persons who in the past have had associations with terrorist groups,” Mueller said.

He also noted that “there may be intelligence officers that are operating with different types of cover in the United States.”

“We want to make certain that we’ve identified these individuals to ensure no harm comes from them, knowing they may well have been associated with the Qaddafi regime,” he added.

His testimony came just days after word surfaced in the media that the FBI was interviewing Libyans in the U.S. in response to the Libyan conflict.

Six Decades Later, FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List Still Hard to Crack

Osama bin Laden

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — In the film “Take the Money and Run,” Woody Allen played a bumbling, publicity-starved petty criminal named Virgil Starkwell. “You know he never made the Ten Most Wanted list,” Starkwell’s wife, Louise, lamented in the 1969 comedy. “It’s very unfair voting. It’s who you know.”

As Allen’s fictitious character learned, getting on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list is no easy feat. Just being a vicious criminal or a menace to society isn’t always enough.

For one, there has to be an opening. And then there’s the selection process: A committee at FBI headquarters reviews dozens of candidates from FBI field offices — there are 56 in all — before the top brass weighs in with a final decision.

“I’d be lying to say there’s no politics involved” in getting someone on the list, Tony Riggio, a former FBI agent and official, told AOL News.

In 1978, Riggio had the first organized crime figure — Cleveland mobster Anthony “Tony Lib” Liberatore — placed on the Most Wanted list. Riggio said sometimes an extra call to headquarters from a top official in the field helped get someone on the list, adding, “Being a top 10 case agent is really a feather in your cap. I got a lot of respect.”

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

Over the years, the Ten Most Wanted alum have included some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including escaped Martin Luther King Jr. assassin James Earl Ray, serial killer Ted Bundy and current member, Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who is wanted in connection with 19 murders. Most stay on until they are captured, a case no longer seems solid or authorities figure the person has died. Osama bin Laden was on the list up until his execution on May 1.

According to the FBI website, the list came about after a reporter for the International News in 1949 told the FBI he was interested in writing a story about the “toughest guys” the FBI was after. The FBI provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives — four escaped prisoners, three con men, two murder suspects and a bank robber — and the reporter wrote a story that captured national attention and triggered hundreds of tips.

Earlier this month, the bigger-than-life list, which had long become part of the American vernacular, turned 61. For decades a fixture in post offices and banks, the Ten Most Wanted photos are now more likely to pop up on TV shows, billboards and the Internet through websites and trendy social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

“We recognize the unique ability of the media to cast a wider net within communities here and abroad,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in a statement marking the 60th anniversary. “The FBI can send agents to visit a thousand homes to find a witness, but the media can visit a million homes in an instant.”

Brad Bryant, chief of the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit at FBI headquarters, says getting on the list is “very competitive.” Field offices are notified at once when an opening occurs.

“The criteria we’re looking for are, first of all, they must be particularly dangerous or be a menace to society or have a lengthy criminal history,” Bryant said.

Often, dozens of recommendations come in to headquarters, Bryant said. Field offices submit packets with information about the case, including a case file, photos and reasons why the person is worthy of joining the list. Some submissions include endorsements from local police chiefs.

The Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit also solicits input from the media representatives at headquarters, said Rex Tomb, who was chief of the FBI’s fugitive publicity unit in Washington until he retired from the bureau in 2006.

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger

“Public affairs personnel like myself were generally asked by the Criminal Division to comment only on whether or not we believed there would be media interest in a fugitive,” Tomb said. “If for some reason there is little or no public interest in a particular case, reporters would generally pass on writing about it. … If there would be little print given to a Top Ten fugitive then there is really little or no reason to put him or her on the list.”

The candidates for the list are reviewed by a committee of agents from the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders unit, who carefully look over the submissions and case files.

“We rank the top four or five in the packet, and we prepare a briefing packet for the assistant director of the criminal division and his boss and the deputy director and the director,” Bryant said. Mueller must then sign off on it.

The tenor of the times has been reflected in the list over the years. In the 1950s, it hosted bank robbers. In the 1960s, some radicals made the cut, and later, organized crime figures and drug traffickers and eventually terrorists, violent gang members and sexual predators were added.

The shortest time anyone spent on the list was two hours. The longest-tenured was Donald Eugene Webb, wanted in the slaying of a police chief in Saxonburg, Pa., in 1980. He stayed on for 25 years, 10 months and 27 days before being removed in 2007. The FBI provided little reason why, only to say he no longer fit the criteria.

The oldest person ever to make the list is mobster Bulger, who got on in 1999 at age 69 and has stayed there ever since.

The list is regarded as a highly successful tool for the FBI. Of the 494 who have appeared on the list, 463 have been captured or located, with 152 of those from a direct result of citizen cooperation, the FBI said.

There are countless stories of citizens’ tips from the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list resulting in arrests. Two fugitives were even apprehended as a result of visitors on an FBI tour who saw the photos.

Ted Bundy

Retired FBI agent Brad Garrett said that in the end, a $2 million-plus cash award — not the Ten Most Wanted listing — helped bring in information that led to the capture of fugitive Mir Aimal Kasi at a seedy hotel in Pakistan. Kasi opened fire outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993, killing two CIA employees and wounding three others. A few months after the shooting, he landed on the list.

“It’s an incredibly successful and novel idea, and it has captured hundreds of fugitives,” Garrett said of the famous list. “But I think it’s a lot more effective in the U.S. than outside” in places like Pakistan.

“I think the idea of a top 10 didn’t carry a lot of weight” in this case, Garrett said. “The dollar signs after his name carried a lot of weight.”

FBI Director Mueller Says Budget Crisis Could Leave 1,100 Jobs Open

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The endless political bickering over the budget could spell trouble for the FBI.

ABC News’ Jason Ryan reports that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Senate committee Wednesday that the government’s current budget crisis could result in the FBI being unable to fill as many as 1,100 positions, which includes agents and analysts. If a new budget is not passed, the bureau will have to operate under 2010 levels.

“Under the current levels in the continuing resolution, the FBI will have to absorb over $200 million in cuts; and without any changes, the current continuing resolution will leave us with over 1,100 vacant positions by the end of the year,” Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to ABC.

“Put simply, these cuts would undermine our efforts to continue to transform the bureau and undermine our efforts to carry out our mission.”

Ex-Top Adviser to FBI Dir. Nominated as Assist. Atty. Gen. For National Security

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Lisa Monaco, a former top adviser to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and currently Principal Deputy Attorney General, has been nominated by the White House to fill the job of Assistant Attorney General for National Security, the website Main Justice reported.

She would replace interim Tod Hinnen, who stepped in after David Kris left the department for private practice, Main Justice reported.

Monaco was selected as Principal Attorney General in January. She served as a top adviser to the FBI director from 2007 to 2009, the website reported.

FBI’s Mueller Rattles Off Some Pretty Grim Statistics About the Battle Against the Mexican Drug Cartels

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

While telling Congress of the FBI’s efforts to battle the Mexican drug cartels, FBI director Robert S. Mueller III rattled off some pretty grim statistics.

Appearing Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said:

  • Between $18 billion and $39 billion flows annually from the United States across the Southwest border to enrich the Mexican drug cartels.
  • There were over 3,000 drug-related murders in Juarez, Mexico in 2010.
  • There were over 34,600 drug-related murders in all of Mexico from December 2006 to December 2010.
  • It is estimated that 95 percent of all South American cocaine that moves from South America to the United States goes through Mexico.
  • 701,000 kilograms of marijuana were seized during the first five months of 2010 in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Mueller told the committee that the FBI is committing resources to battling the cartels.

“To address corruption on the Southwest border, we have 13 Border Corruption Task Forces with roughly 120 agents in FBI field offices in the region, and one National Border Corruption Task Force at FBI Headquarters to direct these efforts,” he said. “We have border liaison officers who work one-on-one with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico.”

On the ICE, Secret Service Topples the FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI may be the bigger of the two agencies, but that didn’t stop the Secret Service from defeating the bureau in annual hockey game in Arlington, Va.

CNN reported that Secret Service defeated the FBI 7-6 in overtime at the Kettler Capital Iceplex. The FBI won last year.

CNN reported that attendees were asked to donate $5, which went to Secret Service agent Keith Rile, who has cancer. All 2,500 tickets for the event were sold out.

“The FBI is a family; the Secret Service is a family. We work together every day of the year, and one day we come together to have this friendly rivalry,” FBI director Robert Mueller, who attended the game, told CNN. “We’re all here to support him and support his family”

“It’s never an easy win,” Secret Service agent Todd, who played in the game, told CNN.