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Tag: terrorism

Getting Acquitted May Not Be Enough to Get Off Terrorist Watch List

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It may not be so easy to get off the terrorist watch list, the New York Times has found.

The paper reported that the FBI is allowed to include people on the list who have been acquitted of terrorism related crimes or the crimes have been dismissed.

The discovery comes after the Times obtained files released by the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents, the Times writes, “disclose how the police are instructed to react if they encounter a person on the list. They lay out, for the first time in public view, the legal standard that national security officials must meet in order to add a name to the list. And they shed new light on how names are vetted for possible removal from the list.”

The Times reported that database has about 420,000 names, including about 8,000 Americans.

To read more click here.

NYPD Counterterrorism Capabilities Rival the Feds; Dept. Has Anti-Aircraft Units

Head of Chicago FBI Says al-Qaida Still Obsessed With Planes; Office is Probing Mail Bombs


Robert Grant/fbi photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A decade later and it appears that al-Qaeda members are still trying to turn airplanes into deadly weapons.

“Al-Qaida has been obsessed with airplanes, they continue to be obsessed with airplanes,” said Robert Grant, head of the Chicago FBI., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “They want to use airplanes to kill people. … It continues to be a desire on their part to bring a plane down.”

Grant also disclosed publicly for the first time that Chicago investigators have been looking into international terrorism plots involving mail bombs sent on Chicago-bound flights from over seas. In October of last year the devices were found hidden in printer cartridges pulled from flights in England and the United Arab Emirates following a tip, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Sent from Yemen, the packages “were addressed to former Chicago area synagogues bearing the names of historical figures as a way to stick it in their eyes,'” reports the Sun-Times.

“The person who built that bomb still remains at liberty, somewhere in Yemen,” Grant said in an appearance before the Niagra Foundation in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times. “He has been hunted for a long time, but he is a very, very skilled bomb-maker.” Officials believe al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch are responsible for the plot, according to the Sun-Times.

Investigators said last year that they found links between the Chicago-bound explosives and the one intended for use by the “underwear bomber” in Detroit.

To read more click here.

Pa. Man Who Bit 2 FBI Agents Pleads Guilty

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Pennsylvania man who bit two FBI agents earlier this year, and tried to promote terror attacks online,  pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Pittsburgh, the Associated Press reported.

Emerson Begolly, 22,  pleaded guilty to using the Internet to promote terror attacks against American military and civilian targets. He posted remarks on an Islamic extremist web forum he moderated.

AP reported that he also pleaded guilty to having a loaded pistol while biting the agents.

The agents arrested Emerson Begolly, in New Bethlehem, Pa., outside of Pittsburgh in January.

Begolly, who had posted pro-terrorist songs and statements online, was sitting in a car outside a fast food restaurant when one of the agents opened the door, AP wrote. Authorities declined to say what the agents were up to, but a criminal complaint said agents had an interest in him.

After the agent opened the door, AP reported that Begolly screamed and reached into his jacket, prompting agents to prevent him from getting what they suspected was a gun, according to the criminal complaint.

“Agents attempted to control Begolly, Begolly bit both agents and drew blood,” the complaint said, according to the AP. The complaint said agents found a 9mm handgun inside his jacket with the safety “off” and one round in the chamber.

FBI Assigns New SACs for Utah and Portland

Gregory Fowler/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has named two new special agents in charge: David J. Johnson for Utah and Gregory A. Fowler for Portland, Ore.

Since 2009, Johnson, who has a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, has been the chief of the Violent Crimes Section in the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters. He has been responsible for managing programs that involve federal violations such as bank robberies, kidnappings, extortions, crimes against children, Indian country matters, fugitives, major thefts, transportation crimes, and special jurisdiction matters.

Johnson entered the FBI in 1991 and was first assigned to a violent crime squad in the San Jose Resident Agency. In 1994, he was assigned to the high-technology squad.

In 1997, Mr. Johnson was assigned to a Mexican drug trafficking organization squad. Two years later, he became a supervisory special agent of the Asian organized crime squad in the San Jose office.

As the chief of the Crimes Against Children Unit, he developed the Innocence Lost National Initiative, which identifies and rescues minors involved in prostitution and investigates the pimps who profit from their exploitation, the FBI said.

He was promoted to the assistant special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division, and in 2008, was promoted to inspector in charge and led the task force created by the Attorney General to conduct a criminal investigation into the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the CIA.

Fowler, the new  special agent in charge of Portland,  most recently served as the SAC for counterterrorism in the FBI’s New York Division.

He entered the FBI in  April 1988. He was first assigned to the New York office, where he focused on organized crime and narcotics.

In February 1998, he was promoted to supervisory special agent and assigned to FBI Headquarters, where he managed the Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area programs. He also went  abroad to train foreign law enforcement officers on organized crime and drug investigations through the International Law Enforcement Academy.

In February 2000,  Fowler transferred to the Seattle Division, where he supervised the organized crime/drug squad, the Special Operations Group, the cyber squad, and two resident agencies. He also supervised the division’s Evidence Response Team and Hazardous Materials Response Team.

In August 2004, he was temporarily assigned to Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as the deputy on-scene commander in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. One year later, he became  assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago Division.

New York Times Editorial: The Phony Tough-on-Terror Crowd

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

Republicans and Democrats are championing bills to further militarize the prosecution of terrorists, beyond anything even President George W. Bush proposed.

They want Americans to believe the legislation will keep the country safer. In fact, these bills could end up tying the hands of F.B.I. agents and other law enforcement officials trying to disrupt terrorist plots. They are likely to deprive prosecutors of their most powerful weapons in bringing terrorists to justice. And they come perilously close to upending the prohibition, which dates back to Reconstruction, against the military’s operating as a police force within the United States.

There is no sign that the White House tried to stop the House from passing a particularly awful version of these bills, which would move most, if not all, terrorism cases from civilian courts to military tribunals. And there is no sign the White House tried to stop the Senate Armed Services Committee from approving only a slightly better one.

To read more click here.

FBI Mueller’s Full Statement Before Judiciary: “FBI Has Never Faced a More Complex Threat Environment”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began the process on Wednesday of getting a two- year extension when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee is considering a bill that would extend his stay two years beyond the 10-year term, which expires in September.

Currently legislation limits the term of an FBI director to 10 years, a move that was taken after J. Edgar Hoover died. Many thought Hoover had stayed on too long and gathered too much political power.

The following is Mueller’s statement before the Judiciary Committee:

Good morning Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today.

As you know, my term as FBI Director is due to expire later this summer. In early May, the president asked if I would be willing to serve an additional two years, and I told him I would be honored to do so.

The president has further asked that Congress pass the legislation necessary to extend my term, and the committee is considering that legislation at today’s hearing. If my term is extended, I look forward to working with the committee and the men and women of the FBI to meet the challenges that face us in the years to come.

The FBI has never faced a more complex threat environment than it does today. Over the past year, we have seen an extraordinary array of national security and criminal threats, from terrorism and espionage to cyber attacks and traditional crimes. These threats have ranged from attempts by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to place bombs on airplanes bound for the United States to lone actors seeking to detonate IEDs in public squares and subways, intent on mass murder.

Read more »

Judge Orders Feds to Turn Over FBI Recorder and Failed Battery in Portland Terrorism Case

Mohamed Mohamud

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Portland prosecutors in the 2010 attempted bombing of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony to hand over a  faulty FBI battery and recording device used in the case, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

The prosecution said it already had turned over 6,000 pages of documents.

The defense team for  Mohamed Mohamud,  the Somali-American teenager, claims its client was entrapped by the FBI in a sting.  The defense claims he was coaxed into the plot.

The defense is focusing on the recorder and the battery that failed to record a key meeting last July 30 when Mohamud allegedly brought up taking part in the bombing with an FBI operative posing as an Islamic terrorist, the Oregonian reported.  The failure could give the defense more wiggle room to interpret the conversation without the recording.

The Oregonian reported that prosecutors said the recorder failed because the battery had died before the meeting.  FBI agents did, however, listen to the tape and later write up a  report on what they heard, the paper reported.

Mohamud’s lawyer Stephen R. Sady told the judge he wanted an expert to examine the recorder and battery.

To read more click here.