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Archive for May 7th, 2009

FBI Wants Ex-Agent to Remove Bureau Seal From Website and Any Book Reprints

fbi-book1

The questions are: Is this battle worth it? Is it bad public relations?
And are there better ways for the FBI to spend its resources?

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — You’d think that the nation’s number one domestic counterterrorism agency would have better things to do than yap at authors and publishers about using the bureau’s official seal on their books.

But I.C. Smith, a retired senior FBI counterintelligence agent who wrote a very critical book about the bureau in 2004, just found out otherwise.

A few weeks ago an FBI lawyer instructed Smith that he had to remove the FBI seal from his Web site, including one on the jacket of his 2004 book, “INSIDE: A Top G Man Exposes Spies, Lies and Bureaucratic Bungling Inside the FBI.”

The G-lawyer also told Smith that the publisher of his book, Thomas Nelson, Inc., would also be instructed “that if the book is reprinted, the cover be redesigned to remove the FBI Seal.”

For Full Story

Cyber Piracy: FBI and Va. State Police Search for Hackers Who Have Demanded $10 Million For Pharmacy Records

pirate-cyber-theft

This is the equivalent of piracy on the high seas. The only difference is: records — not human life — are at the heart of the ransom demand.

By Brian Krebs and Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writers
RICHMOND, Va. May 7 — The FBI and Virginia State Police are searching for hackers who have demanded the state pay them a $10 million ransom by Thursday for the return of millions of personal pharmaceutical records they stole from the state’s prescription drug database.

The hackers claim to have accessed 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions collected by the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Sandra Whitley Ryals, director of Virginia’s Department of Health Professions, declined to discuss details of the hackers’ claims and referred inquiries to the FBI.

For Full Story

FBI Wiretapped Ex-Congressman Curt Weldon’s Inner Circle and at Least One Reporter

Ex-Rep. Weldon

Ex-Rep. Weldon

The Justice Department has sent out wiretap letters, which may indicate that this probe is over. Ex-Rep Curt Weldon was never charged.

By WILLIAM BENDER
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — Federal investigators were running wiretaps for months at a time in 2006 on then-U.S. Rep. Curton Weldon’s chief of staff and other members of his inner circle, the Justice Department has revealed.

The wiretaps were disclosed in letters that the department recently sent to individuals – including this reporter, then employed at another newspaper – whose phone conversations with the targeted parties were intercepted.

The notifications, required under federal law, often are sent toward the end of an investigation or when the disclosure would no longer affect an ongoing investigation.

Legal observers say that the wiretap disclosure could be another indication that the corruption probe that helped end Weldon’s lengthy political career has concluded.

Weldon, a Delaware County Republican now working for Exton-based Defense Solutions, has not been charged.

For Full Story

Bernie Madoff’s Secretary Speaks Out

N.Y. Cops Aid Ailing Fed Judge and Win False Arrest Case

nypd-badge1Well, it was a good day for 2 cops in Brooklyn fed court. They helped a sick judge and they won their case. Hope they went off and tried their luck at the Lotto.

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Two city cops who were defendants in a civil case came to the aid of a stricken federal judge presiding over their trial in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

But the nerve-racking day had a happy ending – Chief Judge Raymond Dearie appeared to be okay and the jury cleared Officers William Higgins and Thaddeus Niksa of wrongdoing.

“They’re cops first and defendants second,” said their union lawyer, Gregory Longworth. “Their instincts kicked in and they rendered immediate first aid to the judge.”

Dearie was charging the jury on the law when he apparently fainted and slumped forward on the bench.

Higgins and Niksa leaped from the defense table and assisted the judge from his chair to a hallway behind the courtroom. They loosened his tie, propped up his feet and checked his pulse while co-counsel Mitch Garber called 911.

Another judge was summoned to complete the charge and the jury deliberated about three hours before reaching a verdict.

Higgins, a 14-year-veteran, and Niksa, a 15-year-veteran were accused of false arrest and violating the First Amendment rights of a pair of foul-mouthed sisters from Queens.

For Full Story

Six ex-Univ. of Toledo Athletes and 2 Businessmen Indicted in Sports Point Shaving Scam

university-of-toledo-basketball

People always like to think that college sports is purer than professional sports; The athletes don’t get paid, the pressures aren’t the same. But along comes a scandal like this. It makes you step back and think again.

Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Two area businessmen and six former University of Toledo athletes were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday in connection with a bribery and point-shaving scandal.

The businessmen, Ghazi “Gary” Manni, 52, of Sterling Heights and Mitchell Edward Karam, 76, of Troy, also were indicted along with a former professional jockey on charges they tried to fix horse-racing events at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla.

Charged in the Toledo point-shaving case are Manni; Karam; Anton Du’ane Currie, 25, of Okemos; Harvey Lamont “Scooter” McDougle Jr., 24, of East Cleveland, Ohio; Keith Junior Triplett, 29, of Toledo; Adam Ryan Cuomo, 31, of Hagersville, Ontario; Kashif Lashon Payne, 24, of Chester, Pa.; and Quinton James Broussard, 25, of Carrollton, Texas.

The 20-count indictment alleges that between December 2004 and December 2006, Manni and Karam bribed players to influence the scores of football and basketball games. The businessmen would then bet on the games, the indictment alleges.

For Full Story

Read Point-Shaving Indictment

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Government Wants Court to Reverse Finding that Boston FBI Framed 4 Men in 1965 Gangland Slaying

fbi

This case is a major blemish on the Boston FBI, which has taken a major hit for its role in dealing with the mob and mobsters like Whitey Bulger. The government appears to have an uphill battle in reversing a lower court ruling.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — As he sat in a federal appeals courtroom yesterday listening to a government lawyer argue that the FBI was not to blame for the wrongful conviction that put him and three other men behind bars for decades, Joseph Salvati said it was like being subjected to “waterboarding” – the tactic used during some government interrogations.

“The torture goes on,” said the 76-year-old Salvati, who served 29 years and five months in prison for a 1965 gangland slaying in Chelsea while secret files that would later clear him remained buried at the FBI. “The federal government and the Justice Department has been torturing us for 40 years . . . they just don’t stop.”

His wife, Marie, who raised their four children while he was in prison and has remained by his side through every proceeding, said: “The FBI is still trying to make believe that they didn’t do anything wrong. They are still in denial.”

In July 2007, US District Judge Nancy Gertner found that the FBI was responsible for framing Salvati, Peter J. Limone, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo for the murder of Edward “Teddy” Deegan, a small-time criminal, and ordered the government to pay them a total of $101.7 million for the decades they had spent in prison.

For Full Story

Appeals Court Upholds Legality of Fed Raid on Va. Muslim Charities

virginia-map1The raid hasn’t done much good for the relationship between federal law enforcement and the Islamic community in the Washington/Virginia region. But the court said the feds did nothing wrong. A ruling to the contrary may have given the Islamic community more ammunition to criticize federal law enforcement.


By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

An appeals court yesterday upheld the legality of federal raids on a Herndon-based network of Muslim charities, businesses and think tanks, a case that caused a firestorm in the Muslim community.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the March 2002 raids on homes and business in Herndon and elsewhere in Northern Virginia were “a harrowing experience” for the targets but did not violate their constitutional rights. The court said agents exercised “lawful force” in drawing their guns and handcuffing a family whose home was searched.

Federal agents carted away hundreds of boxes of documents during the searches from some of the most established Islamic organizations in the United States. They were looking for evidence of an international network to finance terrorism, part of what federal officials have called the nation’s largest terrorism-financing investigation.

For Full Story