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Archive for June 9th, 2009

FBI Dir. Mueller Honors Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 90, Who Portrayed Ideal Agent in Show “The FBI”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
More than three decades ago,  actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. graced America’s tv sets with his collective cool, his slick dark hair and finely tailored suits.  In living rooms everywhere,  he was known as the beloved fictional agent Insp. Louis Erskine on a show simply named “The FBI”.

Dir. Mueller Honors Efrem Zimbalist Jr./fbi photo
Dir. Mueller Honors Efrem Zimbalist Jr./fbi photo

The show, which ran from 1965-74, was a public relations bonanza for an agency that has always taken public relations seriously .  It was also a great recruiting tool for some future FBI agents. Zimbalist was always fighting evil, always portraying the ideal FBI agent.

On Monday morning, in a ceremony at the Los Angeles FBI field office, FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III honored Zimbalist with an honorary FBI special agent  badge. He still looked fit at age 90, but the slick dark hair associated with the fictional character Insp. Erskine had gone the way of the black and white tv, only to be replaced with a shock of white hair.

“Inspector Erskine became a classic TV character, and a household name,” Mueller said during the presentation. ” For many Americans, the show was their first glimpse into the work of the FBI, and their first encounter with an FBI special agent.

“We could not have asked for a better character, or a better man to play his role,” Mueller  said. ” Over the years, many actors have played FBI agents. But thanks to Efrem’s fine work, Inspector Erskine will always remain the icon of an FBI special agent.”

A press release from FBI headquarters said that “Mr. Zimbalist has been a steadfast supporter of the FBI for nearly four decades.

“After the show ended, Mr. Zimbalist continued his relationship with the FBI, participating in charity events that helped raise money for families of agents killed in the line of duty, lending his well-known voice to help narrate FBI recruiting videos, and appearing at various FBI functions around the country,” the press release said.

“Blood Wires” Continue to Flow Over the Mexican Border

western-union

Money transfers have long been the lifeline for drug traffickers and others involved in illegal activity. Authorities in Arizona say Western Union is smack in the middle of it all and hasn’t cooperated enough. Western Union calls the allegations “erroneous and inflammatory”.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
PHOENIX —  The bleeding body of Mexican immigrant Javier Resendiz Martinez was the first thing police noticed when they raided the bungalow on North 63rd Avenue here four years ago after reports of gunshots.

Soon afterward, however, they found payment logs of more than 100 wire transfers to Western Unions in the border town of Caborca, Mexico — which state and federal officials cite as evidence that the financial services company and other money transmitters are used by Mexican crime syndicates to help facilitate the smuggling of people into the United States.

Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard said human smuggling has become a $2-billion-a-year business in his state alone, thanks in large part to what he calls “blood wires,” the payments from family members, friends and employers to smugglers via Western Union and other companies.

Goddard and other Arizona officials have not accused Western Union of a crime. But in interviews and court documents they say the company consistently has rejected requests for cooperation, undermining efforts in Arizona to go after the crime cartels that control much of the increasingly violent trade in humans, drugs, weapons and laundered cash from their havens in Mexico.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Busts Actor Anthony Borgese of Sopranos and Goodfellas Fame on Extortion Charge

Anthony Borgese/photo from friends of ours website

Anthony Borgese/photo from friends of ours website

The fine line between acting and reality sometimes vanishes as it seems to have in this case. Apparently there was a reason Anthony Borgese was such a good actor on tv and in the movies: The roles came naturally.

BY John Marzulli
New York DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
NEW YORK — A veteran actor with roles in “The Sopranos” and “GoodFellas” played a tough guy in real life, too, prosecutors say.

Anthony Borgese – along with a reputed Gambino crime family soldier – was charged with trying to strong-arm cash from an unlucky soul who owed money to a loanshark.

Borgese pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he tried to extort the unidentified man in upstate Monticello in 2004.

The longtime character actor, who grew up in Brooklyn, uses the stage name Tony Darrow and calls himself the “Goodfella of Comedy” on his Web site.

He was busted by FBI agents at LaGuardia Aiport as he arrived home from a film shoot late Thursday, sources said.

The 70-year-old actor looked haggard in court Friday after spending the night at the federal lockup in Brooklyn.

For Full Story

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Defends Use of Informants in Mosques

Robert Mueller III

Robert Mueller III

This issue over FBI informants in mosques has created serious tension as of late between the FBI and the Islamic community in the U.S. This comes after great inroads have been made to improve relations in the Post-9/11 era.

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES — FBI Director Robert Mueller on Monday defended the agency’s use of informants within U.S. mosques, despite complaints from Muslim organizations that worshippers and clerics are being targeted instead of possible terrorists.

Mueller’s comments came just days after a Michigan Muslim organization asked the Justice Department to investigate complaints that the FBI is asking the faithful to spy on Islamic leaders and worshippers. Similar alarm followed the disclosure earlier this year that the FBI planted a spy in Southern California mosques.

“We don’t investigate places, we investigate individuals,” Mueller said during a brief meeting with reporters in Los Angeles.

“To the extent that there may be evidence or other information of criminal wrongdoings, then we will … undertake those investigations,” Mueller added. “We will continue to do it.”

For Full Story

Retirees Returning to Fed Agencies Would Not Lose Income Under Legislation

cash2First off, the mandatory retirement age of 57 for agencies like the FBI is silly. A 57 year old today is surely capable of carrying on duties and contributing to an agency. Joe Davidson of the Washington Post reports that the Senate may vote on legislation that would allow agencies to rehire retirees without having them lose retirement income, a bill that would benefit the agencies like the FBI and DEA.

By Joe Davidson
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Before James J. Cameron Jr. retired after 34 years with the federal government, he served as a law enforcement officer with Customs, the Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Now he’d like to serve his country again. But he doesn’t want to lose money doing it.

Like other retired federal employees, Cameron, 67, faces a quandary when thinking about hitching up for another ride with Uncle Sam. If they go back to government work, their salaries would be cut by the amount of their pension.

“I would not consider taking part-time work if I had to have a reduced annuity,” said Cameron, who now lives in New Portland, Maine, after postings in eight cities around the country.

If he found work outside the federal sector, with a local police department for example, his federal annuity would not shrink.

The Senate may vote this week on legislation that includes a provision allowing Uncle Sam to rehire retirees like Cameron without making them lose some of their retirement income.

For Full Story

Feds Convict ex-Philly Cop After 3 Tries

philadelphia-policeOne thing for sure, federal prosecutors were relentless. After jurors hung in two trials before, they got a conviction.

By George Anastasia
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA — Former Philadelphia Police Officer Malik Snell was convicted last night of using his badge and his gun to rob drug dealers.

A U.S. District Court jury deliberated for about four hours before announcing that it had reached a decision on all four counts the 12-year police veteran faced.

Snell, who was fired last year, was found guilty of conspiracy, attempted robbery, and a weapons offense in connection with a botched home invasion in Pottstown.

He was also found guilty of taking $40,000 in cash from a South Philadelphia drug kingpin during a bogus police car stop.

For Full Story