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In FBI Press Release: Cases That Can’t be Discussed Are More Impressive Than the Ones that Can

istock_000000378393xsmall23By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.cojm

WASHINGTON — FBI officials often stop short of talking about potential terrorist plots they’ve managed to head off, citing  security concerns.

Unfortunately, what they can say isn’t always as impressive as what they can’t.

Take this week’s press release entitled: “FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Recent Accomplishments” . Sounds  intriguing. Exciting.

“We are unrelenting in our efforts to protect the American people from weapons of mass destruction,” says Dr. Vahid Majidi, assistant director, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate in the press release. “Whether it is a threatening letter filled with “powder” to investigating a major radiological incident….”

But the release falls short of our imagination. It mentions several cases in which people mailed harmless powder or made threats to judges. No al Qaeda. No jihads. A little disappointing.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman, said the release was meant to show “if anything, law enforcement is paying attention to all threats including those in the end that turnout not to (involve) threatening substances.” He said those threats can seem very real to the people who receive the fake powder.

And he emphasized that the agency is still focusing on threats that are potentially catastrophic and could result in mass casualties. Unfortunately, for those with inquiring minds, he just can’t talk about those.  He said ones listed in the presss release have gone through the courts, and therefore can be  be discussed.

The following are edited versions of what the FBI listed in the press release.

New York: 1/08/2009-The Albany County Supreme Court sentenced ANTHONY SMITH to 12 years to life he sent a threat letter containing a powder to the New York State Court of Appeals Chief Justice. The letter said the enclosed substance was a deadly chemical poison.

Kansas City: 1/21/2009-JONATHAN KEITH JOYNER was sentenced to five years’ probation for mailing an envelope containing a threatening letter and suspicious white powder in Kansas City, Missouri. The letter, addressed from JOYNER, of the Prairie Correctional Facility, said, “Anthrax. Breathe deep pig. HaHa.”

Phoenix: 1/23/2009- KENNETH RAY BRATTON was sentenced to three years probation, in addition to time served, for making false statements to obtain 280 castor beans, which can be used to produce a potentially deadly ricin toxin. The individual who sold the castor beans became suspicious of BRATTON and contacted authorities.

Dallas: 1/26/2009- BRIAN KEITH MCKENZIE was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years supervised release for threatening the president of the United States. MCKENZIE pled guilty and admitted to sending letters to federal agencies threatening to kill government employees and President Bush. He also admitted he sent threatening letters containing white powder to the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Ft. Worth to incite anthrax fears.

Indianapolis: 1/29/2009- LUIS D. SILVERIA was sentenced to 84 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for mailing letters containing a razor blade and an unknown powder to the Department of Corrections Tort Claim and to FBI offices Boston, New Haven and Connecticut. SILVERIA is currently serving a 10-year sentence on two counts of intimidation of a judge.

Memphis: 2/27/2009- MARSHALL DEWAYNE WILLIAMS was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment for mailing a letter containing a white powdery substance and a threatening message to a federal district court judge in Memphis, Tennessee. The letter read, “ATTENTION You have just been exposed to one gram of powerful crystal Anthrax.”

Denver: 3/3/2009- MARC HAROLD RAMSEY was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years supervised release, for mailing a threatening communication. RAMSEY pled guilty to writing and sending a handwritten threat letter containing a white powder to the presidential campaign headquarters of Arizona Senator John McCain.

• Little Rock: 3/23/2009-CHARLES WAYNE MOORE, JR. was sentenced to 50 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for sending envelopes containing threatening letters and white powder to a U.S. district court judge and to an Arkansas state supreme court judge.

Portland: 4/01/2009- DAVID ALBERT GROVES was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $12,432.17 in restitution for mailing numerous hoax letters containing white powder to various federal and Oregon state government agencies.

Boston: 4/30/2009- JOSEPH DOWNING was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for attempting to sell government property and for possessing unregistered firearms. While serving with the Vermont National Guard in Iraq, DOWNING stole military property and mailed it to his home in New Hampshire. DOWNING then attempted to sell the stolen U.S. property, including two high-explosive rocket grenades. Downing pled guilty to theft and attempted sale of stolen military items.

Philadelphia: 5/13/2009-MONICA Y. GONZALEZ was sentenced to five months in a halfway house with mental health treatment, followed by five months of home confinement, and three years supervised release for sending multiple letters containing explosives threats, anthrax threats, and white powder to Wells Fargo Auto Finance, Inc., of Chester City, Pennsylvania. GONZALEZ was ordered to pay $1,539.80 in restitution and incurred additional fines of $2,500.00.

Dallas: 6/04/2009- RICHARD LEON GOYETTE, also known as Michael Jurek, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release for sending 64 threat letters containing white powder to various financial institutions across the United States and one threat letter to JP Morgan Chase. GOYETTE pled guilty to two counts and was sentenced to 46 months on each; the sentences will run concurrently. The judge ordered GOYETTE to pay a $5,000 fine and $87,734 in restitution to police departments, fire departments, and Laboratory Response Network laboratories involved in the case.

Phoenix: 6/15/2009-WILLIAM CARTER was sentenced to five years probation and a total of $6,462 in criminal monetary penalties for conducting a hoax biological attack via mail. Carter pled guilty to mailing an envelope containing a powdery substance and bearing the words “Praze to Ala” to a company in Prescott, Arizona.

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