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Archive for February, 2010

FBI Ready to Close All But a Handful of 100-Plus Civil Rights Killings

Early Days of KKK in Fla./ fbi via national archive

Early Days of KKK in Fla./ fbi via national archive

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some murder cases during the civil rights era aren’t likely to end up in court.

The Washington Post’s Carrie Johnson reports that “three years after the FBI pledged to investigate more than 100 unsolved civil rights killings, the agency is ready to close all but a handful.”

The Post reports that investigators know in most cases who the culprits are, but indictments aren’t likely because the suspects died and it has only gotten tougher to gather evidence.

“There’s maybe five to seven cases where we don’t know who did it,” FBI Special Agent Cynthia Deitle told the Post. “Some we know; others we know but can’t prove. For every other case, we got it.”

The story surfaces just days after Ku Klux Klan member Edgar Ray Killen, who is serving a 60-year-sentence in the slaying of three civil rights workers in 1964, filed a lawsuit alleging that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI used a member of the Mafia to beat  and intimidate people to get information for the FBI in his case.

To read the full Post story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

New York Times Editorial Backs Independent Verification of FBI Findings in Anthrax Case

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a report that is supposed to clinch the case that a lone scientist mailed anthrax-laced letters in 2001, terrorizing a country already traumatized by the 9/11 attacks.

The agency cites voluminous circumstantial evidence that is largely persuasive, but its report leaves too many loose ends to be taken as a definitive verdict.

The scientist — Dr. Bruce Ivins, an Army biodefense expert — killed himself in 2008 as the investigation moved ever closer to an indictment. That means the evidence and the F.B.I.’s conclusion that he was the culprit and acted alone will never be tested in court.

To read more click here.

Retired DEA Agent Found Dead in New Jersey Park; Suicide Suspected

dea_color_logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A retired DEA agent was found dead  Saturday morning in a secluded area of a park in Woodcliff Lake,  N.J. in Bergen County , according to NewJersey.com.

Preliminary reports indicated the cause of the death for retired agent Brian Collier, 53, was suicide, the website reported.

The body was found in Wood Dale Park in Woodcliff Lake shortly before 10 a.m., the website reorted.

After retiring from the DEA, Collier served as a director of the Edison Township Police force until 2009, the site reported.

Lawsuit Claims Mafia Helped FBI in Probe In 1964 Civil Rights Slayings

Edgar Ray Killen/msnbc

Edgar Ray Killen/msnbc

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, serving 60 years for the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers, has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI paid an organized crime figure to beat and intimidate people to extract information in his case.

In all, the 16-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., against the FBI and Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, claims the FBI used secretive and illegal tactics that violated Killen’s rights to a fair trial and suppressed his constitutional right to speak freely over the years. It alleged the state of Mississippi knew about the FBI abuses but chose to cover it up during Killen’s second trial, in which he was convicted.

The suit alleges that the FBI in 1964 became frustrated with the investigation into three missing civil rights workers and turned to Colombo crime family mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. (aka the “Grim Reaper”), saying Scarpa intimidated, assaulted and pistol-whipped local residents to help locate the “burial site of the murdered civil rights workers and obtained confessions for the prosecution.”

In turn, the suit alleges the FBI paid Scarpa at least $30,000 and gave him “carte blanche to engage in all types of legal and illegal activities.”

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Ted Bundy Story

Secret Service’s Computers Only Fully Operational 60 Percent of Time

computer-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s one secret the Secret Service would rather keep secret.

ABC’s Jason Ryan reports that “a classified review of the United States Secret Service’s computer technology found that the agency’s computers were fully operational only 60 percent of the time because of outdated systems and a reliance on a computer mainframe that dates to the 1980s, according to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.”

“We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have,” Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee told ABC News.

To read more click here.

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Dems and Watchdog Groups Want Justice Dept. to Investigate Missing Emails from Bush Lawyers

lost

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Where are the missing emails from Bush lawyers blessing harsh interrogation tactics?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The Washington Post reports that senior Democrats and watchdog groups on Friday asked the Justice Department to investigate the disappearance of what could be key emails.

The paper reported that some are saying the missing emails cast doubt on an “ethics report that cleared the lawyers  of professional misconduct.”

For Full story click here.

Ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Sister and Niece Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Betty Jefferson

Betty Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New Orleans political dynasty headed by disgraced ex-Congressman William Jefferson and his brother Mose Jefferson, the political operative, continues to crumble.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that less than a month before trial, the ex-Congresman’s sister Betty Jefferson,70, a 4th District Assessor, and her daughter Angela Coleman, 53, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to a conspiracy charge for pocketing money from political office and non-profits they controlled over 7 years.

The guilty plea still left in question the future of Jefferson’s brother Mose and his companion Renee Gill Pratt, a former city council member and state rep, who are still scheduled to go to trial March 22 in the case.

Mose Jefferson was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribing a school board official. He has been out free awaiting his latest trial.

To read more click here.