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Archive for February 12th, 2010

Weekend Series on History: A 1951 Feature on the FBI

Feds in Texas Indict 25 Suspected Members of Colombian Drug Cartel

colombia
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In recent years, the spotlight has turned to the violent Mexican drug cartels shipping drugs into the U.S.

But on Friday, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales in Dallas announced the indictment of 25 suspected members of a Colombian drug cartel that moved massive amounts of cocaine into the U.S. through Mexico and Central America.

Authorities said the probe, to date, had resulted in the seizure of 7.5 tons of cocaine and $4.25 million in assets.

All 25 defendants are Colombian, and 21 are currently being detained in that country.

“In this operation, the agents, both American and Colombian, are literally reaching across hemispheres to strike a blow against a criminal organization that is a vital lifeline to several Mexican drug cartels,” the U.S. Attorney said.

Ex-Miami DEA Chief Tom Rafanello Gets Off in Obstruction Case: Judge Tosses Charges During Jury Deliberations

miami map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ex-head of the Miami DEA office Tom Raffanello got an early Valentines Day gift from an unlikely person: a federal judge.

In a surprise move, U.S. District Judge Richard Goldberg on Friday, in the midst of jury deliberations,  ordered the acquittal of Raffanello, who was accused of obstructing an SEC investigation by shredding documents to protect his employer, Allen Stanford, an accused swindler, the Miami Herald reported.

The judge concluded that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

Raffanelo had been Stanford’s chief of security. The judge also ordered the acquittal of a second defendant Bruce Perraud, who worked with Raffanello, the Herald reported.

“I’ve been a federal agent for 30 years and I believe in this country and I believe in the truth,” Raffanello told the Herald. “On the 22nd of February, I’m taking my infant daughter to Disney World.”

To read more click here.

Agent Tangles With ATF Over Troubles With Hells Angels

Jay Dobyns/his website

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Allan Lengel
For Aol News

WASHINGTON — From one vantage point, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jay Dobyns still worries about the Hells Angels coming after him. From another, it’s his employer he’s more concerned about.

Dobyns infiltrated the Hells Angels from 2001 to 2003 in Arizona and wrote a New York Times best-seller about it last year. But now he’s locked in major legal fisticuffs with the ATF.

A $4 million lawsuit filed by the 23-year ATF veteran says the agency failed to abide by a 2007 written contract to protect him and his wife and two children against death threats from the Hells Angels. The suit, unfolding now in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, also says the agency failed to stop subjecting him to a hostile work environment for complaining about his safety.

In August 2008, Dobyns’ Tucson, Ariz., home burned to the ground in an apparent arson. Two months later, he filed the breach of contract lawsuit

For Full Story

Administration Appears Confused Over 9/11 Trial: President to Get Involved

obama-and-biden1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — You might not be wrong if you thought the administration is totally confused as to where to prosecute suspected mastermind of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his co-defendants.

The Washington Post now reports that President Obama has decided “to insert himself into the debate” after he had asked Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. to pick the site.

The whole thing has turned into a political nightmare.

Previous reports indicated that the administration did a poor job of greasing the skids and building support in New York before announcing it planned to hold the trial there.

The political backlash has made the administration not only rethink the N.Y. location, but also whether to prosecute in civilian or military court,  the suspected terrorist Mohammed, who is often associated with a  photo in which he is having a very very bad hair day.

Holder told the Post he had not ruled out a trial in military court, though he said that is not what he would prefer.

“At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it’s done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules,” Holder said, according to the Post. “If we do that, I’m not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding.”

To read more click here.

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says Prosecuting Terrorists in Civilian Courts is “Often More Effective”

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Ali Soufan was an FBI special agent from 1997 to 2005.

By ALI H. SOUFAN
New York Times Op-Ed

SINCE Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York announced that he no longer favored trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, in a Manhattan federal court because of logistical concerns, the Obama administration has come under increasing attack from those who claim that military commissions are more suitable for prosecuting terrorists. These critics are misguided.

As someone who has helped prosecute terrorists in both civilian and military courts — I was a witness for the government in two of the three military commissions convened so far — I think that civilian courts are often the more effective venue.

In fact, the argument that our criminal justice system is more than able to handle terrorist cases was bolstered just last week by revelations that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas bomber, is cooperating with the authorities.

To read more click here.

Islamic Ruling Forbids Muslims From Going Through Airport Body Scanners

airport scanner 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now for the latest complications in airport security.

The Detroit Free Press reported that a body of Islamic scholars known as the Figh Council of North America has issued a religious ruling that forbids Muslims from passing through airport body scanners.

The paper reported that the ruling, known as a “fatwa”, was issued this week and says that going through a scanner “would violate Islamic rules of modesty.”

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” reads the fatwa issued Tuesday, according to the paper.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Ex-Atty Gen. Mukasey Continues to Offer Criticism About Christmas Day Bomber

Michael Mukasey is a former N.Y. federal judge who served as the U.S. Attorney General from November 2007 to January 2009.

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Michael B. Mukasey
The Washington Post

It seems to me unlikely that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will be known to future generations of lawyers for generating any groundbreaking legal principle or issue. But when it comes to illuminating our public discourse about the “global war on terror,” he is right up there with Clarence Earl Gideon, Ernesto Miranda or even Jose Padilla. His case presents in one tidy package virtually all the issues that arise from the role intelligence plays in this struggle and compels us to examine what the law requires and what it doesn’t.

When Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb concealed in his undershorts, he committed a crime; no doubt about that. He could not have acted alone; no doubt about that either. The bomb was not the sort of infernal device readily produced by someone of his background, and he quickly confirmed that he had been trained and sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

What to do and who should do it? It was entirely reasonable for the FBI to be contacted and for that agency to take him into custody. But contrary to what some in government have suggested, that Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by the FBI did not mean, legally or as a matter of policy, that he had to be treated as a criminal defendant at any point.

To read more click here.