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Archive for March, 2010

About 1,000 FBI Agents To-Be Visit the Holocaust Museum Each Year For Training

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The old saying goes: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The FBI, pointing to a lesson in history when power corrupted, has been taking about 1,000 special agents each year from the FBI Training Academy to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington as part of a lesson on “what can happen when law enforcement loses sight of what is right,” according to a story posted on the front page of the FBI website. The program has been going on for 10 years.

The “Lessons of the Holocaust” is a joint partnership between the Anti-Defamation League and the museum. The ADL often works closely with the FBI.

“It makes our people think about morality, ethics, and how to maintain those during turbulent times,” FBI special agent Douglas B. Merel, who teaches the Academy’s ethical leadership course for new agents that includes the museum program, said in the FBI story. “It shows how important it is for law enforcement to maintain their core values.”

The story goes on to talk about a recent 4-hour visit on a Friday morning by about 50 agents-to-be and how they talked about what separates them from the law enforcement officers in Germany during the Nazi era.

“It’s really our hope that the law enforcement officers who come to the museum see this program, see this history, and really reflect on their professional core values and their role in society today,” Marcus A. Appelbaum, who coordinates the museum’s community and leadership programs, said in the story.

FBI Sees No Copycats in the Christian Militia Case

Christian militia suspects/southern poverty law center

Christian militia suspects/southern poverty law center

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI has issued a bulletin to local police saying there’s sympathetic chatter on the Internet regarding the arrests of  the Christian militia members, but no indication of copycats, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit  on Monday unsealed an indictment charging nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia called Hutaree who were allegedly plotting to kill law enforcement officers to try and spark a government revolt.

Six of the members were from Michigan, two from Ohio and one from Indiana.

The indictment comes nearly 15 years after the Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building. Two of the defendants in that case — Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols — had ties to Michigan.

The  1995 bombing stirred keen interest in law enforcement, which took a hard look at the Michigan militias and some of the strong anti-government sentiment in the rural America.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it saw a 244 percent jump in new anti-government Patriot Groups in 2009. It said the number of groups went from 149 (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) in 2009.

“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. according to an article in the Southern Poverty Law Center web page. “We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage.

Tenn. White Supremacist Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Kill Prez Candidate Obama

Daniel Cowart

Daniel Cowart

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Tennessee white supremacist pleaded guilty Monday of plotting to kill Barack Obama during the presidential campaign and planning to  kill dozens of other black people, AP reported.

Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tenn., pleaded guilty Monday. His co-defendant, Paul Schlesselman of Helena-West Helena, Ark. pleaded guilty in January, AP reported.

The arrests last year highlighted the white supremacist’s concerns about the prospect of having an African-American president.

Janet Kamerman Named Assistant Dir. of FBI’s Training Division

fbi-globeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Kamerman, the FBI’s associate executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch, has some added duties.

On top of her current job, she will also become assistant director of the FBI’s Training Division.

The FBI said in “her new role, she will assume additional responsibilities for all FBI training programs, including the new agent and intelligence analyst training programs, as well as the National Academy, which provides training to federal, state, local, and international police executives.”

Read more »

Fed Agency Turf Battle Harming Probes Into Corruption of U.S. Border Workers

US Mexican borderBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI, the Inspector General for Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection are locked in a turf battle that seems to be delaying investigations into corruption among U.S. Border and immigration employees, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The journalism organization, which wrote the story for the Washington Post, reported that the turf battle climaxed  in December  when the Homeland  Assistant Inspector General Thomas M. Frost ordered internal affairs at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to drop any probe that was not being supervised by the  inspector general’s office.

The order also directed CBP to stop participating in task forces or sharing information with other agencies unless it all goes through the inspector general, the investigative journalism center reported. The order brings in question the concept of cooperation.

The journalism center reported that the Inspector General’s Office felt having too many agencies involved created greater risks for leaks.

The journalism center reported at the time of the memo in December   CBP’s internal affairs office “was involved in about 100 criminal corruption inquiries, including joint investigations with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The cases cover allegations including taking bribes from drug traffickers and improper searches of law enforcement databases.”

To read more click here.

Mexican Drug Traffickers Kill 10 Students on Way to Get Scholarships

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The ugly byproduct of Mexico’s drug war reared its head Sunday in the worst of ways: 10 students on their way to get government scholarships were murdered at a roadblock in the state of Durango apparently set up by drug traffickers, the Tribune Newspapers reported. Half the victims were 16 or under.

The news service reported that the gunmen opened fire and tossed grenades after the youths in a pick up truck apparently did not honor the road block.

The Tribune reported that the dead included three girls 8, 11 and 13.

Meanwhile,  authorities on Monday captured a suspect in the March 13  U.S. consulate shooting in Ciudad Juarez, a town that borders El Paso,  Tex., the Tribune reported.  The man is a leader of the the Barrio Azteca gang, which carries out executions for the Juarez drug cartel.

Mexican authorities made the arrest, acting on a tip from the FBI, the newspaper service reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Calif. FBI Agent Agrees to Plead Guilty to Illegal Access of FBI Records, Court Document Shows

CALIFornia mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A veteran California FBI agent who investigated white collar crimes has agreed to plead guilty to illegally accessing FBI files to help an acquaintance collect a debt, according to court records.

A plea agreement filed by the U.S. Attorneys Office in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif.  said that agent Peter H. Norell Jr. accessed the FBI data base to get information to help the acquaintance “and according to Norell’s understanding, other investors.”

The document said that Norell “never intended to and never did initiate a legitimate FBI investigation into” the person who owed money, but he threatened to launch a probe against someone only identified as T.S. ,  if T.S.  did not pay off the debt.

It said he “communicated his threats to initiate an FBI investigation” in multiple phone calls as well as in person when Norell went to T.S.’s home at 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2005.

The document said that Norell was informed that T.S. paid a portion of the debt to the acquaintance. Part of the agreement was that Norell resign as an FBI agent.

Read Plea Agreement

FBI Impersonator Went as Far As to Hire An Assistant, Authorities Charge

fbi-badgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Over the years, many people have impersonated FBI agents, but few have gone as far as Brenna Marie Reilly. She even hired an assistant who worked out of her apartment.

Reilly, 29, of Arlington, Va., now faces a federal indictment in Virginia. She is free but in  her mother’s custody in Holyoke, Mass.,  and has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, court records show.

Authorities alleged that Reilly told neighbors, starting in August 2009, that she was a director of the FBI’s Forensic Division and an assistant director of the FBI., according to an affidavit from FBI agent Kari Alexa Parker.

In November, she offered two people a job as her assistant and asked them to fill out government applications, the affidavit said. One declined the job. The other accepted. The job was to begin Dec. 15.

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