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Archive for May 3rd, 2010

Ex-ATF Official Weighs in on NY Car Bomb: “It Was a Grandiose Plot But Sort of a Ridiculous Device”

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — James Cavanaugh, who recently retired as a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official after 33 years, Monday shared his insights into the Times Square car bomb with AOL News.

Cavanaugh said he thought the culprit or culprits likely had international ties. He also said he wouldn’t rule out the theory that the bomb was in retaliation for an episode of the Comedy Central cartoon “South Park” that mocked the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

But, he said, the device was poorly built and appeared destined to fail. “It was just too complicated,” he said. “It was a grandiose plot, but sort of a ridiculous device.”

AOL News: How much planning went into this?

Cavanaugh: It’s not one day of planning and it’s not one year’s worth of planning. It looks like two or three weeks. This device was thrown together slapdash. It’s clear they never tested it or had any technical skills to build it. It’s almost as if they read about it on the Web and tried to build it. It came out flawed, and it malfunctioned. You can tell it’s quite a complicated contraption.

To read the rest of interview click here.

OTHER RELATED STORIES

Surprise: Detroit Judge Orders Militia Members Free on Bond

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo

UPDATE: The Judge late Monday granted a request by the U.S. Attorney  to delay until Wednesday at 5 p.m. the release of the  suspects to give the government time to decide whether to appeal her ruling, the Detroit Free Press reported.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a ruling that raises some questions about strength of the government’s case, a federal judge in Detroit on Monday ordered that nine members of Michigan based-Christian militia called the Hutaree be freed on bond. The members were accused of plotting to kill cops.

“The United States is correct that it need not wait until the people are killed before it arrests conspirators,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said in a 36-page written order. “But defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection.

“The Court’s own Pretrial Services Agency, which makes bond recommendations, concluded that but for the seriousness of the offenses charged, the defendants are all people it would normally recommend for release on bond.”

Read more »

Fed and State Wiretaps Jumped 26 Percent in 2009

federal and state wiretaps/source: u.s. courts

federal and state wiretaps/source: u.s. courts

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Court authorized wiretaps issued by federal and state judges in criminal cases jumped 26 percent from 2008 to 2009, and not one request was turned down, the website WIRED reported.

Citing a report released Friday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, WIRED reported that courts authorized 2,376 wiretaps in 2009.

Of those, 96 percent were for mobile phones in drug cases, the report said, according to WIRED. Federal investigators requested 663 of the wiretaps, 24 states acquired 1,713 in all.

The report said each wiretap caught the communications of an average of 113 people, WIRED reported, and only 19 percent of intercepted communications were incriminating. The surveillances included text messages and phone calls.

WIRED reported that about 268,000 people had their text messages and phone calls intercepted in 2009, an all time record.

To read more click here.

Read Full Report

President Obama Off the Hook for Now in Blagojevich Criminal Case

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Well Prez, you’re off the hook for now. Looks like you won’t be going to the Blagojevich circus.

A federal judge in Chicago on Friday refused to issue a subpoena for President Obama to testify in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Associated Press reported.

Blagojevich, who faces a host of public corruption charges, including one that he tried to sell the president’s vacated Senate seat, wanted Obama to testify in his upcoming trial on June 3.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said Blago’s request fell “very short of authorizing a subpoena for the president”, AP reported. The judge indicated he could change his mind during trial if he determines the President has something relevant to tell jurors.

Authorities Investigating NY Car Bomb Release Video

Book Review:”Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s most Wanted Gangster”

The very able author Jonathan Eig, a former Wall Street Journal reporter,  who has written books on baseball legends Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig ,  has now written about another type of legend, and a  ruthless one at that: Al Capone. It details his colorful life and how the feds brought him down.  Here’s the New York Times review.

capone3

By James McManus
New York Times Book Review

Tell people in Belfast or Melbourne you’re from Chicago and some of them are still apt to mimic a tommy assault, spraying you with 400 rounds of hot lead per minute.

Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah! A tommy, of course, is a Thompson submachine gun, the weapon of choice for Al Capone’s ”outfit,” which deployed the guns to dominate the hooch and protection rackets in and around Chicago for most of the Roaring Twenties. Old associations die hard.

In ”Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster,” Jonathan Eig vividly retraces the efforts of President Herbert Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I. and the United States attorney George E. Q. Johnson to bring Scarface to some sort of justice. Despite the gaudy subtitle, though, fully half the book covers Capone’s rise to power and the grip, drenched in blood, with which he maintained it for almost a decade.

To read more click here.

Read Chicago Sun-Times Review