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Archive for May 12th, 2010

Plenty Bring Guns to Airports

Airport crowdBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

As Internet headlines swirl about an Egyptian-American botany professor who was detained in Cairo today for carrying guns and ammunition in his luggage, keep one thing in mind: Americans bring guns to the airport all the time.

Sometimes it’s wrong, and sometimes it’s not.

The Transportation Security Administration says people such as hunters and members of the military regularly pack their guns in check-in luggage; the catch is that they must notify the airlines that they’re carrying guns in the luggage. Furthermore, the weapons must be unloaded and packed in a locked container.

In Wednesday’s case, the TSA said that Mohamed Ibrahim had failed to report to the airline that he was carrying two 9 mm handguns and 250 bullets before checking in his luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport for his Egypt Air flight to Cairo.

To read more click here.

Defense Atty. Accuses FBI of Improperly Recording Detroit Journalist’s Conversations in Public Corruption Case

Bankole Thompson/facebook

Journalist Bankole Thompson/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-federal prosecutor turned defense attorney is accusing the FBI of improperly taping conversations of a Detroit journalist and fabricating documents by describing him as an “unknown male.”, according to the Detroit News.

The defense attorney Richard Convertino, in a court filing on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claimed the FBI recorded the conversations of Michigan Chronicle senior editor Bankole Thompson and failed to get approval from Washington as required, the News reported.

Bankole was talking to Sam Riddle, the target of a public corruption probe, but nothing beneficial was said in those conversations,  claimed Convertino, who also alleged other improprieties involving the wiretaps.

Convertno represents ex-state Rep. Mary Waters, a former companion of Riddle’s. Both Riddle and Waters are charged with bribing a Southfield City Councilman William Lattimore.

“As fruits of the poisonous tree, it is clear that without these illegal wiretaps, the government would not have had any evidence from which to derive …. the purported bribe(s) of Southfield City Councilman William Lattimore,” Convertino wrote in the motion.

Consequently, he asked that the charges be dropped against Waters.

The paper reported that a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment.

Read Full Story

Read Convertino’s Motion

Head of NY FBI Joseph Demarest Permanently Reassigned to Headquarters

Joseph Demarest/ fbi photo

Joseph Demarest/ fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Demarest, the head of New York FBI, who had been under internal investigation in connection with an affair he’d had with a supervisor in his office, will become the new Assistant Director of the International Operations Division at headquarters in Washington, ticklethewire.com has learned.

FBI agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the New York office, confirmed that Demarest was getting the headquarters job, but referred any other questions to headquarters.

Demarest, whose title was assistant director in charge of the N.Y. FBI,  had been temporarily reassigned to headquarters during the internal probe.

No permanent replacement has been named for Demarest in New York.  In the interim, special agent in charge George Venizelos will head the office.

A number of names have surfaced in the rumor mill including Andy Arena, the head of the Detroit FBI.

Back in March, ticklethewire.com reported that Demarest had been temporarily reassigned to headquarters while an internal probe looked into whether he’d been truthful to investigators looking into an affair with another agent. His story reportedly conflicted with the agent’s version.

The press office at headquarters did not immediately respond to questions about the reassignment and what the outcome was of the internal probe.

UPDATE: Late Wednesday afternoon the FBI announced the appointment. Here’s the press release.

Retired FBI Agent Frank Scafidi Running as Write-In Candidate for Sacramento Co. Sheriff

scafidiBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Frank Scafidi, a popular figure in the FBI who was known for his keen sense of humor, is running a write-in campaign for Sacramento County Sheriff.

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Scafidi, 58, who is retired from the FBI, has a campaign staff  made up of his family and a $600 war chest. He is running against three other people on the ballot.

“I’m under no illusions,” Scafidi told the Bee. “As a write-in candidate, it’s a nearly impossible task because no one knows me.”

“I have watched the campaign for sheriff with equal parts of disappointment, surprise, shock and sadness,” Scafidi said in a statement on his website. “The voters are being asked to select the next top law enforcement official in the county. You would think that candidates for sheriff would personify all of the ideals that their badge represents. You would think that instead of resorting to the lesser of three evils voters would lament that only one can win. You would think.

“But this race has delivered three candidates who have given the voters nothing to feel good about.”

Scafidi worked as an agent in Oklahoma, Washington, D.C. and Sacramento before retiring in 2004.

ATF Probing Theft of Guns From Suburban Chicago Police Dept. Shooting Range

atf_sealBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF is investigating the theft of nearly two dozen weapons from the shooting range of a suburban Chicago police department, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

The weapons stolen from the Harvey Police Department included handguns and MP5 and AR-15 assault weapons, the Trib reported. They were reported stolen from a trailer at the facility on Monday.

Special Agent Tom Ahern, an ATF spokesman, told the Tribune his agency was working with the Illinois State Police.

To read more click here.

Pakistani Investigators Say There’s No Evidence NY Bomber Linked to Pakistani Taliban, London Paper Reports

pakistan-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Pakistani investigators say there is no evidence so far that the New York car bomber Faisal Shahzad was carrying out the bombing on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban, contrary to American claims, the Guardian newspaper of London.

The London paper quoted an unnamed Pakistani security official with knowledge of the investigation as saying: “No Taliban link has come to the fore.”

Pakistani authorities have questioned Muhammad Rehan, a friend of the NY bomber  Shahzad. Rehan, a member of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad radical group, was arrested last week outside a radical mosque in Karachi, the paper reported.

The paper reported that Rehan remains the only link to Shahzad at this time.

“Officials in Islamabad are perplexed and angry at statements from Washington about Shahzad’s links with the Pakistani Taliban, believing that the US is exploiting the issue to apply pressure for new military offensives in Pakistan’s tribal border area with Afghanistan, in the north Waziristan region,” the paper reported.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.)  of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday expressed some skepticism about the links to the Pakistani Taliban, saying the claims were based on “suspicious and tenuous connections”.

To read more click here

Off-Duty Hawaii FBI Agent Shot Man Brandishing Fake Gun

softair gun from online catalogue

softair gun from online catalogue

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The man shot and wounded by an off-duty FBI agent in Honolulu on Sunday was brandishing an airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets, but resembles a real gun, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported.

“The important thing is not what kind of weapon he was carrying, but the perception of the agent at the time he took the shot,”  said FBI spokesman and special agent Tom Simon said, according to the newspaper.

The incident began when a man and woman flagged down the FBI agent and said a man was brandishing a gun. The man ordered the agent to put down the gun, but instead, he moved toward the agent, and the agent shot and wounded him, the paper reported.

The Star Bulletin reported that Honolulu police during a press conference declined to disclose the weapon used by Martin Boegel, 27. But it discussed the dangers of brandishing a fake gun.  Boegel’s mother says he has a history of mental illness, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Editorial From the Tennessean: Don’t Change Miranda Warning Law

scales-of-justice1By The Tennessean
Editorial Page

MEMPHIS — First give credit where it is due: to local New York and federal authorities who tracked down and apprehended the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing.

In the nine days since Faisal Shahzad was placed in custody, he has been interviewed at great length and yielded much information, authorities say. After talking to authorities for four hours, Shahzad was read his rights. He continued to talk, officials say.

He has yet to appear in court on charges dealing with weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

If you think it sounds a lot like Guantanamo-style detention, you’re right. Given the suspect’s willingness to talk — and talk — you would think that federal authorities would be fairly pleased with the process.

So it was strange when, over the weekend, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on network news shows that he, and, therefore, President Barack Obama, are open to Congress placing limits on the rights afforded to terrorism suspects, even when they are American citizens.

To continue reading click here.