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Archive for August 13th, 2010

Feds Get Conviction on Third Try Against Racist Talk Show Host Hal Turner

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The third time worked for federal prosecutors.

After bumping up against two mistrials because of hung juries, federal prosecutors on Friday convicted Hal Turner, a racist internet radio talk show host and blogger, in Brooklyn U.S. District Court of threatening to assault and murder three U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Chicago in retaliation for them upholding a handgun ban in Chicago.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict in a trial that started Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities said that Turner, 47, of North Bergen, N.J., was immediately taken into custody pending sentencing. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Turner was charged in June 2009 for writing Internet postings, saying he was outraged about the handgun decision by the judges.

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,” he wrote. He also posted photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, authorities said. The case was charged in Chicago, but a change of venue moved it to New York.

“There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.”We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech.”

Thomas Harrington Named to #3 Spot at FBI

Thomas Harrington (right)/fbi photo

Thomas Harrington (right)/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas J. Harrington was named to the number three spot at the FBI, replacing Timothy P. Murphy, who moved up to the number two spot, the FBI announced Friday.

Up until now, Harrington was the FBI’s number four person, serving as the executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.

“Throughout his 25 years with the Bureau, T.J. has distinguished himself as an innovative leader,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a statement. “He has led our efforts to become a more intelligence-led organization and initiated proven management practices to track progress, address gaps, and evaluate successes for our highest priorities and initiatives.”

Ticklethewire.com reported July 26 that Harrington was being considered for the number three spot.   Along with that report, came speculation that Shawn Henry, who now heads up the Washington field office, would return to headquarters and take the number four spot. Then Kevin Perkins, who heads up the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters,  would take over the Washington field office.

Stay tuned.

To Read Harrington bio click here.

Ex-FBI’s John Pistole Planning Changes at TSA

john_s_pistole tsaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, the FBI’s number two person John Pistole, who now heads up the Transportation Security Administration, is making some changes.

The Federal Diary column at the Washington Post reports that Pistole is considering creating a small corps of TSA officers that would have law enforcement status.

Currently, screeners do not have that status and don’t carry guns and don’t make arrests. When they find something wrong — like a gun is found — law enforcement moves in to make the arrest if it’s warranted.

Pistole, in an interview with column’s author Joe Davidson, said the law enforcement would come from the current ranks or police agencies.

“Those details are currently being worked out, but I like the idea of having those who have experience in the business. But I’m looking at all options.”

As an aside, one question remains: How long will Pistole be around to implement changes at TSA?

That’s anyone’s guess. His name has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill as a candidate to head up the FBI when Director Robert S. Mueller III steps down next year.

To read more from the column click here.

More State and Local Cops Getting FBI Top Secret Clearances

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — More state and local law enforcement officers are getting access to sensitive information about terrorism  from the federal government, USA Today reports.

The paper reported that the number of top-secret clearances from the FBI for local and state cops has been the highest since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Clearances granted to members of the FBI’s network of regional terrorism task forces jumped to 878 in 2009, up from 125 in 2007, signaling intensified attention to domestic terror threats,” the paper wrote. “During the same period, clearances granted to other law enforcement officers and contractors soared to 945 from 364.”

To read more click here.