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Archive for August 25th, 2010

FBI Agent Arrested on Charges of Threatening to Kill Wife and Head of Dallas FBI

FBI's Robert E. Casey Jr./fbi photo

FBI's Robert E. Casey Jr./fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Suffice to say, FBI agent Carlos Ortiz is in big trouble.

The 48-year-old Dallas agent was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening to kill his estranged wife — also an FBI employee  — and Robert E. Casey Jr., the head of the Dallas FBI, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The paper reported that Casey had placed Ortiz on leave pending an investigation into domestic violence and then fired him.

Ortiz, of Red Oak, Tex., a 21-year veteran  was being held at the Dallas County jail, the paper reported. He is scheduled to make a court appearance in federal court on Thursday on charges of threatening to assault or kill a federal law enforcement officer, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The paper reported that Ortiz allegedly told a friend of his plans to kill his wife and Casey. Ortiz filed for divorce and bankruptcy last year, the paper reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Hunts for Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

The bombing occurred on Aug. 24, 1970. The country was in turmoil. Richard Nixon was president. The rock ‘n’ roll landscape was flush with giants like the Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. And campuses like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor were bubbling with the anti-war, anti-establishment sentiments that were polarizing the nation.

According to published reports, the protesters parked a van loaded with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil outside the East Wing of Sterling Hall, which housed the Army Math Research Center that conducted research for the military. The building also housed the physics department.

The potent bomb went off at 3:42 a.m. The bombers said the explosives were never intended to hurt anyone. But the blast killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, a father of three, who was reportedly finishing up some work before heading off on a family vacation. It also wounded three others and caused an estimated $2.1 million in damage to the the university. As an aside, The New York Times reported that Fassnacht’s family said he was against the Vietnam War.

After the bombing, the hunt for the attackers was on. Karleton Armstrong was captured in Toronto in 1972 and sentenced to 23 years, but served only about seven. His brother Dwight Armstrong, who just died this year, was caught in Toronto in 1977 and served three years. And David Fine was captured in California in 1976 and served about three years.

Retired FBI agent Kent Miller, a deputy coroner in Wisconsin, was assigned to the case in the late 1990s. He said he “goes back and forth” as to whether fugitive Burt is still alive.

“I think there’s a good chance he’s still alive,” he told AOL News. “If he’s alive, he’s living quietly somewhere, most likely outside the country.”

Over the years, he said, the bureau followed up on hundreds of tips — including ones that Burt was homeless in Denver and working at a Costa Rican resort.

Forty years later, the incident is still not easy for some to talk about. In 1971, Paul Quin, a physics researcher at the the university who was injured in the blast, told the Wisconsin State Journal: “Sometimes I still think about [the bombing]. It sends a shiver up my spine when I’m working late on Sundays.”

But on Monday, Quin, who is listed as a physics professor emeritus, declined an interview with AOL News.

“I do not discuss this event,” he responded by e-mail.

As time passes, some of the links are vanishing. In June, Dwight Armstrong died at age 58 in Madison, Wis., The New York Times reported. After getting out prison, he served additional time for involvement in a methamphetamine ring. He then drove a cab, the Times reported.

His level of remorse was left in question.

He once told the The Capital Times in Madison: “We did what we had to do; we did what we felt a lot of other people should have done,” he said. “I don’t care what public opinion is; we did what was right.”

A Few Top DEA Officials’ Names Surface for Number 2 Spot

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A few names have surfaced as potential candidates to fill the number two spot at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sources say the names that have popped up  include  Thomas M. Harrigan, chief of operations,  Anthony Placido,chief of intelligence, and John P. Gilbride, head of the N.Y. DEA.

The number two spot  was held by Michele Leonhart, who has been nominated by President Obama for the top spot. She has yet to be confirmed.

John Gilbride

John Gilbride

The number two spot is also a presidential appointment and must be approved by the Senate.

The DEA declined comment on Wednesday.

Anthony Pacido/dea photo

Anthony Placido/dea photo

Harrigan, who joined the DEA in 1987, heads up all domestic and foreign offices as well the Special Operations Division, the Aviation Division, and the Office of Diversion Control. He was appointed to the post in 2008.

Placido, who joined the DEA in 1980, heads up the DEA’s intelligence program.

Gilbride was appointed head of the N.Y. DEA in 2005.  Prior to that, he headed up the Detroit office.

Head of Boston FBI Vows to Try and Catch Whitey Bulger and Solve 1990 Museum Heist

Richard Delauriers/fbi photo

Richard Delauriers/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest head of the Boston FBI hopes to accomplish what his predecessors did not: Catch fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and solve the famous 1990 Gardner Museum art heist.

Richard DesLauriers said he plans to use “laser like focus” to solve the cases that will be among the top local priorities, the Associated Press reported.

DesLauriers, a 23-year veteran, took over the Boston office last month as special agent in charge.

Bulger is wanted in 19 murders and has been on the lam since 1995. Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist in 1990, valued at more than $500 million, remains a big mystery.

Ex-FBI Agent Gets 2-Year Prison Term for Illegally Selling Guns

50 caliber barrett rifle

50 caliber barrett rifle

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An El Paso FBI agent is headed off to prison.

John Shipley, now formerly of the FBI, was sentenced Tuesday in El Paso to two years in prison for illegally selling more than $118,000 worth of guns without a license and lying to ATF agents about the sales.

U.S. District Judge David Briones also ordered Shipley to be under supervised release for three years after serving in prison and that he forfeit 17 firearms including two 50 caliber Barrett rifles, ammunition, a silencer and $7,340 seized during the execution of a search warrant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A federal jury convicted him in April after less than three hour of deliberation. He was busted while working for the FBI and then put on unpaid leave.

ATF agents arrested Shipley last year after tracing back to him a .50 caliber rifle that was used in a drug cartel shootout in Chihuahua, Mexico, authorities said.

“This investigation shows ATF’s commitment into stopping the illegal trafficking of firearms that are fueling the cartel violence south of the border,” Robert Champion, ATF special in charge of the Dallas Division, said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Nixon’s Atty. Gen. William Saxbe Dies at Age 94

Atty. Gen. William Saxbe/photo umkc-law

Atty. Gen. William Saxbe/photo umkc-law

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Nixon’s fourth Attorney General William Saxbe, a Republican maverick who was at the helm during the Watergate probe, died Tuesday at age 94, the Associated Press reported.

The AP reported that he died at his home in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, outside of Columbus.

Saxbe became attorney general at a tumultuous time in history. Nixon’s first two attorneys general were accused of Watergate-related crimes and the third, Elliot Richardson, resigned to protest Nixon’s meddling in the probe, AP reported.

Nixon turned to Saxbe, a lame-duck one-term U.S. senator, who according to the AP, once labeled the Nixon administration “one of the most inept” in history. He served as U.S. Attorney from Jan. 4, 1974 to Feb. 2, 1975.

Saxbe was a politician who “just did everything right,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett, according to AP.

“He was probably the only one who could have got confirmed as attorney general of the United States after the ‘Saturday night massacre,”‘ Bennett said.