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Archive for October, 2010

NY Killer Mob Snitch Gets Time Served and Witness Protection Program

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The headline in the New York Post read: ” ‘Life’ of a Super Mob Rat; Turncoat Killer Gets Witness Protection.”

The headline referred to former Bonanno crime-family underboss Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, who the Post described as “one of the most helpful government informers in US Mafia history.”

Vitale was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to time served. And Vitale, who had pleaded guilty to 11 murders and a number of other mob related charges, was being placed in a witness protection program, the Post reported. He had served eight years.

Vitale “will live the balance of his life as a notorious and endangered prisoner, in a cell of his own creation, targeted by the very criminal organization of which he was once a leader,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said, according to the post.

Vitale helped put a number of mobsters behind bars including the boss of the Bonanno crime family Joseph Massino.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

al Qaeda’s Gift to the U.S.: Incompetence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda and its associates may not be known as benevolent organizations, but they do give gifts.

The failed “Underwear Bomber”. The failed “Times Square Bomber”. The failed “Shoe Bomber”. And now the failed attempt to deliver explosives on  planes. All gifts.

The U.S. should be grateful for these opportunities in which no one gets hurt, but we learn about the shortcomings in our system.  (Unfortunately, we now learn this latest bid was one of the more competent efforts that failed).

Too bad there’s not a better way to figure it out the flaws. And we can’t forever count on the al Qaeda B Team carrying out these incompetent missions.

So, let’s learn from the incidence, but let’s get more aggressive about  examining our transportation systems.  Obviously, there are plenty holes to plug.

Let’s not wait for al Qaeda to get lucky

Column: al Qaeda’s Gift to the U.S. — Incompetent Missions

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda and its associates may not be known as benevolent organizations, but they do give gifts.

The failed “Underwear Bomber”. The failed “Times Square Bomber”. The failed “Shoe Bomber”. And now the failed attempt to deliver explosives on planes. All gifts.

The U.S. should be grateful for these opportunities in which no one gets hurt, but we learn about the shortcomings in our system. (Now we learn that this latest bid was one of the more competent efforts that failed).

Too bad there’s not a better way to figure out the flaws. And we can’t forever count on the al Qaeda B Team carrying out these incompetent missions.

So, let’s learn from the incidence, but let’s get more aggressive about  examining our transportation systems.  Obviously, there are plenty holes to plug.

Let’s not wait for al Qaeda to get lucky.

Weekend Series on Crime: Replacing FBI Director Louis Freeh

Devices Apparently Explosives

Fed Agents Raid Suburban D.C. Home of ex-National Archives Employee

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. Marshals assisted federal agents in a raid earlier this week at  the  suburban Washington  home of a man who had retired from the National Archives, the website TBD reported.

The raid, which resulted in the seizure of materials, came in wake of a report that cited “significant weaknesses” in the agency’s security, TBD reported.

TBD reported that the Government Accountability Office conducted “the audits at the behest of Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) after news broke last year that several important historical documents, including the original patent for the Wright Brothers’ flying machine, had gone missing.”

Tuesday’s raid , lead by special agents from the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of Inspector General, was at the Rockville, Md., home of  Leslie Waffen, who had worked at the Archives for more than 40 years, most recently as the head of the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video unit, TBD reported.

The Washington Post, citing an unnamed law enforcement official, reported that Waffen directed agents to his basement where they removed “10 to 20 boxes.”

Authorities declined to say what they were after.

Latest FBI Sting Highlights Complex Relationship Between Muslims and FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The latest FBI sting involving a Northern Virginia man who was allegedly plotting to blow up subway stations in Northern Virginia highlights the complex relationship the Muslim community has with the FBI.

Reporter William Wan of the Washington Post reports when news surfaced that the FBI on Wednesday had arrested Farooque Ahmed,34, a Pakistani American, “Muslim groups in the area struggled with what to say publicly.”

“As details of the arrest trickled out, many in the Muslim community avoided saying anything to outsiders, but instead quietly voiced concerns to one another about the tactics used,” the Post wrote.

To read more click here.

Civil Rights Commission Blasts Justice Dept. on Black Panther Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The New Black Panther Party voter intimidation controversy continues to haunt the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

A draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concludes that the Justice Department tried hiding the fact high-level political officials were involved in dropping most of the charges in the case in which members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia stood outside a polling place trying to intimidate white voters, according to the website Talking Points Memo. One man was carrying a nightstick.

The commission will vote on the report Friday.

“[T]he record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision making surrounding the lawsuit,” the report says, according to Talking Points Memo. “The involvement of senior DOJ officials by itself would not be unusual, but the Department’s repeated attempts to obscure the nature of their involvement and other refusals to cooperate raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.”

The Justice Department disputed the allegations.

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, according to the Talking Points Memo. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”

To read more click here.

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