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Archive for January 6th, 2011

Justice Dept. Indicts Ex-CIA Officer on Charges of Leaking Info to N.Y. Times Reporter

Reporter James Risen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An ex-CIA officer involved in a classified clandestine operation involving Iran was arrested Thursday in St. Louis on charges of leaking classified information to a reporter, the Justice Department announced.

Jeffrey A. Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Mo., was charged with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice, authorities said. The indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

The indictment does not mention the reporter’s name, but the Washington Post, citing former U.S. intelligence officials and attorneys familiar with the case, said it was award winning New York Times reporter James Risen,  author of a 2006 book “Star of War.”

Sterling’s attorney denied the allegations, according to the Washington Post.

“He has always maintained his innocence throughout the course of this entire investigation,” said Edward B. MacMahon Jr. “We’ll seek to prove that in court.”

To read the Justice Department press release click here.

OUCH! Armed Pa. Man Under Investigation Bites 2 FBI Agents and Draws Blood

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Authorities say a Pennsylvania man carrying a loaded gun bit two FBI agents who tried to restrain him outside a fast food restaurant after he appeared to be reaching for his weapon, the Associated Press reported.

The agents arrested Emerson Begolly, 21, in New Bethlehem, Pa., outside of Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, AP reported.

Begolly, who had posted pro-terrorist songs and statements online, was sitting in a car outside a fast food restaurant when one of the agents opened the door, AP wrote. Authorities declined to say what the agents were up to,  but a criminal complaint said agents had an interest in him.

After the agent opened the door, AP reported that Begolly screamed and reached into his jacket, prompting agents to prevent him from getting what they suspected was a gun, according to the criminal complaint.

“Agents attempted to control Begolly, Begolly bit both agents and drew blood,” the complaint said, according to the AP. The complaint said agents found a 9mm handgun inside his jacket with the safety “off” and one round in the chamber.

AP reported that Begolly’s was an online student at Penn State University. He was scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.

IRS Revenue Agent Admits Filing False Tax Returns for Himself and Unsuspecting Relatives

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let’s face it, we seldom expect an IRS employee to cheat on their taxes. And then get caught?

Well….meet Albert Bront.

Bront, an IRS revenue agent,  pleaded guilty Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court to filing false tax returns for himself and innocent relatives, who were duped, authorities said.  He  claimed, among other things, bogus deductions for alimony and mortgage payments.

Bront, 51, a former Santa Clarita, Calif. resident, pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to a false return and two counts of assisting others in subscribing to false tax returns. He admitted filing fraudulent tax returns for the tax years 2003 through 2007.

Additionally, he secretly filed tax returns for his relatives and stole their large tax refunds, authorities said.

Authorities said he had been on unpaid leave from the IRS since  2009, will remain in jail until his April 13  sentencing.

As part of his scam, he prepared a tax return for an unsuspecting relative in 2004, and fraudulently claimed the relative paid property taxes and mortgage interest on a property. He ended up collecting more than $10,000 from the inflated tax refund and failed to report it as income, authorities said.

FBI Dir. Mueller Defends Terrorist Stings at Opening of Crime Lab in Calif.

Robert Mueller III/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In response to a string of FBI stings around the country involving terrorist suspects, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday defended the tactic, calling it “absolutely essential” to public safety, according to the Associated Press.

“We have been tremendously successful in thwarting attacks,” Mueller said at a news conference in Santa Ana,  Calif, where he was attending the official opening of an FBI cyber crime lab that will examine data and files from cell phones, flash drives and computers for criminal cases, the AP reported.

“We are very careful in these investigations. … They are absolutely essential if we are to protect the community against terrorist attacks.”

“There has not been yet to my knowledge a defendant who has been acquitted in asserting the entrapment defense,” Mueller said.

The comments come in wake of some criticism that the stings amount to entrapment and create big-time terrorists out of lost souls who likely would have never committed an act of terrorism without the FBI.

In the past several months, the FBI has pulled off stings in Portland,Ore. and the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. has also come out publicly defending the FBI tactics.

(To read about the new cyber  crime lab click here)

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark Visits Gaza Strip for “Solidarity Mission”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Attorney Gen. Ramsey Clark, who served on Saddam Hussein’s defense team, and has seldom shied away from controversy, was in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday for what the Associated Press described as a “solidarity mission.”

AP reported that on the first day of the three-day trip Clark met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, whose office later said they discussed Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the recent conflicts between Palestinians and Israel. Hamas is still listed in the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Clark was Attorney General from 1967 to 1969 under President Johnson.

Clark was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement and visited Hanoi in 1972 to protest the U.S. bombings there.

In 1991, he accused President George H.W. Bush and others in the administration of crimes against humanity for the Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions.