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Archive for January 10th, 2011

Men in FBI Gear Ransack Buffalo Home; Shoot Man and Pistol Whip Wifeles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Buffalo police are investigating a Monday morning home robbery that reportedly involved at least four men who were wearing FBI badges and jackets, radio station WBEN reported. A man was shot in the hand and his wife was pistol-whipped.

The station reported that  the  man claimed he was stopped by four or five men in FBI gear who forced their way into his van and forced him to drive to his home around 8:45 a.m.

The station reported that the men ransacked the home, tied up the wife and pistol-whipped her and shot the husband in the hand.

The suspects fled in a newer model Dodge Ram pick-up truck with black stripes on the hood and tinted windows, WBEN reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Indicted Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick May Not Face Fed Jury Until Summer of 2012

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Motor City is in for some entertainment and potentially a long long stretch of bad publicity.

Why? Because ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and four others charged in a federal public corruption indictment may not go before a jury — if they choose that route — until the summer of 2012, the Detroit News reported. That means the case will provide plenty fodder for the media for some time to come in a city that is struggling in every way.

The Detroit News reported that no trial date will be set until after a April 13 pretrial conference. Veteran Detroit attorney Gerald Evelyn, who represents co-defendant Bobby Ferguson,  said the government proposed a trial date of January 2012.

“The government took seven years investigating and they want us to prepare in a few minutes,” Evelyn told reporters, according to the News.

On Monday, Kilpatrick stood mute during his arraignment, the News reported.

Read more »

Movie Depicting Hoover as Having Gay Affair Rankles Some in FBI

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The bulldog-like mug of J. Edgar Hoover has long been synonymous with the FBI, a world-renowned law enforcement agency forever hyper-sensitive about its public image. Still, Hoover’s legend has taken its lumps over the years.

Now comes the latest: an upcoming movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover, in which the iconic G-man reportedly has a romantic affair with FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, his constant companion and alter ego.

Word of the movie — with the working title “J. Edgar” and slated for release later this year — is already stirring feelings among current and former FBI agents and employees, and raises the question: What does the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover mean to today’s FBI?

“Obviously it upsets me when he’s commonly portrayed wearing a dress or having an alleged relationship with Clyde Tolson,” says Terry Booth, a retired FBI agent who works for the bureau as a contract employee for its Law Enforcement Online program. “There are those who choose to believe it and those who choose not to. I think 99 percent of the agents don’t believe it.”

Some agents don’t care how Hoover is sexually portrayed in the movie. But there are plenty of others who do, who admire Hoover and feel his reputation is being unfairly besmirched as head of an agency that is still considered conservative and male dominated.

Whatever the case, there are those who say the FBI has moved on.

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website

“There are certainly people who are protective of his image,” says former FBI official Mike Mason, who left the bureau in 2007 as executive assistant director at headquarters. “As to his entire legacy, I don’t know how much time agents today think about it. I think the FBI has grown beyond the shadow of Mr. Hoover.”

It is certainly not the first time agents have seen Hoover portrayed in a fashion they find less than flattering. There have been articles and books and YouTube videos portraying him as a sexist and carrying on an affair with Tolson — and yes, even being a cross-dresser. In his later years, he was accused of overstepping his bounds, harassing political dissidents, building files on enemies and becoming far too powerful.

But a movie — which can sometimes have broader impact these days than print in shaping public opinion — has some current and former agents and employees uneasy.

Greg Stejskal, a retired 31-year veteran of the FBI and a columnist for the website ticklethewire.com, says Hoover should get credit for creating a first-rate law enforcement agency that lives on today.

“I think most of my generation and prior to that think Hoover has been done a disservice,” said Stejskal, who concedes that Hoover was far from perfect.

“He’s been vilified in the media, in Hollywood,” Stejskal said. “Unfortunately, he’s not around to defend himself. I think he’s blamed for a lot of things. But people forget things like the wiretaps on Martin Luther King were signed off by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers sat around and listened to some of the tapes, and they didn’t complain then.

“If in fact the reports are based on fact and he’s going to be portrayed as having a sexual relation with Clyde Tolson — or alluding to it — I don’t think that’s fair. There’s no evidence. I suspect Hoover was asexual and married to the bureau. I hate to see the new generation take this as fact.”

Hoover first became director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and 11 years later helped found the FBI, which he headed up until his death on May 2, 1972, at age 77.

Some agents and former agents referred to him as a trail blazer in law enforcement, a man who created a sophisticated machinery that relied on science and a world-class fingerprint collection and electronic listening devices.

“The guy was probably the founding father of modern law enforcement,” Stejskal said. “Did he do some things wrong? Probably. But there were a lot of good things. I think the FBI is what it is because of Hoover. I think we owe him. The American citizens owe him a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices he made. The worst crime is that he stuck around too long.”

Most agents agreed that the tactics Hoover used early on in his career did not play well, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the time he left, the FBI had no female employees and relatively few African-Americans.

Former agent Terry Booth says that even though he arrived at the FBI in 1983 after Hoover had long passed, his presence was felt.

“He was a legendary figure we heard about during our entire career,” Booth recalled. “When I was a new agent, I would see an older agent who worked under Hoover and had an autographed picture of him or a letter of commendation signed by Hoover; I was in awe.”

But some agents dismiss concerns about the new movie.

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry

“First off, who cares?” said one veteran FBI agent who asked not to be named. “I thought a little higher of Mr. Eastwood than that. But I don’t think it hurts the FBI. To me it’s just silliness. Why do it? The guy has been dead since 1972.”

Another agent simply said: “I think the bureau takes the good part of what he did. Without him we don’t have an FBI. He was kind of a visionary. That’s the backbone of how we got started. I think certainly some of the people still in the FBI who worked for him (support staff) drank the Kool-Aid and support him to the end. But I don’t care what he did in his free time. I could care less.”

Added another fellow agent said, “If he were gay today, everyone would applaud it.”

“Is he important? Yes, as the founding father. Is he George Washington? No,” said William M. Baker, who worked under Hoover, was former assistant director of the FBI at headquarters and is a director of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.

As for the movie, Baker said: “I think it could do damage to his reputation more than the FBI.”

But he dismisses suggestions that Hoover had a romantic tie to Tolson.

“It would be wrong I think if (Clint Eastwood) goes in that direction in any explicit detail. It would be imagination. I worked with agents who protected him and many who were close to him, and no one ever saw anything between the two men that one could use to jump off to depict a sexual relationship. I believe he was truly married to the FBI.”

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara Comes Out With Tough Talk After Mob Guilty Pleas


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara came out with some tough talk after the last two of 14 members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family in New York pleaded guilty Monday in what was regarded as a wide sweeping indictment involving everything from jury tampering, murder, sex and narcotics trafficking and extortion.

“The Gambino Family and their associates continue to use violence, threats, and intimidation to wield power and profit illegally off the backs of their many victims,” Bharara said in a statement. “But the convictions of all 14 individuals charged by this Office just nine months ago has dealt the Gambinos a significant blow.”

“As the result of our prosecution, one of the mafia’s preeminent leaders and many of its rising stars will now serve significant prison sentences.

“We are, however, far from finished with the Gambino Family and will continue working with our law enforcement partners to put their members and associates out of business and behind bars.”

Thomas Orefice and Dominick Difiore and pleaded guilty on Monday. Others who previously pleaded guilty included: (1) DANIEL MARINO; (2) ONOFRIO MODICA; (3)ANTHONY MANZELLA;(4)MICHAEL SCOTTO; (5) MICHAEL SCARPACI; (6) THOMAS SCARPACI; (7)DAVID EISLER; (8) SALVATORE BORGIA; (9) STEVE MAIURRO; (10) KEITH DELLITALIA; (11) SUZANNE PORCELLI; and (12) ANTHONY VECCHIONE.

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

One  allegation in the indictment charged that Onofrio Modica, along with other Gambino Crime Family members, had planned to tamper with the jury in the 1992 trial of Godfather John J. Gotti, who was charged with federal racketeering and murder.

Authorities alleged that the men penetrated security measures and located the jury, which was sequestered in a hotel. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the plan was called off after Gotti figured the jury wasn’t going to convict him anyways.

Column: Az Sheriff’s Politicization of Shootings a Sad Day for Politics, Law Enforcement and Justice

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief

WASHINGTON — As a former reporter and, later, as a spokesperson for federal law agencies, I grew used to responses from criminal investigators anytime a reporter asked about who the culprit might be or what kind of motive the suspected culprit might have. The universal answer was: “We cannot comment at this time, as this is an ongoing investigation.” As more facts and evidence accumulated, some of it was shared with the public when appropriate.

What then accounts for the sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, and his outrageous and wholly unprofessional charge that the shootings that took place during an event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was the result of conservative ideology and Teaparty rhetoric?

What kind of law enforcement professional would blithely discuss possible motives about a heinous and shocking crime to the media, to national television, while the investigation was ongoing? What kind of law enforcement professional would do such things without a shred of evidence?

To read more click here.

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller’s Presence in Arizona Sends a Strong Message


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s a good thing that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III hopped a plane to Arizona to deal with the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed a federal judge and seriously wounded a member of Congress.

Sure, Mueller could have stayed back in Washington and gotten briefed regularly and made statements back here. But President Obama sent him out there, and it sends a strong message to the American people– even if just symbolic — that this country won’t tolerate such violence, particularly when it strikes at the heart of our government and our system.

Sure, Arizona has FBI agents on the ground and a special agent in charge, Nathan Thomas Gray. But it can’t hurt to have the big guy there.

Chances are, the gunman acted alone. But FBI and other law enforcement have to make sure. The FBI says its working on that.

In the meantime, Mueller’s presence sends a message that no resources will be spared in investigating this senseless tragedy.

Rep. Mike Rogers — Ex-FBI Agent — Criticizes Dir. Robert Mueller For Going to Az

Rep. Mike Rogers/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mi.), a former FBI agent, criticized the decision by President Obama to dispatch FBI director Robert S. Mueller to Arizona after the mass shooting on Saturday, according to the radio station WHMI in Livingston County, Mi., outside Detroit.

“He didn’t need to be in Arizona to be updated frequently and this is a very serious matter and I just hope…We don’t to overreact to the full implementation for successful investigation,” Rogers told WHMI.

“They are fully capable of doing it without the Director himself being on the ground in Arizona,” said Rogers who was an FBI agent in Chicago from 1988-1994 where he investigated public corruption.

Rogers also told the station it makes his “blood boil” when pundits try to implicate Sarah Palin in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az) because of her website which included bulls eye on lawmakers who supported the Obama healthcare.

Read ticklethewire.com Column Praising Mueller’s Trip to Az

Frank Montoya Jr. to Head FBI Honolulu Division


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Frank Montoya, Jr., the section chief for the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters, who worked on the Oklahoma bombing and Robert Hanssen spy case, has been named head of the bureau’s Honolulu Division.

Montoya joined the FBI in 1991 and was first stationed in the San Antonio Field Office, where he worked violent crime and fugitive investigations. He also worked temporarily in the Oklahoma office to help in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing investigation.

In June 1996, he transferred to the San Juan Field Office and worked in the special operations group and was a surveillance team leader on drug, violent crime, and national security cases, the FBI said.

He then went off to the Washington Field Office’s national security squad, and in April 2000, he went to headquarters where he oversaw national security investigations and operations. During that time, he assisted with the Robert Hanssen investigation.

In November 2002, he went to the Milwaukee Field Office where he was a supervisor and oversaw the counterintelligence squad and several national security investigations.

In 2005, it was back to headquarters where he was promoted to unit chief in the Counterintelligence Division.

In July 2007, he became a special agent in charge of the counterintelligence branch in the San Francisco office.