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Archive for February 7th, 2011

Frank Figliuzzi Named Assist. Director of FBI’s Counterintelligence Division

C. Frank Figliuzzi/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — C. Frank Figliuzzi, deputy assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division at headquarters, gets a bump up to the assistant director spot.

“Frank is a seasoned investigator and an experienced manager, and he knows the threats the FBI and our country face,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a statement. “He’s well-suited to lead our Counterintelligence Division.”

Figliuzzi, who headed up the Cleveland FBI from 2006 to 2010, joined the FBI in 1997, and was first assigned to the Atlanta office where he worked terrorism and foreign counterintelligence.

Read more »

Church of Scientology Faces Controversy Over Latest Abuse Allegations

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The Church of Scientology, which boasts such members as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is once again steeped in controversy, thanks to a magazine article that cites numerous allegations of abusive behavior and gross misconduct.

Author Lawrence Wright writes in The New Yorker magazine that ex-members told him of physical and psychological abuse and how the church brought “escapees back” through emotional, spiritual or psychological pressure and physical force if necessary.

The church did not immediately respond today to AOL News for comment but denied the allegations in a statement, according to NBC News.

The New Yorker also says the allegations have been the subject of an FBI probe. In December 2009, FBI agent Tricia Whitehill of the Los Angeles, who worked on the human trafficking squad, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the agency’s Clearwater office about “abuse,” the magazine reported. The church’s spiritual headquarters is based in Clearwater.

The author cites two sources in the FBI who “assured me that the case remains open.” However, a federal law enforcement source told AOL News the investigation has fallen short and no criminal charges are expected to be filed. Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, declined comment.

To read more click here.

Iran Denies Detaining ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Iran’s elite military force, the Revolutionary Guards, is denying a report generated by WikiLeaks documents that suggested it was holding, or had held, former FBI agent Robert Levinson, Agence France-Presse reported .

“We deny the arrest of the FBI agent and if the Guards had arrested an enemy, it would announce itself,” the head of the Guards, commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, told reporters, according to ILNA news agency.

A WikiLeaks cable suggested that missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in 2007 while working as a private investigator in the Persian Gulf, was being held — at least at one point — in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s prison, according to a report in the The Telegraph in London.

The cable contained information from a political prisoner who managed to escape the country, the Telegraph reported.

“The informant, who was detained in August 2009 amid the civil unrest sparked by the country’s disputed presidential elections, claims that he saw the words “B. LEVINSON” written on the frame of his cell, beneath three lines of English which he assumed to be a ‘plea for help’”, the paper reported.

The American diplomat who spoke to the person wrote in the cable: “He said that at the time he did not know who Levinson was and only after his release did he use the search engine Google to find that Levinson was a missing American citizen.”

After Long Battle Airport Screeners Get Bargaining Rights

TSA displays the traditional body scanner/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After a long drawn out battle that lasted nearly 10 years, more than 40,000 airport screeners have been given limited collective bargaining rights, Fox News reported.

The station reported that the Transportation Security Administration on Friday granted the right. Under the provision, screeners would still be barred from striking or negotiating over compensation.

Republican lawmakers had adamantly opposed the measure, saying it will compromise the fight against terrorism.

John Pistole, head of the agency and the former number two person at the FBI, said the unions will allow bargaining of employment issues like setting work shifts, transfers, vacation time and awards, the station reported.

“The safety of the traveling public is our top priority and we will not negotiate on security,” Pistole said, according to Fox. “But morale and employee engagement cannot be separated from achieving superior security.”

Florida Rep. John Mica, Republican chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the decision “an Obama union payoff” and would hurt the government’s fight against terrorism, Fox reported.

Read Washington Post story

2 Philly Cops to Plead Guilty in DEA Undercover Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two of three Philly cops busted in an undercover DEA sting last summer are expected to plead guilty Monday, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Cops Robert Snyder, 30, of South Philadelphia, and James Venziale, 32, of the Far Northeast, are scheduled to enter pleas before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, the paper reported. The cops, along with a third cop, Mark Williams, have all been dismissed from the department.

The cops were charged with plotting to steal 300 grams of heroin from a drug dealer, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

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