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Archive for February 16th, 2011

Feds Bust Dozens in Calif., Colo. & Fla. Associated With “Amernian Power Gang”

Ex-FBI Employee Pleads in Scheme to Steal About $80,000 in Evidence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-FBI employee in Indiana pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Hammond in connection with the theft of about $80,000 in evidence from the agency’s storage vault,  according to the website nwi.com.

Melissa Sims, 36, of Lowell,Ind., who worked as a evidence control technician at the bureau’s Merrillville office in the Hoosier state, oversaw inventory of items seized during investigations, the website reported.

In court, a teary eyed Sims, according to nwi. com, described her scheme, saying:

“They would do an electronic communication to me saying, OK, these items can be returned. I would keep the items myself and put on the FD-192 form that it had been returned.”

Authorities say Sims stole cash evidence — ranging from $2 to $2,790 and asked a witness to lie about where the money came from, the website reported. She ended up pleading guilty to making false statements and must pay restitution in the tens of thousands of dollar, the wesbite reported.

Sentencing is set for June 1.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

1 Deputy U.S. Marshal Shot and Killed and 2 Others Wounded in W. Virginia; Suspect is Killed


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One deputy U.S. marshal was shot and killed and two others were wounded in Elkins, West Virginia on Wednesday morning while trying to serve an arrest warrant for a man who failed to show up for a court appearance on charges of drugs and weapons, the Charleston Gazette reported. Authorities shot and killed the gunman.

The paper reported that State Police troopers and deputy Marshals were at the home of Charles Smith. After forcefully entering the home, Smith opened fire with a shotgun.

The paper reported that one Marshal was struck in the neck while another was hit in a bulletproof vest and a third one in the arm or hand.

A Marshal and trooper opened fire and killed Smith, the paper reported.

The U.S. Marshals Service said two of the agents were taken to local hospitals and the one who was shot in the neck was transported by helicopter. His condition was not immediately known.

Column: Public Hearing on Anthrax Case May be Inevitable

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Though the FBI and Justice Department are thoroughly convinced that scientist Bruce Ivins mailed the deadly anthrax letters in 2001, it seems almost inevitable now that some very costly and protracted public hearing will be conducted to review the whole case.  Unfortunately, Ivins killed himself in July 2008 before any charges could be filed against him.

The case once again came alive on Tuesday when the National Research Council released a 170-page report commissioned by the FBI that showed that the Justice Department and FBI  overstated their case when they definitively concluded that the anthrax used in the deadly mailings came from a flask from Ivins’  government laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland labeled RMR-1029. The report said it could not rule out other possible sources.

“The scientific link between the letter material and flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary,” the report said.

However, Lehigh University President Alice P. Gast, who led the 16-member National Research Council Committee that reviewed the cutting-edge science used in the investigation, said: “We find the scientific evidence to be consistent with their conclusions but not as definitive as stated.”

Unfortunately,  the study only examined  the sciences in the investigation and didn’t taken into account other key aspects — interviews, the behavior of Ivins, fingerprints, etc. And it avoided at all costs the thing everyone really wanted it to do: Say whether Ivins was the guy.

I spoke to folks on Tuesday at the FBI and Justice Department who insist, in totality, the evidence against Ivins is overwhelming, that the science was only a component of the investigation.

But I also spoke to Ivins attorney Paul Kemp who insisted the study showed the government’s smoking gun — the flask —  was merely smoke and mirrors. He wants a public review, possibly a Congressional hearing.

Sen. Chuck Grassley  (R-Ia.) chimed in on Tuesday and insisted it was time for a public review as did Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J).

It may not be what the FBI and Justice Department want. But they may have no say in the matter. The cries of the skeptics may be too much too ignore. And maybe a hearing would satisfy the skeptics — and maybe not.

Set Back in FBI Probe into Murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In what appears to be a major setback, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix has concluded that three men arrested in connection with the December fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona were not involved in the shootout, the Arizona Republic reported.

The paper reported that all three men were going to plead guilty to illegal entry into the U.S. and be deported.

Terry, a members of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit, BORTAC, was killed after confronting a group of bandits outside outside Rio Rico in southern Arizona.

The Arizona Republic reported that Robbie Sherwood, a U.S. Attorney spokesman, said the FBI found “no evidence tying these three individuals to the shooting. . . . We continue to devote significant resources and manpower to this investigation. This investigation is extremely active and progressing.”

Swindler Madoff Says Banks and Hedge Funds Knew He was Up to No Good

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Swindler Bernie Madoff, the king of Ponzi scams, told the New York Times that his family new nothing about his crimes, and that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his fraud and knew he was up to no good.

From prison on North Carolina, Madoff said banks and hedge funds were guilty of “willful blindness” and failed to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information they had access to, the Times reported.

“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ ”

Madoff told the Times he was surprised to hear about email and messages surfacing in lawsuits that raised doubts about his operation.

“I’m reading more now about how suspicious they were than I ever realized at the time,” he said with a faint smile.

To read more click here.