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Archive for March 28th, 2011

ATF’s Mess: Operation Fast and Furious

NY U.S. Atty’s Office Goes More Global Since 2004

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke to notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has become aggressively global, indicting international figures from around the world, the New York Times reports.

Since 2004,  the Times’ Ben Weiser reports that the office has sent prosecutors to 25-plus countries “as part of investigations that have brought back dozens of suspected arms and narcotics traffickers and terrorists to Manhattan to face charges. And some of them have involved stings like the one that snared Mr. Bout.”

The paper reported that some other U.S. Attorney’s Offices like the one in Alexandria, Va., have also built international cases, but none appear to have done so in similar number or variety as the New York office.

“I think they are pursuing more kinds of international cases, with a deliberateness that’s new,” ex-N.Y. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the Times.

The current U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was appointed to his post in 2009,  told the Times that it has become necessary in the post-911 era.

“As crime has gone global and national security threats are global,” he said, “in my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”

To read full story click here.

James F. Yacone Who Was Portrayed in Movie “Black Hawk Down” to Head FBI’s Denver Office

James Yacone/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — James F. Yacone, a decorated Army combat veteran who was portrayed in  the movie “Black Hawk Down”, and who last served as section chief in the Critical Incident Response Group for the FBI, has been named head of the bureau’s Denver office, the FBI and the Denver Post reported.

Under his post as section chief, Yacone was involved in managing the national tactical program, crisis negotiation program and a variety of mobility and crisis response assets, the FBI said.

A West Point graduate, the Denver Post reported that he served eight years in the U.S. Army and flew a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Somalia in 1993. The paper reported that he later became the subject of a book and film.

The New York native joined the FBI in 1995 and was first assigned to the Philly office where he worked violent drug trafficking organizations, organized crime and financial institution fraud.

In 2006, he was appointed as the chief of the FBI’s Aviation and Surveillance Branch.

In 2007 to 2009, he became assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Richmond Division’s National Security Branch.

Ex-FBI Gets 2 Years in Prison for Threatening Head of Dallas FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s off to prison for ex-FBI agent Carlos Ortiz Jr. who threatened to harm his estranged wife — an FBI analyst — and the head of the Dallas FBI.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater in Dallas on Friday sentenced Carlos, 49, to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to a charge of retaliating against a federal official, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He had been locked up since his arrest in August.

Robert Casey Jr. , head of the Dallas FBI, suspended Ortiz without pay in May after Ortiz’s wife accused him of domestic violence. They have a elementary school aged son.

Authorities alleged that in August Ortiz spoke to a friend by phone, who is a licensed firearms dealer, and said he was looking for a .50 caliber rifle, which are used by military snipers.

He also made threats against Casey and his wife and accused them of having an affair, something FBI officials denied. A friend notified the FBI. Casey fired Ortiz on Aug. 25.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, during a phone conversation with a friend, Ortiz said of the Casey, head of the Dallas FBI: “I’m definitely gonna [expletive] on his grave, I might just put a .308 down his [expletive] (unintelligible).”

During the call, Ortiz expressed anger at losing his job with the FBI, saying “and what do I have for 26 years, one more year away from retirement? [expletive]. And an OPR.”

In August, on the day of his arrest, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said agents executed a federal search warrant at Ortiz’s home and car and found a “signed sworn statement” by Ortiz that said about his boss:

“Mr. Casey has broken me as a man and human being, with his constant threats and follow through terminating me leaving with no way to sustain my son. Mr. Casey never listed (sic) to me and has left me no options.”

“Finally that if Mr. Casey was not allowed to have so much power unchecked this would have never happened.”

Authorities said the statement was in an envelope with the notation: “DAD TAKE TO THE PRESS.”

Movie Director Is Critical of Upcoming J. Edgar Hoover Film

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Larry Cohen has issues — 17 pages’ worth — with “J. Edgar,” the movie now being shot here by Clint Eastwood for Imagine Entertainment and Warner Brothers with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role as J. Edgar Hoover.

Mr. Cohen is a writer and director who was in the news when his sister, the publicist Ronni Chasen, was murdered last year, and whose “The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover” was released in 1977 with Broderick Crawford in the lead. He has now compiled a lengthy critique of the new Hoover film, based on his reading of a screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for “Milk.”

Mr. Cohen’s biggest gripe is what he describes as the film’s portrayal of Mr. Hoover, the longtime director of the F.B.I., “as a closeted gay man.”

To read more click here.

Ex-Ohio Judge Convicted of Lying to FBI

Judge Bridget McCafferty/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It could be prison time for a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty in Ohio, who was convicted on Friday in federal court of 10 counts of lying to the FBI,  the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Authorities charged that she lied to agents investigating a political ally, then-County Auditor Frank Russo, and improper influence in the court, the paper reported. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Authorities claim the judge lied to FBI agent who came to her Westlake, Ohio home on Sept. 23, 2008, the Plain Dealer reported. The paper reported in closing arguments that the prosecutor said she lied because she didn’t want to help the FBI build a case and she wanted to avoid public embarrassment as a judge.

Sentencing is set for June 2.

FBI Tries to Keep Unsolved Murder of Seattle Fed Prosecutor in Public Eye

Thomas Crane Wales/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to keep the unsolved 2001 murder of Seattle federal prosecutor Thomas Crane Wales out in the public eye.

The latest: The FBI has posted on its website a summary of the case along with Wales’ photo and reminder that the Justice Department is offering up to a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman.

Authorities said Wales, who was a federal prosecutor for more than 18 years, was shot in his basement around 10:40 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2001 as he sat at a desk working on his computer.

Authorities said the shooter stood in the backyard of Wales’ home and shot him several times through a basement. Wales died the next day.

Wales graduated from Harvard University in 1974 and went to Hofstra Law School. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle in 1983 and specialized in fraud prosecutions. He is survived by two adult children.