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Archive for April 27th, 2011

FBI Wash. Field Office Gets Piece of Pentagon Wall From 9/11 Attack

James McJunkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI agents at the Washington Field Office hardly needed anything to remind them of the devastating aftermath of 9/11,  and the plane crash at the Pentagon that killed 184 folks.

Nonetheless, it was nice gesture Wednesday when the office  was presented with an 800-pound limestone block recovered from the west facade of the Pentagon after the plane crash.

The stone was presented during a military ceremony at the field office in Washington, blocks from the U.S. Capitol. It  will  be displayed in the lobby of the building.  Agents responded to the Pentagon minutes after the crash.

“The relationship we share with the Military District of Washington, Arlington County Fire, and other first responders was formed long before that fateful day,”  James McJunkin, assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said.

“In the years since, these bonds have grown as one of the few positive legacies of September 11. The FBI is stronger now because of these partnerships. What emerged from that scene at the Pentagon ten years ago should instill in every American today a sense of confidence in the skill, courage and keen coordination within of our Nation’s law enforcement and first responders.”

John Perren

“This stone serves as a reminder of the past and is a tribute to the injured and the 184 lives lost at the Pentagon nearly ten years ago,” said Karl Horst, Major General, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. “Today we remember how our partners at the Bureau reacted with extraordinary heroism when – without warning – they were called upon to perform their duty in the midst of an unimaginable act of terrorism. ”

Mike Rolince/knights of columbus photo

Speakers at the ceremony included former FBI agent Michael Rolince, who was Section Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI Headquarters on 9/11 ; FBI Deputy Assistant Director John G. Perren, Criminal Investigation Division, FBI Headquarters , who was a supervisory special agent for the WFO’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on 9/11; Major General Karl R. Horst, Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and  McJunkin, who now heads up the FBI Washington Field Office.

FBI Agent Commits Suicide in Maine

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wasn’t saying much last week about the suicide of an FBI agent, who shot himself  in the Portland, Maine area over the weekend of April 24, according to sources.

The agent was in his early 50s, one source said.

FBI agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the Boston FBI Division, which includes Maine,  told the ticklethewire.com:

“The type of question which you are inquiring (about)is not something the FBI would comment on.”

Last year, an FBI agent assigned to Quantico committed suicide.

IG Report Says Some FBI Agents Lack Skills to Probe Computer Intrusions


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department Inspector General report issued Wednesday says a third of the agents it interviewed, who probe national security-related computer intrusions, lacked certain skills to competently do their jobs.

Specifically, the  report said of the of 36 agents interviewed at 10 field offices, 13 “lacked the networking and counterintelligence expertise to investigate national security intrusion cases.”

“One agent told us that he was assigned his first counterterrorism intrusion case but he did not know how to investigate a national security intrusion case,” according to the report.

The report also said the FBI’s inter-agency cyber security task force sometimes failed to share essential info with its task force members.

Jenny Shearer, an FBI spokeswoman, told Bloomberg news that the report was a snapshot of the FBI’s cyber division taken from a few field offices.

She said Congress has limited appropriations, but the FBI spends more in this area than appropriated, she told Bloomberg.

“We’re working hard on it,” she said.

Read report

San Francisco Chronicle Denies Secret Service Request to Monitor Its Phones During Visit by Napolitano

Janet Napolitano/file photo-bill maher show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service may have touched a on a sensitive nerve with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The agency  asked the paper if it could monitor its phone traffic during a visit by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday. She had gone to the paper to talk to the Editorial Board.

The agency wanted to monitor phone numbers, not conversations, in case of a bomb or other type of threat.

The paper denied the request. The paper asked Napolitano during an interview if the request was part of a new protocol.

“I don’t know the answer,” she told the Chronicle, and said she’d look into the matter.

On Tuesday, the Secret Service released a statement to the paper:

“A request for a caller ID device referred to as a ‘phone trap’ is standard operating procedure for sites visited by protectees of the Secret Service in San Francisco in order to quickly identify phone numbers should they call in a bomb threat or other type of threat to a protected site. There is no monitoring of phone conversations nor are there any lists of phone numbers generated.”

Atty. Gen. Holder Says He Hopes FBI Director Confirmed Way Before Sept.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The hunt for a new FBI director — and the Senate confirmation —  will hopefully be completed way before Robert Mueller III retires Sept. 4, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Tuesday.

“The goal is to have somebody nominated and ready to go,” Holder told reporters, according to USA Today. “We have to move relatively soon.”

“Bob is a hard person to replace,” Holder said of Mueller, according to USA Today. In September, he will have served out his 10-year term.

The names of a number of candidates have surfaced including Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald; ex-FBI agent Mike Mason, who heads of security at Verizon; ex-deputy attorney general James Comey; Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole, who was the number two person at the FBI; Ken Wainstein, who oversaw the Justice Department’s National Security Division; former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton and N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

For a period of time, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald appeared to be on the very short list. But his chances — at least for a while — were damaged when he showed too much swagger publicly when announcing the indictment of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

To boot, the trial ended up being an embarrassment to Fitzgerald and his office. The jury only convicted Blagojevich of 1 of 24 counts — lying to the FBI.

The retrial could help his standing in the FBI director race if the outcome is more favorable to his office. Jury selection in downtown Chicago is currently underway.

The FBI Agents Association has endorsed Mike Mason. The endorsement could be helpful, but it only carries so much weight. He would become the first African American FBI director.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

Sen.  Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)  has been pushing N.Y.  Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who certainly has the resume. But Kelly has clashed repeatedly with the FBI over the years, and some folks in Washington might try to undermine his chances. Simply put:  There are plenty agents who hate him.

Plus,  he will be 70 in September.  It’s a 10-year appointment. Then again, nothing says he would have to serve out his full term.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Indict 4 in Mumbai Attacks Including 2 With Links to Pakistan Security

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes friends aren’t always real friends.

The investigative website ProPublica reports that the feds in Chicago on Monday indicted four suspected masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Two of those folks have been linked to Pakistan’s security forces, who supposed to be helping out the U.S. in the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“The indictment filed Monday never mentions the Pakistani security forces or their alleged role in the attacks,” ProPublica wrote. “But it represents a major development in a secretive, diplomatically sensitive prosecution set for trial next month, because Pakistan is considered a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism.”

To read full story click here.