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Archive for May 2nd, 2011

Fed Grand Jury Should Investigate Pakistan’s Protection of bin Laden, Author Says

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk

WASHINGTON — Steve Coll, author of two books on the CIA’s pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, said out loud Monday what U.S. officials are loathe to admit publicly: Pakistan had to be protecting the late al Qaeda founder.

And he called on the Justice Department to get to the bottom of Pakistan’s complicity in hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad, a military cantonment crawling with retired officers about 75 miles north of the capital.

“It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without its coming to the attention of anyone in the Pakistani Army,” Coll wrote on the Web site of The New Yorker magazine, where he is a contributor.

“The initial circumstantial evidence suggests that the opposite is more likely—that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control,” Coll continued. Pakistan will deny this, it seems safe to predict, and perhaps no convincing evidence will ever surface to prove the case.”

No matter:

“If I were a prosecutor at the United States Department of Justice, however, I would be tempted to call a grand jury. Who owned the land on which the house was constructed? How was the land acquired, and from whom? Who designed the house, which seems to have been purpose-built to secure bin Laden? Who was the general contractor? Who installed the security systems? Who worked there? Are there witnesses who will now testify as to who visited the house, how often, and for what purpose?”

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Atty. Gen. Holder Likely to Get Grilling on ATF Program at Congressional Hearing

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. might have to bring his extra-thick skin when he appears Tuesday before a House Judiciary Committee hearing where he’s expected to get a grilling about the ATF gun-walking program called Operation Fast and Furious.

The program has stirred a mountain of controversy, and one of those folks leading the charge has been Rep. Darrell Issa, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee.

Becca Watkins, a spokeswoman for the the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which Issa chairs, told ticklethewire.com ,that she expects Issa to press Holder for answers during Tuesday’s hearing.

Issa has been pushing hard for answers about Operation Fast Furious, a program in which the ATF Phoenix office encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers — all in the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. The problem was ATF lost track of some guns that were used in crimes, and may have been used in the shooting death of at least one federal agent.

Holder and President Obama have both said they did not give the go ahead for such a program.

Issa has threatened ATF with contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena to turn over materials on the program.

Watkins said ATF has still not complied, but to date, no further action has been taken on the contempt threat.  She added that Congressional investigators went to Arizona last week to gather more information on the ATF program.

The Justice Department has indicated that it is preparing to turn over some documents.

Donald Oswald to Head Minneapolis FBI

Donald Oswald/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI agent Donald E. Oswald, the chief inspector in the office of Inspections, is heading to Minneapolis to head up the bureau’s office.

Oswald, 52, who has a law degree, joined the FBI in 1992 and first served in the Los Angeles Division where he investigated bank robberies and street gang activities and also served as a division legal adviser, the FBI said.

Two years later, he was off to new York, where he investigated complex multi-agency public corruption cases. He also served for more than three years as associate division counsel in the New York Division.

In February 2000, he became a supervisory special agent in the Office of the General Counsel at FBI Headquarters. He was assigned to the Investigative Law Unit.

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Column: Ex-FBI Official Says New FBI Director Should Be “Someone Who Has Lived the Life of a Law Enforcement and Intelligence Officer”

Anthony Riggio is a former lawyer who went on to work for the FBI for 24 years. He held a number of posts during that time including assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office. He retired in 1995 as a senior executive at FBI headquarters.

Tony Riggio

By Anthony Riggio
For ticklethewire.com

There is no more important a job in Law Enforcement anywhere on the planet than the Director of the FBI. He is the person whose views, counsel and influence are sought anytime major criminal or terrorist actions occur.

As a retired FBI Agent who has worked for three Directors — having applied during J. Edgar Hoover’s long reign but coming on board just after he died — I have watched the FBI evolve into a worldwide force in both the area of intelligence and criminal investigations.

Each successive Director has built upon the Hoover’s legacy and have brought the FBI to this point in its recognition and reputation.

Each Director has done his absolute best to keep the FBI apolitical in an ever increasing and demanding political environment.

The FBI, must remain free of the influences of politicians who have a tendency to point the finger of blame every time something goes wrong.

The media pundits, who often represent destructive cynicism and reporting, often times, from a wide base of poor information, speculation and hidden agendas, cause the elected officials to get nervous.

The result: the event reported becomes an avalanche heaped upon the dedicated institutions, who are neither Gods nor Prophets, but are human beings with all the frailties of the fallible called upon to deal with super heroic dramas.

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Ill. State Police Worked With FBI in Blago Case; Pretended Not to Know About Bugs

Blagojevich as governor/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When it came to loyalty, the Illinois State Police chose the FBI over Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that in the Fall of 2008, the Illinois State Police, tasked with protecting the governor, passed on a chance to help him find listening devices at his North Side campaign office.

The paper reports that Blagojevich ordered a state police technician to search the campaign office for bugs.

The tech told the Blago staff that no bugs were found, even though there were some and he knew where they were, the paper reported.

The Sun-Times reports that the state police were working with the FBI on the probe and providing critical info.

The Sun-Times reported that Blago and his wife Pattie were surprised by the revelation.

“Wow,” Blagojevich told the paper. He described the State Police security detail as “quasi-family.”

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in ex-governor’s retrial.

Off-Duty Dep. Marshal Shoots Gun-Wielding Man in Chicago

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty deputy U.S. marshal shot and wounded a gun-wielding man on Chicago’s Northwest side on Friday night, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Trib reported that two off-duty deputy U.S. Marshals spotted a 20-year-old man with a gun chasing someone. They approached with their guns drawn and identified themselves, a Chicago Police spokesman said.

When the man turned around with the gun in hand, one of the deputy U.S. Marshals opened fire, striking the man in the upper thigh, the Trib reported. The man was in serious to critical condition over the weekend.

Death of bin Laden Creates Opening on FBI Ten Most Wanted List


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The death of Osama bin Laden will open a spot in on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

Bin Laden had been a fixture on the list for years.

As what typically happens now, the FBI  will solicit from its field offices a candidate to replace bin Laden.

Often, dozens of recommendations come in to headquarters. Field offices submit packets with information about the case, including a case file, photos and reasons why the person is worthy of joining the list. Some submissions include endorsements from local police chiefs.

The Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit also solicits input from the media representatives at headquarters.

The candidates for the list are reviewed by a committee of agents from the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders unit, who carefully look over the submissions and case files.

Then higher ups at headquarters decide who makes the list. The FBI director ultimately signs off on it.

The information on the Top 10 list said bin Laden was “wanted for “Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death.”

“Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world”

“Bin Laden is the leader of a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda, “The Base”. He is left-handed and walks with a cane.”

Dallas U.S. Atty. Says Holder and Pres. Had No Hand in Decision Not to Prosecute Muslim Leader

U.S. Atty. James Jacks

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Attorney in Dallas has stepped into the controversy over the decision not to prosecute a former founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) claimed Atty. Gen. Eric Holder shut down the probe into former CAIR leader Omar Ahmad for fear of offending Muslim groups.

But the  Dallas Morning News reported that Dallas U.S. Attorney James Jacks, who was involved in the investigation,  said that Holder and President Obama had no hand in the decision not to prosecute, and politics played no part.

“Since late 2007, I am the only attorney in this office that was involved in the investigation he referred to,” Jacks said in a statement to the newspaper. “If someone is telling [King] that the attorney general or the White House intervened to decline a prosecution in this matter, he is being misinformed. That did not happen.”

“The decision to indict or not indict a case is based upon an analysis of the evidence and the law,” Jacks said. “That’s what happened in this case.”

Rep. King told Politico: “I stand by my position entirely.”

Holder recently said Bush Justice Department also passed on the opportunity to prosecute the same person.

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