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Archive for May 6th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime: The Somali Pirate

Mexican Man Indicted in Murder of Border Agent Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican man has been indicted in the murder last Dec. 14 of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Southern Arizona.  Terry was killed during a firefight.

Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, of El Fuerte, Mexico, and his co-defendants, who are fugitives,  were charged in a 14-count indictment that was unsealed Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The names of his co-defendants remain under seal while they are on the lam.

Osorio-Arenllanes was arraigned Friday in Tucson. Trial is set for June 17 before U.S. District Court Judge David C. Bury in Tucson.

Terry’s murder became the subject of a controversy after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) claimed that a gun sold through ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious may have been used to kill him. The operation encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the drug cartels.

“Today’s indictment is an important step in this case, but it is only a first step to serving justice on behalf of Agent Brian Terry, his family and the other agents who were with Terry and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “This is an active ongoing investigation that is making more and more progress every day.”

Burke added: “Agent Terry – who served his country honorably as both a Marine and a member of the Border Patrol – made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the people of the United States. His family deserves to see justice served, and everybody involved in this investigation is deeply committed to making that happen.”

Authorities alleged that  Osorio-Arellanes was part of an armed group of illegal immigrants who got into  a firefight with Agent Terry and other border patrol agents in  a remote area known as Mesquite Seep near Rio Rico, Ariz.

Agent Terry died from his wound.

Authorities said Osorio-Arellanes, who was wounded, was apprehended, treated for his injuries. Authorities had him detained on felony immigration charges.

On Friday, Rep.  Issa issued a statement on the arrest:

“The announcement of an indictment against Manuel Osorio-Arellanes for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is certainly good news, but leaves critical questions unanswered.

“The Justice Department still hasn’t said how and why guns purportedly being tracked and monitored by federal law enforcement officials as part of Operation Fast and Furious ended up in the hands of Agent Terry’s killers.”

“It angers me to think that this death might not have occurred had it not been for reckless decisions made by officials at the Department of Justice who authorized and supported an operation that knowingly put guns in the hands of criminals. For these officials to imagine that this operation would result in anything other than a tragic outcome was naive and negligent. Sen. Charles Grassley and I continue to demand accountability as we investigate this matter.”

Bin Laden Plotted to Derail U.S. Train to Commemorate 9/11, AP Reports

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The sentimental guy that he was, Osama bin Laden wanted to commemorate the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a plot to derail a U.S. train, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that materials seized during the raid at the Pakistan compound showed bin Laden was scheming since last year.

“One idea outlined in handwritten notes was to tamper with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge,” AP reported.

“Counterterrorism officials said they believe the plot was only in the initial planning stages, and there is no recent intelligence about any active plan for such an attack,” AP wrote.

Nearly Six Months After Nomination, No Confirmation Hearing Set for ATF’s Andrew Traver

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  Nearly six months after the White House nominated Andrew Traver to head ATF, there’s no sign of a confirmation hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said there’s nothing scheduled for Traver, who heads  the ATF Chicago Office, and explained that the committee has so many confirmation hearings to deal with.

But some observers think there’s more to it.  They think ATF is a low priority, plus they think there’s no hurry to rush the confirmation process in the midst of the bubbling controversy over an ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious, in which gun dealers in Arizona were encouraged to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of the guns ended up being used in crimes.

James Cavanaugh, a former ATF official, said Friday that he suspects that the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious will probably delay the confirmation.

“I think it will have an impact, I think it will delay the director,” he said. ” Its such a big dust up on the Hill.”

He said the gun lobbying groups, which oppose Traver’s nomination, may also use the controversy over Fast and Furious to delay the confirmation.

“The gun lobbying groups don’t want Traver,” he said. “If they can use the controversy to stall the confirmation and block it and drag it out, they will.”

Traver was nominated last November.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Gonzales Congratulates Obama and Bush For bin Laden Death

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The voice of former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was heard again  earlier this week when he issued a statement on the execution of Osama bin Laden.

Texas Tech University, where Gonzales is a visiting political science professor, released the statement.

“I congratulate President Obama and his team for this significant accomplishment. I also congratulate President Bush who carried the War on Terror to our enemies and adopted the legal framework for that effort that continues today.”

“The brave work of members of our military, law enforcement and the intelligence community makes all Americans proud. The death of Osama bin Laden is a victory for all who have worked so hard to defend our nation since 9/11. It is also a time to remember once again the victims of terrorist attacks, and the men and women who have given their lives to keep our nation secure. God bless America.”

Secret Service Rules Barred Only Black Firefighter at NY Fire Station Where Obama Visited Because He Was Off-Duty

Pres. Obama toasts firefighters at the station Thursday/white house photo

White House photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has its rules.

As a result, the lone black firefighter at the Midtown firehouse — Engine 54, Ladder Company 4 — visited by President Obama on Thursday wasn’t allowed to be there, the New York Times reported.

”Secret Service only wanted the people that were working that tour there, and it is unfortunate that some provisions could not be made for the only black firefighter in the firehouse to be there also,” said Michael Marshall, a fire lieutenant in the department and the first vice president of the Vulcan Society, an organization of black firefighters.

The Times reported that the black firefighter, Patrice G. McLeod, and more than 30 other off-duty firefighters were not given permission to attend.  The station lost 15 firefighters on 9/11.

The Times reported that McLeod showed up anyway along with other high ranking department members who apparently were not vetted by the Secret Service for the visit. But they were all told they had to leave.

”I said to myself, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,’ so I went down on my own this morning,” McLeod told the Times.

McLeod said had had met Obama twice before when assigned to the department’s standby team for presidential visits, the Times reported

”This is the only black president this nation has had in its history, and if I have two million opportunities to meet him, I will take every one,” McLeod told the Times. ”Especially if he is coming to my firehouse.”

(photo of Obama/white house photo)

FBI Following Up on White Powder Letters Sent to 29 D.C. Schools

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The white-powder scare always seems to stir up a frenzy.

The FBI said  Friday it was following up on white powder letters that were mailed to 29 schools throughout Washington, D.C. on Thursday and some additional ones on Friday. The letters contained the words “AL AQEDA-FBI.” The material proved to be harmless.

“The FBI continues to investigate who is responsible for mailing at least 29 letters Thursday, and additional letters this morning, to Washington, D.C. schools, causing some school evacuations and tying up hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources,” the FBI said in a statement issued Friday.

“Pursuant to protocol, each item packaged will be analyzed for hazardous substances by an approved regional lab before it is transported to the FBI’s Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia,” the FBI said.

“Experts there will perform a variety of tests in an effort to determine who sent the letters and whether the letters are linked to any other pending investigation.”

“Initial indications are that the letters were mailed from the Dallas area and are similar in style and content to other suspicious letters under investigation by Dallas FBI and U.S. Postal Inspectors. In addition, they are similar to other letters received at some Washington, D.C. area schools in October of 2010.”

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