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Archive for September 21st, 2011

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Meets in Pakistan With Interior Minister

Robert Mueller III/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III visited Pakistan Wednesday, the country where Osama bin Laden took refuge and was killed by the American military in May, the Associated Press reported.

The visit comes as tension mounts over the U.S. demands that Pakistan crack down on Afghan militants hiding out in Pakistan, AP reported.

AP reported that the Pakistani government confirmed that Mueller met with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik for talks Wednesday in the capital.

AP reported that U.S. officials declined to discuss the visit.

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Ten Year Anniversary of Anthrax Attacks; Congressman Holt Still Not Satisfied With FBI Probe

Rep. Rush Holt

By Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.)
Ashbury Park Press

Ten years ago, America was a nation shaken by grief and terror. Nearly 3,000 people had perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in the thwarted attack on the Capitol. Federal authorities were warning the public that additional al-Qaida “sleeper cells” still might be at large in the United States. We were living through a national nightmare.

Less than a week later, the nightmare deepened.

Sometime on Sept. 17 or Sept. 18, someone deposited five envelopes — four addressed to media outlets in New York, and one addressed to the National Enquirer in Florida — in a central New Jersey mailbox. Later, two more letters would be mailed to members of the U.S. Senate. Each contained a highly refined dry powder containing spores of Bacillus anthracis, which can cause deadly anthrax infection in humans.

Unlike the attacks of Sept. 11, which erupted over a few terrible hours, the anthrax attacks unfolded in slow motion over several weeks. First, news reports surfaced that a Florida man had died after entering the hospital with an unknown respiratory illness. Then, the public learned he had contracted anthrax, an infection that occurs naturally but has long been explored as a biological weapon.

It was possible, at first, to believe that the Florida infection was just a freak accident, much as it was possible early on Sept. 11 to believe that the first plane crash in New York was simply a catastrophic mistake.

To read the full column click here.

 

Keith L. Bennett named FBI Assist. Director of the Inspection Division

Keith L. Bennett/fbi photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Keith L. Bennett, deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Training Division, is getting a bump up to assistant director of the agency’s Inspection Division, the FBI announced Wednesday.

Bennett began his career as an FBI special agent in 1987 and was initially assigned to the Salt Lake City Division, where he investigated white-collar crime and drug violations, the FBI said.

In 1993, he headed further west to the San Diego Division.

In 1998, it was off to headquarters as a supervisory special agent who provided support to the organized crime and drug programs.

Two years later, he returned to the San Diego Division to supervise drug intelligence, counterterrorism, and alien smuggling squads. He also directed the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force.

While in San Diego, he served temporarily at FBI Headquarters as a team leader in the Inspection Division.

In 2005, Bennett was appointed assistant special agent in charge of the Phoenix Division.

He later went on to serve as a special assistant to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. His duties included providing counsel on policy and administrative matters.

In 2009, he was named named special agent in charge of the Cincinnati field office.

 

Mexican Officials Upset by US Secrecy on ATF’s Fast and Furious

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Patricia Gonzalez has worked for years with US officials on combatting and prosecuting drug violence. Last fall, Gonzalez, the Mexican state of Chihuahua’s top state prosecutor, watched helplessly as the media reported on her brother Mario’s kidnapping and torture at the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Mario was forced to record a video “confession” stating that his sister was on the take.

It would be “many months later,” reports the LA Times, until Gonzalez would find out, through media reports, that the cartels that kidnapped her brother possessed AK-47 assault rifles brought to Mexico via the botched ATF program Fast and Furious.

“Months after the deadly lapses in the program were revealed in the U.S. media,” says the LA Times report, “…top Mexican officials say American authorities have still not offered them a proper accounting of what went wrong.”

The Times calls Marisela Morales a “longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico.” Morales is Mexico’s attorney general, and to this day, she told the Times, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation nor offered an apology.

Morales stated in unequivocal terms that Mexican authorities would never have permitted the program. “[The Fast and Furious program] is an attack on the safety of Mexicans,” said Morales.

US concealment of the program and it’s bloody toll–at least 150 killed or wounded, according to the Times–occurred while officials spoke about growing cross-border cooperation on law enforcement, and as Mexican president Felipe Calderon complained publicly about the flow of US guns into Mexico, says the Times.

“The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims,” said Gonzalez.

To read more click here.

ATF Probing Car Bomb in Mi. That Wounded Lawyer and His 2 Children

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
ATF has jumped in to investigate the mysterious car comb that seriously injured an attorney and his two children in Monroe, Mi., Tuesday night, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Free Press reported that the Volvo station wagon was traveling on East Elm Avenue, near the ramp to I-75, at 5:41 p.m. when it exploded.

The Free Press reported that investigators at the scene found evidence of a car bomb.

Sources told the Monroe Evening News the driver of the vehicle was attorney Erik G. Chappell.

Edwin Holly, 68, of Tecumseh was in a nearby boathouse at Riverfront Marina along Elm when he saw the explosion out the window.

Atty. Erik G. Chappell/law firm photo

“I was looking to see if there were deer and saw the car come around and go boom,” said a witness Edwin Holly,68, according to the Free Press. “I took off running to the scene to see if I could get anyone out but there was nothing I could do.”

The father and children were taken to a nearby hospital.

Chappell’s law firm webpage describes him

by saying:

“Although the majority of Mr. Chappell’s cases are business disputes, Mr. Chappell also maintains a Family Law practice and will evaluate all potential cases, including personal injury or criminal cases on a case by case basis.”

 

Former Leaders of FBI, DEA Urge Stricter Privacy Laws in GPS Tracking

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The tension between effective law enforcement and personal privacy is always present to some degree, but has certainly intensified in the decade following 9/11.

Now, a bipartisan group including former FBI and DEA leaders are calling for new safeguards to protect individuals’ personal privacy.

The Constitution Project, a D.C.-based think tank, is calling for limit’s on law enforcement uses of GPS and other tracking technologies, reports the Associated Press.

A report released by the think tank urges that a search warrant be required for any GPS surveillance lasting more than 24 hours, and that the specific use of GPS devices being applied secretly to a suspect’s car require a warrant from the get-go. In the past few years reports have surfaced of FBI agents secretly placing GPS tracking units under the bumper’s of individual’s cars, such as an animal rights activist and an Arab-American student.

The GPS tracking debate is “one instance of the much broader problem of regulating new technology,” said Patricia Wald, of the Constitution Project and the former chief judge on the federal appeals court in Washington.

The White House maintains that warrants would hamper law enforcement investigations and, because the surveillance monitors movements made in public, they are not needed, according to the AP. The latter would presumably not apply to the secretive installing of tracking units on citizen’s cars.

Among the members of the committee that produced the report is Asa Hutchinson, who ran the DEA under President George W. Bush. “As the former head of the DEA, I understand the need for tracking bad guys, being able to secretly monitor a suspect’s movements. But this is a good balance between the needs of law enforcement and privacy issues,” Hutchinson said, according to AP.

The report comes as the Supreme Court is set to consider the issue in November.

To read more click here

 

Admin. Wants to Shut Gitmo By 2012 Presidential Elections

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr./doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversial Guantanamo Bay is still in the crosshairs of the administration.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday in a speech before the European Parliament that the administration hopes to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before the 2012 presidential elections, Politico reported.

“We will be pressing for the closure of the facility between now and then — and after that election, we will try to close it as well,” Holder said. “Some people have made this a political issue without looking at, I think, the real benefits that would flow from the closure of the facility.”

To read more click here.

 

What the Heck is Up With IHOP? FBI Agents Raid 7 of its Restaurants

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

What the heck is up with IHOP?

Earlier this month, a deranged gunman walked into a Carson City, Nev. IHOP and opened fire.

Now the Associated Press reports this week that FBI agents executed search warrants at six IHOP restaurants in northwest Ohio and one in Indiana.

AP reported that the IHOPs were Evansville, Ind., and the others are in the Toledo area.

The Toledo Blade reported that agents carried away boxes of documents.

Authorties said the raids involved the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security investigations through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

AP reported that a spokesman for IHOP’s parent company, DineEquity, told the Evansville Courier and Press the company is cooperating and was told the investigation does not involve terrorism.

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