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Archive for October 21st, 2011

Gay Rights Advocates Weigh in on J. Edgar Hoover Film that Portrays Him as Gay

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

There has been an avalanche of opinions voiced by ex-FBI agents and current ones over the  film “J Edgar” and his portrayal as being gay. Now, some Gay rights advocates are weighing in.

“I don’t know specifically why current officers object to the claim that Hoover was gay,” Jacob Appel, a New York-based lawyer that has written and advocated for gay and lesbian rights, told ticklethewire.com. “If their concern is solely for historical accuracy, and they don’t feel there is evidence to support that claim, then that’s certainly a reasonable position.”

“On the other hand, if these individuals actually believe that being gay would somehow tarnish Hoover’s image–and I sincerely hope that no one in the FBI holds such deeply misguided views today–then their positions would reflect the sort of bigotry and ignorance that have no place in civilized society,” said Appel.

Clint Eastwood has produced the  film and Leonard DiCaprio plays the legendary Hoover. The film portrays Hoover as having a romantic relationship with Clyde Tolson, his number two man in the bureau.

Some agents, and particularly some retired agents who still idolize Hoover, credit him with building a world-class law enforcement agency, and have expressed concern about his portrayal as being gay.

Many say there’s no evidence that Hoover was gay. Instead, they argue that he was married to the job and that he was essentially asexual.

“I find it interesting that Hollywood has no proof of Hoover being a homosexual, a story that was sparked by a discredited author,” former FBI official Anthony Riggio recently wrote in a column for ticklethewire.com. “Yet it tickled the media’s fancy and now the media can’t get over it, and every chance they get, they herald this unfounded suspicion.”

Then again, there are some FBI agents today who simply could care less.

Eastwood has caught some flack for the portrayal, but defends the film.

“It’s not a movie about two gay guys,” Eastwood told GQ. “It’s a movie about how this guy manipulated everybody around him and managed to stay on through nine presidents. I mean, I don’t give a crap if he was gay or not.”

DiCaprio says he’s not sure of Hoover’s sexual orientation.

“If I were a betting man, I actually don’t know what I would bet,” he told GQ.

Some gay rights advocates concerns are not just over the negative reactions from some FBI and former FBI agents, but of Hoover himself.

Rod Hearne, the Executive Director of the Seattle-based Equal Rights Washington,  comments:

“In 2011 it’s hard to imagine that two such powerful, unmarried, near-constant companions as J Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson would be seen as anything but gay.

“If the FBI and J Edgar Hoover’s friends and associates resist the notion that the blackmailing, extorting, empire-building, racist, homophobic man was gay, fine, whatever they wish to think. The straights can have him.”

Author Ronald Kessler, who penned the book “The Secrets of the FBI”, wrote in an article on the website Newsmax:  “Hoover and Tolson, both bachelors, were inseparable. They ate lunch together every day and dinner together almost every night. They vacationed together, staying in adjoining rooms, and they took adoring photos of each other.”

The relationship with Tolson, he wrote,  “points to Hoover’s being gay.  Most telling, when Hoover’s will was probated, Tolson received his estate  estimated at $560,000 … the equivalent of $2.9 million today. The bequest to Tolson was the final word on the closeness of their relationship and another indicator that Hoover was gay.” Kessler called the movie’s portrayal of their relationship a “legitimate dramatization.”

Appel, the New York lawyer, says if there is evidence that Hoover was gay, or for that matter, a cross dresser as some have suggested,  it would be a matter of “public historical interest…especially in light of his fierce and nearly monomaniacal persecution of gays and lesbians throughout his career.”

Bit what is far more important, he said, is “to remember the shameful legacy that Mr. Hoover left this country with in regard to his persistent hounding of ethnic, sexual and ideological minorities … Mr. Hoover squandered tax-payer dollars in a bizarre and longstanding effort to expose the supposed (and extraordinarily unlikely) homosexuality of Adlai Stevenson, one of our nation’s great statesmen and patriots.”

Appel called Hoover a “divisive and destructive figure, whether or not he slept with Clyde Tolson.”

But not all the gay rights advocates have such pointed views.

Christian Berle, the Executive Director at Log Cabin Republicans, which works within the Republican party and advocates for gay and lesbian rights, was far more cautious in his statement to ticklethewire.com:

“Speculation as to J. Edgar Hoover’s sexuality has a long history, and it is natural that Clint Eastwood might want to explore that angle in this film. At the same time, it is understandable that members of the FBI and those who value his memory would be concerned that Hoover’s story be treated with respect and dignity. Whatever Hoover’s orientation may have been, the world today is a much different place than when he was at the helm of the FBI, and Americans can be proud that today’s FBI has a solid record of nondiscrimination.”

Most certainly the controversy over the movie’s portrayal of Hoover’s sexuality will help bolster tickets sales.

Nontheless, Warner Bros.. which is producing the film,  is remaining equally tight-lipped about the portrayal.

“We respectfully decline to comment on the portrayal (of Hoover’s sexual orientation), “their online press spokeswoman Anne Chun told ticklethewire.com.


FBI Official Says We Need Secure Alternative Internet to Fend Off Cyber Threats


Shawn Henry /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

We could be headed for bigger trouble if we don’t develop a highly secure alternative Internet to fend off the ever increasing cyber threats against critical utilities and financial systems, an FBI official told the Associated Press Thursday.

Shawn Henry, the FBI’s executive assistant director, told AP that critical systems are under increasingly under threat from terror groups like jihadist militants looking to harm the U.S.

“The challenge with the Internet is you don’t know who’s launching the attack,” he said.

He said it would be helpful to develop networks where anonymity is not an option and only known and trusted employees have access, AP reported.

To read more click here.

 

For 2nd Time in Less than a Week, Rep. Cummings Blasts Rep. Issa Over Fast and Furious

Rep. Elijah Cummings/govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For the second time in less than  a week, Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings has publicly blasted  Republican Rep. Darrell Issa over ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of many of the weapons.

The latest round started Thursday when Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley fired off a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III inquiring whether a third weapon from Operation Fast and Furious was recovered at the scene in Arizona where Border Agent Brian Terry was killed last December. The FBI has been investigating the case and had stated that only two guns were recovered and that ballistic tests were inconclusive as to whether they were used in the murder.

Thursday’s letter from Issa and Grassley to the FBI director, which was posted on ABC News’ website,  stated: “Several internal emails between ATF personnel initially indicated confusion over whether there were two or three weapons being traced. Given all these circumstances, it is reasonable to ask the FBI to clarify what it has learned about how many guns were possessed by the illegal aliens shooting at our Border Patrol agents and the current location of each of those firearms.”

Rep. Issa/gov photo

The letter asked:  “Does the FBI believe that a third weapon killed Agent Terry? If so, what steps has the FBI taken to locate the weapon and what is the status of the FBI’s search?”

In a press release issued Thursday, Rep. Cummings, who sits with Issa on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, blasted Issa, saying the FBI had already said there was no third weapon. Cummings earlier in the week had chastised Issa for making the same allegations about a third weapon  on Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“Frankly, I am shocked that Chairman Issa would continue to spin this conspiracy theory—that the FBI is hiding a third weapon—even after his recent allegations proved false,” Cumming said on Thursday. ” Rather than acknowledging this embarrassing mistake and apologizing for making false accusations about the FBI, Chairman Issa’s letter is an unprecedented attack on the integrity and credibility of law enforcement that could seriously jeopardize the ongoing prosecution.”

Cummings’ press release Thursday continued: “On Sunday, Issa told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer that he suspected the FBI had recovered a third gun at the scene of the murder, but was hiding that evidence to protect a confidential informant.”

“Issa based his erroneous claim on supposed flaws in the FBI’s evidence-marking procedure. Two firearms recovered at the scene were marked ‘K2’ and ‘K3.’ Issa suggested on Sunday that a firearm labeled ‘K1’ must be missing: ‘when you have tickets that are numbered two and three and there’s no ticket one, in other words, the weapon – one weapon has a two, one has a three on it, there’s no one.’ He claimed that it is ‘weapon number one that appears to be missing.’”

After Issa’s remarks on Sunday, the Justice Department issued a statement saying:  “Unfortunately, this most recent false accusation not only maligns the dedicated agents investigating the murder of Agent Terry, it mischaracterizes evidence in an ongoing case.” The Justice Department added: “According to the FBI, the item that Chairman Issa refers to as ‘K1’ is a blood sample from Agent Terry, not a firearm.”

Minn. Women Convicted of Material Support for Terrorists

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It wasn’t the Avon lady. It wasn’t even two generous ladies seeking donations for the poor and needy of Somalia they claimed to be.

Amina Farah Ali, 35, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 64, two naturalized U.S. citizens from Somalia living in Rochester, Minn.,  were convicted  Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis of providing material support to Somali terrorist groups, according to a U.S.  Attorney press release out of Minnesota.

Ali, Hassan and others raised money for the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab by soliciting donations door-to-door in Somali neighborhoods of Minnesota and other North American cities for the poor and needy of their homeland.

In the trial, authorities said the evidence showed that Ali had been in telephone communications with al-Shabaab members, who had requested financial assistance from her from Sept. 17, 2008 to July 19, 2010. They then used various money remittance companies to transfer the money to al-Shabaab with false names identifying recipients.

“On July 14, 2009, the day after the FBI executed a search warrant at her home, Ali telephoned her primary al-Shabaab contact, saying, ‘I was questioned by the enemy here . . . . they took all my stuff and are investigating it . . . do not accept calls from anyone.,'” according to the press release.

The two face a maximum 15 year sentence for conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Hassan faces eight years for making false statements to agents when questioned about her support.

Ex-Amusement Park Worker Convicted of Threatening FBI Agent, Estranged Wife and Others Via Facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Anthony Delonis tested his First Amendment rights in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania via Facebook and lost.

The Legal Intelligencer reported that a federal jury on Thursday convicted him of threatening people through Facebook postings including an FBI agent, his estranged wife, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Berks County Sheriff’s Department and a kindergarten class.

The defense claimed he was just venting after his life unraveled, the Intelligencer reported. He was not convicted of threatening his ex-employees and patrons of the amusement park where he had worked.

It all began, according to an FBI affidavit by agent Denise M. Stevens, who stated that Elonis lost his job as a supervisor in the operations department with Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pa.

He then started posting threatening notices on his Facebook page, which concerned his former boss Daniel Hall, who contacted the FBI.

On Oct. 19, 2010, according to the affidavit, he posted this: “Someone once told me that I was a firecracker. Nah. I’m a nuclear bomb and Dorney Park just fucked with the timer. If I was the General Manager, I’d be on the hone with Sandusky discussing a damage control plan, but I’m not, and y’all haven’t heard the last of Anthony Elonis.”

He continued to post more threatening notes, resulting in a visit by agent Stevens and another agent.

Last Nov. 30, agent Stevens and agent Van Durme went to visit his home. The agents waited several minutes for him to come out onto the front porch. When he did, he asked if he was free to go.  Agent Stevens, according to the affidavit, said yes and he said thank you very much and went back inside and closed the door.

Later that day, Elonis posted on his Facebook page:

“Little Agent Lady. You know your shit is ridiculous. when you have the FBI knockin’ at yo’ door. Little Agent lady stood so close, Took all the strength I had not to turn the bitch ghost, Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat, Leave her bleedin’ from her jugular in the arms of her partner (laugher).

“So the next time you knock, you best be serving a warrant,  And bring yo’ SWAT and an explosives expert while you’re at it, Cause little did y’all know, I was strapped wit’a bomb, Why do you think it took me so long to get dressed with no shoes on? I was jus’ waitin’ for y’all to handcuff me and pat me down, Touch the detonator in my pocket and we’re all goin’ (BOOM!).”

Read FBI Affidavit