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Archive for January 20th, 2012

Weekend Series on Crime History: FBI Agent Lin Devecchio and the Mob

 

 

Fed Prosecutor to Go Mum in Fast and Furious and Take the 5th

 By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A senior federal prosecutor in Arizona intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights rather than testify before a House committee next week looking into the Justice Department’s handling of the Fast and Furious gunrunning investigation, the prosecutor’s attorney told Congress in a letter on Thursday.

On Wednesday, House Government Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a subpoena to Patrick Cunningham, the chief of the criminal section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. The deposition subpoena came after a plan to have Cunningham appear for a less formal interview fell apart.

Sources say Cunningham is concerned that he’s caught in a pincer of sorts between senior Justice Department officials in Washington eager to shift blame to lower-ranking staffers and Congressional investigators eager to see heads roll over the investigation, which allegedly allowed more than 1000 weapons to cross the border into Mexico despite suspicions they were destined for drug cartels.

To read more click here.

Column: The Truth About the FBI’s Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s Confidante

 

J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson/fbi photo

By Larry Wack
Retired FBI Agent

In a Jan. 5, 2012 Los Angeles Times article, reporter Amy Dawes asked Armie Hammer a series of questions regarding his role as the FBI’s Clyde Tolson in the movie “J. Edgar.”

In commenting on Tolson, Hammer is quoted by Ms. Dawes saying, in part:

“But he was also very smart and confident; he was a hotshot, and he could get away with things. Like putting on his FBI application that he had no interest in women — that was brazen, for back then.”

But Hammer didn’t just mention Tolson’s FBI application to the LA Times. He used the subject matter with others. For one example, in a November, 2011 interview with “New York Movies” reporter David Keeps quotes Hammer stating:

“Back then, to be publicly gay, you were done for. But even in his application to the FBI, Tolson said he had no interest in marrying or being with a woman,” Hammer says. “While not fully out, he knew who he was and almost embraced it.”

In reality, there wasn’t anything “brazen” about Tolson’s entry on his application as Hammer tells the LA Times. Furthermore, Tolson was not really embracing who he was as Hammer alleges.

That’s because Tolson didn’t write anything of the sort on his Bureau application. Tolson’s 1928 Bureau application which I have reviewed, and long available and on the internet since at least 2002, reveals there is no such wording as “no interest in women; no interest in marrying or being with a woman” as Hammer claims. In fact, there’s nothing even remotely close. In section nine of his application the only thing Tolson entered about his marital status at the time was that he was “Single.”

However, in the interest of “full disclosure,” although Tolson made no such statements, a further review of his background investigation does reveal an FBI interview with a “reference” listed by Tolson. That reference was one John Martyn, Executive Secretary for the Secretary Of War.  The FBI interview of Martyn in 1928 reveals him mentioning what Hammer says were Tolson’s words.  Martyn stated in part to Bureau agents:

“Mr. Martyn states it is his understanding that applicant is making his own way through school; that he has shown no particular interest in women; that his habits and associates have always been of the best.”

We know from reading the entire Martyn statement that Tolson’s drinking habits (of which he had none) are discussed within the same paragraph.  (Report of SA C. D. White, Washington Field Office, 2/7/28, Vol. 2, serial 15 of Tolson’s released file)

It is well known that early FBI applicant investigations (much like today) covered four areas of concern; Character, Ability, Reputation and Qualifications. Public FBI documents reveal these exact four words being utilized in “form letter” communications directed from FBI headquarters to the Field with regard to agent applicant investigations and are readily seen in Tolson’s file.

Now that we know the truth as to the origin of “no particular interest in women,” the totality of the content and the investigative areas being discussed with Martyn, the phrase takes on a far different meaning than the one we’re expected to accept from Hammer.

Clearly, Martyn is discussing with Special Agent White (above) Tolson’s habits, associates, his drinking and the investigative questioning no doubt involved what type of women Tolson entertained. No doubt SA White was attempting to determine if Tolson had any particular interests in “certain women.” This line of questioning regarding Tolson’s “habits and associates” would have been consistent with Hoover’s demands for men of high moral standards.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Tolson was employed by the War Department when he submitted his FBI application in 1928. As Martyn mentions, “he (Tolson) was putting himself through [law] school.” No doubt working full time, Tolson didn’t have much time for dating. Tolson’s application reveals that at the time of submission, he was studying for his LL.M academic degree at Georgetown University. ( background summary 2/23/28)

We now know that Hammer’s claims about what Tolson said on his application are wrong, but what about the insinuation the claims entail? From the context of that time-period, it is clear that Martyn was not making any allusions to Tolson’s sexual preferences.  Had this been the case, it would have been immediately recognized by the interviewing agent and further questioning about Tolson’s sexuality issues would have been made for fear of him being a security risk inside the FBI.

Tolson’s file reflects there was no further questioning along those lines with Martyn or any of Tolson’s numerous personal references. Furthermore, it’s painfully obvious from Tolson’s file that those reviewing SA White’s report, including his Special Agent In-Charge and those at FBI headquarters, didn’t see Martyn’s comment as a reference to Tolson’s sexual preferences. If they had, it would have been a red flag to them and duly noted in the file.

Hammer’s claims about Tolson’s FBI application are without merit and a severe distortion of the historical record.

Copyright 2012, Larry E. Wack. Mr. Wack spent twenty eight years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Now retired, he researches the early Bureau and the “G-Men” of the 1930’s. Mr. Wack is not a spokesman for the FBI or the Society of Former Special Agents Of The FBI. The term “FBI” is utilized herein to maintain clarity although in 1928, its name was the “Bureau Of Investigation.”

Contact Info: Larry Wack can be contacted direct at: rypublish@verizon.net

A website on his research, above, is maintained at: http://historicalgmen.squarespace.com

 

Dozen-Plus Arrested in Spokane Crime Ring Bust

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

There were some big happenings in snowy Spokane, Wash., on Thursday, where FBI agents executed multiple searches and made more than a dozen arrests in the culmination of the year-long investigation called Operation “Old School,” reports KXLY.

Multi-agency SWAT teams made raids that stretched across Northern Oregon, Walla Walla, Tri-Cities and Spokane Thursday morning, Frank Harrill of the FBI told KXLY.

The raids targeted a ring of drug and gun running headquartered in Spokane. “The recovery of scores of illegal weapons, pounds of methamphetamine, a live hand grenade you see the level of sophistication, the potential for violence and the harm to our community that these groups pose on a daily basis,” Agent Harrill said.

To read more click here.

Police Chief Lured By Xbox 360; Pleads Guilty to Stealing Evidence

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

“It is a sad day when law enforcement must pursue one of their own,” said US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen R. Wigginton. Particularly when it involves stealing evidence, or more specifically, gaming consoles Xbox 360s.

Wigginton was announcing on Thursday the guilty plea of Michael Baxton, the former police chief for the Village of Alorton and the City of East St. Louis. Baxton plead guilty to felony charges of stealing evidence and making false statements to federal investigators, according to a statement from the FBI. Baxton was released on bond pending sentencing on April 27.

“There is no pleasure to be taken in convicting a police officer,” Wigginton added; “…citizens may be confident that they can place their trust in the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers who are honest and professional and who risk their lives every day for our safety.”

Baxton became police chief of Alorton last May when his predecessor pleaded guilty to tax crimes. He was hired by East St. Louis on November 30, 2011, but resigned as part of his plea deal on January 18, 2012.

Alorton police officers reported to the feds that Baxton had been giving favorable treatment to arrestees related to or associated with an unnamed Alorton individual, according to the FBI statement, and that evidence under Baxton’s control was coming up missing and not making it to the crime laboratory for testing. The charges allege the Baxton and the unnamed individual were stealing evidence for personal use or profit.

Federal agents covertly arranged for a vehicle full of the gaming console Xbox 360s’ to become evidence under Baxton’s control. “Baxton responded to the call of an abandoned vehicle along with a Village of Alorton police officer who was assisting the federal investigation in an undercover capacity,” the FBI said. “When Baxton discovered the electronics in the purportedly stolen car, he took four of the devices and directed the other officer to take the fifth one.”

Baxton denied ever taking evidence for himself during a January 5 interview to agents from the IRS and FBI. Confronted with the Xbox 360 incident, Baxton told his interviewers another officer took the consoles, and that Baxton should not have let the officer take them.

FBI: Cop Tipped Off Drug Dealers

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is alleging that  a Georgia cop tipped off drug dealers about an upcoming raid by the bureau, charges that the cop says are untrue, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Gabriel Hoskins III, the police officer, plead not guilty to the charges on Thursday, but was placed on supervised release with a $10,000 unsecured bond, according to the Journal-Constitution. The accusation claims Hoskins was looking up names and identifying information of suspected drug dealers in the FBI’s criminal database, then used the information to tip the drug dealers off.

“It’s very disturbing when law enforcement reveals to criminals that other law enforcement will be conducting a search warrant,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It endangers the officers doing the search warrant, and it makes it very likely that whatever evidence might have been in that apartment … like drugs, guns, ledgers … might be destroyed.”

Hoskins is said to have befriended a couple of drug dealers who lived in his apartment complex. He was a volunteer officer  for about a year, working just 16 hours a week.

To read more click here.

Feds Shut Down Wildly Popular Piracy Website; Hackers Retaliate

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It was outright war in the cyberworld this week.

The feds on Thursday announced that they had shut down an incredibly popular website Mequapload, only to see hackers retaliate by blocking access to multiple web sites including the Justice Department and Universal Music.

The Justice Department said that seven people and two corporations had been charged  in Alexandria, Va., with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites.

The feds say the piracy generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.

Authorities alleged that Megaupload illegally shared movies, television shows and e-books, pornography, prompting hackers to retaliate by blocking access to several Web sites, including those of the Justice Department and Universal Music. In some cases, people saw movies before their release.

“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime,” the Justice Department said in its press release.

7 lbs. of Meth Seized in Colo. Ski Town

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The mountains aren’t the only way to get high in Colorado Springs, Colo., apparently.

Investigators seized seven pounds of meth and made four arrests in the ski resort town, reports KRDO.

Vincente Martinez,40,  Jovel Cristian, 27, Martin Martinez, 21, and  Rafael Amezcua, 27,  all from Los Angeles, were arrested at a motel in town, according to KRDO.

The DEA Southern Colorado Drug Task Force–a group of DEA agents, local police and the county Sheriff’s offices and ICE–conducted the investigation. The task force has seized 70 pounds of methamphetamine and made 24 arrests since October of 2011.

To read more click here.

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