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Archive for March, 2012

In Wake of Failed Case: Detroit U.S. Atty. McQuade Vows to Try and Prevent Terror Attacks

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The federal prosecution of a Michigan Militia known as the Hutaree imploded this week in downtown Detroit when a fed judge tossed all the charges that the group of seven conspired to revolt against the government and shoot cops. Two ended up pleading guilty to minor gun charges.

It was an embarrassment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

But on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Barabara McQuade vowed to try and prevent terror attacks, the Detroit News reports. And she responded to criticism from the Hutaree leader David Stone Sr who said the government trampled on his First Amendment rights.

“He can say ugly and hateful things all day long, but the evidence was not just speech,” McQuade said, according to the News. “It was stockpiling weapons, machine guns, 150,000 rounds of ammunition and targeting specific police officers.

“I am a great defender of the First Amendment — this went way beyond the First Amendment. I want to assure the public that our commitment to preventing terrorist attacks will not be deterred.”

But the News reported that one juror said the feds overstepped in this case.

“They overstepped a little bit. It wasn’t there,” said juror Rickey Randall, 58, of St. Clair Shores, according to the News. “It was just a lot of talk, talk, talk and no action.”

“We were all on the same page,” said Randall, a retired construction worker. “They saw what I saw. I felt it was an overreach. I was shocked by what the government presented.”

To read more click here.

 

Too Much Partying for 2 TSA Officers in South Beach; Trashed Hotel Room and Fired Bullets

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Transportation Security Administration officers apparently felt they had to let off a little steam.

The Miami Herald reports that TSA officers Jeffrey Piccolella, 27, and Nicholas Anthony Puccio, trashed their South Beach hotel room Tuesday night and shot six rounds out the window with a semi-automatic handgun.

The paper reported that one bullet pierced a $1,500 hurricane impact resistant window at a nearby Barneys New York clothing store. No one was injured.

The dynamic duo was charged with criminal mischief and use of a firearm while under the influence, the Herald reported.

 

Secret Service Could Shut Down Chicago Rails Under Convention During Nato Summit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service could make some Chicago commuters pretty miserable.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Secret Service is considering shutting down rail lines that run under the McCormick Place, Chicago’s massive convention center, during the May 20-21 Nato summit.

The paper reports the action would be taken to help protect world leaders attending the event.

“It kind of sucks because I have to come all the way from Homewood all the way up to Evanston,” Ryan Rounds, 29, an administrative coordinator for Rotary International told the Sun-Times “If I had to drive, it would be 180 miles [roundtrip]. I understand, but couldn’t they just tighten up security?”

 

Loss of Fed Tax Prosecutors Slows Crackdown on Offshore Bank Accounts

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Something doesn’t seem right here.

Bloomberg news reporst that the Justice Department has lost almost 30 percent of its tax prosecutors in the past month.

Bloomberg reported that the loss is slowing down the U.S. crackdown on offshore banks and tax evasion.

“To move one-third of these people from that effort will significantly compromise such enforcement at the very time it is needed to deal with the huge amounts of offshore cases coming to the tax division,” Nathan Hochman, a former assistant attorney general who oversaw the tax division under President George W. Bush, told Bloomberg.

To read more click here.

 

 

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FBI Training Said Arabs Were Prone to “Jekyll & Hyde Temper Tantrums”

By Spencer Ackerman
WIRED

The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”

These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI’s six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training. All that has a powerful senator saying that the review represents a “failure to adequately address” the problem.

“This is not an effective way to protect the United States,” Sen. Richard Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI, tells Danger Room about the inappropriate FBI counterterrorism training. “It’s stunning that these things could be said to members of our FBI in training. It will not make them more effective in their work and won’t make America safer.”

To read the full story click here.

Read the NY Times Story

JetBlue Pilot Goes Bonkers; Charged With Interfering With Flight Crew

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Most often when someone on the plane has lost it, it’s a passenger. But this time was different.

JetBlue Pilot Clayton Frederick Osbon, 49, went a little off the deep end, yelling things about Jesus and Sept. 11. and terrorists. He was charged on Wednesday in federal court in the Northern District of Texas with interference with a flight crew.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Osbon, a pilot on JetBlue Flight 191 from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport to Las Vegas, arrived at JFK on Tuesday later than he should have for the flight and missed the crew briefing.

As the plane was leaving JFK and climbing in altitude in its scheduled five-hour flight, Osbon said something to the first officer (FO) about being evaluated by someone, but the first officer didn’t know what he meant, authorities said.

Osbon then talked about his church and the need to “focus” and asked the first officer to take controls and work the radios. Osbon began talking about religion, but, according to the first officer,his statements were not coherent, authorities said.

The affidavit goes on to say that the first officer became concerned when Osbon said “things just don’t matter.”

According to the first officer, Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet.

Osbon turned off the radios in the aircraft, dimmed his monitors and sternly admonished the first officer for trying to talk on the radio.

When Osbon said “we need to take a leap of faith,” the first officer stated that he became very worried.

Osbon told the FO that “we’re not going to Vegas,” and began giving what the FO described as a sermon.

The affidavit states that the  first officer suggested to Osbon that they invite the off-duty JetBlue captain who was on board the flight into the cockpit. But Osbon abruptly left the cockpit to go to the lavatory, alarming the rest of the flight crew when he didn’t follow the company’s protocol for leaving the cockpit.

When flight attendants met Osbon and asked him what was wrong, he became aggressive and banged on the door of the occupied lavatory, saying he needed to get inside, authorities said.

While Osbon was in the lavatory, at the request of the first officer,  a flight attendant brought the off-duty captain to the cockpit where he assisted the first officer with the remainder of the flight.

When Osbon exited the lavatory, he walked to the rear of the aircraft, but along the way stopped and asked a male passenger if he had a problem. Osbon then sprinted back to the forward galley and tried to enter his code to re-enter the cockpit, the first officer announced on the public address system,  an order to restrain Osbon.

Several passengers assisted and brought Osbon down in the forward galley, where he continued to yell comments about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran and terrorists.

The first officer then declared an emergency and diverted the aircraft to Amarillo, Tex. , landing with passengers still restraining Osbon in the galley. Osbon was removed from the aircraft and taken to a facility in the Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo for medical evaluation, where he remains.

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ACLU Says FBI Gathered Info on Legal Activities of Muslims

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU says FBI documents show that the San Francisco FBI gathered intelligence on American Muslim religious organizations on their “constitutionally protected beliefs and activities, without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

The ACLU said in a story posted on its website that the FBI gathered the info from 2004 through at least 2008 through its “mosque outreach” program.

The FBI documents “also show that the FBI categorized information about American Muslims’ First Amendment-protected and other entirely innocuous activities, as well as mosque locations, as ‘positive intelligence’ and disseminated it to agencies outside the FBI.”

The ACLU said the result was that the FBI cast a cloud of suspicion over innocent groups and individuals.