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Archive for July 19th, 2012

ATF Whistleblower Says New Leadership Unfairly Accused of Trying to Stifle or Intimidate Whistleblowers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF whistleblower Peter Forcelli told ticklethewire.com on Thursday that the current leadership at ATF is being unfairly attacked and wrongly accused of trying to silence whistleblowers like himself.

“It’s not fair, these guys are trying to do the right thing,” he says about the new leadership at ATF.

The comments by Forcelli, who has testified before Congress as a whistleblower about Operation Fast and Furious, comes a day after Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa questioned a video message ATF Director B. Todd Jones delivered to ATF agents. The two lawmakers said they feared the statement may have been meant to put a chill on whistleblowers.

Jones statement said:

“… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

Forcelli, who was in the Phoenix Office as a group supervisor and who is now at headquarters as program manager for criminal groups and gangs, says: “The chain of command has been broken for a long time. They ‘re trying to get people to follow chain of command . I don’t think their intention is to disuade people from blowing the whistle.”

Forcelli says disgruntled ATF agents may be fueling Capitol Hill with allegations that the current regime is trying to put a chill on whistle blowing, but that’s not true, he said. For one, he said, he’s a whistleblower and he’s been treated very fairly.

“Whistle blower cases were mishandled. That was in prior administrations. These guys are paying for their sins,” he says of Jones and second in command, Tom Brandon.

He says that Brandon was nothing but supportive when he was blowing the whistle on Fast and Furious.

He said Brandon told him: “This is a big deal, if you need to go, you need to tell the truth. Don’t minimize. Don’t embellish. Run to the truth. He said they’re going to throw fast balls. Hit them out of the park.”

“Where ATF has screwed up, I’m not going to apologize,” Forcelli said. But he repeated that the attack on the new leadership is unfair.

Forcelli says that as a whistleblower, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix retaliated against him and blackballed him. He said people in that office were directed to report any contact with him, even at a coffee shop over the weekend.

He went on to say that “I totally support Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa’s inquiry into what happened with Fast and Furious. I appreciate what they did for me when I was retaliated against” by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“But I feel that some people have cried wolf with respect to this video” with the message from Director Jones by suggesting it’s putting a chill on whistle blowing.

FBI Delves Deeper into Trenton Mayor Investigation

Mayor Tony Mack

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents who raided the home of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack also searched the home of his brother and a key campaign donor who is a convicted sex offender Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Mack denied wrongdoing in a brief statement, and the FBI declined to release details of the investigation.

Questions have been raised over Mack’s successful campaign fundraising at a time when his personal finances were troubled.

Mack’s appointments also have raised suspicions because some were under-qualified or face criminal charges, the AP reported.

 

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

 

FBI Failed to Investigate Fort Hood Shooter Despite Danger Signs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Despite strong evidence that U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan wanted to kill civilians and supported suicide bombings before he killed 13 people in the 2009 attack on Fort Hood, Texas, the FBI never launched an investigation because of concerns over political correctness, The Associated Press reports, citing a lawmakers briefed on a new report about the terrorist attack.

Hasan was even communicating with terrorist  Anwar al-Awlaki, according to the AP.

The review by former FBI Director William Webster shows the agency was concerned over the fallout of investigating an American Muslim and never pursued the case.

Saying the issue was too sensitive, the agency never investigated Hasan, according to the AP.

FBI Seeks Information on Collecting Tattoo Information

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants to begin using tattoo identification to track down criminals and learn more about them, MSNBC reports.

The plan is to add the data to the bureau’s Biometric Center of Excellence, which creates information such as fingerprints, irises and DNA.

The idea is to help identify perpetrators through body art and to understand more about tattoo affiliations, according to MSNBC.

Some tattoos, for example, show whether some people are members of a gang.

Off-duty NY FBI Agent Shoots and Wounds Man Breaking in His Car


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There are times when car thieves hit the jackpot. And there are times they try ripping off an FBI agent.

Early Wednesday at 5 a.m. in the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens in New York, three men  were breaking into a red Lexis sedan usually driven by an agent’s wife, the New York Times reported. It was parked outside his home.

When he spotted the burglars, the off-duty agent fired a shot from his second story window, wounding one of the suspects, the Times reported. The agent told police the suspects fled in dark colored vehicle, and the one who was believed to be wounded by the agent showed up at the hospital later.

 

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Rafael Garcia to Head Up FBI’s Intelligence Division in LA

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rafael J. Garcia, Jr., who served as director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Quantico, Va., has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s  Intelligence Division in Los Angeles.

Garcia joined the FBI in 1995 as a special agent in Phoenix where he investigated drug, organized crime, and terrorism cases and served as a Weapons of Mass Destruction program coordinator.

He went on to FBI Headquarters and held several positions related to intelligence and counterterrorism, including chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures Unit.

In 2004, he served as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Iraq. In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

An émigré from Cuba,  Garcia was raised in Baltimore and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy. Garcia left the U.S. Army in 1995 to join the FBI.

He has a Master of Counseling degree from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science degree in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Military Intelligence College.