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Archive for May 17th, 2013

Weekend Series on Crime: The Story of Joe “Don Peppino” Bonanno

Column: FBI Needs to Share More Information about Low-Flying Planes Scouring Areas Near Boston

Lawrence Harmon
Opinion for Boston Globe

The Boston office of the FBI clammed up when asked if its agents were at the controls of low-flying aircraft making continuous loops over Quincy and abutting communities during all hours of the day and night in recent weeks. But short of towing a colorful banner declaring “FBI Surveillance Operation’’ behind the propeller-driven Cessna aircraft, the answer is pretty obvious. Less obvious is why the FBI has so much trouble deciding what information it can share without compromising its investigations.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI turned increasingly to small aircraft to augment its surveillance capabilities. This is not a state secret. The press has reported that every FBI field office has the capability to launch civilian-style planes equipped with infrared devices and bugging equipment. The FBI’s eyes — and ears — in the sky are used in both counterterrorism and more traditional law enforcement operations, such as drug investigations.

A simple acknowledgment from the FBI that it is engaged in a surveillance operation — if that is indeed the case — would clear the air. Yet wringing such admissions from the FBI has been like getting a compulsive hoarder to give up the floor-to-ceiling stacks of moldy magazines that litter the apartment.

To read more click here.

FBI Grills a Chechen Refugee While They Investigate the Boston Marathon Bombing

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents trying to determine whether the Boston Marathon bombing suspects received any help have been questioning a Chechen refugee and former separatist fighter with a past social relationship with one of the alleged bombers, the New York Times reports.

Agents searched the New Hampshire apartment of Musa Khadzhimuratov on Tuesday, subjecting him to a polygraph, DNA sample and a search of his computer.

Questions still remain about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s radicalization and whether they were trained or acted on their own.

Some Chechens have been afraid since the brothers were identified. 

“They are scared that they could be framed by the Russian F.S.B.,” Fatima Tlisova, a reporter for the Voice of America, said, using the initials for Russia’s Federal Security Service. “Even if they’re completely innocent, they feel very, very vulnerable.”

Ricin Letter Suspect Tried to Elude FBI in Days Before Arrest

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The former martial arts instructor accused of sending Ricin-laced letters to President Obama and other officials tried to elude police in the days before his arrest, NBC News reports.

Before authorities arrested James Everett Dutschke, 41, at his Mississippi home on April 27, he tried to hide from authorities who were following him, according to FBI documents.

He waved to a surveillance team outside his house and then took off in a van while no on was looking. The FBI lost contact with him for about 12 hours before he was spotted at his former business, NBC News wrote.

When he left the business, he hid under a blanket in a car driven by an acquaintance, records state.

ATF Let Gunman with Violent History Walk Away During Sting Operation in Milwaukee

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF agents who were conducting a sting operation in Milwaukee last summer allowed a felon with a violent history to leave a store without taking him into custody or tracking him, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Bobby Ball, who is a felon with a history of violence, never returned to the store to sell guns to agents as promised.

The suspect went missing for four months until he was arrested recently for drunken-driving in Minnesota.

FBI Investigating Whether Sen. Menendez Was Set Up in Corruption, Prostitution Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are trying to locate people who have accused Sen. Robert Menendez of corruption and patronizing prostitutes in what investigators believe may have been a set up to embarrass the Democrat as he ran for reelection last year, the Washington Post reports.

The investigation brought agents to the Palm Beach headquarters of the sugar and real estate empire where they questioned owners and brothers Alfonso and Jose Fanjul.

Menendez has denied he did special favors for campaign donations.

Agents have come up empty-handed in their investigation of Menendez using prostitutes and believe the senator may have been set up.

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