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Archive for June 27th, 2013

DEA Agent’s Death a Reminder of Courage in a Dangerous World and the Good Work of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund

James Watson

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson had spent an enjoyable evening with friends at a Bogota restaurant watching Game 7 of the Heat-Spurs NBA Championship game. He was assigned to Cartagena but was in the Colombian capital as part of his duties.

Agent Watson knew how dangerous being in law enforcement could be but he had regularly volunteered for the most challenging assignments all over the globe. Like during one of his three deployments in Afghanistan for DEA in 2009 when he and Army Special Forces were under fire from 500 Taliban in the Farah Province. Or when he rappelled down 3,000 foot rock facings in the mountains near Pakistan to bomb heroin dens. He had also volunteered for difficult cases in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

A short distance from the Bogota restaurant Terry Watson was stabbed and ran a block before collapsing. Several assailants immediately fled the scene without taking any money or other property. He died en route to a medical clinic.

Bogota police have arrested six men for the murders, and the Justice Department has indicated its intention to seek extradition. The police have announced their conclusion that the murder was part of a random robbery, but others have doubts because of the circumstances of the assault and question whether Agent Watson’s successful investigations of high level drug traffickers in Colombia was the real motive behind murder.

At his memorial service on Wednesday at the Rayville, Louisiana, Richland Arts Center near where he had grown up in Holly Ridge, his family said, “Terry dedicated his life to serving the public and making the world a better and safer place. Terry never wasted a minute of his life and never took it for granted.”

Agent Watson had recently married Fadia Margarita de la Rosa Watson, whom he had met during his service in Colombia.

Another DEA agent who had also been assigned to Cartagena during his deployment there told me that he was constantly aware of the potential for violence during his term. No matter how careful an agent was, if he did his job, the cartels were always in the front part of his mind. Years later he remembers his time there as an ordeal that required him to always remain aware of surroundings. But he also knew that even this awareness was no guarantee that he would survive the assignment.

Earlier articles in this column have made plain my own position that responsibility for these deaths and violence, both to Americans and those in Central America, civilians and law enforcement, can be directly traced to America’s insatiable appetite for the drugs.

Read more »

Can Snowden, Leaker of U.S. Secrets, Reach Asylum in Ecuador? U.S. Watches Closely

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are wondering whether Edward Snowden, the leaker of widespread surveillance, can make it to Ecuador, which has offered the U.S. citizen asylum, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Authorities believe Snowden is in the transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, where Russian officials said they don’t have authority to apprehend the former NSA contractor.

But for Snowden to reach Ecuador, he needs to find a county that would allow him free transit there and temporary travel documents, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

“He does not have any documents issued by the government of Ecuador, such as a passport or a refugee identification,” said Galo Galarza, a senior ministry official.

FBI Planted Informant Inside WikiLeaks for Information on the Secret-Revealing Group

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An Icelandic man is the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks, a secret-revealing website.

Wired.com reports that Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson was an informant for three months in 2011 when he worked for WikiLeaks and the FBI. Ticklethewire.com mistakenly printed that Julian Paul Assange was the informant.

He reportedly received $5,000 for his undercover work.

“It’s a sign that the FBI views WikiLeaks as a suspected criminal organization rather than a news organization,” says Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “WikiLeaks was something new, so I think the FBI had to make a choice at some point as to how to evaluate it: Is this The New York Times, or is this something else? And they clearly decided it was something else.”

Reputed Mob Boss ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Attorneys Grill Disgraced Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawyers for accused mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger continued to hammer the FBI’s claims that Bulger secretly ratted out the Italian Mafia and other criminals, The Associated Press reports.

For the second straight day, Bulger attorney Hank Brennan continued to grill James Marra, a special agent in the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, in an attempt to invalidate a 700-page informant file on Bulger, who is accused of murder and racketeering while running the Winter Hill Gang. 

The defense claims that disgraced ex-FBI Agent John Connolly, who is in prison for helping Bulger during his alleged reign of terror, fabricated Bulger’s file to cover up his own misdeeds, The AP wrote.

FBI Investigates Cops Accused of Stealing Money from Suspects in Bank Robbery

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is trying to determine whether police stole cash from three suspects accused of robbing a King County credit union in California in March, the Monterey Herald reports.

The FBI confirmed to the Herald that agent are investigating “several police officers assigned to the King City Police Department regarding their handling of a bank robbery case.”

Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz said thousands of dollars was never returned.

“They believed all the money was turned in, but not all of it is there now,” he said.

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