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Archive for February 11th, 2014

FBI Director James B. Comey Has Appointed Agents to New Posts in Recent Weeks

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
FBI Director James B. Comey recently made some new appointments.

John Giacalone/fbi photo

  • Carl Ghattas was named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division at the Washington Field Office. He most recently served as deputy assistant director in the Directorate of Intelligence at FBI Headquarters.
  • Gregory D. Cox was named special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division at the Washington Field Office. He most recently served as chief of the Global Operations Section in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters.
  • Amy S. Hess was named executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, which entails being responsible for the executive oversight of the Criminal Justice Information Services, Laboratory and Operational Technology Divisions. She most recently served as assistant director of the Operational Technology Division.
  • John Giacalone was named assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.  He most recently served as the division’s deputy assistant director. 

FBI Helps Italian Authorities Crack Down on Suspected Mafia Members in New York

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An anti-mafia raid is targeting more than 40 people in the U.S. and Europe, CNN reports.

The operation, “New Bridge,” led to the arrests of 17 people in Italy and seven in New York. They are accused of international drug-trafficking and organized crime.

The operation was coordinated by the Italian national anti-mafia body.

One of the targets is the Calabria mafia, known as the Ndrangheta, which is responsible for drug trafficking between South and Central America, Canada, the United States and Italy.

Incidents of Lasers Being Pointed at Planes Spike; FBI Offering Reward to Catch Culprits

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently people pointing lasers is becoming a growing problem.

In response, the FBI on Tuesday announced a pilot program in 12 field offices that will offer up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who aim handheld lasers at aircrafts. The program will run for 60 days.

The FBI, in a press release, said that the number of incidence has risen more than 1,100 percent since the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005.  In 2013, authorities recorded 3,960 laser strikes — an average of almost 11 incidents per day.

The FBI said it will also be working with state and local law enforcement to educate teens about the dangers associated with pointing lasers at aircraft.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”

“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, jeopardizing the safety of everyone on board,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. “We applaud our colleagues at the Justice Department for aggressively prosecuting aircraft laser incidents, and we will continue to use civil penalties to further deter this dangerous activity.”

 

Is Etan Patz Alive? FBI Asks American in Europe If He went Missing in 1979

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Etan Patz, whose 1979 disappearance shocked New Yorkers, was declared dead in 2001, and the 6-year-old’s confessed killer was charged.

But the New York Daily News reports that the FBI asked an American living in Europe if he was Patz.

“Obviously, I was surprised,” the man, who asked not to be identified, said. “I chuckled. I thought it was funny because it was so unlikely that it would be possible that I could be this person. I had no idea who Etan Patz was.”

In fact, the man is 30. Patz would be 41.

It remains unclear why the FBI sought out the man living in Europe.

FBI Error Prompts Family to Request DNA Testing in 1983 Murder

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Erik Preston promised his dying brother that he’d seek justice.

“I sat with him as he passed away and I kissed him and I told him, I said, ‘I’ll let everybody know that this is not right, this is not true, and you shouldn’t be here,'” his brother, Erick Preston said, according to MyFoxBoston.com. “That’s all they had from the FBI lab, a hair with ‘negroid features’… but he swayed it to make it look like it was my brother’s.”

James Preston spent 26 years in prison for murder before he died. He maintained his innocence the entire time.

Now, news that an FBI analyst made mistakes while on the stand, Preston’s family wants DNA testing.

Preston was largely convicted based on a hair that the FBI analyst wrongly suggested was Preston’s without enough evidence.

Preston was arrested after the discovery of the body of Thea Pierce in January 1983.

FBI, Justice Department to Finally Start Hiring Again Following Budget Deal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have been losing employees and not replacing them because of budget cuts.

But the Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama’s budget deal in late December would end the hiring freeze and fill positions again.

The FBI plans to hire about 1,000 people. The Justice Department will begin to refill some of the 4,000 positions that have remained unfilled.

“After years of doing more with less, we will begin to fill critical vacancies. And we will resume the normal hiring process for federal agents, prosecutors, analysts and the other staff we need to fulfill our mission,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message to employees.

 

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