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Archive for March 26th, 2014

bin Laden’s Son-in-Law Convicted of Conspiracy to Kill Americans

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, the son-in-law of Usama bin Laden, and a senior member of al Qaeda, was convicted Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan on three counts, including conspiracy to kill Americans.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement: “This verdict is a major milestone in the government’s unrelenting efforts to pursue justice against those involved with the September 11 attacks. I can imagine no more fitting outcome, and no stronger message to those who would harm our nation and its people: that no amount of distance or time can weaken America’s resolve to pursue, capture, and hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

“I want to especially note that this verdict has proven that proceedings such as these can safely occur in the city I am proud to call home, as in other locations across our great nation. It was appropriate that this defendant, who publicly rejoiced over the attacks on the World Trade Center, faced trial in the shadow of where those buildings once stood.

“We never doubted the ability of our Article III court system to administer justice swiftly in this case, as it has in hundreds of other cases involving terrorism defendants. It would be a good thing for the country if this case has the result of putting that political debate to rest. This outcome vindicates the government’s approach to securing convictions against not only this particular defendant, but also other senior leaders of al Qaeda.

Read the Judge’s Order Regarding FBI Agent In Idaho Who Killed Herself

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Idaho issued this order regarding FBI agent  Rebekah Morse, who apparently lied under oath when she told the judge that she turned off her phone and wasn’t texting while on the witness stand.  The texts had nothing to do with the case against Diversified Business Services and Investments.

Morse killed herself shortly after she was confronted about the texting.

The judge ordered the government to turn over to the defense information regarding the incident. Below is the court order, which was provided to ticklethewire.com by the website OpenCdA.com.

INTRODUCTION
 The Court has examined in camera certain materials submitted by the
Government. The defendants have requested access to all the material. In this decision,
the Court will determine what evidence the defendants are entitled to view.
ANALYSIS
FBI Agent Rebekah Morse testified for the United States on March 18
and 19,
2014. On March 19, 2014, during a recess, a juror commented to the Court’s Law Clerk
that Agent Morse was texting while on the witness stand during the time the Court and
counsel were occupied at a sidebar conference. When questioned by the Court about this
concern of the juror, Agent Morse denied texting. She explained that during her
testimony, her phone vibrated, and to turn it off she claimed that she had to first enter her
password. That explanation satisfied counsel and the Court. To resolve the one juror’s
expressed concern – and to address any unexpressed concerns by other jurors – the Court
Case 1:13-cr-00091-BLW Document 441 Filed 03/25/14 Page 1 of 11Memorandum Decision & Order – page 2 

instructed the jury that Agent Morse was just turning off her cell phone by first punching
in her password.
 The trial then proceeded forward with further cross examination of Agent Morse.
But during that cross examination, the Court reflected further on the matter and became
concerned that the juror had expressed her concern in such a way as to suggest that Agent
Morse may have texted on more than one occasion. Agent Morse’s explanation about
turning off her cell phone on one occasion did not address the possibility that she might
have been texting on two or three occasions. After conferring with counsel, and with
their approval, the Court advised Agent Morse of a potential inconsistency in her
testimony and took possession of her cell phone. Agent Morse was to return for further
testimony the next day, March 20, 2014. Tragically, she was found dead the morning of
March 20, 2014, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Court subpoenaed the text records and the e-mails taken from the cellphone of
Agent Morse for the dates of March 18, 2014, through and including March 19, 2014.
The Court has now received those records and thoroughly examined them – they contain
the contents of all texts and e-mails sent and received by Agent Morse on those two days.
The Court has also examined (1) the FBI’s 302 Report of FBI Agents’ interview with
Agent Wyand who had interviewed Agent Morse during the evening of March 19, 2014;
(2) what appears to be a note written by Agent Morse and found at her home on March
20, 2014; and (3) notes of IRS Special Agent Josh Culbertson on March 19, 2014, when
members of the prosecution team met with Agent Morse.
Case 1:13-cr-00091-BLW Document 441 Filed 03/25/14 Page 2 of 11Memorandum Decision & Order – page 3 

 With regard to the text and e-mail messages, the Court compared the times they
were sent (or received) to the times provided (to the second) by the Real-Time transcript
of the court proceedings. The only times that Agent Morse texted while on the witness
stand were during a sidebar held on March 19, 2014. The sidebar was held from
12:02:47 to 12:10:41 p.m., and during that sidebar, Agent Morse sent 4 text messages and
received 4 text messages. At no other time during a sidebar on March 18th or 19th did
Agent Morse send any text messages or e-mails.

Read more »

Russia Warned FBI About Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect in March 2011, But Agency Found Nothing

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian authorities warned the FBI in 2011 about one of the would-be Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Reuters reports.

A congressional report to be released as early as this week is expected to show that Russian intelligence alerted the FBI to concerns in March 2011 about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Chechen brothers accused of carrying out the marathon attacks. The FBI was warned that Tsarnaev was known to associate with militant Islamists.

The FBI responded by opening an investigation with a joint task force of local, state and federal authorities. Tsarnaev was even interviewed in person, Reuters wrote.

But in June 2011, the FBI concluded the probe, saying there was no link between Tsarnaev and terrorism.

Man Sues NSA, FBI, DIA Over Investigations Involving Ex-South African Leader Nelson Mandela

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did a CIA tip lead to Neslon Mandela’s 1962 arrest and subsequent 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa?

A Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ryan Shapiro, filed suit Tuesday against the NSA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency for failing to turn over records with a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Huffington Post reports.

Shapiro is investigating the extent to which the U.S. played a role in Mandela’s arrest

“The failure of the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA to comply with my FOIA requests for records on Mandela highlights that FOIA is broken and that this sad reality is just one component among many of the ongoing crisis of secrecy we now face,” Shapiro told The Huffington Post.

Obama Taps Karl Remon Thompson to Head Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama selected Karl Remon Thompson to head the once-obscure but powerful Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department.

The New York Times reports that the person in charge of the position is responsible for critical legal policy disputes in the war against Al Qaeda.

The Office of Legal Counsel issues binding opinions on the legality of proposed actions.

“During his five years with the department, Karl has distinguished himself as a lawyer of unparalleled intellect and integrity,” Mr. Holder said in a statement. “His guidance has helped the department navigate some of the toughest legal challenges of this administration. I’m grateful that he has agreed to lead the Office of Legal Counsel and look forward to continuing to rely on his superb judgment as he assumes this new role.”

Autopsy Shows FBI Shot Chechen Man Ibragim Todashev 7 Times During Interrogation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI agent interviewing Ibragim Todashev shot the Chechen man six times in the body and once in the head after a sudden altercation in his Florida apartment, ABC News reports, citing an autopsy report.

The 27-year-old, who was an associate of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was being questioned about an unsolved 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts.

After implicating himself, Todashev crashed a coffee table into the back of the head of an FBI agent and came at officers with a long object, according to the findings by Florida State Attorney General Jeffrey Ashton.

The agent responded by opening fire.

The report said there’s “no evidence of close range firing in any of the gunshot wounds.”

To read the autopsy click here.

Report: FBI Is Too Slow When Placing Suspects on Federal Terrorism Watch List

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI takes 44 days on average to place suspects on the federal terrorism watch list when they are referred by another agency, The Washington Times reports.

It takes even longer – 78 days – to remove cleared suspects from the list, according to an audit of the bureau.

The audit also found that the FBI takes 17 business days to add its own suspects to the list – if they are ever added.

To blame are “redundant and inefficient processes” at FBI headquarters, Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in the audit.

“The report shows that the FBI has given its field offices too much latitude in terms of timeliness to add people to the watch list,” said Marshall Erwin, a research fellow and counterterrorism specialist at the Hoover Institution who has helped lead investigations for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Times wrote.

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