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Archive for April, 2014

FBI Director James Comey Says He Keeps in Touch With Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Just in case you were wondering, the answer is Yes.

FBI Director James B. Comey, who was in Detroit Tuesday to visit with the local agents and law enforcement folks, told reporters that he keeps in touch with the man he replaced, Robert S. Mueller III.

“He’s been a friend of mine a long time, so I talked to him a lot before coming and I’ve talked to him a number of times since then,” Comey said.

“I guess I don’t want to get into particulars or count the times, but he remains a friend of mine. ”

And then he added with a smile:

“And everything that goes wrong I’m blaming on him.”

Comey fielded questions from reporters about Detroit after meeting with law enforcement folks all day.

Detroiters are often convinced that the crime problem — particularly carjackings — is a little more unique here than in other places around the country.

But Comey responded responded to a reporter’s question about that by saying:

“I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t think Detroit has any unique criminal problems. These are problems that we see in a lot of cities around the country.”

Comey said the FBI plans to add 300 new agents this year.

Will Detroit be a beneficiary?

“We haven’t yet decided where the 300 new agents are going to go,” Comey said. “That will obviously be based on need and where there are risks that are unaddressed. And so Detroit will obviously be part of that conversation, but it’s too early for me to say.”

Comey said the FBI was helping battle the violent crime in Detroit by participating in local task forces, and he acknowledged that  cities like Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland are up against some very tough crime issues.

Still, he emphasized that counterterrorism and counterintelligence remained the FBI’s top priority here and around the country.

He said he’s concerned about the thousands of foreigners training in Syria and where they might wind up after they leave. He also had concerns about home grown violent extremists and lost souls influenced by the propaganda on the Internet.

“So it’s why it’s so important for us to remember the importance of our counterterrorism mission everywhere in the United States.”

Comey also waxed philosophical about solving the violent crime problem.

“You can’t arrest your way to a healthy neighborhood,” he said. “You’ve got to arrest in order to create space for something to grow in its place.

“You will weed for ever if you don’t find a way to seed something in the space you’ve created with your weeding and grow a healthy plan. That is a huge and difficult problem well beyond those of us of in law enforcement but that is the answer to violent crime.”

He was also asked about his level of concern for security at the nation’s northern border.

“The southern border I worry about, the northern border I don’t,” he said.

 

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Becomes Sixth Republic Governor Under Scrutiny by Investigators

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican governors have been under heat recently, and the latest is Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

The FBI is investigating whether Brownback confidantes were running an influence-peddling operation over getting people personal access to the governor, MSNBC reports.

He’s far from the only Republican governor receiving scrutiny.

According to MSNBC:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), for example, is at the center of a series of scandals, while former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is facing corruption charges. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has faced some uncomfortable questions recently; Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has found himself at the center of an investigation into his handling of a district attorney’s drunken driving arrest; and subpoenas have already been issued in an investigation involving North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) administration.

The Kansas inquiry is focusing on Parallel Strategies, a lobbying firm created by three former Brownback employees who left public service for the private sector.

Public Face of Anonymous Pleads Guilty in Case That Could Land Him in Prison for 8.5 Years

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Barrett Lancaster Brown became the public face for Anonymous, a hacking collective that has wrecked havoc on computers nationwide.

Now the spokesman-like figure faces up to eight-and-half years in prison for public posts he made on YouTube and Twitter targeting FBI Agent Robert Smith because authorities were threatening to go after his mom for obstruction of justice charges on accusations that she tried to hide one of Brown’s computer’s, CNET reports.

“Robert Smith’s life is over,” Brown said in a YouTube video. “When I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life…”

On Tuesday, Brown, 32, pleaded guilty to federal charges of making Internet threats, obstructing a search warrant and being an accessory to unauthorized access of a protected computer.

Brown’s attorneys Jay Leiderman told CNET Brown was protected by his first-amendment rights.

“It looks like he may have a very strong First Amendment defense to this,” Leiderman said. “Barrett engages in a lot of hyperbole, a lot of saber rattling, and he often speaks off the cuff and says sometimes things I don’t really think he means. Without having talked to him it’s hard for me to conceive of this as really a threat, as opposed to posturing, puffery.”

Questions Raised About Lethal Injections After Botched Execution in Oklahoma on Tuesday

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The deadly cocktails administered during executions are about to come under fire after a botched lethal injection involving Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett on Tuesday.

Newsweek reports that a doctor stopped administering the lethal injection about 13 minutes into the procedure after Locket lifted his head and began mumbling.

About 40 minutes after the lethal cocktail was administered, Lockett died of an apparent massive heart attack.

“We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren’t working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt to the execution,” Massie said.

Authorities are bracing for serious questions about the viability and humaneness of lethal injections.

Washington State Man Wanted to Blow Up Wal-Mart, Gas Stations to Distract from Bank Robberies

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A recently released inmate planned to blow up a Wal-Mart and several gas stations to distract from plans he had of robbing banks in Washington state.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that suspect Larry Gillette, who was arrested Monday, is accused of revealing his plans to an undercover FBI agent, saying he wanted “carnage.”

During the sting, the 53-year-old tried to acquire four pistols and a bomb from the undercover agent in hopes of using them in Shelton.

“Gillette stated he wanted the targeted Walmart leveled, and intentionally wanted the explosives placed in areas which would prompt secondary explosions causing more damage,” an FBI agent said in court papers, recounting conversations between Gillette and the undercover police officers.

Chicago Bank Robber Handed More Than Cash, Helping Lead to His Arrest

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Chicago bank teller who was getting robbed gave up more than $1,700.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the bank employee also handed the robber a global-positioning system that helped the FBI and local police track him down.

The GPS device activated as soon as the robber left the bank, alerting authorities to the suspect’s every move.

When police tracked down 32-year-old Nathan A. Reed, they found $1,660 in cash, wrapped in a bank money band, and the GPS tracker.

He’s scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former FBI agent, Rep. Michael Grimm, faces federal charges, surrenders to FBI in New York

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, was indicted Monday on 20 counts of fraud and other charges in connection to a Manhattan restaurant he owned, Fox News reports.

The Republican from New York evading the IRS and hiding more than $1 million in profits to avoid paying taxes.

Grimm, who was released on a $400,000 bond, pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn federal court following his arrest earlier in the day.

“Michael Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said at a press conference detailing the charges. “And in doing so, he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken.”

Grimm responded that he’s the victim of a “political witch hunt.”

“We’re going to fight tooth and nail until I am fully exonerated,” Grimm said outside the courthouse, flanked by his attorneys.
Grimm was previously an FBI special agent and Marine Corps combat veteran.

The indictment accuses him of mail and wire fraud charges and filing false federal tax returns. According to the indictment, he tried to hide the sales at his Upper East Side restaurant, Healthalicious, which he operated from 2007 to 2010.

Man Who Impersonated DEA Agent to Impress at Nightclubs Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Benjamin William Mejias seemed to tell anyone who would listen that he was a DEA agent.

He even posted photos of himself on Facebook wearing a DEA insignia and carrying guns and was so brazen that he repeated his story to an Orlando cop while wearing a DEA uniform, a badge and pistol.

On Monday, he was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for what a judge called “stupid” behavior, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

His defense attorney, Mike LaFay, said Mejias did it to impress his wife and others at Orlando nightclubs.
Meijas apologized Monday: “I’m very shameful.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST