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Archive for April 21st, 2014

Pittsburgh’s New FBI Leader Is Tested on Third Day with Mass Stabbing at High School

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was just Scott S. Smith’s third day as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office when a student slashed and stabbed classmates in a hallway at Franklin Regional High School last week.

“It was a horrific incident,” Smith told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a story. “Behind the scenes, though, there’s a lot of investigative activity, evidence collection, witness interviews that have to be done, and they have to be done then.”

Smith allotted 20 agents to the investigation, which includes interviews and evidence reconstruction.

“He was battle-tested in his very first week,” said U.S. attorney David Hickton, who was on the scene with Mr. Smith.

Smith is in charge of 145 FBI agents, in a addition to other support staff and local law enforcement.

Justice Department Drops Investigation of FBI Agent Who Shot, Killed New Orleans Man

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has declined to open a criminal investigation into the FBI-involved shooting that left a New Orleans man dead during an undercover drug sting last summer, the Times-Picayune reports.

It’s the second time an agency has opted against pursuing charges against the agent, who shot 37-year-old Allen Desdunes on July 30.

“The Civil Rights Division reviewed the information collected by the FBI regarding the shooting and declined to open a criminal investigation,” said spokeswoman Dena Iverson.

Whatever prompted the shooting remains unclear because the FBI has been tight-lipped.

This much is known: Agents were investigating Desdunes following a drug deal when the shooting occurred.

FBI: Fugitive Tax Cheats Built Massive Bunker in Washington to Avoid Detection

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pair of fugitive tax scofflaws secretly built an elaborate bunker at the Washington state home.

The New York Daily News reports that Radu Nemes and his wife, Diana, were arrested in March on accusations of conspiring to hide at least $68 million in taxes.

The pair have not been charged with a crime and are now facing extradition hearings.

The FBI described a cross-continental money laundering scheme to conceal money made from a tax scam that involved profits from selling one million tons of diesel fuel.

By reporting it as a lower quality gas, they pair is accused of avoiding tariffs.

Opinion: FBI Has Plenty of Questions to Answer About Its Repeated Failures Following Boston Marathon Attack

By The Rutland Herald
Editorial Board

As Boston marks the first anniversary of the Marathon bombings, one chapter closes. But there’s still enough to fill a book — especially when it comes to the role of the FBI.

Questions about it pour from the pages of numerous post-bombing government reports. An assessment by the House Homeland Security Committee challenges the FBI’s resistance to information sharing. A review done by various intelligence agencies highlights missed opportunities involving the threat posed by a radicalized Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Reports by a Florida prosecutor and the Department of Justice address the shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, who tied Tamerlan Tsarnaev to a triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Unsurprisingly, both reports conclude that Todashev’s shooting by an FBI agent was justified. But why was Todashev questioned in his Orlando apartment, with access to items that could be used as weapons, rather than in a more secure environment?

Lawyers for Tamerlan’s brother, Dzhokhar, also claim the FBI sought to turn Tamerlan into an informant. The government said it has “no evidence” of that, which doesn’t exactly shut the door on the possibility.

Richard DesLauriers, the now retired FBI agent who was in charge of the Boston office and the Marathon investigation, went on “60 Minutes” to explain how the FBI identified the bombers. But the FBI has never told the public who interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, nor explained why that agent failed to recognize the older brother from the surveillance video. So much for that old saying that a police officer never forgets a face. If this agent remembered Tamerlan’s face, it might have averted the public release of the video and the manhunt and violence that followed.

Teenager Survives ‘Miracle’ Trip in Wheel Well of Flight from California to Hawaii

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 16-year-old boy survived a five-and-a-half-hour trip in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii despite frigid temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen, the FBI said.

CBS News reports that the boy was questioned by the the FBI after he was discovered Sunday on the tarmac without identification at the Maui airport.

“I would imagine flying (at that altitude), it would be very cold. Also … that wheel well really is not pressurized or temperature controlled, so it would be a miracle to have survived,” Maui Airport Duty Manager Marvin Moniz said.

What’s worrisome to federal authorities is how easily Simon hopped a fence to get on the plane at Santa Clara.

Authorities said he was running away from home after an argument

“He was unconscious for the lion’s share of the flight,” FBI spokesman Tom Simon said.

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