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Archive for May 19th, 2014

Former British Imam Convicted in Terror Trial in New York

By Benamin Wiser
New York Times.

NEW YORK — The fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had “devoted his life to violent jihad” and had dispatched young men around the world to train and fight was convicted of 11 terrorism-related charges on Monday in Manhattan.

Prosecutors had charged that the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, helped to orchestratethe violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen; had tried to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and had supported terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

In the tourist abductions, four hostages were killed after their captors, a militant group allied with Mr. Mostafa, used them as shields during a Yemeni rescue operation. “He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad,” a prosecutor, Ian McGinley, told the jury in a closing argument on Wednesday.

To read the full story click here. 

Feds Expected to Announce First-of-Its-Kind Prosecution Involving Cyber-Espionage Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement officials are expected to announce criminal charges today in an international cyber-espionage case.

Details were murky this morning, but the Associated Press reports that Attorney General Eric Holder planned to reveal new indictments against people suspected of cyber-espionage on behalf of a foreign government.

The target wasn’t clear early this morning, but one official said it will be a first-of-its-kind prosecution.

The Obama administration has expressed an urgency in going after cyber threats.

Pakistani Court Dismisses Criminal Case Against FBI Agent Who Tried to Board Flight with Bullets, Knife

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was arrested in Pakistan for trying to board a flight with bullets and a knife in his luggage will not be charged after all, Reuters reports.

A Pakistani court dismissed the case Monday in a move likely intended to keep from souring U.S.-Pakistani ties.

Joel Cox, an FBI agent for the Miami Field Office, was arrested May 4 after trying to board a civilian flight with the knife and bullets. He was jailed for three days before being released on $10,000 bond.

“Since he was not carrying a weapon, only bullets were found from his luggage, the investigation report recommended the cancellation of the case,” Inspector Khalid Mehmood told Reuters.

Column: DEA’s Actions with Industrial Hemp in Kentucky Is Arbitrary

By Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
Cincinnati.com

On the afternoon of May 14, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture filed suit against the federal government. Enough is enough.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is illegally preventing shipment of hemp seeds to Kentucky in clear violation of federal law. For weeks, we have dealt with unnecessary government bureaucracy, federal officials unwilling to discuss the law or answer questions, and delay … after delay … after delay.To understand what led to legal action, you have to know the journey. From the beginning, Kentucky has taken a legally responsible pathway to reintroducing industrial hemp to our agricultural economy. We did everything “by the book” and in record time. We revived the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, pulled together an unprecedented bipartisan coalition, passed a landmark state law legalizing hemp production in Kentucky, and traveled to Washington and worked with our congressional delegation to change federal law.

The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed into law by the president of the United States in February, authorizes states where hemp production is legal to carry out research pilot programs “notwithstanding any other federal law.”

A couple of weeks ago, a 250-pound shipment of hemp seeds meant for legal Kentucky hemp pilot programs was imported from Italy to Chicago. The shipment cleared customs in Chicago, but then, in an arbitrary and capricious about-face, the DEA seized the seeds when they arrived in Louisville. We negotiated for their release for days, and we thought we had the matter resolved. But then, DEA attached conditions to the release of the seed requiring the department to obtain a Schedule 1 controlled substances research registration and prohibiting private farmers with sites duly certified by and registered with the department from participating in the pilot programs.

When we confronted the DEA about this, the response was, “Make a counter-offer.”

FBI Director James B. Comey Steadfast in Keeping Terrorism As Top Concern for Bureau

FBI photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When James B. Comey became the FBI’s new director last year, many observers believed he’d usher in a new era at the bureau by shifting some of the focus away from terrorism.

But the New York Times reports that Comey, a former Justice Department prosecutor who focused on gun cases, appears to have underestimated the threat still posed by terrorism.

“I didn’t have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job just how virulent those affiliates had become,” Mr. Comey said, referring to offshoots of Al Qaeda in Africa and in the Middle East during an interview with the Times at the J. Edgar Hoover Building. “There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated.”

Comey said he therefore will keep terrorism as the main focus of the FBI.

President Obama appeared to indicate last year that the U.S. would move past terrorism soon and that “we have to recognize that the scale of the threat resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

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