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Archive for October 22nd, 2015

Las Vegas’ First Female FBI Agent Was an Undercover Success

Tall and slim, with long, blond hair, Deborah Richard could look like an expensive call girl or a bag lady. She could wear an auburn wig and heavy makeup and look like a hooker. She could be the perfect ditz or the perfect waitress.

But it was quick thinking that made Las Vegas’ first female FBI agent an undercover success. She started undercover work through assignments at the Huntington Beach Police Department, her first law enforcement job. Once she posed as a model and would-be hooker and convinced a man the wire he felt was a pacemaker. She was in her early 20s at the time.

After the FBI recruited her, Richard came to Las Vegas in 1977 and for two years worked undercover doing surveillance and gathering intelligence in the bureau’s intense effort to indict Tony Spilotro, the Chicago mob’s watchdog in Las Vegas. She was 27 but looked younger.

“A lot of my work was being a fly on the wall,” she said.

She will be on the Mob Museum’s Nov. 7 panel discussing what was real in the movie “Casino” about Spilotro, mob associate Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Rosenthal’s wife (and Spilotro’s lover), Geri.

Richard, who has retired to Las Vegas, shocked me Sunday when she said Geri had also been a source for the FBI, which is not the same as a top echelon informant like Rosenthal and didn’t require a paper trail.

Richard knew this because she worked with the late FBI agent Al Zimmerman, who worked with both Rosenthals. Richard said sometimes Zimmerman met with both Rosenthals the same night, without each other’s knowledge.

While preparing for the museum panel, which includes former Mayor Oscar Goodman, she told him Geri was a source for the FBI. He was stunned, she said.

“Both of them?” he blurted out

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent’s Alleged Theft Could Compromise Indictments Against 52 Alleged Gang Members

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Allegations that an FBI agent stole more than $100,000 in drug money could spell trouble for a painstaking investigation that netted indictments of 52 alleged members and associates of a Southern California street gang tied to the Mexican Mafia, CNN reports.

The former agent, 10-year veteran Scott M. Bowman, was charged with theft in June.

Authorities are worried that the allegations against Bowman could be time-consuming and costly, potentially compromising the multi-defendant cases.

Bowman is accused of stealing the money to fuel a spending spree on cars, cosmetic surgery and a Las Vegas getaway with his girlfriend.

Secret Service Permitted to Track Cell Phones without Warrant from a Judge

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the event of a nonspecific threat to a president or someone else under protection, the Secret Service won’t be required to get a warrant to use cellphone-tracking technology, the Associated Press reports. 

A House subcommittee learned about the new policy from Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth M. Stodder.

The devices, known as Stingrays, have been criticized by civil libertarians and privacy advocates as too intrusive.

The Justice Department introduced a similar policy in September. That policy includes the FBI.

Federal law requires authorities to get a signed warrant from a judge before using Stringrays, but exceptions have been made for “exigent circumstances.”

Homeland Security Allows Nearly 100 Employees to Collect Pay without Working

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly 100 Homeland Security employees are collecting pay while not working, the Washington Post reports. 

Auditors made the discovery and expressed concerns about the go-to strategy of placing employees accused of misconduct on administrative leave.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is unhappy and wants to know why so many employees are paid without being required to work.

“DHS also failed to explain why such extended amounts of time were needed to conduct investigations into security issues, misconduct, or fitness for duty,” Grassley wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

FBI Director: Fewer Americans Trying to Join ISIS Abroad As Crackdown Continues

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fewer Americans are traveling abroad to join ISIS, FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday.

The remarks before the House Homeland Security Committee are welcoming news after investigators saw an uptick in ISIS involvement, The Associated Press reports. 

In the past three months, the FBI is aware of six people who tried to join ISIS, compared to an average of nine a month.

Comey said he wasn’t certain why fewer people were joining, but he said the FBI has stepped up efforts against ISIS recruiting Americans.

In just the past year, dozens of Americans have been arrested for allegedly supporting ISIS.

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