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Tag: Harvard

ATF’s Scott Sweetow Moving Up to Deputy Assistant Director

Scott Sweetow

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sweetow, who heads up ATF’s St. Paul, Minn., office is moving up the chain.

He”ll be taking over the job as Deputy Assistant Director for ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII).

His new responsibilities will include ATF’s partner engagement liaison with the intelligence community, overseeing ATF’s foreign operations and training, counterterrorism division, Joint Support and Operations Center, criminal intelligence division and the U.S. Bomb Data Center.

Sweetow has headed up the St. Paul Division, which includes which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Sweetow, who began his career with ATF in 1990 in Los Angeles, spent several years assigned in the Arson and Explosives group, and served as a Certified Explosives Specialist. His duties included being part of ATF’s elite National Response Team, which investigated such high-profile crimes as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Centennial Olympic Park bombings.

He also spent several years working criminal intelligence matters, including a weapons case targeting the “The Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman’s one time driver and bodyguard, Hikmat Alharahsheh.

Specifically, in 1999, Sweetow became a supervisory special agent in the Phoenix Field Division, serving in operations and as violent crime enforcement group supervisor.

In 2003, he went to ATF headquarters where he served in the Policy Development and Evaluation branch, eventually becoming its chief. In July of that year, he became the first ATF agent to “deploy operationally to Iraq”, assisting the Defense Intelligence Agency as part of the Iraq Survey Group.

In 2004, Sweetow was promoted to a deputy division chief and later chief in the Arson, Explosives and International Training Division in ATF’s Training and Professional Development directorate. He remained there until December 2006.

While division chief, Sweetow was instrumental in establishing ATF’s $50 million National Center for Explosives Training and Research at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

In January 2007, Sweetow became an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Atlanta Field Division and later went on to become the SAC in Atlanta.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Soviet Area Studies and a masters in Strategic Intelligence. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executives in National and International Security program and the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar.

In 2009, Scott he published an article in “Homeland Security Today” entitled “After Mumbai: Facing the Flames” which dealt with the use of fire as an asymmetric warfare tool by terrorists.

 

Parker: More Info on the Downside of Smoking Marijuana Including Impact on Brain Structure of Young Adults

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. 

Ross Parker

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

A recent study by researchers from Northwestern University and Harvard University Medical School has concluded that even moderate use of marijuana by young adults affects the structure of their brains.

The study, published in the April 16, 2014 Journal of Neuroscience, found that the size and shape of the region of the brain involved in emotion and motivation were abnormal in these casual users compared to non-users. Further, the more an individual uses marijuana, the more pronounced these structural changes are.

The study is significant because most of the recent studies showing the effects of marijuana on the brain were performed with heavy rather than casual users. The study joins the increased amount of recent scientific and medical evidence that marijuana use, especially for young brains, has unhealthy side effects. As reported the last few months in this column, these reports have shown:

  • The tripling of calls to Poison Centers in states that have legalized marijuana in some form about young children who have ingested marijuana (University of Maryland, Center for Substance Abuse Research)
  •  Dramatic increase in the need for medical intervention for children in states that have decriminalized marijuana use (American College of Emergency Physicians)
  • The marijuana addiction rate for youth is 17%, three times that of adults (American Society of Addiction Medicine)
  • In medical marijuana states, one-third of the 12th graders report that one of their sources of supply is from adults with a medical marijuana prescription (University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research)
  • Increased use of marijuana by American teens and a sharp decline in their perception that marijuana use can be risky (Same source)
  • Use of marijuana during pregnancy affects the baby’s brain (Live Science)
  • Increased statistics of marijuana-related emergency room visits (DAWN)
  • Chronic use of marijuana may result in increased anxiety by down regulating the cannabinoid receptors in the brain (Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Neuron)

After years of very limited research on the medical effects of marijuana, this barrage of recent studies seems to be receiving little attention among state legislatures which are following the trend toward legalization which has changed the national culture in such a short period of time. Twenty years ago marijuana was illegal in all states in all forms. Today two states have legalized recreational use as well as numerous random municipalities, and 21 have authorized its “medical” use. Numerous states are considering similar bills, and the federal policy on enforcement has been altered dramatically by the present administration.

Pro-marijuana advocates are quick to point out their views on the harm of prohibition and the benefits of legalization. If there is to be a full and fair discussion on the future on this issue, the mounting scientific and medical evidence deserve full consideration.

 

How FBI Agents Tracked Down Harvard Student Accused of Making Bomb Threats

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI had a crisis on its hands.

Several bomb threats were sent via email to Harvard University, causing the school to close buildings during final exams.

The student accused of sending in the threat, sophomore Eldo Kim, took steps to hide his identity using two anonymity tools – the routing service Tor and the temporary mail service Guerrilla Mail, the Verge reports.

But the tools were no match for the FBI, which used the information to track down Kim, who was using Harvard’s wireless network.

Kim told authorities he was trying to get out of a final exam.

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FBI: Harvard University Student Sent Bomb Threat to Delay Taking Final Exam

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Harvard University student who wasn’t prepared for his final exam decided to buy himself some time.

On Monday, Eldo Kim, 20, emailed threats that claimed there were “bombs placed around campus” about a half hour before his test, NBC News reports, citing the FBI. Sure enough, the alarms rang at 9 a.m. to evacuate students.

“He knew that his plan had worked,” the affidavit read.

But the next day, the FBI tracked down Kim, who told authorities he was trying to avoid an exam, NBC News wrote.

The Cambridge man is scheduled for a hearing today in U.S. District Court. He faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted of communicating the bomb threat, NBC wrote.

 

Ex-Prosecutor Turned Author Tries to Shield Her Parents from the Steamy Sex Scenes

Featured_leotta_7113
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Allison Leotta, a Detroit native living in the D.C. area, likes to send her parents in Michigan a draft of her new novels — minus the chapters with the steamy sex scenes.

“I take out those chapters,” says Leotta, a Michigan State University graduate.

But her mother, Diane Harnisch, of West Bloomfield, Mich., says at least with the last transcript, her daughter may have forgotten to excise those chapters. Not that it really matters. She says she reads the published books as well.

“I want to know exactly what she’s writing,” says Harnisch. “Of course as a mom, it makes me a little uncomfortable  at times. and wondering how in heavens name does she know that stuff.”

Her parents and grandmother are perhaps her  biggest fans, but certainly not the only ones.

Leotta, 40,  who is married and the mother of two young boys, is on fire in the literary world.

Described in the Providence Journal as a female John Grisham, the former D.C. sex crimes prosecutor will release her third novel “Speak of the Devil”, Tuesday.

It’s part of the ongoing series centering around a fictional sex crime prosecutor named Anna Curtis. On day of the debut, she’ll appear for a book signing at 7 p.m. at Books-A- Million on Southfield Road in Beverly Hills.

The third book isn’t her last.

Leotta recently signed a contract with Touchstone/Simon & Schuster to write two more novels as part of the series, she tells Deadline Detroit.

In her latest book, the main character, prosecutor Anna Curtis gets engaged. That’s the good news.

On the downside, one of her cases takes a vicious turn.  A criminal named Diablo — the Devil — leads an attack on a brothel. It results in an investigation into the dangerous  MS-13 gang, which has roots in El Salvador.  Curtis tries to keep her personal and professional life separate.  But the dangers of the job come to her doorstep.

Leotta says this book is a little darker than previous works, “but it’s a lot more suspenseful. People who have read it have been surprised by all the twist and turns.”

A  sex crimes prosecutor, she left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. in 2011 to write full time.

While working as a prosecutor she wrote her first novel “Law of Attraction.” As policy, the Justice Department had to review the transcript for any security breaches. Leotta wasn’t worried about that. What concerned her was having colleagues having read the sex scenes.

Leotta, who grew up in Franklin and Farmington Hills, and attended Harvard Law School, always can depend on two people to help generate interest in her book signings in Metro Detroit:  Her father, Alan Harnisch of Troy, who is  a former federal prosecutor, and her mother.

“They’re my biggest fans,” she says. “They never fail to pack the bookstore with friends whenever I’m there.”

Her mother says: “I couldn’t be more proud of her or in awe of her ability.”

Interestingly, Leotta says her grandmother has read the books as well — steamy scenes and all.

“With my grandma, she read the published  books, and she said she was shocked, and said ‘ how did you learn all that stuff?”

Besides writing books, Leotta has a blog, The Prime Time Crime Review, which evaluates crime shows for true-to-life  accuracy.

 

ATF-Postal Had Investigated Ala. Biology Prof in 1993 Mail Bombing to Harvard Med Prof

Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo
Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s hard to think of a biology teacher as a dangerous person. Boring? Long winded? Possibly. But dangerous?

Well, not only did biology professor Amy Bishop allegedly kill three colleagues and wound three more in a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Friday, but now the Boston Globe reports she was a subject of an ATF-Postal probe in an attempted bombing of a Harvard Medical School prof in 1993.

The paper reports that Bishop and her husband “were questioned after a package containing two pipe bombs was sent to the Newton home of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, a Harvard Medical School professor and physician at Children’s Hospital Boston. At the time, Bishop was working as a postdoctoral fellow in the hospital’s human biochemistry lab.”

The paper reported that Bishop’s husband, James E. Anderson, “acknowledged that he and his wife were questioned by authorities about the 1993 mail bomb case, but said neither of them was a suspect. Rather, they were “subjects’’ of the attempted bombing investigation, he said.”

The husband told the New York Times that he had a letter from the ATF saying that they had been cleared in the matter.

To read more click here.

Prosecution Witness Tesitifies ex-Rep. Jefferson Told Him He Didn’t Think He was Doing Anything Illegal

Sure Jefferson is trying to say that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. But he’ll have to find some way to explain to the jurors why, when he spoke to an FBI informant who was wearing a wire, he used a code word for money (“African art”) and sounded as if he was doing something very illegal.

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A prosecution witness testified Monday that former Rep. William Jefferson told him in 2002 that as a Harvard-educated lawyer he believes his involvement with international business deals was legal as long as he didn’t legislate on those projects.

George Knost, president of Baton Rouge-based Arkel International, said Jefferson’s comments came in response to a question he asked the congressman about the international projects he heard that Jefferson was involved with, in addition to promoting a Nigerian sugar refinery sponsored by an Arkel subsidiary, Arkel Sugar.

Jefferson’s comments, which Judge T.S. Ellis III allowed to be described to the jury over prosecution objections, seem intended by his attorneys to show he had a clear vision on what activities were legitimate and which were not.

The issue is important. Jefferson’s attorneys argue that the allegations in the government’s 16-count corruption indictment focus on private business deals not covered by the federal bribery statute.

For Full Story

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