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Tag: Jeff Stein

Arab-American Student Who Found FBI GPS on Car Wants Congressman to Find Out Why

Rep. Honda/official photo

Rep. Honda/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Arab- American student from California who recently found an FBI GPS on his car is asking his Congressman to help find out why he was being followed, Jeff Stein of Spy Talk reports.

Stein reports that student Yasir Afifi has turned to Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) for help.

Afifi’s attorney told SpyTalk she was drafting a letter to the Congressman to “put some pressure on the FBI to explain its practices.”

The attorney Zahar Billoo told Spy Talk the FBI was “wasting tax dollars” by tracking Afifi and “not pursuing serious suspects.”

The son of an Islamic-American community leader, Afifi found a GPS device on his car during an oil change and the FBI came knocking to get it back.

The whole thing started one recent Sunday when Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old American born business marketing student at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif., discovered the device while getting an oil change at Ali’s Auto Care, WIRED reported.

The mechanic saw a mysterious wire near the right rear wheel and exhaust and removed it, WIRED reported. A friend of Ali’s then posted a photo the the GPS device online, according to an interview with Ali.

Two days later, WIRED reported, the FBI came for the device and Afifi turned it over.

Column: Would the “Rough Stuff” Have Worked Better in Interrogation of Terrorist Suspect Zazi?

spy-talk-logoBy Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — The feds cracked Najibullah Zazi without laying a hand on him, according to most news accounts.

But some people still wonder if the rough stuff would have worked better — if only to make sure he gave it all up.

They’ve got to turn off their TVs.

Today I asked two veteran counterterrorism interrogators to take me inside the room when Zazi, the erstwhile New York street peddler- turned-alleged linchpin of a countrywide terrorist plot, was being questioned.

These guys — one from the FBI, and one an Air Force interrogator who mentally sparred with al Qaeda suspects in Iraq and Afghanistan — are the real deal. They’ve spent years eyeball-to-eyeball with hardcore terrorists and assorted other psychopaths, breaking them down.

Neither of them was in the room when the FBI cracked Zazi in Denver two weeks ago. But the techniques used to peel the 25-year-old Afghan immigrant like an avocado aren’t a mystery, either.

To Read More

The Raven Haired Actress and the Fall of a Dapper FBI Agent

Mark Rossini/vtv

Mark Rossini/vtv

By Allan Lengel and Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – As Mark T. Rossini sat at the defendant’s table in the D.C. federal courthouse in May awaiting his fate, you couldn’t help but wonder, if only for a moment, if he saw himself as a tragic figure in a fabled  Hollywood film:

Dapper, veteran FBI agent romances pretty actress and foolishly risks career and prestige — not to mention a $140,000-a-year job — to sneak the actress a secret FBI document.

And you couldn’t help but wonder if he remembered the words he uttered to a group of Muslims at the Al Badr Mosque in Brooklyn that was captured on a YouTube video dated Oct. 20, 2008:

“We are all equal. None of us is above the law, none of us is under the law.”

In the end, Rossini got a slap on the wrist: one year of probation and a $5,000 fine for digging into confidential FBI records and then lying about it to his supervisor and federal investigators.

It didn’t much matter that he did it for his love interest –actress Linda
Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino

Fiorentino of “Men In Black” fame, who had passed the FBI document to help the defense lawyers for rogue detective Anthony Pellicano, who went on trial in 2008 for illegally wiretapping the rich and famous in Hollywood.

The slap on the wrist may have been relatively painless. But his fall from grace was not. Loss of job. Loss of colleagues. Excommunication from the
FBI, an institution obsessed with public image. Rossini, who turned 48 last month, was suddenly very bad for the FBI’s public image. He was unceremoniously kicked to the curb.

“He’s still reeling from the mistakes he made,” a friend said. “He’s devastated. Mark was a hard-working agent who put the needs of the FBI and country at the forefront for years and has made many sacrifices. He’s made some mistakes.”

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