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Tag: Philadelphia

Michael J. Driscoll named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office

Special FBI Agent Michael J. Driscoll.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael J. Driscoll has been named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

Driscoll, who was serving as special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division for the New York Field Office, began his career as an FBI special agent in 1996. He was first assigned to the New York Field Office to work on counterterrorism. In his role, he helped investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attacks on 9/11.

He earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for his work investigating al Qaeda and the 1998 embassy bombings.

In 2003, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the FBI’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In 2005, Driscoll became supervisor and returned to the New York Field Office, where he headed the squad tasked with extraterritorial investigations in Africa. He also led the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts in the New York Hudson Valley region and was later promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll was named assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and working closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services. In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Philadelphia’s counterintelligence and cyber programs.

In 2018, he returned to FBI headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crime Section, which leads the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, as well as efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related violence.

In 2019, Driscoll was promoted to special agent in charge of New York’s Criminal Division and later began to lead New York’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Before joining the FBI, Driscoll worked in commercial litigation as an attorney. He graduated from the State University of New York in Albany and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y.

Feds Seize a Record 16.5 Tons of Cocaine Worth $1B+ in Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine at the Philadelphia Port, calling it the largest coke bust in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the third largest in the U.S.

The DEA bust netted 16.5 tons of cocaine from seven shipping containers found in a cargo ship docked at the Packer Marine Terminal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Federal authorities arrested two members of the crew, Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasag.
Authorities said the ship appears to have originated from Chile and traveled to Peru, Columbia and Panama.

“This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” Philadelphia-based U.S. Attorney William McSwain said on Twitter, “My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”

ATF Helping Philly Police Analyze Ballistic Evidence to Help Solve Crimes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department only analyzed ballistic evidence needed for trials. Other shell casings collected at crime scenes sat in evidence lockers across the city, reports NBC 10 in Philly.

Two years ago, the department collaborated with ATF to collect and analyze all casing. Now in Philly investigators analyze roughly 65,000 bullets and shell casings every year.

Authorities says it has paid off and helped solve crime.

FBI Director Wray: Wants to Bring ‘Calm and Stability’ to Bureau; Gravely Concerned About Getting Access to Mobile Phones

Christopher Wray speaks at IACP in Philly.

Christopher Wray speaks at IACP in Philly.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

PHILADELPHIA — Recently minted FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia that one of  his immediate goals is to restore “calm and stability to the bureau.” He also  expressed grave concern about the difficulty of getting access to thousands of cell phones in criminal cases due to encryption and privacy issues, a problem often referred to as “going dark.”

“In the first 11 months of this fiscal year alone, we were unable to access the content of more than 6,900, that six-thousand-nine-hundred, mobile devices using appropriate and available technical tools even though we had the legal authority to do so. ”

“Each one of those 6,900 mobile devices is tied to a specific subject, a specific defendant, a specific victim, a specific investigation. That’s more than half …..of all the mobile devices that we attempted to access in that time frame. And that’s just the FBI.”

He called it a horrible situation that needs to be resolved.

The FBI director traditionally speaks to the attendees of the conference, who come from around the world,  and ex-Director James Comey would have attended this year’s event had he not been fired.

Wray, who calmly delivered a half hour speech, and fielded questions afterwards, got a standing ovation.

The former federal prosecutor talked about the need for the FBI to cooperate with local law enforcement and said he was pleasantly surprised to see how well the bureau had been doing in that area. He emphasized that the FBI was there to assist local law enforcement.

Wray also assured the crowd he was determined to carry out the mission of the FBI with integrity “no matter the test.”

It wan’t clear if he was talking about the general challenges of the job, or the difficulties he may face serving a president who fired his predecessor.

He said he planned to bring calm and stability to bureau  “by staying laser focused on the mission and on the work itself, day in, day out, left foot, right foot, grinding away, following the rules, following the law, following the guidelines trying  to make sure that we’re dong the right thing but in the right way, treating everybody with respect. “

Woman at FBI’s Philadelphia Office Claims Sexual Discrimination After She Was Demoted

Megan Lampinski is suing the FBI for sexual discrimination. Photo via Linked In.

Megan Lampinski is suing the FBI for sexual discrimination. Photo via Linked In.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A woman who previously headed the FBI Philadelphia office’s computer unit claimed Thursday that she was demoted and replaced with a male employee.

In a civil rights lawsuit, computer specialist Megan Lampinski was removed from her job as a supervisor the information technology division in 2008 because of sexual discrimination, Philly.com reports. 

“The government asserts she was a poor supervisor…. The evidence doesn’t back that up,” Lampinski’s attorney, Maurice R. Mitts, told a jury in the civil trial, noting glowing performance evaluations that Lampinski had received before she was demoted.

Lampinski, 52, was promoted to supervisor in the information technology unit in 2004. Then four years later, she said, she was given a nonsupervisory position in security screening, a job for which she had no experience.

The FBI asserts that Lampinski wasn’t performing well.

“There was no discrimination and no retaliation,” said government attorney Kelly A. Smith.

The trial continues Friday.

FBI Joins Investigation of Yet Another Act of Vandalism Directed at Jews

jewish-star_of_david_3-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate yet another act of vandalism directed at Jewish people.

The latest investigation involves a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, where an estimated 75 to 100 headstones were toppled Saturday night, CNN reports. 

Police have yet to find a motive for the vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

“The Philadelphia FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have opened a civil rights investigation into vandalism at the Mount Carmel Cemetery,” the FBI office in Philadelphia said in an email. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence.”

In recent weeks, dozens of Jewish community centers across the country have been the targets of bomb threats.

“I’m a child of a Holocaust survivor, so I grew up with stories of destruction of Jewish cemeteries,” said Rebecka Hess, who helped clean up the cemetery. “I always thought we were done with that.”

Inquirer Editorial: Philadelphia Politicians Are Constantly Under FBI Probes

police tapeBy Editorial Board
Philadelphia Inquirer

An FBI raid of the home and offices of electricians Local 98 boss John J. “Johnny Doc” Dougherty doesn’t mean he is guilty of anything. But the fact that the Justice Department keeps finding reason to investigate a union leader with strong ties to powerful elected officials is more than a bit unsettling in a city that only weeks ago saw a congressman convicted of corruption.

Federal agents similarly searched Dougherty’s home 10 years ago in trying to determine the source of mysterious bank deposits that they said suggested “an effort to conceal financial dealings.” Dougherty was given $200,000 to ren
ovate his home by his wife’s parents, his lawyer said. Investigators responded that Dougherty’s in-laws lived “paycheck to paycheck.” But no charges were filed.

In addition to Dougherty’s house, FBI agents executed search warrants Friday at his sister’s house next door; his union offices; the Mount Laurel home of Local 98 president Brian Burrows; and the City Hall and district offices of Councilman Bobby Henon, a former Local 98 political director. Henon, a rising star since his 2011 election, earlier this year ousted Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. as majority leader.

A source told the Inquirer that the FBI’s current focus was on the union’s finances and its involvement in the successful political campaigns last year of Mayor Kenney and state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, John’s younger brother. Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said he had no reason to believe the investigation was related to him. Justice Dougherty provided no immediate comment.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Secret Service Sets Up Technology to Crack Down on Cyberattacks During DNC

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Democratic Convention in Philadelphia is tense for Secret Service.

Agents are keeping a close eye on cyberattacks after the Democratic National Committee e-mails were hacked, ABC News reports.

“We are trying to be proactive in addressing the cyber threat,” Agent Kyo Dolan of the Secret Service said.

Agents also are on heightened alert for protesters and other threats. Their job is to protect the candidates and convention venue.

“Every security enhancement available has been rolled out for the political conventions -– some you can see, and some you can’t,” Dolan said.

ABC News wrote:

To combat the cyber threat, agents and analysts have set up an extensive computer monitoring system to track internet activity around the convention –- the command center at the convention in is close touch with the Secret Service monitoring center at headquarters in Washington. Agents closely watch various networks looking for any kind of abnormal or suspicious activity.

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