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Tag: santa monica

FBI Probes Source of Weapons Used by Gunman Who Killed 5 in Santa Monica

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

One big mystery behind the gunman who killed five people in Santa Monica is how he got his weapons.

Federal authorities recovered two weapons from John Zawahri – a semiautomatic rifle and an old “black-powder handgun,” The Los Angeles Times reports.

Authorities also are trying determine how he amassed a large collection of ammunition.

“We’ve been at his house, going through his computer too,” said the official, who requested anonymity because the case was ongoing.

The L.A. Times reported that Zawahri has a history of mental illness.

FBI Denies Playing Any Role in Boston Globe Naming Bulger Tipster

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy surrounding the decision by the Boston Globe to publish the name of the woman who tipped off the FBI as to the whereabouts of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, continued on Wednesday.

The FBI in Boston posted a statement on its website denying it played any role in the publication of the name, Anna Bjornsdottir, a former Miss Iceland, who split her time between Iceland and Santa Monica, Calif., where she lived near Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig.

“Recently, a news outlet chose to publish the alleged identity of one of the tipsters involved in locating FBI Top Ten Fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger and Catherine Grieg. It is important to note, despite numerous media requests to provide the name of one of the tipsters, at no time has the FBI furnished the name, provided comment, or confirmed the accuracy of any reporting about the tipsters.”

“In defending against public criticism about the decision to publish the name of the alleged tipster, reporters and editors from the news outlet attempted to justify it by stating the FBI did not raise any objections in advance.

“That explanation suggested the FBI was culpable for the publishing of this information. To the contrary, the FBI’s silence on these inquiries should not be seen as acquiescence to that editorial decision. Had the FBI responded one way or the other, the effect would have been to confirm or deny the identity of one of the tipsters.”

“The decision by the news outlet to use an individual’s name and photograph was a decision made solely and independently by that news outlet.”

The Globe reported on the FBI statement and provided further explanation for publishing the name.

Jennifer Peter, the Globe’s deputy managing editor for local news, said the newspaper never reported that the FBI had no objections to identifying the tipster, only that it did not raise any concerns about her personal safety.

“A great deal of thought and discussion went into the decision to name the tipster,’’ Peter said. “And in a case such as this, where there have been so many deceptions and lies in the past and where there were so many conspiracy theories circulating as to what actually happened, it seemed imperative to give as accurate and full an accounting as we could.’’

The Globe reported that is decision to publish the name of the tipster drew criticism from its rival, the Boston Herald and Globe readers.

 

It’s Out: Whitey Bulger Tipster is Former Miss Iceland

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The former Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdottir was splitting her time between Iceland and Santa Monica, Calif. when, at home in Iceland, she saw a photo of her Santa Monica neighbors, Carole and Charlie Gasko, flash across the TV screen, according to CBS Boston. The Gaskos’ were actually mob boss Whitey Bulger and girlfriend Carole Greig. Bjornsdottir called the FBI.

While the tip led the FBI to Bulger, some say the FBI’s inability to protect Bjornsdottir’s identity may harm not only her safety but the integrity of the whole tipster program, reports the Boston Herald.

“They can’t guarantee her 100 percent safety going forward,” former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan told the Herald. “It’s unnecessary publicity and unnecessary harassment.”

CBS Boston reports that Bjornsdottir bonded with Whitey’s girlfriend Carole over a stray cat. “Cathy took this cat under her wing. She would come out every morning and feed this cat. While she was feeding the cat, Anna was stop, and they would talk. They developed a bit of a bond,” CBS Boston quotes a Boston Globe report.

To read more click here.

FBI Agent From Hawaii Helped Nab Mobster “Whitey” Bulger

By Dan Nokaso
Honolulu Star Advertiser

The trail had grown cold on fugitive mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger when FBI Special Agent Greg Comcowich helped create a nationwide ad campaign that led to the capture last week of one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives.

On June 21, the day after $50,000 worth of FBI-produced commercials on Bulger’s fugitive girlfriend — Catherine Elizabeth Greig — began airing on “The View,” ”The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Live! With Regis and Kelly” and other daytime television programs across the country, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force captured Greig and Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.

“I never thought in my FBI career I would have ever been involved in something like this,” said Comcowich, a 42-year-old FBI special agent from Kailua (Hawaii) who works in the FBI’s Boston field office.

Comcowich graduated from the University of Hawaii Lab School in 1988 with the modest goal to briefly experience life on the East Coast, then return home to Kailua.

To read more click here.

Head of Boston FBI Says Speculation That the FBI Didn’t Want to Find Whitey Bulger is “Completely Unfounded”

Richard DesLauriers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Boston FBI  Richard DesLauriers responded Friday to public speculation that the FBI didn’t really want to find mobster James “Whitey” Bulger because he had so much dirt on the agency that could surface publicly.  He called the claims  “completely unfounded.”

DesLauriers, in a statement issued Friday afternoon, said:

“There has been some speculation that the FBI knew about the location of Mr. Bulger prior to the initiation of the FBI’s most recent publicity campaign regarding Catherine Greig and James J. “Whitey” Bulger. (Greig is Bulger’s girlfriend).

“To ensure that there is no misunderstanding about the FBI’s search for Mr. Bulger, I want to reiterate statements I made earlier on this matter.

“Any claim that the FBI knew Mr. Bulger’s whereabouts prior to the FBI’s publicity efforts this week are completely unfounded. When we learned his location, he was arrested promptly.”

“The FBI crafted a media plan to reach as many people as possible. As is now evident, this effort was successful and led directly to the arrest of Mr. Bulger, and highlights the importance of the public’s assistance in these matters.”

Some have suggested that  Bulger has much more  dirt to spill on the FBI, the result of  agents using him as an informant, all while letting him get away with crimes as part of Boston’s notorious Irish mob.  Bulger, who was on the lam for 16 years, was charged in 19 murders.

Other law enforcement agencies in the state complained that the FBI at the time protected Bulger, and sabotaged some of their cases. It caused strains between the FBI and some of the law enforcement agencies.

Bulger, 81, and his girlfriend Catherine Greig, who was wanted for harboring a fugitive,  were captured Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. shortly after the FBI launched a nationwide TV campaign that focused on Greig.  The FBI said it received a tip on Tuesday night as a direct result of the public service announcement campaign. Agents found $800,000 in their apartment along with about 30 weapons.

On Friday, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen wrote a column that  may have added to the speculation about the FBI’s resolve to find Bulger.

“It was hard to find anyone in the Boston Police Department, the State Police, or the US Drug Enforcement Administration who truly believed the FBI wanted to find Bulger. He was the FBI’s prized, if highly overrated, snitch, and he had murdered many while the FBI protected him and compromised other investigations that other law enforcement agencies mounted against Bulger,” he wrote.

“Bulger used to have the FBI in his pocket; now all he has in that pocket is the potential for revenge, should he choose to exact it. He has told friends — indeed he has even told corrupt FBI agents — that the FBI reneged on their deal to let him run his venal little empire as long as he fed them crumbs on the competition.”

“The obsession with the details of Bulger’s arrest is understandable. But the bigger picture is this: there has been a carefully constructed narrative, one of damage control for the FBI and Justice Department, which is now at risk.”

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, where Bulger was captured, said of the speculation questioning the FBI’s resolve:

“There’s no merit to it.”

Suspected Calif. Synagogue Bomber Nabbed in Ohio

Ron Hirsch/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The nationwide hunt for a transient suspected of bombing a Santa Monica, Calif. synagogue last week ended Monday night with his arrest in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the FBI said.

The FBI said a citizen tip resulted in the arrest of Ron Hirsch, who had taken a Greyhound bus on the day of last Thursday’s bombing, and was destined for New York, where he has relatives.

“There are at least 10 destinations in between Los Angeles and New York. Additional investigation and video surveillance indicates that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver and may have further deviated from his original route,” the FBI said.

The New York Daily News reported that the blast at the Chabad House synagogue “sent a 300-pound concrete-encased pipe ricocheting off the synagogue into a neighboring house where a child was sleeping.” There were no injuries.

Authorities initially thought it was an industrial accident.

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