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Tag: Seattle

FBI Cyber Security Expert May Dodge Prison for Collecting Child Pornography

Brian Haller

Brian Haller

By Steve Neavling

An FBI cyber security expert who was busted collecting child pornography may dodge jail and be allowed to live across the street from a Seattle elementary school.

Brian Haller, who led an FBI group that fought cybercrime, was arrested after agents discovered that he had used a Tor network site to collect hundred of files of child pornography, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 

Although Haller faces up to five years in prison, federal prosecutors have asked a judge to spare him jail time when he is sentenced Friday for possession of child pornography.

A federal judge will decide whether to grant leniency.

“The sentence suggested by prosecutors is nearly unheard of for child pornography crimes in the region,” The Post-Intelligencer wrote. “Haller would be Western Washington’s first federal child porn convict to catch such a break since the U.S. Sentencing Commission started tracking the crime separately five years ago.”

IRS Agent in Seattle Convicted of Bribery


By Allan Lengel

After three days of deliberations, a federal jury in Seattle last week convicted an IRS  agent of soliciting and accepting a bribe.

Paul G. Hurley, 43, of Seattle,  was convicted on two felony counts on Friday. Sentencing is set for May 13.

According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, authorities said that Hurley in the summer of  2015 was randomly assigned to audit the corporate taxes of Have a Heart Compassion Care, Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary.

During a meeting at one of the dispensary locations, Hurley presented the owner with the findings of the audit and said he had saved him  “millions” during the audit,  and he lived paycheck to paycheck, according to a press release.

Hurley asked the owner for $20,000.

The business owner and his attorney reported the solicitation of a bribe to the FBI.

Working with the FBI, the business owner met twice with Hurley and recorded conversations and delivered cash in marked bills, authorities said.  Some of the cash was seized when Hurley was arrested following the second meeting with the business owner.



Lawyer: Federal Air Marshals Should Not Use Gun Ranges That Aren’t Lead Free

By Steve Neavling

Federal air marshals should not be using gun ranges that aren’t proven to be led free, the top attorney for the marshals told TSA on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times reports that a letter from attorney Lawrence Berger, who represents the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, was sent to to the agency expressing the concerns.

The letter following an April 13 investigation by the Seattle Times that revealed TSA has endangered hundreds of employees by having them use commercial ranges that have lead contamination.

“FLEOA demands that the Transportation Security Administration immediately cease and desist contracting with or otherwise utilizing any gun range that has not been inspected by or received an up-to-date clearance from OSHA that the range is safe from toxic poisoning,” Berger said.

The Seattle Times wrote:

When lead-based ammunition is fired, lead vapor and dust spread into the air and onto surfaces. If a range doesn’t have proper ventilation and fails to adequately clean the range, air marshals can be overexposed to lead. Shooters might also track the metal home and contaminate others. Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning.

Other Stories of Interest

Suspect Fatally Shot by Border Patrol Agent Wanted for Murder in Washington

By Steve Neavling

The man shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last week was wanted for murder, reports. 

Investigators said a man was crossing the border illegally in Sumas in Washington when the shooting occurred.

“The subject refused the agents commands then assaulted one of the agents with an unknown incapacitating spray,” said Dan M. Harris Jr., chief Border Patrol agent for the Blaine sector.

Turns out, the suspect, 20-year-old Jamison Childress, was wanted for murder outside Whatcom County, where the shooting happened.



Former FBI Agent in Charge of Seattle Quietly Dismisses Discrimination Lawsuit

By Steve Neavling 

Laura M. Laughlin, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle office before abruptly resigning last year, has dismissed her lawsuit against the bureau and Justice Department, King 5 News reports.

Laughlin filed a federal lawsuit in 2011, claiming she faced sex discrimination and retaliation.

“As the agent in charge of 300 agents in Seattle, she was one of the highest level FBI agents ever to sue the bureau,” King 5 News wrote.

It’s still not clear why Laughlin quietly dismissed the case. Neither she nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

The Justice Department released a statement.

“Ms. Laughlin dismissed her case with no settlement,” said Assistant US Attorney Marine Utgoff Braswell.

 Other Stories of Interest

Seattle’s New FBI Chief Described ‘Momentum’ In 13-Year-old Murder of Prosecutor

Frank Montoya Jr.

Steve Neavling

The new head of the Seattle FBI office is wiping off the dust of a 13-year-old investigation into the fatal shooting of a Seattle federal prosecutor after expressing “momentum” in the case, the Seattle Times reports.

“It’s an ongoing, active investigation,” Special Agent in Charge Frank Montoya Jr. said during a wide-ranging news briefing. The news comes after the previous special agent in charge, Laura Laughlin, reportedly reduced the size of the task force working the case of Thomas Wales.

Montoya said he’s encouraged with the prospect of solving the case, which involves active leads.

Wales was shot in his basement through a window in the backyard.

A witness said a man fled.

Frank Montoya Jr. Becomes Next Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Seattle Division

Steve Neavling

Frank Montoya Jr., who acted as head of national counterintelligence for the U.S. government, has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle Division, the Seattle Times reports.

Montoya most recently served as the national counterintelligence executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Montoya replaces Laura M. Laughlin, who abruptly retired in February.

Montoya joined the FBI in 1991 and was first stationed in the San Antonio Field Office, where he worked violent crime and fugitive investigations. He also worked temporarily in the Oklahoma office to help in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing investigation.

In June 1996, he transferred to the San Juan Field Office and worked in the special operations group and was a surveillance team leader on drug, violent crime, and national security cases, the FBI said.

He then went off to the Washington Field Office’s national security squad, and in April 2000, he went to headquarters where he oversaw national security investigations and operations. During that time, he assisted with the Robert Hanssen investigation.

In November 2002, he went to the Milwaukee Field Office where he was a supervisor and oversaw the counterintelligence squad and several national security investigations.

In 2005, it was back to headquarters where he was promoted to unit chief in the Counterintelligence Division.

In July 2007, he became a special agent in charge of the counterintelligence branch in the San Francisco office.

Head of FBI’s Office in Seattle Resigns Abruptly; She Had Long-Standing Sexual Discrimination Claims

Steve Neavling

Laura M. Laughlin, head of the FBI’s office in Seattle for a decade, resigned abruptly Monday.

The Seattle Times reports that Laughlin retirement was anything but routine.

Laughlin, who joined the FBI in 1985, filed suit for sexual discrimination againt the bureau in 2011, claiming she was passed up for at least 15 promotions because of gender discrimination and retaliation since 2007.

An FBI spokeswoman said Laughlin was nearing her mandatory retirement age of 57 in September.

“Many special agents choose to retire before that age-related mandatory point,” FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said.