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Tag: Sept. 11

FBI, NSA Officials Urge Congress to Retain Spy Powers Under Patriot Act

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and National Security Administration are on the verge of losing surveillance powers that were gained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Authorities for both agencies are urging lawmakers to preserve the spy powers before the expire June 1, The Guardian reports. 

Some members of Congress want more surveillance reforms to protect the privacy of innocent Americans.

Losing the authority gained in Section 215 of the Patriot Act will make it difficult to conduct some federal investigations, authorities warned.

Whether Congress renews the powers may depend on the newest members of Congress.

“A lot of it is going to hinge on the freshmen. Right now, as far as I can tell, the select intelligence committee is making a real strong play to persuade the freshmen that all of these public concerns are overblown,” Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said.

 

 

Did FBI ‘Whitewash’ Investigation of Saudi Connection to Sept. 11 Attacks?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family left their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind expensive possessions without letting neighbors or the mail carrier know.

The New York Post reports that a couple made a hasty, suspicious retreat back to Saudi Arabia.

A subsequent investigation found that at least one of the family members trained at the same flight school as some of the hijackers.

The investigation was active for years and included the FBI’s Tampa field office and the bureau’s office in New York and Washington.

The New York Post wrote:

The Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11 investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.” Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it maintains the probe was a dead end

Former FBI Agent Claims He Had Information to Stop 9/11 Attacks

A former FBI special agent said he had information that could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but he said the CIA prevented him from taking the evidence to FBI headquarters, Newsweek reports.

Mark Rossini, who lost his job in 2008 for showing confidential FBI documents to actress Linda Fiorentino to help her research a script about a wiretapper, said he was barred from going to FBI headquarters with information that two known terrorists had entered the U.S. Those terrorists later helped carry out the 9/11 attacks.

While government reports have vaguely blamed “intelligence failures” for the terrorist attacks, no details were ever provided about why the CIA didn’t pass on information earlier to the FBI that the terrorists were in the country.

During questioning by the congressional investigators, Rossini said and another FBI agent were told by the CIA to stay quiet.

“It was just understood in the office that they were not to be trusted, that [the congressional investigators] were trying to pin this on someone, that they were trying to put someone in jail,” Rossini told Newsweek. “They said [the investigators] weren’t authorized to know what was going on operationally. … When we were interviewed, the CIA had a person in the room, monitoring us.”

President George W. Bush Paved Way for Weakened Secret Service

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Secret Service’s ability to carry out its duties to protect the president was compromised by the expansion of duties in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Washington Post reports.

That explains the recent string of embarrassing security lapses, the Post reported, citing interviews and government documents.

Under expansions approved by Congress and President George W. Bush, the agency began stretching responsibilities to include more monitoring of large sporting events and other big gatherings. The agency also took charge of tracking cyberthreats against U.S., and around-the-clock protection was extended to more people.

Those responsibilities came even as the agency’s ranks were diminished by early retirements.

“We are not the Super Bowl team we once were,” Dan Emmett, a former Secret Service supervisor, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post.

Video: Man Wearing Pokemon Hat Jumps Over North Fence of White House on Sept. 11 Anniversary

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Local and federal authorities raided the home Thursday of the murder suspect of two district attorneys and one of their spouses, NBCDFW.com reports.

Meanwhile, lawyers for suspect Eric Williams plan to ask a judge today for a trial delay, saying they need more time.
It’s believed that new evidence surfaced during the raid.

Included were the FBI, ATF, Texas Rangers, special prosecutors and Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department.

Williams, who worked as a Kaufman County justice of the peace, is suspected of murdering Assistant Kaufman County District Attorney Mark Hasse, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Director Comey Pledges to Continue Fighting Terrorism As Bureau’s Top Priority

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, FBI Director James Comey pledged to continue fighting terrorism as the bureau’s top priority, the Arizona Republic reports.

“We made a promise to the American people 13 years ago … that we would do everything we can to make sure that there was never an attack on American soil anywhere near as horrific as that,” Comey said during a press conference at the agency’s Phoenix headquarters. “So we’re about that obligation, keeping that promise every single day.”

The visit was part of Comey’s pledge to stop by all 56 field offices.

Comey said the threat of terrorism remains high.

Terrorism organizations to be concerned about are in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

“It’s especially worrisome in Syria, where you have thousands and thousands of foreign terrorists fighting with groups like ISIL,” Comey said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

 

TSA Astonished That People Continue to Bring Guns to Airport in Carry-On Bags

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It has become almost too common: Travelers are caught with guns in the carry-on bags.

Even after Sept. 11, when much more innocuous objects were banned from flights, people bring guns to airports, often because they forgot they had the weapon on the them.

WCIV reports that a South Carolina man was arrested after a loaded pistol was found in his carry-on bag.

TSA officials found the Glock .40 caliber pistol at the security checkpoint.

Just this year, the TSA has discovered five firearms at the airport.

“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark Howell, TSA spokesman in a prepared statement. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”

 Other Stories of Interest


FBI Denies Violating Rights of 5 Accused Sept. 11 Terrorist Conspirators After Investigating Defense Team

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI adamantly dismissed allegations Monday that its agents spied on defense teams and violated the rights of the five accused Sept. 11 terrorist conspirators, The Los Angeles Times reports.

A government lawyer argued to a military judge at Guantanamo Bay on Monday that the FBI did not conduct an undercover investigation of the defense teams and therefore no rights were violated.

Details were limited in open court, but the FBI was probing “personal security clearance” issues of some of the defense team, said Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez, a senior Justice Department official.

The investigation appeared to be focused on whether anyone illegally released confidential and classified information to the public. At issue was a letter written by the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.