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Tag: Times Square bomber

FBI Memo Says Interrogators Can Delay Reading Miranda Warning to Terrorist Suspects

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An FBI memo issued in December says investigators can interrogate domestic-terror suspects longer without giving them a Miranda warning, according to a  Wall Street Journal report by Evan Perez.

The FBI memo  said the policy applies to “exceptional cases” where investigators “conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat,” the Journal reported. Interrogators would still need prior approval from FBI and Justice officials.

The controversy over the Miranda warning in domestic terrorism cases surfaced in December 2009 with the “underwear bomber” in Detroit and later the Times Square Bomber.

Both were initially questioned for a period of time before the Miranda warning was read.  The underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdumtallab, was questioned for less than an hour before the Miranda warning was read and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, was questioned for about three hours before the warning was read, the Journal reported.

Some  Republican and Democrats felt the suspects should have been sent to military detentions where the Miranda rules don’t apply, the Journal reported. Other critics felt the Miranda warning was issued too soon, jeopardizing chances of getting more valuable information.

But at the time, the Obama administration countered by saying the suspects continued to cooperate after the Miranda warnings were read and provided value information.

On the other side, some feel the government has no right to take the Miranda warning away from domestic terrorists.

The FBI memo seems follow to some degree a 1984 amendment to the  1966 Miranda ruling which allows questioning of suspects for a limited time before issuing the warning.

Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, told the Journal that  “law enforcement has the ability to question suspected terrorists without immediately providing Miranda warnings when the interrogation is reasonably prompted by immediate concern for the safety of the public or the agents.” He said “the threat posed by terrorist organizations and the nature of their attacks—which can include multiple accomplices and interconnected plots—creates fundamentally different public safety concerns than traditional criminal cases.”

Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Journal that the administration’s tweaking of the law could have a downside.

“I don’t think the administration can accomplish what I think needs to be done by policy guidance alone,” he said.  “It may not withstand the scrutiny of the courts in the absence of legislation.”

Die-Hard New Yorker George Venizelos Running Philly FBI

Acting Head Venizelos at gang arrests in Newburgh, N.Y./fbi photo

By John Shiffman
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

Several weeks after 9/11, the senior FBI agent in Harrisburg, George Venizelos, received an alarming tip: A terrorist planned to ride an Amtrak train from Philadelphia to the state capital, carrying an atomic bomb.

In response, Amtrak closed the rail line and began searching. Venizelos soon received another surprising call, this time from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

Mueller wasted no time. “What’s the story?” he asked.

Amtrak had not found anything yet, Venizelos recalled telling Mueller, but he promised to call back. Venizelos dug deeper and quickly concluded that the tip, like most cases pursued in the fall of 2001, was spurious, based on a vague call to a U.S. embassy overseas.

For Venizelos, who became special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division late last year, the incident marked the beginning of his 10-year relationship with Mueller and his involvement with terror cases, imagined and real.

To read full story click here.

FBI Releases List of Some of its Top Terrorism Cases in 2010

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The year 2010 was full of almost-disastrous terrorist acts  from the Times Square Bomber to the the Portland teen who tried to detonate a car bomb during a Christmas-lighting ceremony in Oregon, only to find out it was an FBI  sting.

Not everyone agreed with the FBI tactics when it came to  stings like the ones in Portland, Baltimore and the Washington area. Some accused the FBI of making terrorists out of lost souls looking for a mission. But Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. forcefully defended the FBI stings, saying they were legitimate investigative tools.

In a speech earlier this month in California, Holder specifically defended the FBI tactics in the Portland, Ore. case at the Christmas lighting ceremeony that led to the arrest of the teen Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law,” he said.

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

The FBI on Monday released a list of what it considers some ofr its most significant terrorism cases of 2010.

The following was included in a press release:

  • Attempted bombing of Armed Forces recruiting center: A 21-year-old U.S. citizen earlier this month parked what he thought was an explosives-filled vehicle in front of a military recruiting center near Baltimore and tried to detonate it remotely. The bomb was fake, thanks to our undercover agents working the case. Details
  • Attempted bombing in Oregon: A naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested the day after Thanksgiving when he attempted to set off what he thought was a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland. The 19-year-old had been the subject of a long-term undercover operation by the Bureau. Details

  • D.C. Metro bomb plot: In October, a 34-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen believed he was joining members of al Qaeda to plan multiple bombings of Metrorail stations in the Washington area. Instead, it was a sting. Farooque Ahmed researched peak rider periods so the attacks could cause mass casualties. Details
  • Al Shabaab indictments: In August—in Minnesota, Alabama, and California—two Americans were arrested and 12 others, including five U.S. citizens, were charged with terrorism offenses and providing material support to the Somali-based terrorist organization al Shabaab. Details
  • Northern Virginia man indicted: In July, 20-year-old Zachary Chesser—also known as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee—told agents he twice attempted to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab as a foreign fighter. On one of those occasions he tried to board a plane with his infant son as part of his “cover.” Details
  • Al Qaeda plotters indicted: In July, five senior members of al Qaeda were indicted for their roles in the 2009 plot against the New York subway system. Details
  • Missouri man guilty of supporting al Qaeda: In May, a 32-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen pled guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and to bank fraud and money laundering. Details

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad

  • Attempted bombing at Times Square: After a three-day nationwide manhunt, a naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested in May for an attempted bombing at New York City’s famous tourist area. Details
  • Michigan militia group indicted: In March, nine members of a militia group called the Hutaree were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and related offenses. Details
  • Jihad Jane indicted: Also in March, U.S. citizen Colleen LaRose—also known as Jihad Jane—was indicted in Philadelphia for her role in recruiting jihadist fighters to commit murder overseas. A month later, a Colorado woman and colleague of LaRose’s was indicted on similar charges. Details

al Qaeda’s Gift to the U.S.: Incompetence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda and its associates may not be known as benevolent organizations, but they do give gifts.

The failed “Underwear Bomber”. The failed “Times Square Bomber”. The failed “Shoe Bomber”. And now the failed attempt to deliver explosives on  planes. All gifts.

The U.S. should be grateful for these opportunities in which no one gets hurt, but we learn about the shortcomings in our system.  (Unfortunately, we now learn this latest bid was one of the more competent efforts that failed).

Too bad there’s not a better way to figure it out the flaws. And we can’t forever count on the al Qaeda B Team carrying out these incompetent missions.

So, let’s learn from the incidence, but let’s get more aggressive about  examining our transportation systems.  Obviously, there are plenty holes to plug.

Let’s not wait for al Qaeda to get lucky

Acting Head of N.Y. FBI Enjoyed the Wild Ride

Acting Head Venizelos at gang arrests in Newburgh, N.Y./fbi photo

Acting Head Venizelos at gang arrests in Newburgh, N.Y./fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

His title may be “acting,” but there’s no pretending that things haven’t been outright wild, abuzz, atwitter, downright explosive since George Venizelos took over in March on a temporary basis as head of the New York FBI office, the largest in the country.

There was the high-anxiety Times Square car bombing case. The Russian spy case. Key indictments of mobsters. And the roundup of 78 gang members from the Latin Kings and Bloods. And that’s just to name a few. In fact, since March, his agents have had a hand in the indictment of about 330 people.

“It all happened at once. It was definitely the experience of my life. It happened so fast,” he told AOL News. “Acting can be a thankless job, but acting in New York is still a tremendous responsibility.”

Monday, Venizelos loses the “acting” title and returns to his old role as special agent in charge of administration for the New York FBI Office. The permanent boss is arriving: Janice Fedarcyk, a friend of his who’s been running the Philadelphia FBI Office.

“For me personally it was exciting,” Venizelos, 50, said. “It seemed like every week something was happening. This was just kind of the perfect storm.”

To read more click here.

WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST

2 Cops Shot and Man Killed in Harlem Gunfight (NY Daily News)