Answers? A source has told authorities in Pennsylvania and the FBI that he knows the location of missing DA Ray Gricar's body
One of the most shocking things about the Penn State sex abuse scandal when it came to light in 2011, was the fact that the local District Attorney knew about the case back in the 1990s.
The mother of one of the children abused by football coach Jerry Sandusky, reported the crime to DA Ray Gricar in 1998 but he decided not to bring up charges.
Gricar, 59, was never able to explain why he let Sandusky slip away, since Gricar himself vanished in 2005.
After the sex scandal revelation, some hypothesized that Gricar's disappearance was somehow tied to Penn State.
But now a former person of interest in his disappearance has told the Altoona Mirror that it was a former Hell's Angel that carried out the killing and had nothing to do with Penn State.
The last time anyone saw Gricar was on April 15, 2005, when he left for work in his red mini cooper.
Gricar never showed up and the next day his car was discovered parked in an antique mall parking lot. Eventually, authorities also found his computer and hard drive.
Over the years the FBI has worked with local police to investigate leads in the case..
Last May, a former Hell's Angels ranking officer decided to come forward to authorities and the Altoona Mirror with what he says is the real story behind Gricar's death.
Sex abuse scandal: After the Penn State sex abuse scandal came to light in 2011, it was revealed that Gricar heard complaints about football coach Jerry Sandusky as early as 1998 but decided not to bring up charges
Without a trace: Gricar was never able to account for why he let Sandusky, above, off since he himself went missing while driving to work in April 2005
According to the source, Gricar was murdered by a former Hell's Angel who was getting back at the DA for receiving a long prison sentence for an aggravated assault conviction in the 1990s.
The man who carried out the killing was also an FBI informant. According to a statement read by a judge at a sentencing hearing, the former Hell's Angel reported information to the FBI on illegal activities by the motorcycle gang after his release.
The FBI needs help identying two men wanted for questioning in connection to the burglary of an FBI agent's home in northwest Houston. Authorities say two of the agent's guns were stolen in the September 23 break-in.
The FBI says the agent's home was broken into on September 23, and several weapons, including a Remington 870 short-barreled shotgun and a Glock 22 handgun, were stolen from a gun locker. Some credit cards also were taken.
It's interesting, then, that an American journalist, whose beat was largely surveillance and the privatized intelligence community, has been sitting in jail for over 400 days now. His name is Barrett Brown, the founder of Project PM, and he also spent some time as an activist embedded with Anonymous, which no doubt earned him the attention of the authorities.
As Glenn Greenwald wrote in March:
Brown is a serious journalist who has spent the last several years doggedly investigating the shadowy and highly secretive underworld of private intelligence and defense contractors, who work hand-in-hand with the agencies of the surveillance and national security state in all sorts of ways that remain completely unknown to the public. It is virtually impossible to conclude that the obscenely excessive prosecution he now faces is unrelated to that journalism and his related activism.
Tens of thousands of people have signed petitions demanding his release and for the charges to be dropped, and hundreds have donated to his legal defense. Numerous reputable organizations have made statements of support or expressing concern, to include: WikiLeaks, CPJ, EFF, Reporters Without Borders, Free Press, Article 19, Demand Progress and Fight for the Future.
Despite all this, the Department of Justice remains largely unresponsive, and seems intent on allowing him languish in jail until he can get in front of a jury who will weigh whether he should be punished with decades of imprisonment. All for being a committed dissenter and angering the powers-that-be.
The charges pursued against him equate to a dangerous precedent, especially for anyone who reports on hacking or leaks of stolen information. It means that one can be charged with fraud and identity theft for simply pasting a hyperlink.
A slew of questionable, yet apparently routine, DOJ/FBI tactics have been demonstrated in this tangled case.
In the videos which led to his arrest, Brown contends that it was the FBI's own informants and security contractors who put him at risk, by publishing his address to the internet while he and Anonymous were engaged in challenging a very ruthless Mexican drug cartel during late 2011. Due to their actions, Brown had to fly to New York and spent several weeks below the radar while things cooled down.
The threat to his livelihood was so palpable, and the effects of informants concocting false intelligence about him so concrete, that he was in the midst of preparing civil lawsuits against those involved when he was arrested.
The government was so interested in the book he was writing about Anonymous, that on March 6, 2012 they paid his apartment and his mother's house a visit, taking with them his computers and the notes and manuscript for the book.
Afterward they were so intent on sending an intimidating message, that they brought criminal charges against his mother. This is what made him outraged at the FBI in the first place. Her sentencing has repeatedly been delayed, perhaps in order to secure her silence.
They were so worried that Brown might be able to hire a real lawyer with money that an independent legal defense fund had raised, that they asked the court to seize the funds -- a move which was ultimately shot down.
They were so annoyed that media coverage of the case was favorable to Brown and critical of the government, that they succeeded in gagging he and his lawyers from speaking to the press.
Brown was deemed such a threat to the establishment and a risk to the community that it was decided he would be indefinitely detained pending trial. We'll never know the faulty arguments which were made to support that decision, because the transcripts of the hearing were sealed.
Does this sound like justice to you?
The legal fight over tech companies’ right to disclose information about government surveillance got a big boost from Apple this week. Here’s a look at its legal filing.
America’s big tech companies, embroiled in an on-going surveillance scandal, are in a pitched legal fight with the government for the right to disclose how many data demands they receive under the Patriot Act.
This week, the legal campaign led by Google and Microsoft got an important boost as industry rival Apple filed an eloquent brief in support of the companies’ First Amendment challenge before America’s secret spy court.
In the filing, Apple discusses its communications with the FBI and says the government “irrationally prohibits” its right to publish information about how many national security requests it receives.
Apple is not challenging the FBI’s right to impose secrecy over specific investigations — such as, for instance, a request for a certain terror suspect’s Gmail or iCloud account. Rather, Apple is frustrated because the company can’t even disclose how many requests it receives in the first place; it can only disclose broad bands of numbers (such as 1000-2000) that include ordinary police requests.
In its complaint, Apple says these gag rules violate Constitutional free speech rights, and stifle discussion about what the government is doing. This passage, from page 5 of the filing, sums up Apple’s opinion of the current disclosure rules:
From Apple’s perspective, as well as the perspective of its customers and the public as a whole, this limited disclosure does not contribute effectively to the debate over the Government’s national security systems and and (as discussed infra) is unnecessary to protect national security .. a deliberate attempt to reduce public knowledge as to the activities of the Governmenttweet this
From Apple’s perspective, as well as the perspective of its customers and the public as a whole, this limited disclosure does not contribute effectively to the debate over the Government’s national security systems and and (as discussed infra) is unnecessary to protect national security .. a deliberate attempt to reduce public knowledge as to the activities of the Government
Apple also pushes back at the government’s argument that disclosing the number of surveillance requests will tip bad guys about what platforms the government is watching:
By Douglas Moser firstname.lastname@example.org
The man shot to death outside a Methuen club in October was an FBI informant at about the time he was paid $1,000 by a Lawrence police detective in exchange for grand jury testimony about a murder he witnessed in 2007, according to police.
A 2009 State Police memo identified Lawrence patrolman Richard Brooks as the officer who paid David Rivera, 28, of Farnham Street, Lawrence, $1,000 in exchange for his testimony before a grand jury investigating the shooting death of Daniel Bautista on Oct. 30, 2007.
Rudy A. Cruz, of Lawrence, was indicted and eventually acquitted by a jury in Bautista’s murder.
“He was informant of the FBI,” Brooks said about Rivera in an interview with The Eagle-Tribune yesterday. “I can’t divulge any information. I was on an FBI gang task force.”
Brooks, a Londonderry resident who said he is currently out on leave, said he could not discuss the source of the payment or Rivera’s status as an informant.
Special Agent Greg Comcowich, media coordinator for the FBI Boston field office, said yesterday he would have to investigate the matter before he could comment.
Investigators assigned to Bautista’s murder learned that Rivera, the only direct eyewitness to the shooting, was an informant who had been working with Brooks, according to a memo written by State Police Trooper Robert LaBarge Jr., who was assigned to the detectives unit at the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.
“This information was learned in the early stages of the investigation,” LaBarge wrote. The memo did not mention the FBI.
Rivera was a reluctant witness, one whom investigators discovered was on Farnham Street when the shooting took place only through other witnesses, LaBarge wrote. When asked to testify, Rivera refused, and went so far as to throw a subpoena to testify before a grand jury on the ground. Rivera did testify before the grand jury on Nov. 28, 2007, according to LaBarge and grand jury transcripts in Cruz’s trial file at Salem Superior Court. But LaBarge described Rivera as emotional, still insisting he did not want to testify.
Rivera identified Cruz as Bautista’s shooter in that testimony. Others with Rivera at the time, including two of his brothers and some of his close friends, were putting four-wheelers away and were not on the street to witness the shooting. They testified they saw Cruz at the scene shortly afterward, bragging about killing Bautista.
At one point during the investigation, Rivera called LaBarge “and asked if he could become a paid informant,” according to the memo. “He said he could buy guns and he was interested in how much money he could earn.” LaBarge said “nothing came of his desire to be an informant.”
During Cruz’s 2009 trial, LaBarge and assistant district attorney Jessica Connors tried to convince Rivera, who was serving a jail sentence at New Hampshire State Prison in Concord, N.H., at the time, to testify at the trial. Rivera refused “in no uncertain terms,” LaBarge wrote.
While New Hampshire officials eventually convinced him to appear at Cruz’s trial in Lawrence Superior Court, Rivera again refused to testify and asked to see an attorney.
A few days into the trial, Rivera attorney Michael Seddon told Cruz defense attorney Ronald Ranta in a handwritten note that police had paid Rivera $1,000 in exchange for his grand jury testimony in 2007, when he said Cruz shot and killed Bautista.
“Investigators in the case thought as a group that Mr. Rivera was trying to get out of testifying in the trial,” LaBarge wrote. “Subsequently, A.D.A. Connors said she followed up on the matter and learned that Mr. Rivera was paid one thousand dollars for the information he provided regarding the homicide of Daniel Bautista, and for other criminal information. She said she learned that Det. Richard Brooks was the individual who paid Mr. Rivera for this information. Because of this information, Judge Richard Welch ruled that David Rivera would not be allowed to testify at the trial.”
LaBarge wrote the memo as part of an inquiry in the district attorney’s office into the $1,000 payment, according to assistant district attorney David F. O’Sullivan.
A federal judge Friday ruled that attorneys representing the FBI have a right to see Facebook posts of a woman who is suing the bureau over an allegedly misguided 2011 raid.
An attorney representing Shaquel Adams, of Bellevue, must provide to a Department of Justice attorney pages from her Facebook account, plus other documents related to the psychological and neurological care, and school performance, of members of her family, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer ruled.
She wrote that the documents were “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence ... particularly with respect to the claim for damages for severe emotional distress” stemming from the FBI’s March 3, 2011 raid on the family’s home.
Around 15 agents seeking an alleged member of the Manchester OGs street gang entered and searched the Adams’ house in an effort to find a former resident, not affiliated with the family, who had lived there around two years before.
In a lapse that national security experts call baffling, a high-ranking FBI agent filed a sensitive internal manual detailing the bureau's secret interrogation procedures with the Library of Congress, where anyone with a library card can read it.
For years, the American Civil Liberties Union fought a legal battle to force the FBI to release a range of documents concerning FBI guidelines, including this one, which covers the practices agents are supposed to employ when questioning suspects. Through all this, unbeknownst to the ACLU and the FBI, the manual sat in a government archive open to the public. When the FBI finally relented and provided the ACLU a version of the interrogation guidebook last year, it was heavily redacted; entire pages were blacked out. But the version available at the Library of Congress, which a Mother Jones reporter reviewed last week, contains no redactions.
The 70-plus-page manual ended up in the Library of Congress, thanks to its author, an FBI official who made an unexplainable mistake. This FBI supervisory special agent, who once worked as a unit chief in the FBI's counterterrorism division, registered a copyright for the manual in 2010 and deposited a copy with the US Copyright Office, where members of the public can inspect it upon request. What's particularly strange about this episode is that government documents cannot be copyrighted.
"A document that has not been released does not even need a copyright," says Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. "Who is going to plagiarize from it? Even if you wanted to, you couldn't violate the copyright because you don't have the document. It isn't available."
"The whole thing is a comedy of errors," he adds. "It sounds like gross incompetence and ignorance."
Julian Sanchez, a fellow with the libertarian Cato Institute who has studied copyright policy, was harsher: "Do they not cover this in orientation? [Sensitive] documents should not be placed in public repositories—and, by the way, aren't copyrightable. How do you even get a clearance without knowing this stuff?"
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The FBI agent who registered for the copyright did so under his own name—effectively claiming the rights for himself, not the FBI. An FBI spokesman told Mother Jones the bureau has been made aware of the matter but "cannot provide any further information at this time regarding this subject."
The version of the interrogation manual the agent deposited with the copyright office is dated August 18, 2008, but it wasn't filed until January 2010. The redacted version released to the ACLU is dated February 23, 2011.
Because the two versions are similar, a side-by-side comparison allows a reader to deduce what was redacted in the later version. The copyright office does not allow readers to take pictures or notes, but during a brief inspection, a few redactions stood out.
The ACLU has previously criticized the interrogation manual for endorsing the isolation of detainees and including favorable references to the KUBARK manual, a 1963 CIA interrogation guidebook that encouraged torture methods, including electric shocks. The group has also expressed concern that the manual adopts aspects of the Reid Technique, a common law enforcement interview method that has been known to produce false confessions. A redacted sentence in the manual says the document is intended for use by the FBI's "clean" teams—investigators who collect information intended for use in federal prosecutions. That raises the question of whether teams collecting information that's not for use in federal courts would have to follow the manual's (already permissive) guidelines at all.
Another section, blacked out in the version provided to the ACLU, encourages FBI agents to stage a "date-stamped full-body picture" of a detainee, complete with a bottle of water, for use in refuting abuse allegations at trial.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.– George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.
– George Orwell, 1984
It was easier to write the opinion by ignoring history. And it was only one part of his opinion. Nonetheless, he thought it was so important that it became the first thing he said right out of the box, as it were.
Judge William H. Pauley III, a District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, dismissed a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and others. The A.C.L.U. complaint alleged that what is known as the N.S.A.’s bulk telephony metadata collection program is unconstitutional. Judge Pauley found it was not and, in so finding, wrote an opinion that in all important aspects arrived at the opposite conclusion from an opinion issued 11 days earlier by Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington. Judge Leon said the N.S.A. program was “almost Orwellian” and was probably unconstitutional.
Judge Pauley begins his opinion with the following sentences: “The September 11th terrorist attacks revealed, in the starkest terms, just how dangerous and interconnected the world is. While Americans depended on technology for the conveniences of modernity, al-Qaeda plotted in a seventh-century milieu to use that technology against us. It was a bold jujitsu. And it succeeded because conventional intelligence gathering could not detect diffuse filaments connecting al-Qaeda. “
Judge Pauley discussed how the N.S.A. was unable to capture the phone number of one of the highjackers living in San Diego who the N.S.A. mistakenly believed was living overseas. With telephony metadata, the judge observed, the agency would have known the highjacker was living in San Diego and could have given that information to the F.B.I. Presumably, although not stated by the judge, that might have enabled it to thwart the 9/11 attack. Judge Pauley then observed that the government “learned from its mistake” and, among other things, launched “a bulk telephony metadata collection program” which, he said: [O]nly works because it collects everything.”
In concluding as he did that “conventional intelligence gathering could not detect diffuse filaments connecting al-Qaeda” Judge Pauley chose to ignore post 9/11 reports that the intelligence community had plenty of information to “detect diffuse filaments” without metadata collections. What was lacking was the competency citizens had a right to expect from those charged with protecting the country.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the F.B.I. had been aware for many years before 9/11 that suspected terrorists were receiving training in American flight schools. It took no action to apprehend or specifically identify them. According to a report in the New York Times, Abdul Hakim Murad (who was convicted in 1996 of conspiring and attempting to blow up 12 commercial airliners while flying over the ocean) confessed to authorities following his arrest in the Philippines that he planned to use his flight training to “fly a plane into C.I.A headquarters in Langley, Va. or another federal building.” Rodolfo Mendoza, a Philippine intelligence investigator, told CNN that that information was shared with the F.B.I. in 1995. A 1999 analysis prepared for the National Intelligence Council said: “Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives . . . into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House.
In July 2001 an F.B.I. agent in Phoenix told F.B.I. headquarters it should investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools and mentioned Osama bin Laden by name. In his memo he suggested men in flight school might be planning terrorist attacks. A CBS report describes in considerable detail other clues the government had that terrorist attacks might be contemplated, giving specifics as to the kinds of activities contemplated. In a press conference following 9/11 Ari Fleischer, the press secretary said: “It is widely known that we had information that bin Laden wanted to attack the United States or United States interests abroad.”
What is now known is that it was not the absence of a program ignoring Americans’ constitutional rights that permitted 9/11. Collecting “bulk telephony metadata” does nothing to correct the intelligence failures that permitted 9/11 to happen. Those intelligence failures were failures by those in charge to do what citizens had a right to expect them to do.
Judge Pauley concludes: “No doubt, the bulk telephony metadata collection program vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States. That is by design, as it allows the N.S.A. to detect relationships so attenuated and ephemeral they would otherwise escape notice. As the September 11th attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a thread can be horrific. . . . ” The judge could have simply observed that the cost of missing the other threads that have been widely discussed is equally horrific. Correcting the reasons for those failures can be taken without creating what Judge Leon so aptly described as “Orwellian.” As Judge Leon said in his ruling: “I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power’ would be aghast.” So are many citizens. Whether members of the U.S. Supreme Court are aghast, only time will tell.
Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at email@example.com.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Top Israelis leaned on multimillionaire celebrity Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto in an attempt to discourage the rabbi from cooperating in an FBI investigation of GOP Rep. Michael Grimm's 2010 fundraising, multiple reports out of Israel said.
The news comes on the heels of the FBI arrest of Diana Durand, a Houston, Texas, woman and friend of Grimm's, for illegally donating more than $10,000 to Grimm's 2010 campaign.
It also comes as Staten Island Democrats readied to interview former Brooklyn City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia on Thursday night to run against Grimm this year.
The FBI has been investigating whether Grimm, with the help of former Pinto aide Ofer Biton, collected illegal contributions from Pinto's congregation.
Grimm, a former FBI agent, has denied the allegations and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Biton later pleaded guilty to visa fraud.
But Pinto is also the subject of a high-profile investigation in Israel, where he is accused of bribing police officials, including Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv, who heads an elite national police unit known as the "Israeli FBI," which investigates crime and corruption.
Arviv was also Israeli police liaison to the U.S.
In the midst of revelations about the bribery case, Israeli media on Thursday reported that a former senior Israeli government minister and police officials tried to discourage Pinto from cooperating in the FBI investigation of Grimm.
It was not made clear why officials would look to protect Grimm, and the congressman is not accused of any wrongdoing in the matter.
Grimm is a staunch supporter of Israel and has served as co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus.
Grimm in 2011 was also part of a fact-finding mission to Israel which included a sitdown with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
That same year, Grimm controversially called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel. Grimm made the call after personally visiting Pollard in federal prison in North Carolina.
The FBI in New York had no comment on the reports about Pinto.
William McGinley, the Washington, D.C., attorney who is handling the fundraising investigation for Grimm, did not immediately return a request for comment. Grimm's congressional office also declined to comment.
In 2012, former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner told the Advance that he went to the FBI after Pinto, whom Weiner knows, told him he had been "threatened" by Grimm over campaign contributions.
Grimm vehemently denied the allegations at the time, and Grimm ally Guy Molinari called Weiner, who left the House amid a sexting scandal, a "pervert and liar."
Pinto is one of Israel's top 10 wealthiest rabbis, and also has a congregation on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
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