NEW YORK, June 25, 2008
J. Edgar Hoover, left, and Art Buchwald (CBS/ AP)
The Pulitzer Prize-winning satirist known as the "Wit of Washington" dies at age 81
Read Key Documents From Buchwald's FBI File
Like countless resurrections of Freddy Krueger, it appears that John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program has found a new, more accommodating home for its "mission" of "keeping America safe"--from the Constitution--at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA).
According to McClatchy investigative journalist Warren Strobel,
IARPA ... is the U.S. intelligence community's counterpart to DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has been in business for more than 35 years and is meant to be a small, flexible R&D agency that funds high-risk, but potentially high-payoff technologies. ("What's IARPA?", McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 30, 2008) IARPA has been organized under the auspices of Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Mike McConnell, a former executive vice-president with spooky mega-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. As Tim Shorrock reported in March, As Booz Allen's chief intelligence liaison to the Pentagon, McConnell was at the center of action, both before and after the September 11 attacks. During the first six years of the Bush administration, Booz Allen's contracts with the U.S. government rose dramatically, from $626,000 in 2000 to $1.6 billion in 2006. McConnell and his staff at Booz Allen were deeply involved in some of the Bush administration's most controversial counterterrorism programs. They included the Pentagon's infamous Total Information Awareness data-mining scheme run by former Navy Admiral John Poindexter, which was an attempt to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases. (Congress cancelled the program over civil liberties concerns, but much of the work was transferred to the NSA, where Booz Allen continued to receive the contracts.) ("Carlyle Group May Buy Major CIA Contractor: Booz Allen Hamilton, CorpWatch, March 8, 2008)
IARPA ... is the U.S. intelligence community's counterpart to DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has been in business for more than 35 years and is meant to be a small, flexible R&D agency that funds high-risk, but potentially high-payoff technologies. ("What's IARPA?", McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 30, 2008)
IARPA has been organized under the auspices of Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Mike McConnell, a former executive vice-president with spooky mega-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. As Tim Shorrock reported in March,
As Booz Allen's chief intelligence liaison to the Pentagon, McConnell was at the center of action, both before and after the September 11 attacks. During the first six years of the Bush administration, Booz Allen's contracts with the U.S. government rose dramatically, from $626,000 in 2000 to $1.6 billion in 2006. McConnell and his staff at Booz Allen were deeply involved in some of the Bush administration's most controversial counterterrorism programs. They included the Pentagon's infamous Total Information Awareness data-mining scheme run by former Navy Admiral John Poindexter, which was an attempt to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases. (Congress cancelled the program over civil liberties concerns, but much of the work was transferred to the NSA, where Booz Allen continued to receive the contracts.) ("Carlyle Group May Buy Major CIA Contractor: Booz Allen Hamilton, CorpWatch, March 8, 2008)
According to the agency's website, IARPA's brief is centered on three program areas:
Smart Collection, "The goal of the programs in this office is to dramatically improve the value of collected data from all sources."
Incisive Analysis, "The goal of the programs in this office is to maximize insight from the information we collect, in a timely fashion."
Safe & Secure Operations, "The goal of the programs in this office is to be able to counter new capabilities implemented by our adversaries that would threaten our ability to operate freely and effectively in a networked world."
There's no argument that preventing sociopaths--state-sponsored or otherwise--using malware to cause the meltdown of a nuclear power plant's uranium core or the sudden release of methyl isocyanate into the atmosphere should be a priority of any sane government. Certainly such laudatory goals would be optimized by writing better programs rather than through intrusive data-mining ops carried out by the state's outsourced and well-paid private "partners."
Unfortunately, we aren't dealing with a sane government here in the United States. According to Virtual Worlds News, one IARPA program seeks to "mine" information from virtual worlds and online gaming sites for its potential to "model" terrorist activity.
Reynard, a data-mining project from Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), is an exploratory effort to monitor activity in virtual worlds and online games and then model what terrorist activity in those worlds would look like. The Director of National Intelligence recently released a Congressionally mandated report on various data-mining projects of which Reynard is just one. While it's just an early effort right now, "If it shows early promise, this small seedling effort may increase its scope to a full project." Data-mining is defined as "a program involving pattern-based queries, searches or other analyses of 1 or more electronic databases" in order to "discover or locate a predictive pattern of anomaly indicative of terrorist or criminal activity...." and will now be ongoing "in a public virtual world environment. The research will use publicly available data and begin with observational studies to establish baseline behaviors." No word on what world that will be in, but we already know that the CIA has a presence in Second Life and that IARPA has investigated Linden Lab's world as well. ("U.S. Project Reynard Mines Data Looking for Virtual Spies," Virtual Worlds News, February 25, 2008)
Reynard, a data-mining project from Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), is an exploratory effort to monitor activity in virtual worlds and online games and then model what terrorist activity in those worlds would look like. The Director of National Intelligence recently released a Congressionally mandated report on various data-mining projects of which Reynard is just one. While it's just an early effort right now, "If it shows early promise, this small seedling effort may increase its scope to a full project."
Data-mining is defined as "a program involving pattern-based queries, searches or other analyses of 1 or more electronic databases" in order to "discover or locate a predictive pattern of anomaly indicative of terrorist or criminal activity...." and will now be ongoing "in a public virtual world environment. The research will use publicly available data and begin with observational studies to establish baseline behaviors."
No word on what world that will be in, but we already know that the CIA has a presence in Second Life and that IARPA has investigated Linden Lab's world as well. ("U.S. Project Reynard Mines Data Looking for Virtual Spies," Virtual Worlds News, February 25, 2008)
One can only wonder what IARPA will do once "baseline behaviors" are mapped! But apparently there's no need to fret since "the government understands that 'applications of results from these research projects may ultimately have implications for privacy and civil liberties,' so 'IARPA is also investing in projects that develop privacy protecting technologies,'" Secrecy News reports.
We bet they are! But as Strobel points out, "IARPA's ancestry is a wee bit interesting":
In the beginning, there was Total Information Awareness, a DARPA information-gathering program run by noneother than former Iran-Contra figure and Reagan national security adviser John Poindexter. Critics saw the program as a major, post-9/11 intrusion on American's privacy and civil liberties, and Congress killed funding for it in 2003. But there were persistent reports--confirmed by yours truly in conversations with former U.S. intelligence officials--that portions of the Total Information Awareness research had simply been shunted off to other agencies.
In the beginning, there was Total Information Awareness, a DARPA information-gathering program run by noneother than former Iran-Contra figure and Reagan national security adviser John Poindexter. Critics saw the program as a major, post-9/11 intrusion on American's privacy and civil liberties, and Congress killed funding for it in 2003. But there were persistent reports--confirmed by yours truly in conversations with former U.S. intelligence officials--that portions of the Total Information Awareness research had simply been shunted off to other agencies.
As readers undoubtedly recall, Total Information Awareness (TIA) was "terminated" by Congress when it learned that Poindexter was setting up a program that would sift through "public databases storing credit card purchases, rental agreements, medical histories, e-mails, airline reservations, and phone calls for electronic 'footprints' that might indicate a terrorist plot in the making," according to Shorrock's excellent read, Spies for Hire.
And to whom did DARPA turn to manage TIA? Why none other than Booz Allen Hamilton, of course! Joining SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), Booz Allen "won" some $63 million in contracts to run Poindexter's pet project. While the program--and contracts--were allegedly cancelled, portions of TIA had simply been spun-off to other agencies including the FBI and NSA.
Where else did TIA migrate? It turns out, many of its data-mining projects, including the Scalable Social Network Analysis (SSNA) operation, which seeks to model networks of connections like social interactions, financial transactions, telephone calls, and organizational memberships into a coherent analytical tool, were "assimilated" by the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA), managed by NSA.
Strobel reports that "ARDA was later renamed, given the ominous-sounding moniker, Disruptive Technology Office." And now ARDA and DTO along with a "new and improved" TIA, have apparently been folded into IAPRA.
Which just goes to show, you can't kill off that which the state decrees is necessary for "your protection." As Wired's Ryan Singel advises online gaming enthusiasts, you'd better "be careful who you frag"!
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press.
Posted on: Thursday, 10 July 2008, 06:00 CDT
By Gonzalez, Roberto J
David H. Price, Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008. 352 pp. Approximately half of all anthropologists in the United States contributed their expertise to the World War II effort. This timely book explores the wide range of roles they played through dozens of accounts profiling their work. The book's methodology is innovative and eclectic. It relies upon an array of sources including declassified documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act, anthropologists' letters and obituaries, government reports, and interviews, among others.
Price begins by providing a historical framework, specifically an analysis of anthropologists' roles in the "war to end all wars," WWI. During this time, Franz Boas developed a " radical ethical critique" in response to American archaeologists who worked as spies in Central America (p.12). According to Price, "Boas's belief in the existence of pure science independent of the corrupting influence of a militarized and politicized nation-state fueled this attack more than his disapproval of American participation in the war" (p. 12). It also set the stage for ethical struggles that would erupt throughout the course of the century.
Subsequent chapters thoroughly cover a wide range of topics. For example, Price examines the role of professional associations (notably the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology), and finds that " few anthropologists had second thoughts about the ethics of applying anthropology to warfare" (p. 49), as the needs of the war effort were assigned high priority by most members of the organizations. Laura Thompson was among the few concerned that some anthropologists had become " social engineers" and " technicians for hire to the highest bidder" (pp. 34, 35).
The book includes a fascinating chapter that analyzes "Allied and Axis Anthropologies," and reveals that Japanese and German anthropologists' "silence was remarkably similar to that which emerged in the writings of the postwar Allied anthropologist victors" (p.71). Another chapter documents the ways in which WWII transformed college campuses, most notably through the creation of foreign language and area studies programs, and, after the war, the creation of the GI Bill. Yet another explores the work of institutions that together functioned as a kind of "brain trust." These included the Human Relations Area Files, the Smithsonian Institution and its Ethnogeographic Board (created to generate information about potential theaters of war), and the Institute of Social Anthropology, among others. Academics were not always able to see the risks that such projects might entail: "The war's needs shone so brightly that they seemed to blind anthropologists to the possiblity that America's interests and those of the cultures they were studying might diverge" (p. 89).
Among the most shocking sections is a description of "social engineers" such as Henry Field (p. 127). Field and several other anthropologists were deeply involved in the "M Project" initiated by President Roosevelt in 1942. The goal was to search the globe for regions where millions of wartime refugees could be resettled. (Ales Hrdlicka, a physical anthropologist, who was an informal advisor to Roosevelt, also gave suggestions on relocating refugees.) Declassified documents reveal that "library bound bureaucrats [were] designing contingency plans to move tens of millions of people thousands of miles away from their native lands. Field and his staff appear[ed] comfortable planning to move inventoried people about the globe like fungible commodities" (p. 126). Even more disconcerting is that fact that "in almost every case, the peoples identified for relocation were victims of the aggression of others (e.g., the Roma, Jews, etc.), as if the reward of being victimized was being moved so that the aggressor could live in peace" (p. 127).
Price's account of some anthropologists' involvement in the War Relocation Authority-the agency charged with the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans-will be well-known to many anthropologists. Even so, Price's careful synthesis and analysis leads to an extraordinarily powerful and well-informed critique of wartime anthropology for the military, even in a "good war" against fascism. Such anthropology is too easily compromised by " the captive thinking of a government bureaucracy" under military control during WWII (p. 168). This may explain why so many of those who provided their anthropological expertise to the war effort were often silent about their experiences in the post-war period, an observation that Price makes early in the book.
Others were engaged in more secretive endeavors. The Office of War Information employed nearly a dozen anthropologists, who among other things designed propaganda custom made for Japanese audiences for the purpose of convincing them to surrender. Some (including Clyde Kluckhohn and Ruth Benedict) recommended that a post-war US military occupation force retain the Japanese emperor, following the method of imperial rule established by British and other colonial administrators. Several anthropologists were recruited into the FBI's Special Intelligence Service, an office dedicated to coordinating US intelligence operations in Latin America. Still others were recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (established in 1942), a spy agency that was the precursor to the CIA. For example, Gregory Bateson carried out clandestine missions in South Asia; Carleton Coon used his anthropological knowledge to train assassins and kidnappers in North Africa; Rhoda Metraux studied the war's impact on the morale of German civilians; and David Mandelbaum directed a unit that planned strategies for the OSS's famous Detachment 101, tasked with funding and coordinating Kachin resistance groups in Burma. In the conclusion, Price acknowledges the "ambiguities" of the post-war period. At the same time that anthropologists' efforts might have helped defeat the forces of fascism, they unleashed other forces that could potentially be used for harm.
Price has done a masterful job of weaving a complex tapestry of American wartime anthropology. It is much more than a collection of case studies- the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts, and several themes emerge throughout the text. Price's work reveals that even in a "good war" like WWII, anthropologists often stood on ethically shaky ground when working for military and intelligence agencies, and some of them came to regret the long- term consequences of their participation. In addition, the book reveals that the during the war, military officials had a tendency of "selectively ignoring and selectively commandeering social scientists' recommendations" (p. 198). All too often, anthropologists had little impact on policy making and functioned as cogs in large bureaucracies with clearly established goals. In worst- case scenarios, he notes that anthropologists may "often find themselves doing 'piecework' on large projects that have grand designs beyond their control or comprehension'" (p. 142). Price's accounts also dramatically illustrate how secretive research can be pernicious and long-lasting-especially in a time of war: "those who committed anthropology to warfare in this context were unaware that their actions were releasing a genie from a bottle, unleashing forces they could not control in new, unimagined Cold War contexts" (p. 280). Anthropological expertise deployed in WWII set the stage for more troubling chapters in the history of the discipline, including Project Camelot and the "Thai affair."
Anthropological Intelligence could not have come at a more critical time as the Pentagon, the CIA, and countless private contract firms (such as BAE Systems and NEK Advanced Securities) aggressively seek to recruit social scientists for positions ranging from " Intelligence Analyst" to "Field Anthropologist" on experimental counterinsurgency teams. Price's work gives us fair warning of the pitfalls that are likely to accompany such collaborations.
Roberto J. Gonzalez
San Jose State University
BY SCOTT SHIFREL DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, August 6th 2008, 10:54 PM
A special prosecutor is looking into why the mob murder case against a former FBI agent was "botched so badly," according to court papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court this week.
Charges were dropped last year when the Brooklyn district attorney's case collapsed against rogue ex-FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio, who had been accused of helping Colombo hit man Gregory Scarpa kill gangster Nicholas Grancio and three others.
DeVecchio claimed victory again last month when a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit filed against him by Grancio's widow.
The widow's lawyer, David Schoen, is asking the judge to reconsider the suit and says that a special prosecutor in the case, former Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, is now looking into how the Brooklyn DA handled the case.
The lawsuit claims Snyder's investigation now "has broadened into why the DA's case was botched so badly and dropped."
But Snyder denied that's her goal, insisting her probe is contained only to whether mob moll Linda Schiro should be charged with perjury.
Schiro had testified that DeVecchio was in cahoots with Scarpa, her former lover. Schiro later was caught lying when a reporter came forward with tapes of Schiro contradicting her testimony.
Snyder was close to finishing her work earlier this year but new witnesses have come forward and she plans to talk to at least six more, sources said.
The retired judge, who is running for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's seat, said her investigation remains on track.
She said she had not spoken with Schoen and said, "I have no idea who his sources are."
Brooklyn prosecutors declined to comment.
Former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh will speak at The University of Toledo on “Security versus Liberty – Seven Years After 9/11” at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 6 in the Law Center Auditorium.
“Judge Freeh has a broad range of leadership experiences in law enforcement, the judiciary and international affairs,” said Douglas Ray, dean of the UT College of Law said in a news release. “He is uniquely qualified to discuss how our country should balance interests of personal liberty, the rule of law and national security.”
A graduate of the Rutgers School of Law with an LLM from New York University School of Law, he has had a distinguished career of public and private service. After serving as an FBI Special Agent, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney participating in several high profile criminal prosecutions and was later named Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed him United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. He left the bench in 1993 when President William J. Clinton appointed him Director of the FBI, a position he held until 2001. In 2001 he accepted an offer from MBNA America Bank to serve as its Vice-Chairman and General Counsel and, in that role, served as MBNA’s principal lawyer in the 35 billion dollar transaction in which Bank of America acquired MBNA.
In 2007, he formed Freeh Group International, a consulting and legal firm with offices in Wilmington, Delaware, Washington, DC, New York City, London and Rome through which he provides international consulting and legal services.
The event is free and open to the public.
September 8, 2008 by Robby Scott Hill
What do these supposed terrorist acts all have in common? Former Special Agent J. Thomas Thurman of the FBI Crime Lab. In each case he either manufactured or withheld evidence in order to achieve the results his supervisors wanted and support their version of the facts.
On June 28, 2007, after a four-year investigation, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission announced that it was granting “Lockerbie Bomber” Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi a second appeal against his conviction in the Pan Am 103 bombing in part due to Special Agent Thurman’s actions. The Scots discovered that their American cousins at the FBI had lied and presented false evidence for political reasons.
Agent Thurman’s fabrication of evidence in the VANPAC case against Walter Leroy Moody was accepted as impeachment of his testimony in the Lockerby Case because among other things FBI Agent Frederick Whitehurst’s Congressional testimony accuses Thurman of fabricating evidence in the conviction of Moody.
Special Agent Thurman was dismissed from the FBI Crime Lab in 1997, by Director Louis Freeh who at the time was the US Attorney who prosecuted Walter Leroy Moody for the murder of Judge Vance, but Special Agent Thurman’s pattern and practice of disregard for scientific procedure and lack of respect for the legal chain of evidence continue to haunt the search for justice in the Judge Robert Vance case and many others. Walter Leroy Moody was guilty of a lot of things, but not the murder of Judge Robert Vance.
Now, additional evidence against former Special Agent Thurman has surfaced. Who asked Special Agent Thurman to frame Walter Leroy Moody for the murder of Judge Robert Smith Vance and what were they covering up? My college professors at Faulkner University, former FBI Special Agents Louis M. Harris and Robert Thetford, an Alabama Lawyer may know a thing or two about that because they were working on the Vance case back in the 1980s at the Selma Field Office of the FBI.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., future United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was about to leave government for private law practice when the Judge Robert Vance murder case landed at the Department of Justice. Justice Department Officials and the Solicitor General’s Office where Roberts was working decided to assign the case to Assistant US Attorney and future FBI Director Louis Freeh who at that time was a low-level Justice Department attorney whose career was going nowhere and who was also about to leave government.
As Freeh was preparing to prosecute Walter Leroy Moody for the murder of Judge Robert Vance, my future college professors at Faulkner University: Former Selma, Alabama FBI Special Agent in Charge Louis M. Harris and FBI Attorney and Alabama Lawyer Robert Thetford and their men were in the field in Alabama gathering the dubious evidence on Moody. Given Special Agent Harris’ infamous reputation for the frame up of Roger Lippman and the Seattle 8 for terrorism and bombings in the late 1960s, I’m not so sure that Walter Leroy Moody was actually guilty of what he was charged with.
After Roger Lippman and The Seattle 8 were sent to jail, it was eventually revealed that the FBI Agents of the Seattle Field Office themselves were behind the campaigns of arson and bombings that had been blamed on the Seattle 8, Weather Underground, New Black Panther Party and other anti-war groups.
Given that FBI Special Agent Louis M. Harris was involved with the Seattle 8 frame up and that he replaced me, the former Chief of Security at Faulkner University with Alabama Attorney John P. Gray (a cousin of Allen Dulles the former Director of the CIA who was fired by President Kennedy and fellow cousin John Foster Dulles) we know who they really work for, the US Intelligence Network.
On the day Judge Robert Vance was murdered Louis Freeh was an unknown prosecutor in the state of New York. Three years later Louis Freeh was director of the FBI.
Although Judge Vance’s caseload was 60% drug related, the FBI, the agency that never communicates with the CIA, immediately responded “drugs were no more prominent than several other avenues we are following,” but Vance had been preparing to hear a series of cases, all pointing to the CIA as a major source of Cocaine and Vance had a reputation for absolute and dogmatic honesty. At about the same time, Neil Huntley, the CIA agent whose job it was to follow Lee Harvey Oswald in Minsk, Belarus had retired to Montgomery, Alabama. In 1997, Neil Huntley would tell me that the CIA did not have anything to do with the cocaine trade, but he was concealing the truth. The cocaine market, Kirksey McCord Nix’s Dixie Mafia and the George H.W. Bush Administration’s hatred of Socialism had everything to do with the death of Judge Robert Vance.
The FBI soon “discovered” that the VANPAC bombs were EXACT duplicates of bombs Walter Leroy Moody had sent years earlier. Supposedly, Moody had painted both cardboard box bombs interiors with black paint, used the exact same welded end caps etc., etc… Supposedly Moody must have been rather stupid (despite his 130 IQ) and had not known the bombs would point directly to him like a Neon sign. Another fact is that Moody did not know how to weld. Ted Banks was accused of doing the welding and a deal was struck to pin it all on Moody. A conviction was secured and the case drifted into history.
Then it all unraveled…
In Federal Appeals Court, counterfeiter turned patriot, Ted Banks, blew the whistle on then Assistant U.S. Atty. Louis Freeh. Patriot Ted Banks accepted a ten year addition to his sentence as the price of telling the truth. He pointed at Louis Freeh from the stand and said “I lied and he told me to lie, I never welded no bombs for Moody!” Then FBI Agent Whitehurst charged that the FBI had fabricated evidence, then the Vance bomb was identified in the Unabomber case as originating from Saratoga California. Then the World Court threw out the Lockerbie conviction because FBI agent J. Thomas Thurman could not be trusted, because he was not credible in their eyes after his role in the Vance debacle and the US press is still silent.
The site, Unabombers.com, provides insights into the activities of the FBI/CIA pre September 11th 2001; activities that include the manufacture and management of a series of high profile, random terrorist events and selective assassinations. The facts have been covered up, despite a wide trail of undeniable proof and multiple witnesses. They are presented at Unabombers.com
Now, Let’s examine the misdeeds of Agent Thurman and the FBI in the TWA 800 disaster:
First of all, why is the FBI even involved? Usually the NTSB and FAA do these things cradle to grave, right? Well, the FBI and CIA got involved to spread disinformation and conduct political subterfuge. Yep, that’s what they get paid to do folks. Otherwise, it’s the NTSB and FAA investigators who get stuck with all the boring aeronautical engineering stuff. That’s why I resigned from my boring job leasing offshore oil wells at the Alabama State Lands Division, too many FBI guys examining public contracts that didn’t get awarded to friends of the Bush Administration.
Unlike the first three cases, it is conspiracy theorists like the John Birch Society and the late John F. Kennedy Administration Press Secretary, Pierre Salinger and not the US Government who contend that TWA 800 was an act of terrorism. The CIA and the NTSB have advanced the most plausible theory to date which is that faulty insulation in the wiring harness caused a short circuit from a high voltage wire that overloaded a low voltage wire which led to a sensor in the fuel tank that was exposed to a fuel vapor/air mixture that had reached the temperature of ignition. This scenario is easily prevented by pumping nitrogen gas into the fuel tank in order to displace the fuel vapor/air mixture (the plausible source of ignition) above the liquid fuel in the tank, but most airliners, including TWA 800 were not fitted with the nitrogen pump because of cost analysis.
Hey, It looks great on paper right? However, like the “JFK One Magic Bullet Theory,” you have something turning left when it should be going right and going up when it should be falling down, figuratively speaking.
Despite the CIA and NTSB’s excellent public relations campaign in arguing this theory, it has three huge holes:
1) Special Agent J. Thomas Thurman removed evidence from the TWA 800 accident reconstruction hangar which tended to prove that the aircraft was shot down by a missile.
2) Why would a jet that is about to cross the Atlantic Ocean with a final destination of Charles DeGaulle Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports where it might have to circle in a holding pattern before receiving permission to land, take off on anything less than a full tank of fuel? I’d like to know what the pilots were smoking because I want some of that stuff. Was it Maui Wowie or Manilla Thrilla?
3) Before the TWA 800 disaster, the Jet-A Kerosene fuel vapor/air mixture had never exploded “in flight” due to a mechanical or electrical failure (anything other than a bomb or missile). Furthermore, the air conditioning unit on TWA 800 which was blamed for the increased temperature inside the fuel tank during the long wait for takeoff was adequately insulated. It most likely could not have been the contributing factor that raised the fuel vapor/air mixture inside the tank above the ambient temperature to the temperature necessary for ignition. Besides, the fuel/air mixture could not be compressed to the density necessary for ignition because the space inside the tank was just too large, especially if the tank wasn’t full and if, as we all learned in elementary school, the density of a gas actually decreases as the altitude increases.
If the aircraft was going to explode, it should have done so on the runway where the outside temperature was greater and the fuel/air mixture in the tank was denser. You had to have the power switched on to run that air conditioner and to the start the engines. The plane did not explode on the ground when the conditions were most favorable for detonation. It exploded later when they were less favorable and electrical power to the supposedly faulty wiring harness was applied at both times.
It would have been necessary for God in Heaven to suspend the Laws of Nature, specifically Boyle’s Ideal Gas Law, for the mixture to have exploded, but with today’s faith based Department of Justice anything is possible. They can seemingly do all things through Christ who stregthens them, to include suspending the Laws of Nature in order to protect Wall Street investments, corporate trust funds and re-election campigns.
If the neocons can get you to believe that Walter Leroy Moody murdered Judge Robert Smith Vance who they themselves considered a communist subversive, then perhaps they can even bear witness to the death of Enron CEO Ken Lay from a heart attack, then like Jesus raise him from the dead in South America like so many Nazi business executives from World War II.
Is Walter Leroy Moody a political prisoner? Did TWA 800 really go down like they said it did? The truth may be stranger than fiction. Judge Vance may have been murdered by his own government.
From Correspondent Terry Frieden
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pressure is increasing on the Justice Department to release a report said to be sharply critical of the FBI's crime laboratory.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, responding to critics, said Friday she will consider forcing the agency to release the inspector general's preliminary report on problems at the FBI lab.
Attorneys for crime lab whistleblower Frederick Whitehurst and members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers requested the court to intervene.
"This is the government investigating the government. We need sunshine to make sure the investigation is in fact a valid and complete one," said William Moffett of the NACDL.
The preliminary report, which the FBI admits criticizes some of its lab operations, was sent to the bureau last month and resulted in the suspension or transfer of four lab employees, including Whitehurst.
The report also was sent to defense lawyers in certain cases where the handling of evidence may be in question. Among them was the attorney for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh.
On Thursday, a Senate subcommittee chairman who oversees the bureau said FBI Director Louis Freeh initially "whitewashed the problem" in the crime lab and still seems to be minimizing its impact.
"The American people are being misled by the FBI on the problems we're seeing in its crime lab," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a Senate speech. "The FBI's defense -- some would say cover-up -- is slowly, slowly unraveling."
In response, the FBI reissued a statement from Wednesday saying Freeh was "committed to taking the appropriate remedial action with respect to all problems identified in the laboratory."
The Justice Department says it will send Congress a final report by the end of the month but is balking at ever releasing its preliminary findings.
Grassley said leaked information from the report raises questions about the lab's handling of a letter-bombing case that Freeh successfully prosecuted: the 1991 conviction of Walter Leroy Moody for the murders of U.S. Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance and Georgia civil rights lawyer Robert E. Robinson.
In February 1994, Freeh assigned two FBI lawyers in General Counsel Howard Shapiro's office to investigate Whitehurst's allegations of problems in the crime lab. Shapiro had helped Freeh prosecute Moody in what was code-named the VANPAC case.
"What is amazing to me is that neither Mr. Freeh nor Mr. Shapiro recused himself from the decision-making role with respect to the review," Grassley said. "After all, they had prosecuted one of the cases -- the VANPAC case -- in which Dr. Whitehurst alleged misconduct has occurred."
Freeh told Congress this week he still believes the lab problems won't have a significant impact on cases it has handled.
"I have no knowledge and no belief at this point that any of our FBI investigations have been compromised or jeopardized, either past, present or future," Freeh said.
But Stephen Kohn, Whitehurst's attorney, disagrees. He says hundreds of cases have been affected. Whitehurst has been suspended by the FBI pending the final lab report.
Oct 16, 2008
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Kevin Lamarque of Reuters took this photograph today as President Bush appeared at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, right, and FBI Director Robert Mueller also attended the graduation ceremony for new special agents.
"I ask you to defend the values of fidelity, bravery, and integrity that you have learned here at this academy," Bush said. "I ask you to carry out your duty to protect the lives and liberties of the American people. If you follow these principles, your careers will take you far, this agency will uphold its solemn responsibility, and America's security will be in good hands."
A wall of Erin Nealy Cox's office is covered with framed milestones: her law degree from Southern Methodist University, a seal from the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Texas autographed by former colleagues. There are plaques from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service and the FBI thanking her for helping convict bad guys in big cases.
"I jokingly call it the 'I love me wall,' " says Ms. Nealy Cox, who spent 10 years as a federal prosecutor.
The former assistant U.S. attorney was so adept at computer hacking and intellectual property that the feds chose her for a nationwide SWAT team that hunts down and prosecutes cyber-criminals.
Now, as managing director of Stroz Friedberg LLC's new Dallas office, the 38-year-old hopes to do for the for-profit world what she did for the public good: recover information thought to be lost to delete keys or hidden in cyberspace.
Think of it as CSI: Corporate America, and Ms. Nealy Cox as chief investigator Horatio Caine.
"Everything you do with a computer leaves a fingerprint," she says. "Whether you pop in a flash drive, download a file, type a message, view an Internet site – all of this is stored in the memory of your computer. We find the digital fingerprints and assess what happened."
Without getting too technical, forensic sleuths take a mirror image of everything on a hard drive and copy it to another hard drive. They use search techniques to assemble pertinent data.
A company wants to find out what information a high-level executive took with him when he departed. A bank needs data to respond to regulatory or congressional subpoenas. A defense attorney hopes to prove that the client knew nothing about the crime – or a prosecutor wants to prove that the accused did.
Stroz Friedberg was founded in 2001 in New York by Ed Stroz, a former FBI agent, and Eric Friedberg, a former federal prosecutor.
The firm has expanded into Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston, and all of its offices are headed by former federal prosecutors. The labs are staffed by law enforcement or military intelligence types.
Dallas was picked over Houston because of Ms. Nealy Cox, Mr. Stroz says. "God gave us Erin, who could probably work at any law firm she wants to and has the background in cyber-crime, which is rare for an assistant U.S. attorney."
Ms. Nealy Cox also worked for Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas and clerked for Barefoot Sanders, U.S. senior district judge for the Northern District of Texas. She's married to Trey Cox of Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox LLP. The couple has two girls, 2 and 6.
Ms. Nealy Cox will supervise the lab staff (currently two forensic examiners, but eventually eight) and act as a go-between with clients, typically corporate general counsels or attorneys at major law firms.
She doesn't consider her shift as going to the dark side.
"I definitely cannot envision myself as a criminal defense lawyer," Ms. Nealy Cox says. "The part of my job that I liked most was seeking the truth. If I knew that my client was guilty, I think that would inhibit my ability to do my job well."
With this gig – which pays three times the $101,000 she earned from the government – Ms. Nealy Cox turns over the findings to lawyers and corporate clients and lets the digital chips fall where they may.
As Mr. Stroz, who founded the FBI's computer crime squad in New York in 1996, puts it: "We aren't advocates for the client. We're advocates for the evidence."
Proving or disproving intent is a biggie in many white-collar cases.
Mr. Stroz helped the government convict former Enron executives in an accounting sham. His team proved that a crucial memo had been read by the accused and saved – nailing him as a knowing participant.
In a cyber-stalking case, the accused claimed he didn't know where the victim lived. The firm found her address and directions to her house in his temporary MapQuest file.
Stroz Friedberg often gets called in when a high-level executive leaves a company and is suspected of taking confidential files, Ms. Nealy Cox says. "We can see what he downloaded or e-mailed to his Yahoo account the day before he left."
The firm's services aren't cheap. A hard-drive search can run as little as $10,000. A tougher, time-sensitive, global assignment can cost 10 times as much.
Connecticut-based Wiggin and Dana LLP successfully defended a senior executive at CVS Caremark in a 23-count federal case of conspiracy, mail fraud and bribery – thanks in large part to evidence retrieved by Stroz Friedberg.
Defense attorney Scott Corrigan hired the firm to search the hard drives of three computers owned by the government's key witness.
"I learned so much from Ed and his team," Mr. Corrigan says. "If I delete a file on my computer, it doesn't go away entirely. Bits and pieces remain in areas of my hard drive as fragments. They were able to come up with a number of fragments and piece them together into one e-mail, which was very exculpatory to our client's defense."
This cost about $50,000.
"From our client's perspective, it was worth every single penny," Mr. Corrigan says.
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Bill Morlin Staff writerNovember 28, 2008
Special Agent Norm Brown is retiring after 25 years with the FBI. He said his last five years as "supervisory special agent" in charge of the terrorism task force have been among the most important in his career. (Colin Mulvany The Spokesman-Review)
FBI Special Agent Norm Brown traveled a long, exciting and sometimes dangerous series of assignments before returning to his hometown of Spokane, where he graduated from Ferris High School in 1975.
There weren't many boring days along the way, he said.
Brown has been a point man for the agency, serving on the elite hostage rescue team in Quantico, Va.; on duty with the FBI director's protection squad; as a SWAT team commander in Seattle; and as the first commander of the Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.
He'll retire Sunday after 25 years with the FBI, not regretting a day.
An FBI agency rule says supervisors can hold a post for only five years. If Brown wanted to keep working until the mandatory retirement age, he faced a transfer.
For the Spokane native, the choice was easy, albeit somewhat sad.
"I'm going to take a break," he said. His wife, Bernadette Brown, who's also an FBI agent, will continue to work for a time, but when she retires, the couple plan to travel and do volunteer work.
"I have no immediate employment plans," said Norm Brown, who works out every day – weightlifting, bicycling or running. He wants to buy a digital camera, pursue photography and fly-fishing and spend time with his two brothers and his 85-year-old father, Richard Brown, the founder of Brown Building Materials.
U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt, the region's top federal law enforcement official, describes Brown "as the model of an FBI agent. He's not a supervisor, but a leader. He treats people with respect.
"He's selfless and puts his people first, and is willing to stick up for them, even at the risk of his own career," McDevitt said. "He's not a bureaucrat, and he's not afraid to buck the bureaucracy when it's necessary."
Brown attended Washington State University, getting a degree in criminal justice in 1979, while working as a Spokane County sheriff's cadet his senior year. He worked as a Spokane deputy from 1980 until late 1983, when he was hired as an FBI agent.
His last five years as "supervisory special agent" in charge of the terrorism task force have been among the most important in his career, Brown said.
In that post, he supervised a team of federal, state and local agents and officers who work out of an office at a semi-secret location, tracking extremism activity in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. The work involves analysis and intelligence gathering, confidential informants, monitoring and infiltration of suspected groups and coordination with 100 other terrorism task forces across the United States.
"The term 'terrorist' just doesn't apply to Osama bin Laden or Mohammed Atta," Brown said. "It can be used to describe groups of individuals that are involved in anarchy as well as white supremacists and militias.
"Our primary goal is to ensure that a terrorist attack does not occur in the Inland Northwest," he said.
The task force has brought several high-profile cases, including that of a militia bomb-maker convicted in a plot to kill a judge and a university student who was deported after being acquitted of suspected ties to al-Qaida.
The task force also watched the remnants of the Aryan Nations unsuccessfully attempt to regroup after a devastating civil suit in 2000, followed by the death in 2004 of the group's founder.
"We've noticed a significant downturn in white supremacy activities after Richard Butler died," Brown said.
He got his chance to return to Spokane in 1997 from Seattle, where he'd been SWAT team commander in the FBI field office since 1991. He also worked bank robberies, drug cases and did surveillance work while in Seattle.
In 1996, Brown's Seattle SWAT team was sent to Portland to watch for a team of "Phineas Priest" bank robbers and bombers. The group of North Idaho-based domestic terrorists had struck twice in Spokane, detonating two deadly bombs, and were planning another robbery in Oregon.
When the would-be robbers got to Portland, the FBI had closed the bank to avoid another bombing or gunfire, while Brown and his team conducted surveillance. Brown's team later arrested the heavily armed trio without incident during a stop at a service station.
Brown also led the Seattle SWAT team to the streets of Los Angeles for 10 days to protect firefighters during rioting following the 1992 acquittal of police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King a year earlier.
"I remember standing on a street corner in L.A. with my riot gear on, with my submachine gun, and thinking, 'This can't be America – where people are taking pot shots at firemen who are just doing their duty.' "
In August 1992, Brown and his SWAT team spent 10 days living in tents in a mountain field in North Idaho during the deadly standoff known as Ruby Ridge. As SWAT team leader during various shifts, Brown was within 25 yards of the cabin at the center of the incident, but he never fired a shot.
He described the standoff as a "very unfortunate situation for law enforcement and the (Randy) Weaver family," but leveled no criticism at anyone involved. Brown points out that the FBI changed the way it deals with hostage-standoff situations following the deadly siege.
Before being transferred to Seattle, Brown spent two years as a member of the special security detail assigned to then-FBI director William Sessions. The assignment came at a time when Colombian drug lords were putting out contracts on senior American officials.
"I traveled with the director to 25 states and eight foreign countries in less than two years," Brown recalled.
That assignment came after Brown spent four years as a member of the FBI's 50-member hostage rescue team, based in Quantico, another sought-after post. The selection process for the hostage team "was the most physically demanding two weeks of my life," he said.
Brown remembers one team assignment in Montana where he and his camo-clad sniper partner had crawled within 75 yards of a remote cabin where two escaped murderers were holed up.
"Suddenly we heard a shot go directly over our heads," he recalled. "It was close, too close. We look at each other in disbelief and remained motionless for 10 minutes."
Later, they heard more gunshots about the time the cabin burst into flames. One of the escapees killed the other before starting the fire and committing suicide.
Brown's first assignment after graduating from the FBI Academy was Butte, but the young agent was only there for two weeks before being transferred to Coeur d'Alene.
He arrived in North Idaho in 1984 about the time the FBI was opening a "major case" into a group of white supremacists known as the Order. The group, also known as "Bruder Schweigen," was robbing banks and armored cars and printing counterfeit money to fund a "race war."
In Coeur d'Alene, Brown teamed up with FBI senior agent Wayne Manis to track down various members of the Order. Manis, now retired from the FBI, recalled last week that Brown was "always soft-spoken and unexcitable" and brought those traits to the job. Manis nominated Brown to become a member of the hostage rescue team.
In the fall of 1984, Brown and another agent searched a rural home near Sandpoint where Order member Gary Yarbrough had stashed an arsenal of weapons, including the assault weapon used to kill Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg in Denver.
He also was involved in the search of a home in Laclede, Idaho, used as a "safe house" by Order members. Another arsenal was found, but, more importantly, Brown, two other agents and three identification specialists turned up fingerprints identifying seven or eight members of the group.
"We even got fingerprints from the bottom of the toilet seat," he said with a laugh.
You've heard about the Naperville woman driving Barack Obama's old car?
Well, move aside. I live on FBI agent Rob Grant's old cul-de-sac.
You may have heard his already famous quote from the Dec. 9 news conference announcing the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich: "If Illinois isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor."
Though he spoke just a short time at the news conference, his was the line most often quoted - including by Barbara Walters on "The View," although she wrongly attributed it to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Google that, and you'll get more matches than you'll want to read. It seems virtually everyone who wrote about the news conference quoted Chicago's Special Agent in Charge, Rob Grant.
Well, they call him Robert Grant. But if your daughter and his daughter were best friends from the time they were 2 until some fed moved Grant out of Chicago when the girls were 6, you could call him Rob.
Perhaps you've figured out that if my preschool daughter hung out with Grant's preschool daughter, running back and forth between our houses annoying siblings and ringing doorbells for Popsicles, he lived in Naperville.
And yes, the Grants live in our fair city again, although no longer on the same cul-de-sac where Rob tested whether watering a vegetable garden with beer improves the crops.
Several of the other agents who were instrumental in investigating the governor are also area residents - Supervisory Special Agent Patrick Murphy of Naperville and Special Agent Daniel Cain of Bolingbrook.
Just more people for Napervillians to be proud of. I mean, "American Idol" contestant Gina Glocksen was cool, but Rob, Pat and Dan are in another category - more hero than idol.
They are not the only FBI agents who either live or have lived in our city; Rob is not even the only FBI agent we've known while living here.
Why, I asked him, do so many agents live in Naperville?
The short answer: The same reason the rest of us do. The long answer, "Naperville was originally identified as an 'Agent Ghetto' because it offered tremendous value, good schools, low crime and a nice place to raise a family," Grant said in an e-mail.
Don't worry, he explained, the term 'Agent Ghetto' is more positive than it sounds. The FBI lingo refers to a place "where agents who are transferred from other places gather based upon good recommendations made by people who transferred before them.
"Naperville has always enjoyed an outstanding reputation for quality of life issues and, as a result, agents began to live there and it eventually earned the time-honored distinction of 'Agent Ghetto.'"
Alas, rising housing prices stemmed the flow of young agents into Naperville, he said. Perhaps the housing crash can reverse that trend because, I figure, it's nice to have FBI agents living nearby.
Though it's been 10 years since they left our street for Texas, we still call the house they lived in "the Grants' house."
It's not often you see your old neighbor on TV (unless he's Drew Peterson or a news anchor), and it was with a slight start I realized it was Rob that day, commenting on the Blagojevich investigation.
Not that I hadn't seen him there before in the four years since he returned to Chicago, but this time was, well, you live in Illinois, you know what that news conference was like.
Rob was the guy who called the governor to tell him agents were at his front door, the guy who answered the question "Is this a joke?"
Ah, no. But come to think of it - the men on our close-knit street years ago may have prepared Rob for just such a morning.
A more serious thought about that morning: When I read agents had planned the early morning arrest, in part, with the thought of avoiding the governor's children having to see their dad arrested, I flashed to a mental picture I have of Rob, walking around downtown Naperville when we first met his family, always with a daughter on his shoulders.
I assumed it was Rob and the other dads involved in this case who took the time to consider a child's trauma. I was only partially right.
"All the people involved in this investigation are parents. We are always sensitive to people's personal situations and, when we can control it, we try to never embarrass anyone regardless of their alleged crime," he said.
"Although being a parent does make one sensitive to the views of little people and the standing their parents have, regardless of their alleged crimes, I don't think it has anything to do with being parents as much as it is just a good law enforcement practice."
I tried to get Rob to talk about how much fun this particular investigation must be, after 25-plus long years of toiling, most often, in anonymity. But he said only, in his best FBI-agent prose, "The rewards of this job are in the service you do for your community and your nation, regardless of the specific defendant."
Yeah, right. I mean, I am sure he means what he said, but this had to be a highlight. I remember dozing off during stories he told years ago about old cases.
He did admit that after the high-profile news conference - some said the news conference played big all over the world - he heard from a lot of friends and relatives he hadn't heard from in years, including a federal prosecutor he'd worked with as a brand-new agent that he hadn't talked to in at least 20 years.
Again, with FBI-trained restraint, he said, "Due to the rather extensive media coverage, I have heard from a lot of people."
I appreciated his tendency for understatement a lot more back in the days when my daughter and his seemed to be involved in some hair-raising, mischievous antic or another hourly - or at least daily.
We appreciated him when he joined in the Slip 'n' Slide/wet basketball group one rainy July 4 and when he made scary noises to entertain the kids in the middle of the night on a neighborhood camping trip to Michigan.
But because our times were more about cul-de-sac driveway parties, swim team and backyard golf than resumes, there were a few things we didn't know about our pal Rob.
He started with the FBI more than 25 years ago. That was before computers, cell phones, pagers and the Internet. He started in Memphis, Tenn., "where I and three other new agents shared one rotary dial, hard-wired phone and we were all armed with revolvers (because the FBI didn't have semi-automatic pistols) and nobody had body armor."
From there, he and his wife, Betsy, went to New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Antonio, back to Washington and back to Chicago.
In D.C. last time, Grant was the Chief Inspector of the FBI.
We hope the Grants stay here a long time, which apparently is his intention.
Officially, that sounds like this: "I will remain in Chicago as long as the Director allows me, but I have no personal plans or desire to leave."
But back to the important stuff. What do your two daughters think of their now-somewhat-famous dad?
Not much, he told me.
"My daughters are teenagers ... need I say more?"
Yup, he may be part of a heroic team, but he's still just a typical Naperville dad.
• Joni Hirsch Blackman is a Naperville mom who lives on what's now known as FBI SAC Grant cul-de-sac. Contact her at email@example.com.
Notre Dame Academy coach Tom Cavanagh, a 34-year veteran of the FBI, is th co-founder of the Staten Rebels AAU program. Photo by Damion Reid
Rapper T.I. will bow out of the spotlight with a special farewell tour as he prepares to serve jail time for illegal weapons possession. The Live Your Life hitmaker, real name Clifford Harris, Jr., will headline a handful of dates across the U.S. in the coming weeks before he begins his year-long prison stint in March (09). His sentence relates to his 2007 arrest, in which he was caught trying to buy an arsenal of guns from an undercover FBI agent. And the hip-hop superstar is determined to go out with a bang - he will be joined by Busta Rhymes and The Way I Are singer Keri Hilson on the 28 February (09) gig in Tampa, Florida, while Young Jeezy, Plies, Rick Ross and Yung L.A. will support him in Detroit, Michigan on 7 March (09). The Farewell Tour will wrap in Corpus Christi, Texas on 15 March (09).
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