Tag Archives: FBI

Al Sharpton: I’m No Snitch

Najlah Feanny/Corbis

I actually find this entire thing hilarious.  I’m not a Sharpton fan and as Dr. Rex would say: It is what it is

The Daily Beast

The reverend tells The Daily Beast he never ratted out the Mafia to the FBI, but The Smoking Gun, which made the charges, is sticking to its story.
“If I brought down the Mob,” the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded on Monday, “I want my ticker tape parade.”

The civil rights activist and MSNBC host was referring, facetiously, to TheSmokingGun.com’s meticulously detailed, epic account, rife with court documents and law enforcement sourcing, of Sharpton’s apparent four-year career in the 1980s as one of the FBI’s more valuable mafia informants—a narrative that can best be described as The Sopranos meets American Hustle.

It’s a colorful chronicle that features con men and homicidal hoodlums with nicknames—as the Smoking Gun points out—such as “Benny Eggs,” “Chin,” “Fritzy,” “Corky,” and “Baldy Dom.” Also in the mix are famous performers like James Brown, the young Sharpton’s mentor and benefactor; Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., and rascally boxing promoter Don King, another associate of the fledgling Baptist minister.

The latest inconvenient revelation is another chapter of Sharpton’s checkered past coming back to haunt him—or maybe just throwing into sharp relief his amazing rise from rabble-rousing street preacher to member of the Democratic Party establishment as well as anchor of his own weeknight MSNBC program, PoliticsNation. MSNBC had no response to the Smoking Gun’s storyYet a screaming headline on the Drudge Report—SHARPTON WAS FBI MOB RAT—was hardly an auspicious way to begin a momentous week.

On Friday, President Obama—who has hosted Sharpton repeatedly at the White House, including at a recent dinner for the president of France—is scheduled to address the civil rights entrepreneur’s National Action Network convention at Manhattan’s Times Square Sheraton, where Education Secretary Arne Duncan and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, among other political and media luminaries, are also expected to kiss the ring during the 4-day confab.

“The government was trying to entrap a civil rights kid on some crimes that were never committed, and failed to trap him. That’s the unsaid part of it: Why did they go after Sharpton in the first place? What was the crime?”

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Sharpton called the Smoking Gun’s story—versions of which have been circulating in the media for the past 26 years—“embellished,” “a stretch,” and “crazy.” He denied that he ever knowingly snitched on wiseguys for the FBI.

But William Bastone, the Smoking Gun’s founder and the story’s author, insisted: “If he didn’t think he was an informant, the ‘Genovese squad’ of the FBI and NYPD officials sure knew him to be an informant. He was paid to be an informant, he carried a briefcase with a recording device in it, and he made surreptitious tape recordings of a Gambino crime family member 10 separate times as an informant. He did it at the direction of the FBI, he was prepped by the FBI, was handed the briefcase by the FBI and was debriefed after the meetings. That’s an informant.”

Bastone reported that Sharpton secretly taped Gambino family member Joseph Buonanno, who went by “Joe Bana,” in ten face-to-face meetings as the mobster gossiped about blackmail, mob executions, shylocking and other criminal activities under the leadership of Vincent “Chin” Gigante. Sharpton, by most accounts a skilled interlocutor who knew how to “play dumb” and draw out his conversation partners, received small payments from his FBI handlers— “walking around money,” Bastone wrote.

He cites several other instances in which Sharpton’s recordings and other tips, based on his business and social contacts with members of four of New York’s five major crime families, led to wiretaps and convictions of key mobsters. One of them, Genovese soldier Federico “Fritzy” Giovanelli, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for racketeering, in large measure because of court-approved wiretaps obtained with the help of Sharpton’s information.

Giovanelli, now 82 and three years out of prison, was in a joking mood when Bastone asked his reaction to the television’s host’s hidden role in his prosecution: “Poor Sharpton, he cleaned up his life and you want to ruin him,” Fritzy chided Bastone with a laugh.

Indeed, at 59, Sharpton has proved himself a miracle-worker in the art of reinvention—or, as he put it on Monday, “I’ve been able to make the transition, but I did it on my own.” He has, for one thing, shed half his 300-pound body weight since his troublemaking days as an angry outsider and exchanged those slovenly tracksuits for elegantly tailored duds. Hardly anyone, certainly no polite person, ever mentions the Tawana Brawley hoax anymore.

On Monday, however, Sharpton found himself doing energetic damage control regarding the Smoking Gun’s story. In interviews, he portrayed himself as a concerned citizen who, as a self-described “civil rights kid” of 29, reached out to the Feds after his life was threatened by mobsters, in order to expose a criminal conspiracy in the music business to cheat African American performers and promoters out of fair compensation.

He did so, he argued, at the risk of life and limb—and certainly there’s little doubt what might have happened to him if his gangster contacts thought he was dropping a dime on them. Even Bastone seemed to acknowledge that with some of the targeted mob figures alive and kicking, simple prudence might make Sharpton believe he should continue to deny a secret arrangement with the FBI and stick to the cover story he included in his 1996 autobiography, Go and Tell Pharaoh, and last year’s best-seller, The Rejected Stone.

“Yes, you’d want to keep that on the QT,” Bastone said. “But time has moved on from when he did it. Perhaps the danger has subsided.” Still, Barone said such concerns don’t justify Sharpton’s “going out of his way to deny it.”

“I think they take a lot of leaps here,” Sharpton said about the Smoking Gun, which asserted that the young activist was “flipped” by the FBI and coerced into being an informant after blundering into a sting operation in which an undercover agent, pretending to be a drug lord, got him on videotape apparently countenancing the idea of taking a 10 percent cut for helping in the importation of “pure coke” at $35,000 a kilo.

But the Smoking Gun concedes that a successful prosecution would have been iffy, at best, based on the video, in which Sharpton merely nodded, said “I hear you,” and speculated on the market needs of an unnamed buyer: “If he’s gonna do it, he’ll do it much more than that.” For years Sharpton has claimed that far from being intimidated by the FBI into becoming an informant, he dared the agents, “Indict me.” That never happened.

“The government was trying to entrap a civil rights kid on some crimes that were never committed, and failed to trap him,” Sharpton said on Monday. “That’s the unsaid part of it: Why did they go after Sharpton in the first place? What was the crime?” He added: “The one interesting thing that we’re looking at, three decades later, is that no one can identify, with all of the documents Bastone’s got, what it is they came after me for? There is no crime here.”


Filed under Rev. Al Sharpton

FBI Arrests 18 L.A. Sherriff’s Deputies in Corruption/Inmate Abuse Investigation

It’s good to read how the tables can turn on the bad apples in law enforcement…

Daily Kos

One small blow, perhaps, to the burgeoning Prison Industrial Complex. From NBC News:

Nearly 20 L.A. current and former sheriff’s deputies were expected to be arrested Monday in connection with a two-year- federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse in the Los Angeles County jail system, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Monday.Some 18 deputies, most still active in the department, were either arrested without incident or were expected to surrender Monday to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the sources. None of those arrested ranked higher than lieutenant.

The sources said that the deputies are alleged to have committed crimes that include use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice. The investigation is ongoing, according to sources, but the arrests seem to culminate an investigation that included allegations that deputies tried to hide an informant who was providing information to the FBI while locked up after the deputies discovered the informant had a cell phone.


According to the article, the informant was using his cellphone to provide the FBI with photos of the ongoing inmate abuse.

The article also says that much of the onus of these arrests will fall on L.A. Chief Sheriff Lee Baca, who is seeking a fifth term. In June, the Justice Department caught some of his deputies harassing and intimidating Blacks and Latinos in L.A.’s Antelope Valley district.

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Filed under LAPD, Prison Industrial Complex

Second Boston Marathon suspect now in custody: Summary

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev in ambulance after being taken into custody

Daily Kos

A brief summary of today’s events for those who were unable to follow them throughout the day. Here’s hoping this wraps up a truly monstrous week.

  • After a shootout with police that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev (“Suspect 1″) dead last evening, today began with a street-to-street search for the remaining suspect in Watertown and a stay-indoors order in place for all of Boston.
  • A hero: Jeff Bauman lost both legs in the bombing, as was evidenced by several of the most grisly post-bombing pictures. After waking up in the hospital, however, he was still able to deliver crucial information to the FBI:

    “He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’” [his brother] Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.

    Bauman was able to give a description of the man, allowing investigators to narrow their focus. He is also facing major medical needs, and his friends have set up a a fundraiser for those expenses: you can contribute here.

  • Late today, the FBI confirmed that the older brother, Tamerian, had been interviewed two years ago. According to CBS, the interview was done “at the request of a foreign country about possible extremist ties“, but no such ties were found.
  • By the afternoon, the trail had seemingly gone cold. Police lifted the stay-indoors order at slightly after 6 PM local time; less than an hour later, a call to police from an alert resident reporting blood in or near a backyard boat led to an immediate police response and another shootout.
  • The suspect was soon confirmed to be Dzhokar Tsarnaev, hiding in the boat. After an extended standoff, he was captured alive this evening and transported to a nearby hospital, where he is reported in “serious” condition.
  • In remarks late this evening, President Obama pledged: “We will determine how this happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had.”

This story is far from over, of course. But both main suspects have now been accounted for.


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Filed under Boston Marathon Bombings

FBI: Poison Letter Sent to Obama

The Daily Beast

Just one day after a mysterious letter sent to Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker was found to contain ricin, the FBI announced the discovery of another poison-laced letter—this one meant for President Obama.

Several other senators reported receiving suspicious mail Wednesday as well.  A spokesman for the FBI announced that early tests on the Obama letter showed signs of ricin.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president had been briefed on the letter, but deferred all other questions to the FBI, which is conducting the investigation. The disturbing discovery comes just one day after authorities intercepted a note meant for Wicker, which was also found to contain ricin. Whether the letters are connected to the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon remains unclear.

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Filed under Contaminated Letters To Politicians

Mitch McConnell’s Claim That Democrats Watergate Style Bugged Him Is Falling Apart

Of course it’s falling apart.  McConnell was lying like he always does…


Hours after urging the FBI to investigate what he called a Watergate style Democratic bugging, Mitch McConnell’s blame the Democrats for the secret audio tape strategy is falling apart.

After the publication of a secret audio tape where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) detailed some of the sleazy tactics he planned to use to get reelected, his campaign called for an FBI investigation.

Mitch McConnell

McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton said, “Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings. Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished presumably will be the subject of a criminal investigation.” Benton continued, “We’ve always said the Left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters are above and beyond.”

“We are still waiting for Sen. Mitch McConnell to comment on the substance of the article. Before posting, we contacted his Senate office and his campaign office—in particular, his campaign manager, Jesse Benton—and no one responded. As the story makes clear, we were recently provided with the tape by a source who wishes to remain anonymous. We published the article on the tape due to its obvious newsworthiness. We were not involved in the making of the tape, but it is our understanding that the tape was not the product of any kind of bugging operation. We cannot comment beyond that, except to say that under the circumstances, our publication of the article is both legal and protected by the First Amendment.”

According to Kentucky state law, if the person who made the recording was a part of the conversation, the taping was legal. In order words, Mitch McConnell did not have to be notified that he was being recorded. It only takes one party’s consent for the taping to legal, so Mitch McConnell doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

The real purpose of this “FBI investigation” is to uncover the mole in McConnell’s reelection campaign. Mitch McConnell’s campaign has sprung a leak, and they are desperate to know who it is. The claims of a Democratic bugging are nothing more than a shameless attempt to distract Kentucky voters from the fact that McConnell is the least popular senator in the country. McConnell is hoping that the paranoid sympathy Republican vote will carry him to reelection.

Mitch McConnell’s story is crumbling quickly, and his hopes for another term may be fading before his own eyes.

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Filed under Mitch McConnell

FBI sees rising threat from ‘sovereign citizen’ movement

The Raw Story

The FBI has said it is monitoring a growing extremist threat from “sovereign citizen” movements, and is targeting their activities to prevent a repeat of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Followers of “sovereign citizen” ideologies reject all government authority, refusing to pay taxes, not recognizing US currency, and sometimes engaging in acts of violence, FBI officials told reporters on Monday.

“They could be lone wolves, too,” said Stuart McArthur, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, who said it was the agency’s mission to “deter and detect” potential acts of “catastrophic violence.”

The worst act of domestic terrorism in US history was the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which claimed the lives of 168 people and left a federal office building in ruins.

Its main perpetrator, Timothy McVeigh, was sentenced to death and executed in 2001.

The FBI said the “sovereign citizen” militants are distinguishable from other ultra-right extremists by their use of homemade license plates, documents and diplomatic credentials, as well as the terminology they use.

“The ideology itself promotes violence and encourages violence,” said special agent Casey Carty, who said the FBI had a duty to be proactive in dealing with the potential threat.

The number of convictions in “sovereign citizen” cases rose from 10 in 2009 to 18 in 2010 and another 18 last year.

“We want to focus on this particular threat,” said McArthur, adding that evidence of the alarming movement is found “all over the country.”

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Filed under Sovereign Citizen Movement

FBI: Four Georgia militia members plotted to attacks

The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau o...

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As a resident of a suburb about twenty miles outside of Atlanta, this news is disturbing on so many levels…


‘I’d say the first ones that need to die is the ones in the government buildings’

Four Georgia men in their 60s and 70s were arrested Tuesday, accused of being members of a right-wing militia group that plotted to attack federal office buildings and to disperse a deadly biological poison in Atlanta.

Their alleged plot was revealed to the FBI by a confidential informant last spring, and members of the group have been meeting since May with someone they thought was a black-market weapons dealer but who turned out to be an undercover federal agent, according to court documents.

No attacks were ever attempted. Federal officials say the men were disrupted before they could act on the plot.

The documents say the men, Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga.; Dan Roberts, 67, Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68, all of Toccoa, called themselves “the covert group” and began in March to talk about staging attacks against federal targets including the IRS.

A confidential informant secretly recorded some of the meetings for the FBI.

“I’d say the first ones that need to die is the ones in the government buildings,” Adams was overheard saying in an April 16 meeting, according to the FBI.

“When it comes down to it, I can kill somebody,” he allegedly said.

Read court documents on ricin allegations (.PDF)

They allegedly obtained a silencer from the undercover agent and plotted to buy explosives. Crump claimed he could produce ricin, a deadly biological agent, and talked about dispersing it from a car driving on an interstate highway, according to court documents.

Continue reading here…

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Filed under Right Wing Extremism, Right Wing Violence

Is There An FBI Informant At ABC News?

The Mole at ABC News

The Daily Beast

Update: The Daily Beast had reached out to Chris Isham, an ABC News veteran who fit the description of the source who cooperated with the FBI, but he declined to return calls for comment. In the hours since this article was published, Gawker has identified Isham, now CBS’s Washington bureau chief, as the FBI mole in question. Isham issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“The suggestion that I was an informant for the FBI is outrageous and untrue. Like every investigative reporter, my job for 25 years has been to check out information and tips from sources. In the heat of the Oklahoma City bombing, it would not be unusual for me or any journalist to run information by a source within the FBI for confirmation or to notify authorities about a pending terrorist attack. This is consistent with the policies at every news organization. But at no time did I compromise a confidential source with the FBI or anyone else. Mr. Cannistraro was not a confidential source, but rather a colleague—a paid consultant to ABC News who had already spoken to the FBI about information he had received.”

In a separate statement, a CBS spokesperson said:
“CBS News has strict standards regarding the handling of source material and we are discussing the facts of the allegations with Chris. The events in question are a matter between the FBI and ABC News.”

The FBI treated a reporter who provided information about bombing as an informant. The Center for Public Integrity looks at whether the journalist acted unethically.

Some journalists develop a delicate relationship with law-enforcement officials as they try to obtain sensitive information without getting too close to the government.

But a once-classified FBI memo reveals that the bureau treated a senior ABC News journalist as a potential confidential informant in the 1990s, pumping the reporter to ascertain the source of a sensational but uncorroborated tip that the network had obtained during its early coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.              Continue reading…

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Bomb Found On MLK Day Parade Route, Says FBI

Balloon Juice states it best:

Authorities have yet to decide whether this was done by a liberal plant or by a crazy person who has never watched Fox News or listened to talk radio.

An incendiary device found along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was “likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties,” the FBI said today.

 Expect more of this. And remember it’s all coincidence that it’s all aimed at black people, Democrats, and people who work in the federal government.

Huffington Post

The FBI offered a reward Tuesday for information about a potentially lethal bomb found in a backpack along the downtown route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

The discovery before Monday’s parade for the slain civil rights leader raised the possibility of a racial motive in a region that has been home to the white supremacist Aryan Nations.

“The confluence of the holiday, the march and the device is inescapable,” said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane FBI office. “But we are not at the point where we can draw any particular motive.”

He called the planting of the bomb an act of domestic terrorism that was clearly designed to advance a political or social agenda.

The suspicious backpack was spotted by three city employees about an hour before the parade was to start, Harrill said. They looked inside, saw wires and immediately alerted law enforcement.

The parade route was changed to avoid the device. A bomb disposal unit disabled it without incident, he said.

Harrill declined to release details of the device, other than to call it a functional bomb that could have caused multiple casualties.

“The potential for injury and death were clearly present,” Harrill said.

The FBI received no warnings in advance and did not have a suspect, Harrill said. No one has claimed credit for planting the bomb.    More…

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Filed under Jr. Day

Sirhan Sirhan, man who assassinated Robert Kennedy, plotted to kill Ted Kennedy, too: FBI

The New York Daily News

Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, may have tried to take out his brother Ted, too.

A fellow inmate at the federal prison in Soledad, Calif., told the FBI that Sirhan offered him “a million dollars and a car” to kill Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1977, according to a report in Kennedy’s newly-released FBI file (read PDF of report).

The Mexican-American inmate, whose name is redacted, told agents he didn’t know Ted Kennedy was a senator, but recognized that he was the brother of slain President John Kennedy and New York Sen. Bobby Kennedy.

The inmate, who was in the cell next to Sirhan’s for 18 months and befriended the assassin, said Sirhan told him to contact his mother for more details if he decided to take on the hit.

“He advised he declined the contract,” the report states.

The inmate said he didn’t think Sirhan made the offer to anyone else at the prison.

The FBI alerted Kennedy’s office, the Secret Service, the Boston Police Department and the police chief in Barnstable, Mass, near the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod.

The seriousness of the threat, and the reliability of the inmate informant, were never determined.

Sirhan, a mentally unbalanced Palestinian Christian, shot Bobby Kennedy the night he won the California primary – sealing the Democratic nomination – because the senator had promised military support for Israel if elected President.

Sirhan is serving life in prison in California.

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