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Russia failed to tell FBI about Islamic jihad call, report says

WASHINGTON — The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years before the attack that might have prompted more extensive scrutiny of him, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Watch the full report here

The information is contained in an inspector general’s review of how American intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.

Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer,” the New York Times reported, and that Tsarnaev had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to Russia.

But after an initial investigation by F.B.I. agents in Boston, the Russians declined several bureau requests for additional information they had about him, the newspaper reported.

The report found that it was only after the bombing occurred last April that the Russians shared with the F.B.I. the additional intelligence, including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Tsarnaev and his mother in which they discussed Islamic jihad.


Investigators do not know man’s identity or whereabouts

WASHINGTON, DC — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public’s help to identify and track down a man known only as John Doe who is suspected of sexually exploiting a child.

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children first learned of the man’s sexually explicit activities with a child in November of 2012.

Investigators said they obtained a video of the explicit act, which revealed clues about the man’s identity and whereabouts.

For example, the video shows the man and the child inside a home with what appears to be a blue sofa chair and a picture hanging on a wall in the background. In addition, the man was wearing wire-framed glasses and a burgundy T-shirt with what appeared to be a shark logo on the left side.

The man was described as a white male in his 30s or 40s with a receding hairline.

FBI officials said there were no specific details linking the suspect to a particular state or region of the United States.

Anyone with information about this man is urged to submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov/, or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).


An FBI operation at rural home in Indiana, April 2, 2014.  WISH-TV

WALDRON, Ind. — A team of FBI agents, archaeologists and other experts are confiscating Native American and other artifacts and relics from a collection described as having immeasurable cultural significance from a home in rural central Indiana, authorities said.

An FBI investigation determined that the homeowner, Donald C. Miller, may have knowingly and unknowingly collected objects in violation of several treaties and federal and state statutes, Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones said Wednesday.

“We know that some of the items were acquired improperly,” Jones said.

The items, stored in several buildings on the property about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis, areto be collected, identified and repatriated, he said. Those that properly belong to Millerare being safeguarded, he said. A number of statutes and law may not have been in effect when Miller collected some of the items, he said.”The exact number of artifacts in the collection is unknown at this time but it’s believed to be in the thousands,” Jones said. “The monetary value of the entire collection and of its individual pieces is yet to be determined however the cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable.”

Jones said that the extensive collection, which Miller amassed over eight decades, includes Native American artifacts and relics as well as items from the United States, China, Haiti, Australia, Russia, New Guinea, Italy, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Greece, Peru and possibly several other countries.

He said he could not comment on the nature of the items but said that Miller had traveled extensively. He said the team was trying to determine the exact time and method of each acquisition.

Larry Zimmerman, a professor of anthropology and museum studies, said he was overwhelmed when he saw the collection.

“I have never seen a collection like this in my entire life except in some of the largest museums,” he said.

Miller, 91, told CBS News that he was a lifetime collector who had a museum of hundreds of artifacts in his basement.

He said he “absolutely” has rightful ownership of the artifacts and that he was cooperating with the FBI’s search.

“I have been in 200 countries collecting artifacts,” he said.

Miller has not been charged with any crime.

Television helicopter video showed a mobile FBI command vehicle, a moving van and several tents alongside a two-story home near the town of Waldron.

Some 200 people are involved in the process, which could take years.

 


Fox won’t say if he’ll resign

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox says he won’t yet comment publicly on the raids of his office and home by federal and state law enforcement officials.

Fox told reporters outside his Providence home Saturday he would make a statement “when it’s appropriate.”

Authorities raided Fox’s Statehouse office and home Friday as part of an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and state police. Officials haven’t said whom or what they are investigating.

Fox wouldn’t comment when asked if he plans to resign. He also wouldn’t say if a lawyer is representing him.

Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello called an “informational caucus” Friday evening to talk about “the future of the House.” He hasn’t called for Fox to step down but says he has enough votes to be speaker.


Few details released about investigation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The U.S. attorney’s office says an investigation is underway at the Rhode Island Statehouse, where police officers are stationed outside House Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.

U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Jim Martin says his office, the FBI, IRS and state police are engaged in a law enforcement action, but he would not give specifics.

Three state police officers were standing outside the closed door to Fox’s office on Friday morning.

Fox’s spokesman, Larry Berman, says state police came in Friday morning and asked everyone to leave. He says Fox is not at the Statehouse.

Martin would not comment when asked whether the Democratic House speaker was being investigated.


Prints given to FBI for national background checks

BOSTON — Massachusetts school districts have started fingerprinting teachers, administrators, bus drivers, and other employees, and forwarding the information to the FBI for national background checks.

The effort officially began this month in a handful of districts, with all school systems to follow in the coming weeks.

As Team 5 Investigates reported in November, Massachusetts is the last state to fingerprint school employees to more fully search for past criminal activity.

The FBI will run the prints through its databases, enabling schools for the first time to receive criminal histories from outside Massachusetts and enhancing the chances of identifying staffers with criminal pasts. Previously, local districts only had access to Massachusetts criminal records.

The state has set up fingerprinting centers in Beverly, Boston, Bourne, and Pittsfield, and plans to open more.


NBC News

By Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News
John and Bonnie Raines today.

Forty-three years after the mysterious theft of up to 1,000 documents from an FBI office outside Philadelphia, three former political activists are publicly confessing to the brazen burglary, calling it an act of “resistance” that exposed “massive illegal surveillance and intimidation.”

“We did it … because somebody had to do it,” John Raines, 80, a retired professor of religion at Temple University, said  in an interview with NBC News.  “In this case, by breaking a law — entering, removing files — we exposed a crime that was going on. … When we are denied the information we need  to have to  act as citizens, then we have a right to do what we did.”

Raines, his wife, Bonnie, and Keith Forsyth, a former Philadelphia cab driver, said they were part of an eight-member ring  of anti-Vietnam War protesters that  —while much of the country was gripped by the so-called “Fight of the Century” in New York between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier— broke into the FBI’s Media, Penn., office on March 8, 1971.

Members of the burglary team, armed with little more than a crowbar and wearing  suits and ties, then walked off undetected  with suitcases stuffed with sensitive bureau files that revealed a domestic FBI spying operation known as COINTELPRO. The heist enraged the bureau’s legendary Director J. Edgar Hoover , who launched a massive but ultimately futile manhunt.

The identities of the burglars are revealed in a  book being published Tuesday, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI,” by Betty Medsger , a former Washington Post reporter.

The book, as well as a new film, “1971,” by documentarian Johanna Hamilton, portray the break-in  as a story with new resonance in light of the recent  revelations of National Security Agency surveillance of American citizens by ex-contractor Edward Snowden.

Much like Snowden, the FBI burglars selectively leaked the stolen files to journalists. They produced months of headlines about  FBI surveillance of anti-war and civil rights groups  — including the first references to COINTELPRO, a secret program started years earlier by Hoover and aimed at smearing the reputations of perceived enemies such as Dr. Martin Luther King.

Among the stolen files: plans to enhance “paranoia” among “New Left” groups by instilling fears that “there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.” Another instructed agents in the Philadelphia area to monitor the “clientele” of “Afro-American type bookstores” and recruit informants among the “the Negro militant movement.”

“These documents were explosive,” said Medsger, who was the first reporter to write about them after receiving a batch of the files anonymously in the mail. Her book traces how the stolen files led to a landmark Senate investigation of intelligence and law enforcement agency abuses by the late Idaho Sen. Frank Church, and eventually to new Justice Department guidelines that barred the bureau from conducting investigations based on First Amendment protected political activity.

FBI

The FBI office in Philadelphia that was burglarized in 1971.

After the burglary, said Medsger, “The FBI was never the same.”

FBI - The FBI office in Philadelphia that was burglarized in 1971.

Advance word that the book and film might portray the burglars in a positive light has angered some former FBI agents, including  Pat Kelly, who worked in the burgled  office at the time. Along with a fellow agent, Kelly was the first to discover the break-in – a scene he still vividly remembers.

“Pat, someone got in our pants,” he recalls his colleague saying as they entered the office. “We found the office in total disarray. Files were all over the place. Paperwork discarded. All the drawers of the desks were ransacked. … I was in a state of shock.”

Kelly said he remains “incensed”  by the crime and frustrated that, despite a  wide-ranging investigation that at one point involved 200 agents. As far as he’s concerned, the burglars “are criminals, not patriots.”

“I don’t believe such people have the right to take it upon themselves and make decisions’ about what should be made public,” said Kelly, who served as an FBI agent for 32 years until his retirement in 2001. “These are the same type of people that would look upon Snowden as perhaps a patriot when … in my opinion, he was a traitor.”

In response to a request for comment from NBC News, FBI spokesman Michael Kortan emailed this statement:  “A number of events during that era, including the burglary, contributed to changes in how the FBI identified and addressed domestic security threats, leading to reform of the FBI’s intelligence policies and practices.”

With the five-year statute of limitations on burglary long since expired and the case officially closed, Raines, his wife and Forsyth said they have few fears about revealing their identities now. To the contrary, they spoke with pride about their roles during several interviews.

“We should have a plaque right up there,” said Raines, standing outside what is now a real estate office across from the Delaware County courthouse, and pointing to the second floor where the FBI office was located.  “This is where it happened.”

The burglars were committed political activists during a turbulent era: John Raines was a civil rights “Freedom Rider” who marched in Selma, Ala., and got arrested in Little Rock sitting with African Americans at a segregated lunch counter.  Later in the 1960sthey turned their protest efforts to stopping the Vietnam War.

Courtesy Raines Family

John and Bonnie Raines early in their marriage

“I was horrified that our government was lying to us about what was actually happening in Vietnam,” said Bonnie Raines, who later worked as a child care advocate. “And all the usual things we always did — picketing, marching, signing petitions — didn’t make any difference whatsoever.”

Courtesy Raines Family - John and Bonnie Raines early in their marriage

Their frustrations led them to acts of civil disobedience, including breaking into Philadelphia area Selective Service offices and destroying draft cards. In pulling off those raids, they got assistance from a fellow protester,  Forsyth, who said he developed a skill at picking the locks on the draft board office by taking a correspondence course.

In the fall of 1970, an informal leader of their protest group , the late Bill Davidon, then a physics professor at Haverford College, proposed a more risky operation: breaking into a local FBI office in order to get proof of FBI surveillance of the peace movement.

Davidon’s daughter, Sarah,  confirmed her father’s role, telling NBC News he first told her about it more than 25 years ago. “He didn’t call it a burglary. He always referred to it as ‘the Media action,’” she said.

The team of burglars, calling themselves “the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI,” cased the Media office for hours in what John Rainesdescribed as a “hippie” van, monitoring  when agents came and left. Then, Bonnie Raines was dispatched to get a closer look by posing as a college student seeking to interview the agent in charge for a school paper about job opportunities for women in the FBI.

“I tried to disguise my appearance as much as I could,” said Bonnie Raines. “I had long, dark, hippie hair at that time and I stuffed it up inside of a winter hat.” She was careful to leave no fingerprints. “What (the agent) didn’t notice during the whole interview was that I never took my gloves off,” she said.

After the break-in, the FBI developed a sketch of the  college student, but agents were unable to come up with a real name.

FBI

An FBI sketch of the female “college student,” which was actually Bonnie Raines in disguise.

FBI - An FBI sketch of the female “college student,” which was actually Bonnie Raines in disguise.

”We quickly realized that this was just a ‘send-in’ to try to ascertain what kind of security devices there were,” said Kelly, the former FBI agent.

The burglars chose the evening of March 8, because of the national fixation with the Ali-Frazier fight, figuring that any security guards on duty would be glued to their radios.

Forsyth entered first.  “I picked door B and busted the deadbolt off in one go with a crowbar,” he recalled. “And I held my breath.”

Next,  the team’s “inside crew” entered and started cracking open file cabinets and rifling through desk drawers for documents. Forsyth acknowledges they left the office a mess. “I don’t think we spent a lot time cleaning up,” he laughed. “I think we wanted to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.”

John Raines drove the getaway car to a Quaker farm outside of town, where the team immediately began poring over the documents, getting excited as they found evidence of FBI surveillance. But even while sending out their anonymous mailings, they kept their secret, telling no one – not even their children — for years.

But Raines said he now feels emboldened. And he also feels a special kinship with Snowden, the NSA leaker and current fugitive:  “From one whistleblower to another, ‘Hi,’” he said, waving to a camera.

And he’s got a message for the FBI agents who looked for him for years.

“Aren’t you glad you failed?” he said. “… Aren’t we all glad you failed?”

ABOUT COINTELPRO

What does COINTELPRO stand for?

Counter Intelligence Program

What was COINTELPRO?

From 1956 to 1971, the agency used covert operations to infiltrate domestic political groups that it considered subversive, including the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements, the Black Panthers and various exile groups. Field operatives were instructed to disrupt the groups, create factions and destroy their public image.

Was it legal?

In 1976, the final report of the Church Committee, a Senate group that investigated domestic surveillance by the CIA, NSA and FBI, said “Legal restrictions were ignored,” and asked, “What happened to turn a law enforcement agency into a law violator?” The report said the FBI had told outside authorities it was monitoring communists and white hate groups, but “[couldn’t] support its claim” that it had informed anyone outside the agency about its surveillance of other groups. The report led to a series of reforms that set limits on the FBI’s authority.

Who authorized it?

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover launched the program to disrupt Communist activity in the name of national security, but then redirected it against black civil rights leaders. Later it was expanded to disrupt the Ku Klux Klan. Hoover pulled the plug on the program in 1972 after its existence was revealed by the Media, Pa., burglary.


BOSTON (CBS) – Two high-powered FBI guns stolen in Andover were recovered in Lawrence Friday.

The weapons, a Colt M16-A1 Rifle and a HS Precision Series 2000 Sniper Rifle, were stolen from a FBI SWAT vehicle parked at an agent’s home in Andover sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Weapons similar to those stolen from agent’s vehicle. (Credit FBI)
The FBI put out a public plea for help finding the weapons, even offering a reward of up to $20,000.


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High-powered weapons stolen from FBI SWAT vehicle

Andover MA

Two high-powered rifles were stolen from an FBI SWAT vehicle in Andover, the FBI’s Boston office said Thursday.

The weapons, a Colt M16-A1 rifle and an HS Precision Pro-Series 2000 sniper rifle, were taken from the government vehicle Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

During that same time, items were stolen from other vehicles parked at nearby homes in Andover, the FBI said.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for the two weapons.

“The FBI continues to devote significant resources to locate these weapons (and) determine who stole them,” the bureau said in a statement.

Anyone with information should call the FBI at 617-742-5533 or the Andover Police Department at 978-475-0411.

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