The embattled Al Sharpton took to the air yesterday and said reports of him willingly snitching to the FBI were false. According to Sharpton, he only went to the agency after his wife received death threats from mobster Sal Patello. On his MSNBC show yesterday, Sharpton portrayed himself as a victim of mob threats who went to the FBI in search of protection.
The only problem with his story? It isn’t true.
Sharpton actually became an informant for the FBI in 1983, nine months before Patello allegedly sent death threats to his wife. As the Smoking Gun reports, Sharpton became an FBI informant after he was caught discussing a cocaine deal with an undercover federal agent.
During a 1983 conversation with an undercover agent posing as a former drug lord, the agent told Sharpton “I can get you pure coke, or you know, 99 percent, for about $35,000 a kilo.” Sharpton and the agent then discussed further details of the deal.
Three months later, Sharpton was scheduled to meet again with the undercover agent. But this time, he was met by uniformed FBI agents who showed him the incriminating footage of him. Immediately, Sharpton complied with the agents and said he would cooperate with whatever they wanted him to do.
The latest findings fly in the face of the narrative Sharpton purported on air yesterday, in which he said “I know I was threatened [by mobbed-up entertainment figures]. I did what anybody would do that is respected…I cooperated.”
The FBI declined to comment on the case. A Sharpton spokesperson wouldn’t say if the reverend would agree to release his official files from the ordeal in order to silence what he says are false accusations.
“CI-7.” That’s the name by which famed civil rights activist and MSNBC host Reverend Al Sharpton used to go by during his days as a top secret FBI informant, according to a new report from The Smoking Gun.
The detailed report highlights the reverend’s alleged time spent as an FBI informant, interacting with New York City’s most famous organized crime families and tipping off the feds in the process.
According to The Smoking Gun’s William Bastone, “CI-7” spent four years during the 1980s as a paid informant, secretly recording conversations and helping the FBI to bring down the top mob organizations in the city.
The Smoking Gun says their report, “is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance. Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders and more than a dozen phone lines.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast following the shocking allegations from The Smoking Gun, Sharpton vehemently denied the claims, saying that if he “brought down the mob, I want my ticker tape parade.”
“I think they take a lot of leaps here,” said Sharpton of the allegations. The Smoking Gun article takes a lot of time to really comprehend, but one of the most shocking parts about it are the claims that Sharpton was “flipped” by the FBI and brought on as informant, instead of being prosecuted, after he was caught on camera talking about helping import cocaine at $35,000 a kilo. Sharpton denies those allegations completely.
“The government was trying to entrap a civil rights kid on some crimes that were never committed, and failed to trap him,” said Sharpton of the cocaine accusations. “That’s the unsaid part of it: Why did they go after Sharpton in the first place? What was the crime? 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.”
Still, William Bastone, who authored the article and founded the Smoking Gun website, says that even if Sharpton doesn’t believe or won’t admit he was an informant, FBI documents prove otherwise.
“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,” said Bastone. “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.”
Despite lengthy FBI documents and convincing proof provided by Bastone, Sharpton is still sticking by his claims that the entire story is a stretch.
“I was never told I was an informant or I had a number or none of that,” said Sharpton. “Whether or not they used some of the other information they got during that period for other purposes, I don’t know.”
The FBI has reportedly started to seize artifacts from a 91-year-old Indiana man’s home that they say are of extreme cultural value.
Don Miller says he’s been collecting rare artifacts for years and has traveled to 200 countries to get his hands on the items, but now, an FBI investigation revealed that he may have collected artifacts in violation of a number of different treaties.
"Over the last several months, an FBI investigation has determined that Mr. Miller may have knowingly and unknowingly collected artifacts, relics and objects of cultural patrimony in violation of several treaties federal and state statutes,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones.
Reports claim that the historic relics are kept in several buildings on Miller’s central Indiana property and that once agents determine which artifacts need to be confiscated, they will begin the process of getting them back to where they came from.
“[It is] our duty to ensure they are properly identified, safeguarded, collected and stored in a manner that allow us to eventually to return them to those Native American and other nations and cultural groups who have legitimate rights to ownership,” said Jones.
Authorities aren’t able to confirm exactly how many artifacts there are in the storage spaces, but they do say that their value goes beyond any sort of monetary amount.
"The exact number of artifacts in the collection is unknown at this time, but it's believed to be in the thousands," said Jones. "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."
Despite the FBI’s claims, Miller vehemently maintains that he is the rightful owner of every single item and that he obtained them completely legally.
“He is being cooperative, and so far, everything is going well,” said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson.
Those who have met Miller and viewed his artifacts said they were shocked that the 91-year-old was being investigated by the FBI.
“I’m just thinking about this wonderful man that I had met three years ago, and I’ll never forget him and all the stories he told us,” said Melissa Kleiman. “I just can’t imagine him doing anything wrong on purpose.”
The FBI investigation is ongoing, and so far, agents have yet to comment on the progress they’ve made since starting to go through the artifacts.
The FBI is looking for a U.S. Army recruit who is believed to be planning an attack on a U.S. military base.
Fox News learned of the search when it obtained portions of an alert issued by the FBI’s Kansas City Division. That alert had been sent to the Kansas City Police Department as well as the U.S. Marine Corps. It states the recruit may be planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. Soldiers.”
The recruit is referred to in the alert as “Booker” and says he also goes by the name Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. He was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February and was scheduled to report for basic training April 7. Hassan was discharged by the Army last week after authorities learned of his plan.
The alert was titled, “Planned Fort Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit.”
It read in part:
“On 20 March 2014, the Kansas City Division FBI became aware of an individual named BOOKER aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan who had publicly stated his intention to commit jihad, bidding farewell to his friends and making comments indicating his jihad was imminent.”
A Marine Corps spokesman has confirmed that the alert is legitimate but officials have not yet commented on it. A spokeswoman at the FBI Kansas City Division simply told Fox News that she did “not have any information to provide in regards to your inquiry.”
The Fort Hood shooting, referenced in the alert, took place in 2009 when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Processing Center. That facility administered medical checkups to soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. The rampage left 13 dead and another 32 wounded.
Hasan, who acted as his own attorney at his trial, was convicted and sentenced to death in August. If he is put death he will be the first service member executed since 1961 according to The Washington Post.
The legal team of accused Boston Bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev asked federal prosecutors to turn over a number of FBI documents pertaining to Dzokhar and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev on Friday. The defense team seeks to show that the elder Tamerlan was the “main instigator” behind the attacks.
Dzokhar’s lawyers argued that the prosecution’s decision to either execute Dzokhar or send him to life in prison "could well turn on how it apportions the brothers' relative responsibility for conceiving and carrying out the attacks, and on the extent to which it views Tamerlan Tsarnaev as having induced or coerced his younger brother to help commit them."
Among the notable findings in the defense team’s 23-page filing is the claim that the FBI, aware of Tamerlan’s extremist views, tried in the past to convince him to become an informant.
“The FBI made more than one visit to talk with Anzor, Zubeidat [Dzhokhar and Tamerlan’s parents] and Tamerlan,” the filing states. “[They] questioned Tamerlan about his internet searches, and asked him to be an informant, reporting on the Chechen and Muslim community.”
The defense claims this “shows Tamerlan to have had a substantially longer and deeper engagement than his younger brother with extremist and violent ideology [and] is mitigating for the light that it sheds on their relative culpability.”
The FBI denies ever recruiting either brother to work as an informant for the agency. A 2013 FBI statement released after the Tsarnaev’s were identified as suspects in the bombing said the “brothers were never sources for the FBI nor did the FBI attempt to recruit them as sources.”
Dzokhar Tsarnarev, 20, is being held in a federal detention center in Ayer, Massachusetts about 40 miles outside of Boston. He is facing 30 charges for his role in the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, including using a weapon of mass destruction. That charge, along with several others leveled against him, is punishable by death.
On Monday, the FBI arrested a New York City correction officer and charged him with violating the civil rights of an inmate who died under the officer’s watch. The FBI has alleged that Terrence Pendergrass refused to get medical help for a mentally ill inmate, Jason Echevarria, after the inmate swallowed cleaning chemicals while locked in his cell at Rikers Island. According to a New York Times story it is alleged that Echevarria died as a result of the officer’s neglect.
The death occurred Aug. 18, 2012, after Echevarria swallowed a packet of cleaning chemicals. The inmate had been given the “soap ball,” as it is known at Rikers, to clean up after a raw sewage leak. After swallowing the chemicals Echevarria began vomiting and complaining of pain. A correction officer alerted Pendergrass, a Captain at the time, of Echevarria’s condition but Pendergrass told the officer not to bother him unless, “there was a dead body,” according to the FBI.
Pendergrass was alerted by a second officer of Echevarria’s condition but he still refused to call medical help for the inmate. According to the court documents Echevarria suffered from bipolar disorder and had a history of acting up. He was found dead in his cell hours later.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide as the result of “neglect and denial of medical care.” The autopsy reveled that the chemicals had stripped the linings from Echevarria’s tongue and throat.
City officials said it would have been difficult to convict Pendergrass of murder charges.
"We just didn't have sufficient evidence to move forward,” Bronx District Attorney spokesman Steven Reed said last year, according to the New York Daily News.
The FBI then stepped in to seek justice for Echevarria.
"The public’s trust in law enforcement officers to enforce the law and ensure justice should never be abused," FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos told NBC New York. “The FBI is the lead federal agency to investigate such abuses of power and it remains one of our top priorities.”
Pendergrass appeared in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. He was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law and released on $250,000 bond. He could serve 10 years in prison if convicted.
Microsoft is charging the FBI hundreds of thousands dollars a month to view customer information, according to a recent story by the Daily Dot. The story relies on documents and invoices allegedly hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army and handed over to the Daily Dot for verification.
The documents appear to be emails exchanged between Microsoft's Global Criminal Compliance team and the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit. If they were not faked by the SEA, a group loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the invoices are proof that Microsoft charges the FBI as much as $200 per request for information. The most recent invoice in the hacked documents was from November 2013 and was for $281,000.
Neither Microsoft nor the FBI would confirm the validity of the documents. A Microsoft spokesperson did tell The Verge, though, that such transactions were no secret and billing the FBI for such requests was standard procedure.
"Regarding law enforcement requests, there’s nothing unusual here," the spokesperson wrote in an email. "Under U.S. law, companies can seek reimbursement for costs associated with complying with valid legal orders for customer data. We attempt to recover some of the costs associated with any such orders.”
Christopher Soghoian, a technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, asserted that charging the fees to the FBI is a good thing because it creates a paper trail and documents the amount of requests submitted by law enforcement agencies. In 2010, Soghoian attacked Microsoft for not billing the Drug Enforcement Agency for similar requests.
Nate Cardozo of the Electronic Frontier Foundation agrees that the billing is a positive.
"Taxpayers should absolutely know how much money is going toward this," he said.
Cardozo believes the documents are real.
"I don’t see any indication that they’re not real," he said. "If I was going to fake something like this, I would try to fake it up a lot more sensational than this.”
The most sensational part of the story, then, may be just how easy it was for the SEA to acquire the documents. Ashkan Soltani, who coauthored a Yale study on the costs of such programs, helped analyze the documents for the Daily Dot. He walked away shocked that the FBI was conducting the business over email.
"I thought it would be a more secure system,” he said.
The international community is ramping up search efforts to track down missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein reports that 25 countries are now involved in the search.
Investigators confirmed that the plane continued to fly for hours after its two main data communication systems had been switched off. What’s more, Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari said Flight 370 copilot Fariq Abdul Hamid signed off from ground control after the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System had already been switched off. The finding fueled suspicions that the plane’s pilots were involved the derailment.
“This was not an accident,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R – TX) of the House Homeland Security Committee. “It was an intentional, deliberate act.”
Rep. Pete King, also a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said nothing at this time indicates the plane was hijacked by terrorists. Nevertheless, the FBI is investigating the backgrounds of all 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard the plane.
Britain’s Daily Mirror reported that Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a supporter of jailed Malaysian resident Anwar Ibrahim. Ibrahim was jailed by the Malaysian government just hours before Flight 370 took off. Shah is seen in a picture dug up by the Mirror wearing a “Democracy is Dead” shirt. Shah’s shirt and his support for Ibrahim led some to wonder whether the flight’s departure could have been an act of protest by Shah.
One of Shah’s friends, Peter Chong, rejects the idea that Shah would have willingly been involved in the flight’s derailment.
“If I am on a flight, I would choose Capt. Zaharie,” Chong said. “He is dedicated to his job, he is a professional and he loves flying.”
Authorities are currently trying to trace the plane across two corridors. The northern corridor spans from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan. The southern corridor runs from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
The Malaysian government says both possible routes are of “equal importance” to the search.
A suspected animal rights extremist wanted for the bombing of two buildings in California ten years ago is believed to be hiding in Hawaii.
Daniel Andreas San Diego, 36, is the United States' most wanted domestic terrorism suspect. There is a quarter-million-dollar reward for information leading to his capture, the FBI said this week.
San Diego, from Berkeley, Calif., is sought in conjunction with the bombing of two San Francisco-area buildings in 2003. He is considered armed and dangerous since the brazen attacks more than 10 years ago.
Two pipe-bomb explosions struck an hour apart at biotechnology company Chiron Corp. on Aug. 28, 2003. The first detonated on the campus of a biotechnology corporation in Emeryville, Calif., in the early morning hours, Fox reported. No one was injured, and minor damage was done to the buildings, including shattered windows.
Investigators said the second bomb was set to injure first responders and went off approximately an hour later.
Less than a month later, on Sept. 26, another bomb -- this one strapped with nails -- exploded at cosmetic and nutritional products maker Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton, Calif.
Both companies reportedly had ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British-based research firm that performed laboratory testing on animals.
San Diego, who was under 24-hour surveillance, gave the FBI the slip on the afternoon of Oct. 6, 2003, in downtown San Francisco.
The search for him since then has spanned the globe. FBI officials have said they've talked with authorities in Germany, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, France, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines and Chile.
The FBI cited "credible intelligence" leading them to believe that San Diego may be armed and is in the small town of Pahoa or a nearby area.
He always uses the first name “Andreas,” and is known to be a vegan — not eating meat or food containing animal products.
Other identifying information is that he wears eyeglasses and is skilled at sailing. He has traveled internationally and has previously worked as a computer network specialist.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading directly to San Diego’s arrest.
Honolulu FBI Special Agent Tom Simon told Maui Now, "It's important to recognize that this guy is considered armed and dangerous. If you know where he is, please just call it in. We don't want anyone getting hurt trying to be a hero."
The nation's most wanted domestic terrorist has several large tattoos on his chest and back, including a round image on his chest depicting burning hills. Below, it reads: 'It only takes a spark.'
Nicholas Teausant, of Acampo, Calif., was arrested for reportedly talking about joining a terrorist organization in Syria, which he was encouraged to do by an undercover FBI agent and paid informant.
Teausant was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group that has been fighting in Syria’s civil war. The Levant is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, notes the Associated Press.
Teausant reportedly wanted to fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is exactly what President Obama considered doing in 2013, noted Press TV.
The FBI claimed that Teausant talked about his plan with an unidentified paid FBI informant who accidentally met Teausant on a camping trip, reports Warrantless.org.
The "material support" that Teausant allegedly provided, but never did, was a plan to appear in a video for the Levant as “the one white devil that leaves their face wide open to the camera.”
The paid FBI informant hooked Teausant up with an undercover federal agent posing as a "mentor," who encouraged and approved Teausant’s travels.
Teausant boarded a train for Seattle on Sunday night and was arrested on a bus in Blaine, Wash.
That's where the U.S. Customs and Border Protection asked Teausant where he was headed.
When Teausant said he was going to Vancouver, Canada, he was arrested.
Teausant now faces 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine because he allegedly “explored ways of supporting violent extremist activities and providing material support to various terrorist organizations.”
Teausant’s mother Teresa told the Lodi News-Sentinel, “I feel my son is a victim here as much as anything else. I fully believe that my son has been tricked and lied to and deceived. My son would not openly and willingly go harm anybody.”
The New York Times and The Guardian have both reported on similar "terrorist arrests" in which federal agents encouraged people to plan terrorist attacks and then arrested them.
Sources: Associated Press, Press TV, Warrantless.org, Lodi News-Sentinel, The New York Times, The Guardian