Tales from the Trail

“Whitey” Bulger arrest mugshots released after years as a fugitive

The U.S. Marshals Service on Monday released the mugshots of long-sought fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Greig after they were arrested in California on June 22. They were released after Reuters filed a Freedom of Information request.

Bulger and his companion had been on the lam for years and he is facing charges for 19 alleged murders from the 1970s and 1980s when he ran the Winter Hill Gang in Boston. The 81-year-old Bulger has pleaded not guilty.

He fled in late 1994 after receiving a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that federal charges were pending. Greig followed a short time later and has been charged with harboring Bulger. Some initial photos emerged after his arrest but here are the official U.S. Marshals Service mugshots.

“Deceased” bin Laden opens up slot on FBI’s 10 most wanted list

The FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” has a new opening now that Osama bin Laden is dead.

The bureau wasted no time at all slapping the word “Deceased” in big white letters on a red background at the bottom of his photograph less than 12 hours after President Barack Obama announced to the world during a dramatic late-night statement.

The al Qaeda leader, killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, was among those on the “Most Wanted Terrorists” list when then-President George W. Bush went to FBI headquarters for its unveiling after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

FBI releases files on ex-Senator Stevens, little on corruption case

The FBI released some of its expansive files on former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens who died last year in a plane crash, offering tidbits about threats against him, accusations of corruption and some correspondence he had with the FBI.

FINANCIAL-BAILOUT/There was very little in the thousands of pages about the federal corruption investigation into Stevens beyond press clippings and court filings previously made public. The senator was initially convicted by a jury in October 2008 but the case was later dropped after a federal judge found that federal prosecutors withheld critical evidence from Stevens’ defense team.

Still, there were a few interesting tidbits, including details of contacts with foreign officials, several threats against him and also his work dating back to the 1950s when was a federal prosecutor in Alaska.

GASP! Russia spying on the United States

There’s gambling in Vegas (sharp intake of breath)… Tea grows in China (eyes widen)… Russia spies on the United States (hand over heart stagger backward).

SHOCKING, SHOCKING, SHOCKING! (Get out the hanky and smelling salts).

Well, hold on a minute… it’s not exactly Robert Hanssen is it? The former FBI agent was charged with selling U.S. secrets to the former Soviet Union and then Russia and is now serving a life prison sentence in what was seen as a huge intelligence disaster – Russia penetrated the FBI. RUSSIA-USA/SPYING

In this spy story, a multi-year U.S. investigation into the “illegals” program nabbed 10 “alleged secret agents” in the United States and charged them with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of Russia. A charge that carries a 5-year prison sentence.

FBI gives Osama bin Laden shave and a haircut

UPDATE: After the aged Osama bin Laden photos were posted on U.S. government websites, a Spanish politician said his photograph was used to compose one of the images and he was considering taking legal action. Read about the latest twist here.

Everyone gets older, even the most wanted terrorism suspect.

BINLADEN/So more than 8 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI has used digital forensic techniques to figure out what al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might look like now.

In one new picture, bin Laden has a closely-cropped beard and short, stylish grey hair — a far cry from the photo that has been on the most wanted terrorism website of a man with a long, bushy, dark beard.

FBI latest computer overhaul has more glitches

The FBI’s trouble-plagued, long-running effort to put in place a new computer system has hit a few more glitches.MARKETS-CHINA-STOCKS/

An audit report Tuesday by the Justice Department’s inspector general said the latest phase of the project for a fully electronic case management system will take three months longer than last expected and will cost $155 million — $18 million more than what had been budgeted.

It identified several new areas of concern with the overall progress of the so-called Sentinel project and with implementation of the project’s second phase.

FBI discussed advising Saddam Hussein of legal rights, decided no

Much has been made over the past few months by some Republicans in Congress about whether terrorism suspects arrested overseas by U.S. military forces must be read their legal rights and the answer has been largely no.IRAQ-SADDAM/

It turns out that the issue was debated at least as far back as early 2004 when American forces captured ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to a document released late Friday night under Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A few weeks after the former Iraqi leader was captured hiding in a hole in Tikrit, a memorandum was sent to the FBI’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, discussing whether Saddam would have to be advised of his legal rights.

FBI translation troubles appear in Danish terrorism case

It was just yesterday that the Justice Department’s Inspector General Glenn Fine issued a scathing report about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation was behind in its efforts to translate foreign language documents and audio recordings in terrorism and criminal investigations.

DENMARKAnd now a day later, it became public that an ongoing investigation apparently has been impacted by those troubles — a plot by two men to attack a newspaper in Denmark over its publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed including one in which he is wearing a turban with a bomb in it.

U.S. authorities arrested the two Chicago area men earlier this month and unsealed the complaints against them on Tuesday that detailed how they communicated over email and by telephone to develop the plot.

Hey, even the FBI gets telemarketing calls

TELECOMSYep, it’s true. Even the G-men who are trying to track down criminals get calls from those pesky telemarketers.

Buried in a 160-page report by the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine was a little nugget that the Federal Bureau of Investigation apparently has been receiving calls from telemarketers on telephone lines set up for wiretaps.

When the FBI gets a court order to tap a phone line, they set up telephone lines that deliver those calls to the authorities.  However, it turns out that those phone lines are assigned actual numbers by the phone company.

FBI stresses that it gets along with NYPD

When U.S. law enforcement authorities launched a series of raids in New York City that culminated in the arrest of an Afghan-born airport shuttle driver (Najibullah Zazi) for an alleged bombing plot, there was a fair bit of speculation afterward questioning whether the FBI or the New York Police Department bungled the investigation by acting too early.

But at a Senate committee hearing, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller insisted that the two organizations were getting along despite the reports which he said were exaggerated.

“I believe our relations are exceptionally good, as good as they’ve been in a long time,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.