FBI captures Top 10 fugitive
April 22nd, 2013
06:15 PM ET

FBI captures Top 10 fugitive

One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives was picked up Saturday in Nicaragua, according to a federal law enforcement official.

The official did not provide details on how Eric Toth, 31, was located and apprehended. Toth is a former Washington private school teacher who was wanted on child pornography charges.

According to the FBI, in June 2008, images of child pornography were found on a school camera Toth had been using. He allegedly also produced such images in Maryland.

U.S. officials are working on returning him to the United States to face charges.

Toth was put on the Ten Most Wanted list in March 2012, and there was a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his arrest.

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Filed under: District of Columbia • FBI • Justice • Nicaragua
March 25th, 2013
01:57 PM ET

U.S. announces terror suspect's plea deal - made in 2011

A man accused of having ties to two terrorist groups pleaded guilty in December 2011 and has been cooperating with the government, the Justice Department revealed Monday.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame pleaded guilty to nine terrorism charges and could go to prison for the rest of his life.

He was a leader of the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab and arranged a weapons deal with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Crime • Terrorism
Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to misusing funds
February 20th, 2013
12:29 PM ET

Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to misusing funds

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is owning up to allegations that he used campaign funds for personal expenses - and now he might get prison time.

Jackson, dabbing at this eyes with a handkerchief, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements.

Sentencing is set for June 28. That charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but though the judge noted that prosecutors and defense attorneys appeared to recommend a lighter sentence.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Illinois • Justice • Politics
Gun background checks in January were second highest ever, FBI data shows
February 5th, 2013
08:39 AM ET

Gun background checks in January were second highest ever, FBI data shows

As the President continues to push for new gun control measures, new FBI data shows January was the second highest month on record for gun background checks.

FBI figures posted Tuesday show there were 2,495,400 background checks done through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System known as NICS. The number was more than a million higher than any previous January. The data does not indicate exactly how many weapons might have been purchased as some customers buy more than one gun at a time.

December was the number one record-setting month with 2,783,765 background checks.

The FBI does not comment on the data but makes it available on its website. But the figures typically show high numbers of background checks during the holiday shopping months of November and December. The background check numbers usually decline January. There also is often a spike in checks after dramatic incidents of gun violence. The NICS system was launched in November 1998 after being mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993.

Gun debate: Where is the middle ground?

Why new laws could miss America's bigger gun problem

The faces of America's gun debate

Gun Debate: Full Coverage

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Filed under: Gun Control
Former CIA officer gets 30 months in prison
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou (right) with attorney John Trout outside US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, in October 2012.
January 25th, 2013
11:05 AM ET

Former CIA officer gets 30 months in prison

A former CIA officer who pleaded guilty in October to identifying a secret agent was sentenced today to 30 months in prison.

John Kiriakou and prosecutors agreed on the sentence length as part of the plea deal he entered into three months ago. In her Alexandria, Virginia, court, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said that she rejected the defense's attempts to characterize Kiriakou as a whistle-blower, and she would have sentenced the 48-year-old former agent to more time if he had been convicted at trial.

Read more about the case on CNN's Security Clearance blog.

Criminal record top reason for U.S. gun-check rejection
January 14th, 2013
04:04 PM ET

Criminal record top reason for U.S. gun-check rejection

More than a million people failed background checks to buy guns during the past 14 years because of criminal records, drug use or mental health issues, according to FBI figures.

But only about 1 percent of federal background checks are rejected.

Nearly 60 percent of those failing background checks, or nearly 578,000 people, were rejected because of a felony or serious misdemeanor conviction, according to information on the FBI website that was updated this month.

Federally-licensed gun sellers are not allowed to sell a firearm without a completed review by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Statistics show about 1 percent of applicants who failed a background check, or 10,180 people, were turned down for reasons related to mental health.

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Filed under: Gun violence
CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair
David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

Editor's note: Retired Gen. David Petraeus stepped down Friday as head of the Central Intelligence Agency - 14 months after taking the job, days after the presidential election and days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] Speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Rep. Peter King (R-New York) called Petraeus' resignation "a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

"We're going to lose the best man for the job, but again America is adaptable," said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Put it this way, anytime you lose a David Petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be."
[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The FBI investigated a tip that the woman Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with was Paula Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography about him, a U.S. official said.

Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for the book "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

CNN has not been been able to reach Broadwell for comment. It is not clear if Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus had admitting having an affair, leading to his resignation Friday as the head of the CIA.


Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to one charge in leak case
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou leaves court in January.
October 23rd, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to one charge in leak case

[Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET] A former CIA officer accused of revealing classified information to reporters has pleaded guilty to one of the allegations - that he illegally revealed the identity of a covert intelligence officer.

John Kiriakou, 48, also admitted to other allegations, including that he illegally told reporters the name of a different CIA employee involved in a 2002 operation to capture alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, and that he lied to a review board about a book he was writing, the Justice Department said.


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Filed under: CIA • Courts • Crime • Justice
Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York
The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the apparent target of a terror plot, officials said Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York

Editor's note: Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, federal officials said. Authorities say he attempted to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb. Below are major developments as we received them. Read the full story here.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, is accused of planning a terrorist bombing in New York.

[Posted at 6:06 p.m. ET] Nafis, wearing street clothes and represented by a public defender, was arraigned a little while ago during a five-minute hearing in a New York courtroom. No bail application has been made. Prosecutors will have 30 days to officially indict him.

The public defender said she would not comment to reporters. Nafis will be held for now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, U.S. attorneys say.

[Posted at 4:18 p.m. ET] Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, released the following statement on the alleged plot:

"Whether al -Qaeda operatives like (2003 Brooklyn Bridge suspect) Iyman Faris or those inspired by them like (2011 suspect in bomb-making case) Jose Pimentel, terrorists have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field. We're up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center.

After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understanding if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford.

Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future. That's why we have over 1,000 police officers assigned to counter-terrorism duties every day, and why we built the Domain Awareness System. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorist Task Force for the work they did in the case and in other ways every day to help New York City safe from terrorists."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch from the Eastern District of New York made the following statement regarding the alleged terror plot attack:

"As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan.

The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement.

We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur. We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district.

I would like to thank our partners at the FBI, NYPD, the other agencies who participate in the JTTF, and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, for their hard work on this important investigation. I would also like to thank the security teams at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange for their assistance."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] Nafis appeared to have had a back-up plan.

He met an undercover agent that supplied him with what he thought were explosives on Wednesday morning. After meeting up, they both traveled in a van to a warehouse, the Justice Department said.

That’s apparently when Nafis told the agent he had a "Plan B."

If Nafis felt his attack was about to be thwarted by cops, he would invoke the back-up plan, which involved a suicide bombing operation, the criminal complaint alleges.

When the pair arrived at the warehouse, Nafis began putting together what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside the van. Then they drove together to the target: The New York Federal Reserve Bank. As they drove, he armed the purported by putting together the detonator and the explosives, the criminal complaint says.

The van was then parked next to the bank. The pair went to a nearby hotel, where Nafis apparently recorded a video statement meant to be shown to the American public in connection with the attack.

"We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives.

Nafis was then arrested.

A good portion of the sting operation was caught on tape, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

[Posted at 3:59 p.m. ET] The plot came to light as an FBI undercover agent posed as an al-Qaeda facilitator, federal authorities say.

Nafis asked the undercover agent for 50-pound bags of what he thought were explosives, and then worked on putting together an explosive device, according to prosecutors.

"Nafis purchased components for the bomb’s detonator and conducted surveillance for his attack on multiple occasions in New York City’s financial district in lower Manhattan," a Justice Department press release describing the criminal complaint said. “Throughout his interactions with the undercover agent, Nafis repeatedly asserted that the plan was his own and was the reason he had come to the United States."

[Posted at 3:56 p.m. ET] We now have some more detail about the plot to blow up the reserve bank from a press release that breaks down the criminal complaint filed against Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis:

The Bangladeshi national allegedly came to the United States in January to carry out a terror attack on U.S. soil and said he had overseas connections to al-Qaeda. As he attempted to recruit others to join his cell, he tried to recruit someone who turned out to be an FBI source, the criminal complaint says.

Nafis initially had a few targets in mind, according to the complaint, including  "a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange." In the end, Nafis settled on the New York Federal Reserve Bank, federal officials said.

"In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al-Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to 'destroy America' and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy," the Justice Department press release said. "In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children."

The "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

[Posted at 3:41 p.m. ET] Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan, the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney's office said in a press release.

He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the press release said.

[Posted at 3: 40 p.m. ET] A man has been arrested for planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The man was arrested as part of a string operation conducted by the FBI and NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal law enforcement source said.

"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences," FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan said in a statement. "It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism."

March 22nd, 2012
01:38 PM ET

Slain suspect in French shootings was on no-fly list, official says

A suspected al Qaeda-trained militant who was shot dead Thursday after a siege in Toulouse was on the U.S. no-fly list, a U.S. intelligence official confirmed Thursday.

The official said Mohammed Merah had been on the list for some time, one reason being that he had attended an al Qaeda training camp.

Merah, 23, was wanted in the killings of three French paratroopers, a rabbi and three children ages 4, 5, and 7. The shootings began March 11 and ended Monday with the slaying of the rabbi and the children at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Merah died Thursday during a police raid on his Toulouse apartment after a standoff that had lasted more than 31 hours, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

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Filed under: France
February 17th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

Police: Suicide attack on U.S. Capitol foiled

U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI on Friday arrested a Moroccan man who was planning a suicide attack on the Capitol, police and a federal law-enforcement official said.

The man received what he thought was a vest with explosives, but the materials in the vest had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.

He was arrested as soon as he accepted the vest from undercover officers, the federal law-enforcement source said.

The man had been closely monitored as part of a lengthy and extensive undercover operation, police said, adding U.S. Capitol Police had been "intimately" involved in the investigation.

The public was never in danger, police said.

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Filed under: Crime • District of Columbia • Terrorism
January 26th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Reservist accused of shooting at Pentagon pleads guilty

A 23-year-old former Marine Corps reservist accused of shooting at the Pentagon and other military-related buildings in late 2010 has pleaded guilty to three counts on Thursday.

Yonathan Melaku agreed to a 25-year prison sentence. If Melaku had been convicted on all the federal charges, he could have faced a maximum life sentence.

The U.S. government accused Melaku of shooting at the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and a Coast Guard recruiting center in northern Virginia. Melaku pleaded guilty to injury to property of the United States by shooting with a firearm, using carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and attempted injury to veterans' memorials.

Melaku attempted to flee law enforcement back in June 2011 when they found him trespassing in Arlington National Cemetery, but he was apprehended. He discarded a backpack in which police found 9mm casings, numerous Arabic statements referencing al Qaeda, along with Ziplock bags containing ammonium nitrate, according to a police affidavit.

It was disclosed Thursday that Melaku's intention was to spray-paint grave markers with Arabic statements.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice
July 13th, 2011
05:19 PM ET

Report: Cramming costs Americans $2 billion a year

Congress needs to pass legislation to protect customers from unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills because the telephone industry has failed to prevent the practice, Sen. Jay Rockefeller says.

"It's illegal, it's wrong, it's scamming," said Rockefeller, D-West Virginia. "Why haven't you cleaned up your act?"

AT&T, Verizon and Qwest do not have a process to determine if the charges were authorized by their customers.

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Filed under: Congress • Telecom
Justice Department files suit over Deepwater Horizon oil disaster
December 15th, 2010
02:19 PM ET

Justice Department files suit over Deepwater Horizon oil disaster

The Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit in New Orleans against nine defendants in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a statement from the department said Wednesday.

The suit asks the court for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, and to declare eight of the defendants liable without limitations under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources, the statement said.

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Filed under: Courts • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Justice • Lawsuit
July 28th, 2010
06:14 PM ET

Justice Department reviewing reports of FBI test cheating

The Justice Department's office of inspector general has launched an investigation into whether large numbers of FBI agents may have improperly taken a test on guidelines for agents, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

During a congressional hearing Wednesday, Mueller was asked about reports hundreds of agents may have cheated on the exams, which focused on guidelines that limit surveillance, and he responded he did not know the precise number and is not certain the inspector general knows that number.

Mueller said the inspector general has told him about certain FBI offices where testing problems were "widespread, and it may be attributable to a lack of understanding and confusion about procedures." FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
March 16th, 2010
08:21 PM ET

Lawyer: Terror suspect expected to change plea

A Chicago man charged in two international terror plots is expected to change his plea to guilty, according to his lawyer.

David Headley has been in custody since October and is charged with scouting targets for the 2008 Mumbai, India, terror attack and with a plot against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.


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Filed under: National security