Michael Tabman

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Tabman ex FBI’

A Political or Apolitical FBI?

In Crime and Security on December 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm

“So, I can assume you’re a good ole, dedicated Republican like the rest of us?”

That was said to me by a subordinate while meeting me for the first time after I reported for duty as a manager of an FBI office.  Later, I heard through the very reliable grapevine that he was concerned that he erred in his assessment of my politics and how I would respond. But, that same grapevine assured him that I would never allow that to enter in to my management decisions. He became one of my most trusted and relied upon subordinates.

“I am big supporter of the Republican Party.” “I donate regularly the Republican Party.” I heard these comments often from FBI Agents. There was nothing illegal or inappropriate about such comments. FBI Agents are allowed to express political thoughts and support candidates – but not as an FBI Agent and not on FBI time or expense.

During the Clinton presidency, FBI Agents’ dislike for all-things Clinton was no secret; it was palpable. Condemnation of Clinton and anyone who supported him were fair game for casual conversations.  During George W. Bush’s tenure, any criticism of the president was met with disbelief as if such speech was treasonous. The FBI never moved to quash the expression of such personal and/or political beliefs.

There is no secret that law enforcement is traditionally comprised of conservative Republicans. After 24 years in the FBI, I do not need to take a poll to know that is true in the FBI.

FBI agents with clear preference for Republican politics, are the same agents tasked to investigate public corruption or people with outspoken political views. I do not recall discussing whether these agents should be barred from conducting such investigations or if there should be a political litmus tests for investigating political corruption. Political leanings were never considered a barrier to a fair and unbiased investigation. Agents were never questioned about their political views before being assigned to political corruption cases. That is probably illegal.

If we are to make the argument that investigators and prosecutors cannot fairly do their jobs because of political leanings, campaign contributions or personal observations of candidates, then every conviction for public corruption or politically charged crimes must be re-investigated. From this moment on, investigations must be conducted only by those who can prove they possess no political preference.

Good luck.


The Orlando Shooting, Terrorism and Gun Control

In Crime and Security, Uncategorized on June 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Speaking Out with Fran Lewis: The Orlando Mass Shooting.  Terrorism.  Gun Control.

Fraud, theft and business security

In Crime and Security on April 7, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Discussing business crime and security with Thinking Bigger Radio

Paris Terror Attacks

In Crime and Security on November 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

Discussing the Paris Terror Attacks with KCTV5: Terror in Paris

9/11 Terror Plot

In Crime and Security on September 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Kansas City was at the center of a terror plot to take place during a 9/11 memorial event…

I discussed this with news stations…9/11 Kansas City Terror Plot

Retired FBI Agent Michael Tabman discusses alleged shooter’s neo-nazi ties

In Crime and Security on April 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm


I discussed the shooting at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center with KCTV5…

The New Harlem Shake

In Crime and Security on August 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Don’t be messing with the man
NYC has a plan
Don’t keep walking and refuse to stop
When told to do so by a cop
Show those hands and spread those feet
Or my nightstick you will meet
Whatcha doing, where ya been?
Aint about the color of your skin
You have to stop and get the frisk
Guys like you are such a risk
Yeah, we ask you to yield a right
So the rest of us can sleep at night
We got rights, you think so?
Where is Terry v Ohio?
To stop and frisk a cop must say
He had good reason to act that way
Court decisions are no laughing matter
In New York City they’re just idle chatter
The Bill of Rights takes second seat
To a city cop on the street
Don’t be looking at me askance
Unless you’re ready to do the dance
We’ll twist some arms and kick some legs
But at least we’re not busting heads
The left wing says that we are wrong
They’re just singing that liberal song
Don’t like what we have to say
Then there is another way
Don’t be black and don’t be brown
Then we’ll let you roam around
Don’t wear your anger on your sleeve
Or get a frisk you won’t believe
Our plan is good, look what we’ve done
Now and then, we find a gun
If you don’t like it, leave our borders
Don’t blame me, I just follow orders
And don’t dis’ our city when you’re in it
Or we’ll frisk your ass in a New York minute

The FBI Interview of Boston Bombing Suspect ~ Something is not adding up

In Crime and Security on April 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Before posing any question as to whether the FBI dropped the proverbial ball when they interviewed Boston Bombing Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, let’s remember a very important fact.  The FBI, with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners conducted an outstanding investigation and quickly apprehended the suspects.  The law enforcement community deserves our praise and thanks.  However, questions remain and it is fair to expect honest answers.

Shortly after the arrests, the media reported that a “source” revealed that the FBI had interviewed Tamerlan.  This interview was predicated on foreign government information that Tamerlan had terrorist inclinations.  “Source” in law enforcement parlance means “leak” and someone in a position to know, found this important enough to leak to the media.  The foreign government is believed to be Russia, based on Tamerlan’s Chechyan roots.  That is not to suggest that having Chechyan roots equates to terrorism; any such generality is bigoted and ignorant.  But, Chechyan terrorists were responsible for the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002 resulting in over 100 deaths and the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004 resulting in over 300 deaths.

The first response to the disclosure of the FBI interview of Tamerlan was that after finding nothing significant, the FBI asked the foreign government for more information and did not hear back.  Something about that statement rings untrue.  The FBI has agents stationed all over the world, including Moscow.  Since 9/11, we have established strong counter-terrorism partnerships even with uneasy allies.  When in Moscow, I met with the FSB (“Russian FBI”) and discussed our joint counter-terrorism efforts.  The criteria for initiating a terrorist inquiry are not burdensome. “Not getting back to us” is not a reason for discontinuing a terrorism inquiry.

Then came the question of how Tamerlan, less than a year after the FBI interview, traveled to Russia in 2011 with nobody knowing.  Shortly after this trip was disclosed, House Intelligence Committee Chair Congressman Mike Rogers  suggested that Tamerlan traveled under an alias.  Then Senator Lindsey Graham said that Tamerlan traveled undetected because his name was misspelled.  Either way, unless Tamerlan was on one of the multitude of “watch lists” I do not believe the government would have been notified of his leaving the United States.  Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that even though Tamerlan’s name was misspelled, redundancies in the system did alert authorities to his travel.  But she said that by the time Tamerlan returned six months later, the FBI alert had expired and his re-entry was not noted.  That also does not ring true.  Had Tamerlan traveled to Russia while under FBI investigation, that trip would have been monitored and coordinated with the Russians, based on their warning.

We may never know the facts surrounding the interview of Tamerlan.  I recognize the great police work that was done after the bombing.  But, as for the various explanations of Tamerlan’s FBI interview, methinks the government doth protest too much.

International vs Domestic Terrorism ~ A Primer

In Crime and Security on April 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

One of the first questions that arose after the Boston Marathon bombing, and continues to be asked, is whether this was an act of international or domestic terrorism.  Some clarification may help understand the nature of these investigations and subsequent prosecutions.

International and domestic terrorism are defined by United State Code Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure.  Accordingly, acts of terrorism are criminal acts and prosecuted as such.

International terrorism as defined in part, by Title 18 involve violent acts that are dangerous to human life, in violation of criminal laws and that occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.  There are additional factors relative to coercion and intimidation.

Domestic terrorism is defined basically as the same acts, except that the acts occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.  Those acts may include planning, training, obtaining materiel and other activities directly or indirectly related to the terrorist act.  The 9/11 hijackers were foreign nationals who acted inside the territorial United States.  However, as they planned, trained and initiated their terror outside the United States, they could have been prosecuted as international terrorists.  Someone who is domiciled in the United States, who planned and committed terrorism within United States territory, is a domestic terrorist.

So, what is the difference in prosecuting international vs. domestic terrorism?  International terrorism would be prosecuted under Title 18 Section 2332B – Acts of Terrorism Transcending National Boundaries.  Domestic terrorism may be prosecuted under various offenses such as use of weapons of mass destruction or explosive devices.

For example, Faisal Shahzad, known as the Times Square Bomber was an American, born in Pakistan.  Because he traveled outside the United States to train for his attack, he was charged with international terrorism.  However, he was also charged with using weapons of mass destruction as well as destructive and explosive devices – the same charges against the Atlanta Olympics Bomber Eric Rudolph and Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh.

We seem to have a mental picture of what each type of terrorist looks like.  The perpetrator’s ethnicity or ideology is not the factor that differentiates international from domestic terrorism.

We must be cautious not to jump to conclusions or fall victim to the dark side of profiling.  After the Atlanta Olympics bombing, much law enforcement effort was expended targeting the wrong man who fit “the profile.”  If you are interested in profiling, please read my blog, The Last Criminal Profile.

This investigation of a heinous terrorist act is progressing quickly.  Arrests will be made soon.  Whether the Boston Marathon Bomber(s) is prosecuted under international or domestic terrorism statutes, there is one very important point to remember – they both carry the potential of the death penalty.

The Boston Marathon Bombing ~ Where Do We Go From Here?

In Crime and Security on April 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

We have come a long way since 9/11.  The American psyche was on the mend.  The collective counter-terrorism efforts of the law enforcement, intelligence and military communities grew and matured.  Though some tactics remain questionable, we cannot discount the absence of successful terrorist attacks prior to yesterday’s attack at the Boston Marathon.

The brave and immediate response of on-lookers and first-responders that may have saved lives reflects what we have learned.  There is much to be proud of in the aftermath of such devastation. But the questions remain – who, why and what do we do now?

The “who” will be answered in due time.  I think sooner more than later.  Federal agents alongside state and local officers were down on hands and knees sifting through the debris and shrapnel.  Somewhere within the rubble are minute pieces of evidence that will provide a significant lead.  In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing the search uncovered a vehicle identification number on a small piece of wreckage The FBI traced that number to a rented van reported stolen the day before the attack.  Arrests and convictions followed, as they will in this case.  The FBI and its partners will receive thousands of leads, and each will be run down.  One tidbit of information – forensic evidence to an anonymous tip is all it takes.

Is this the act of domestic terrorists or international terrorists?  At this juncture, we do not know and all possibilities must be explored.  Previous assumptions after similar attacks proved incorrect.  After the Atlanta Olympics Bombing, the investigation focused intensely on the wrong person.  The “fingerprints” of this terrorist attack have signs of both international and domestic terrorism.  While interviewed on television news, when asked, I revealed that I was leaning towards domestic terrorism.  There is just something about the venue, date and timing that gives me that feeling, though I will not be surprised otherwise.  To consider the possibility of domestic terrorism is important.  We all have a vision of the international terrorist.  But, we do not recognize that potential in our neighbors, co-workers or associates.  We cannot imagine people we know doing something so cruel, so violent and so irrational.  Yet, we must remember that we cannot view this from our own perspective.  We do not know what motivates others – circumstances that are real or imagined.  Understanding the “why” helps identify potential suspects.  Leads can be pursued without jumping to conclusions and making baseless accusations.

So, what do we do now?  This investigation will synthesize information coming from multiple sources: the intelligence community, videos, forensic evidence, interviews, police reports of suspicious people and/or vehicles and tips from the public.  Law enforcement knows what they must do and they will do it.

As for the public, hit hard with the reality that we will never be invulnerable to terrorism, what do we do now?  I defer to President’s Obama’s remarks today, paraphrasing: terrorism fails when we refuse to be terrorized.

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