Close call

OK, this creeped me out. A bit too close to home, folks.

Dirksen Federal Building
Chicago, IL
Photo © Chicago Tribune

Ill. Man Accused of Courthouse Bomb Plot
Associated Press Writer

Published August 5, 2004, 5:03 PM CDT

CHICAGO — A convicted counterfeiter with an apparent grudge against the courts was arrested Thursday on charges of plotting to blow up a federal courthouse, but he never actually had materials to make a truck bomb, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Gale William Nettles, 66, was arrested with a pickup truck containing 1,500 pounds of fertilizer that he allegedly thought was volatile ammonium nitrate, the farm chemical used to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building.

Nettles had planned to sell the chemical to terrorists who would blow up the Dirksen federal building, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the charges Thursday. But all the other people involved, including the “terrorists” and the people who sold him the fertilizer, were cooperating witnesses or federal agents, Fitzgerald said.

Nettles told the undercover agent he could make a 3,000-pound fertilizer bomb.

“He had a rational plan to build a bomb. We weren’t going to wait to see if it would work,” Fitzgerald said.

Timothy McVeigh used a bomb made of 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people.

Nettles was arrested at a park early Thursday with the pickup truck when he met the undercover agents who he thought were terrorists, according to the criminal complaint. The fertilizer he obtained in the sting does not have the explosive potential of ammonium nitrate.

According to the complaint, Nettles met July 26 with an undercover agent he thought was a member of a terrorist group. In a recorded meeting, Nettles said he had a half ton of ammonium nitrate in New Orleans that he could have in Chicago in two days and that he had a target in mind — the U.S. courthouse downtown, the complaint said.

A federal magistrate Thursday ordered Nettles held until a detention hearing Tuesday. No plea was entered, and defense attorney John Theis declined to comment afterward.

Nettles was released from prison in 2003 after serving time for counterfeiting and apparently retained a grudge against the court system, Fitzgerald said. The Dirksen federal building in downtown Chicago houses federal criminal and civil courts and the U.S. attorney’s office.

Fitzgerald said Nettles was not working with any other groups but had asked cooperating witnesses about contacting Al-Qaida and Hamas.

Nettles also had a previous conviction for armed robbery in Cook County and was on parole at the time of his counterfeiting arrest. In 2001 he claimed he had mental disabilities, according to court documents.

“He’s 66 and he’s spent — probably conservatively — 45 of those years in prison,” said attorney Ronald J. Clark, who represented Nettles in the counterfeiting case. “It surprises me that Gale would seriously be involved in something of this magnitude,” Clark said. He described Nettles’ counterfeiting as a “fairly pathetic attempt.”

Nettles had been living at a transient hotel in Chicago since his release following the counterfeiting sentence, authorities said. Sam Gelles, 35, another hotel resident, said Nettles was an introverted computer whiz who went by the nickname “Pops.” “You couldn’t really read him,” Gelles said.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

For the love of GOD, MAKE IT STOP!

My department manages the website for our Firm. It’s usually a pretty easy task, and doesn’t require much participation by me or my co-workers. There are those who have the duty of updating the content, and that’s their job. Aside from formatting an image or two a day, I don’t have much involvement.

So yesterday, we posted a story on the website. When this happens, an Email is sent out to the department and all involved attorneys about the posting.

Well damn it if the floodgates didn’t open up.

Something was apparently VERY wrong.

First one partner REPLIES ALL and says he found an error. Then ANOTHER partner does the same thing. Then ANOTHER. Soon they’re having a virtual E-chat about the error. And my mailbox is piling up with these pointless, annoying E-mails that have absolutely NOTHING to do with me whatsoever.

And it didn’t stop there. After they got the problem resolved, they proceeded to banter. And let me tell you, attorneys who banter are NOT FUNNY in the slightest. Oh they try… but oh, they fail.

Meanwhile, my mailbox was bursting at the seams. My “New Message” indicator popped up so many times I was about to scream. I wanted to REPLY ALL to everyone in 72 point lettering “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT STOP!”

When all was said and done, I had nearly 20 Emails on the said subject. Don’t these people have billable hours to worry about? And don’t they know how to reply to one, and NOT to all? It’s not just that we aren’t involved… we just don’t CARE!

Besides, I have much more important things to do with my time… like bitch about things like this on my blog.

Silly people.