SIST hit list case goes to U.S. Attorney's office

The Shawano Leader, Wisconsin/September 25, 2009

The warning issued last November by the FBI to some 60 Shawano area residents and city officials of an implied threat remains in place, according to federal law enforcement authorities, who confirmed Thursday their investigation into the so-called hit list is now in the hands of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"The information we have thus far has been turned over and we're awaiting their review of that," said FBI Public Affairs Specialist Leonard Peace.

Authorities linked the list to the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology. SIST has denied any allegations regarding its involvement in the list or the targeting of local residents.

Peace would not say what, if anything, the FBI investigation concluded or whether it included information that could lead to charges being brought forward.

There is also a possibility, he said, the matter could be referred back to the FBI for further investigation.

"They could actually request for us to take some further steps," Peace said. "For our purposes, it's still a pending matter."

Meanwhile, the advice given by the FBI last November to the 60 Shawano area residents on the implied threat list to remain vigilant still stands.

"That's what they would have been told and we wouldn't have changed that language in any way," Peace said. "As far as I know, there has been no change in any information that was passed along to the folks who were informed. That information that was given to them then remains the same information."

Mayor Lorna Marquardt, whose name was on the list and who was told she was one of three alleged prime targets, said she has not had any contact with the FBI for several months.

She said she was told, "continue to do everything you have been doing. Be vigilant, take safeguards."

Marquardt, who said she was unaware the case had reached its current stage, said the lack of information has been troubling for those on the list.

"Certainly there's a frustration that we haven't heard anything from the FBI," she said.

Shawano Police Chief Ed Whealon also said he was unaware the investigation was being turned over to the U.S. Attorney and explained he has not been privy to all of the information collected.

"They haven't shared that with us," Whealon said.

But, Whealon said, federal authorities have greater restrictions on what information can be shared.

"In the federal government it's a different world," he said. "This is not our investigation and how the FBI and the IRS operates is different than what I'm used to. By law, they're not allowed to comment on active cases."

Whealon said people need to be patient in waiting for answers from the FBI investigation, which he added is taking so long because of the FBI's thorough handling of the evidence.

"Everybody in today's society is looking for instant gratification," Whealon said. "People are frustrated, myself included, but it is what it is."

Peace said it was difficult to say when some conclusive information could be shared.

"I don't know where this will go," he said. "When we get to that point, we'll hopefully have some additional information we can share once we get to another stage with this."

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