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Archive for January 6th, 2009

Ronald Ruecker to Head FBI’s Office of Law Enforcement Coordination

Ronald C. Ruecker has been named the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Office of Law Enforcement Coordination (OLEC).
He replaces Louis F. Quijas, who retired to take a position in private industry, the FBI said.
Prior to taking his new post, Ruecker was the Director of Public Safety for the City of Sherwood, Oregon, the FBI said. He is also the former President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and was also with the Oregon State Police for 31 years, and ended his reign there as superintendent, the FBI said.
“Mr. Ruecker is a highly respected law enforcement leader who brings a wealth of experience and a record of accomplishment to the FBI,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller III in a statement. “He will be a valuable asset in our continuing efforts to foster cooperation and strengthen relationships with our law enforcement partners.”

Griffin Bell’s Contributions to Federal Criminal Justice

I saw Griffin Bell’s name every morning for almost three decades when I entered my office in the Detroit U. S. Attorney’s Office. His signature was on the DOJ certificate which hung behind my desk. His death this week, at age 90, brings to mind subjects like civility and the gradual approach to solving problems and making improvements, subjects which get scant attention in most prosecutors’ offices.

Griffin Bell told the 1977 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination as Attorney General that he had integrated more schools than any other judge. He accomplished this on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals during a very difficult era of American civil rights by gradually implementing pragmatic plans which moved the South to a new educational system. His detractors said that this approach defied Brown v. Board of Education’s order to integrate “with all deliberate speed.” But few of them lived with the tens of thousands of angry Southerners who feared that equality of opportunity for African American children would doom a way of life for the majority. Griffin Bell’s civil and courtly gradualism made it possible for men like Barack Obama and Eric Holder to hold leadership positions thirty years later.

In the Justice Department, Bell brought this same incremental approach to a department desperately in need of both image rehabilitation and modernization. It has always been a challenge for the Attorney General to set a course which reconciles its dual, and often bipolar, responsibilities, political and nonpolitical. Advising the President, vetting judicial nominees, proposing legislation-all of these functions and more require the Department to be immersed in the political circus. But increasingly in the last half of the 20th Century, more was expected of the country’s legal department. People expected fair adjudicative procedures and policies and guaranteed independent enforcement of its laws free of personal, partisan, or popular bias. Ironically, it was the reaction to the Watergate incident, Saturday Night Massacre and criminality of John Mitchell which defined how important this principle of de-politicization had become.

Justice Department historians, if there are any, will record the 1970s as an important time in this progression, as well as its modernization to meet the needs of a more complex system of law enforcement. The mission of federal prosecutors and agents was beginning to include proactive cases and methods to go along with their traditional reactive staples such as buy-bust drug cases, bank robberies and customs seizures. These new cases would require better technology, specialized prosecutors and investigators, and more nuanced criminal laws. Griffin Bell’s policies to promote these objectives would gain him no headlines and are hardly discernible looking back 30 years later. But they laid the groundwork for the complex work of the 21st Century Justice Department.

The other principle that Griffin Bell stands for is the emphasis on civility and ethical obligations. He reminded us in the U. S. Attorney’s Office of these subjects when he visited Detroit in 1978. America has always been schizoid about expectations for its prosecutors. On the one hand, we must be hard-nosed, tough zealots advocating the longest sentence and the draconian result. But we are also expected to be fair, even merciful, and most of all, advocate a just resolution, even if contrary to “winning” a case. Griffin Bell could have penned the instruction commonly given by trial judges to juries in federal criminal trials at the close of the evidence, an instruction which admittedly causes Assistant U. S. Attorneys to wince occasionally: The jury need not be concerned with whether the government wins or loses the case because the government always wins when justice is done.

Justice Cardozo in a previous century explained that justice is a concept which is never finished but is always reproducing itself, incrementally, generation after generation in ever changing forms. Griffin Bell grasped this concept like few others in his generation and, in doing so, made an important contribution to the development of the rule of law in this country.

By Ross Parker

Unsealed FBI Affidavit Provides More Gruesome Details in Blackwater Guard Killings in Iraq

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – An FBI affidavit unsealed Monday provides a few new details of gruesome allegations against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards charged in the 2007  shootings in Baghdad that left at least 14 Iraqi civilians dead and 20 wounded.
Washington FBI agent John M. Patarini , in a 3-page affidavit, wrote that witnesses reported that a convoy of four “heavily armored Blackwater vehicles entered the Nisur Square traffic circle just outside the International Zone in western Baghdad around noon on Sept. 16, 2007 and positioned their vehicles in a manner to stop the flow of civilian traffic from all directions.” The four vehicles were occupied by a total of 19 Blackwater Independent contractors.
While at the circle, according to witnesses, “one or more of the turret gunners in the Blackwater vehicles opened fire into a small white Kia sedan that had approached the intersection from the south, fatally wounding the driver,” the affidavit said.
“Heavy machine gunfire continued from the Blackwater convoy directed at the white Kia Sedan and other vehicles in the traffic lanes south of the circle and eventually toward unarmed civilians attempting to run to safety.”
“The witnesses also observed the convoy fired several grenades into civilian vehicles and over the fences of a nearby middle school. The white Kia sedan burst into flames and the two occupants of the vehicles were killed,” the affidavit said.
“As the convoy departed from the intersection, the witnesses observed the Blackwater independent contractors continue to fire at pedestrians to the east of the traffic circle, and at a red bus and unarmed civilians to the west of the circle. As the convoy proceeded back to the International Zone on a road to the north of the circle, other eyewitnesses observed members o f the convoy open fire again into the rooftops, windshields, and trunks of three vehicles, wounded at least three other civilians,” the affidavit said.

Read more »

The Job Market May Suck But There’s a “Hiring Blitz” at the FBI With About 3,000 Job Openings

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In these gloomy days of cutbacks and layoffs and what not, it may sound a bit strange to hear an organization announcing a “Hiring Blitz”.
Well, those are the words being bandied about at the FBI these days.
The agency announced a “Hiring Blitz” Monday to fill more than 2,100 professional staff vacant positions which includes everything from auto mechanics to language specialists and nursing and counseling professionals.
On top of that, the agency plans to fill about 850 FBI agent jobs, most of which were vacant as a result of attrition, the agency said.
The agency said Monday that it needs to maintain a certain number of employees. It said the jobs need to be filled by the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.
Aside from the agent jobs, the FBI  said it has openings for the followings posts: administrative/clerical, automotive mechanic, compliance and quality assurance professionals, electronic technicians, engineering professionals, fingerprint examiners, general education and training professionals, finance/accounting/budget analysis professionals, IT/computer science professionals, intelligence/analytical professionals, language specialists, management and program analysis, nursing and counseling professionals, physical/natural/social science professionals, records management professionals, security professionals, physical surveillance professionals and human resources professionals.
The agency said it has special needs for people with skills in such languages as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Somali and Vietnamese.
Anyone interested in applying for these jobs should go online at fibjobs.gov.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mobster John Gotti Jr. Wants Out on Bail; Motion Says He Quit Mob Years Ago

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for John Gotti Jr. filed a motion Monday saying their client quit the mob years ago and deserves to be free on bail pending trial in New York on allegations of cocaine trafficking, murder, extortion, jury tampering and kidnapping.
The 14-page motion filed in U.S. District Court said Gotti is not threat to the community and the government has ignored its own evidence on wiretaps which show “Gotti had in fact withdrawn from his former life”.
The motion, filed by attorneys Charles Carnesi and Seth Ginsberg, cites a  February 2004 government wiretap in which Gotti tells someone that he’s done with the mob.
“I’m a nobody,” Gotti says. ” I walked away from this six and half years ago. I’ve been doing nothing for six and a half years. I’ve been stranded on an island by myself.”
The motion also notes that there is no evidence, contrary to the government’s charges, that Gotti was involved in three murders between 1998 and 1991.
In other motions filed Monday, the government noted that it had a key informant John Alite, Gotti’s right hand man,  who along with others, provided solid information that lead to the Aug. 2008 indictment.
Gotti was arrested Aug. 5, 2008 at his Long Island home.

Read Gotti’s Motion

Federal Agencies Must Learn: Twitter and Facebook Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore

With all the forms of communication these days, federal agencies need to keep up with the “New Media”.

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief
WASHINGTON — The State Department continues to lead the way among federal agencies making use of new media tools. Colleen Graffey, deputy assistant secretary for public diplomacy, published a column (“A Tweet in Foggy Bottom”) in the Washington Post yesterday outlining why she has set up a Twitter account.
“Not that long ago,” Graffey writes, “communicating diplomat-to-diplomat was enough. Agreements were reached behind closed doors and announced in a manner and degree that suited the schedule and desires of the governments involved, not the general population. In fact, the public was by and large an afterthought. But the proliferation of democracies and the emergence of the round-the-clock media environment has brought an end to those days. Now, governments must communicate not only with their people but also with foreign audiences, including through public diplomacy. … Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect, and by linking my messages to video and photos, I can inform whole new audiences about U.S. views and ideas in a format with which they feel comfortable.”
Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect. Well put.
For Full Column

S.C. Trooper Pleads in Fed Court to Kicking Suspect in Head After Highway Chase

The trooper was caught on video abusing the suspect. It might make the public wonder what would have happened had there not been an official video.

By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in the head after a highway chase pleaded guilty Monday to violating the man’s civil rights, according to federal court documents.
John B. Sawyer faces up to 10 years in prison. A few months earlier, a jury acquitted another trooper of the same charge, depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in a different incident also captured on video.
The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests.
Sawyer was indicted in July after the state released a May 2006 video that showed him kicking Sergio Caridi in the head several times. Caridi, who is from New York, had led troopers and sheriff’s deputies on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 95 in a dump truck.
For Full Story

Read Brief Indictment