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Archive for January 10th, 2009

Opposition Picking Up Steam in Confirmation of Eric Holder as A.G.

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Very early on, it seemed as if the confirmation of Eric Holder, an affable Washington figure, would be a breeze. Doesn’t seem that way any more.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid to become the next attorney general, emerging from President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet nominees as the prime target of Senate Republicans, both because of troubling episodes during his service in the Clinton administration and because of the sensitivity of the post overseeing the Justice Department.
With two days of confirmation hearings set to begin Thursday, Holder must demonstrate his independence from Obama to a vocal chorus of GOP lawmakers who want to warn the incoming president that he should not veer too far to the left on national security and judicial nominations. The attorney general plays a pivotal role in those issues, which are of intense concern to conservatives.
What was considered a smooth path to confirmation has recently been complicated as signs of hostility toward Holder have increased over the past month. Political operative Karl Rove and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for example, singled out the longtime Washington lawyer as the candidate who would face bruising questions.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh Writes Glowing Letter to Judiciary Endorsing Eric Holder for Atty. Gen.

Louis J. Freeh

Louis J. Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has written a glowing letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. for Attorney General, saying he “displayed total integrity” as a high-ranking Justice Department official when President Clinton and other senior members were subjects of a grand jury probe.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 7, Freeh wrote:
“As the Senate Committee on the Judiciary well remembers, my tenure as FBI Director required that the Bureau and I initiate a series of the most sensitive criminal investigations where the President of the United States, who appointed me, and other senior members of the Administration were subjects of grand jury inquiry.
“During this highly-charged time, Eric served as United States Attorney for Washington, D.C., and later as Deputy Attorney General. In my then position of FBI Director , I worked closely and directly with Eric and had the unique opportunity to observe and evaluate all of his actions in connection with the execution of these criminal investigations.
“In all, Eric’s interaction with me as FBI Director, as well as his close coordination with my Deputy and other Assistant Directors, who also had extensive and sometimes daily contact with him, Eric always displayed total integrity, courageous leadership, complete fairness and, once again and most importantly, political independence.”
Freeh said after left the FBI and became the general counsel for MBNA America Bank in Wilmington, De., he retained Holder — who had gone into private practice — as outside counsel for the bank.
“As General Counsel, I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric for all the same reasons I described above: his excellent legal skills, complete integrity, sense of fairness, courage, and most importantly, my confidence he would provide me with his independent judgment without fear or favor.”
The Senate Judiciary begins confirmation hearings for Jan. 15 for Holder, 57, who is an attorney in Washington for the law firm Covington & Burling.

Read Louis Freeh Letter to Judiciary

Prosecutors Want Grand Jury Testimony Released For Sentencing To Show Just How Corrupt CIA Official Was

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

It seems the public has a right to know. But does that include grand jury material after trial? The prosecutors say yes.

MATTHEW BARAKAT
AP News

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo is the highest ranking officer in the history of the CIA to be convicted of a federal crime, admitting he abused his influence to steer contracts toward an old friend who showered him with vacations, gourmet dinners and other gifts.
But if the public knew the full extent of his misconduct, they would be outraged, prosecutors said Friday as they urged a judge to make public secret grand jury testimony in the case against Foggo.
Foggo was appointed in 2004 to be the agency’s executive director and third-ranking officer under then-director Porter Goss. Foggo resigned in 2006 as he came under investigation.
Prosecutor Jason Forge told U.S. District Judge James Cacheris that the public has a right to know the depth of Foggo’s misconduct and they want the judge to consider the transcripts during sentencing.

For Full Story

Secret Service Charges Calif. Man With Threatening Obama With Racist Note on Yahoo

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of what’s expected to be an endless problem.

By Kevin Poulsen
Wired

A Southern California man was charged Thursday with threatening a presidential candidate, for posting a racist note to a Yahoo message board in October expressing displeasure over Barack Obama’s candidacy, and predicting “he will have a 50 cal in the head soon.”
Walter Edward Bagdasarian, 47, was found with an arsenal of six weapons when Secret Service agents raided his La Mesa home in November, according to court records (.pdf). He had three handguns and three rifles, including a 30.06 with a telescopic sight and a Remington .50 caliber muzzle-loading rifle.
Bagdasarian is not accused of actually plotting against Obama, and he was released last month on a $100,000 real estate bond. Bagdasarian’s attorney did not return a phone call Friday.
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

State Prosecutors Indict Baltimore Mayor On Curruption Charges (Baltimore Sun)