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Archive for January 26th, 2009

Reflections On the Inauguration of President Obama

Several thoughts have been running through my mind as I reflect on President Obama’s inauguration. The first observation comes from pride as a retired Secret Service agent – the colossal accomplishment of the venerable agency which allowed the President to participate in panoply of events surrounding his oath on January 20th on the West Capitol steps.

The complex planning and coordination that allows the President’s accessibility to the electorate while protecting his person, is worthy, indeed, of great praise and admiration.

For all of the visible presence of agents and police officers who provided security during all the ceremonial events, there was an unseen legion of operatives conducting complementary, but equally essential security operations for days in advance, in bitter cold weather and in markedly challenging circumstances.

The willful and essential self-effacement of the Secret Service permits no such adulation for these accomplishments. Still, the agency’s great organizational skill and sacrifice deserve a resounding “well done”. It is certainly and richly deserved.

My second observation concerns the phrase in the President’s inaugural address in which he calls us to a “new era of responsibility,” and then goes on to state about government: “The question we ask is not whether the government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”

As a retired Inspector General I know that a relatively unsung dimension of federal law enforcement exists to help the President meet this challenge. The Offices of Inspectors General throughout the Executive Branch exist by statute to root out fraud, waste, abuse and inefficiency in government and its programs. These dedicated criminal investigators and auditors have amassed a substantial record of accomplishment in government stewardship the past 30 years since the passage of the Inspector General Act of 1978.

President Obama’s new Chief Performance Officer, Nancy Killefer (and Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget) is ex officio the Vice Chairperson of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency ,whose members are the Inspectors General.

Two outstanding examples of public service as an Inspector General are the Hon. Glenn Fine at Justice and the Hon. Earl Devaney at Interior. Both exemplify the integrity and non-partisan conduct of the office through their exemplary work. Ms. Killefer would be well served to heed the counsel of these people as she helps the President achieve his goal to “do our business in the light of day because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”

(Jim Huse is the CEO of IntegriGuard, LLC, a program integrity, payment accuracy company in Omaha, NE. You can learn more about him and his company at www.integriguard.org).

Obama Picks UN Official Jane Holl Lute for Homeland Security

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — President Obama has named United Nations Assist. Sec. Gen. Jane Holl Lute as deputy Sec. for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Additionally, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano  has picked key senior staff appointments: Noah Kroloff, chief of staff for Policy to the Secretary and Jan Lesher, chief of staff for operations to the Secretary.
“I am confident that the counsel and leadership of my senior team will benefit this department greatly,” Napolitano said in a prepared statement. “Jane’s experience leading large operations with broad and challenging missions lends itself to the undertaking we have before us at Homeland Security. I look forward to working with these talented individuals as we work to further unify this department under our common mission.”
A DHS press release provided the following information about the new appointees:

  • Jane Holl Lute has served under two presidents on the National Security Council staff at the White House. Ms. Lute is currently the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General charged with coordinating efforts to build sustainable peace in countries emerging from conflict. Previously, as Assistant Secretary-General in both the United Nations Department of Field Support and Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Ms. Lute managed and provided critical support to all UN field missions, peacekeeping operations, and special political missions in over thirty countries around the world.
    Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Lute was Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund, the entities established to administer Ted Turner’s $1 billion contribution to support the goals of the United Nations.
    Ms. Lute headed the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and was a senior public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Prior to working at the White House, Ms. Lute had a distinguished career in the United States Army, including service in the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.
    She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.
  • Noah Kroloff, Chief of Staff for Policy to the Secretary was former Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy for Governor Napolitano.
  • Jan Lesher, Chief of Staff for Operations to the Secretary was former  Chief of Staff for Governor Napolitano and Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce.

Gov. Blagojevich Goes to N.Y. to Proclaim Innocence

Colorado U.S. Atty. Troy Eid Steps Down to Run for State Atty. Gen.

Ex-U.S. Atty. Troy Eid

Ex-U.S. Atty. Troy Eid

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

Colorado U.S. Atty. Troy Eid , the first Egyptian-American U.S. Attorney,  has resigned to launch a bid for for state Attorney General in 2010.
In a recent press conference, he said he was excited to run for state office and mentioned that his wife Allison Eid, a Colorado State Supreme Court Justice, had agreed to resign if he’s elected to avoid any conflict of interest.
That, he said, “gives you an idea how serious I am.”
In the meantime, Eid, 44, who stepped down earlier this month, is returning to his old law firm Greenberg Traurig, where he worked from 2003 to 2006. He said he will be doing environmental litigation.
“No one asked me to leave,” Eid said about his resignation. “I’ve always believed in Frank Sinatra. I’m doing it my way and I’m going out the way I want to go out.”
Assistant U.S. Atty. David M. Gaouette, 54, is the acting Colorado U.S. Attorney.

New York Times Reporter James Risen Says Govt Got His Phone Records

Mexican Hitman Suspected of Dumping 300+ Bodies in Vats of Lye

Clearly, one question you did not want to ask Santiago Meza Lopez: Is it soup yet?

By Richard Marosi
Los Angeles Times
SAN DIEGO — A suspected hit man who allegedly dumped more than 300 bodies in vats of lye at the behest of a top Tijuana crime boss has been arrested near Ensenada, according to the Mexican military.
Alleged crime boss Teodoro Garcia Simental, nicknamed El Teo, narrowly escaped after soldiers on Thursday raided an upscale resort outside the Baja California port city 70 miles south of San Diego, according to one Mexican news report.
The military said Santiago Meza Lopez, a 45-year-old from the state of Sinaloa, was arrested after allegedly trying to flee from soldiers and federal agents on the Ensenada- Tijuana coastal highway. Soldiers also arrested Garcia’s cook and seized four automatic weapons and two grenades.
Military authorities said Meza admitted being Garcia’s body disposal expert, nicknamed “El Pozolero del Teo” — roughly translated: Teo’s soup maker.

For Full Story

Gov. Blago’s Yapping May Have Sent His Attorney Packing

Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich

It’s not unusual for lawyers representing politicians to tell them to keep their mouths shut. It’s not unusual for the clients not to listen, whether it’s a matter of ego or stupidity or a sense that the politician actually knows better.

By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO— Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief defense attorney announced Friday that he is bailing out of the fraud and bribery case against the governor, strongly hinting that his embattled client refused to listen to his advice.
“I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen,” Edward Genson said. “I intend to withdraw as counsel in this case.”
Genson, who won renown in defending R&B star R. Kelly and former newspaper baron Conrad Black, dropped his bombshell announcement after a U.S. District Court hearing during which Chief Judge James F. Holderman released four wiretapped recordings of Blagojevich and his associates to the Illinois House impeachment committee.
Genson still needs to file paperwork with the court to formally withdraw from the case.
For Full Story

Burlington Lawyer Tristram Coffin Nominated For Vermont U.S. Atty.

The mass replacement of U.S. Attorneys is underway across the country. Here’s the latest.

Tristram Coffin

Tristram Coffin

By Sam Hemingway
Burlington Free Press
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Friday he has nominated Burlington attorney Tristram J. Coffin to become Vermont’s next U.S. attorney.
“Tris Coffin is a perfect fit for a difficult job,” Leahy said in a statement released by his office. “He has a wide range of investigative and courtroom experience that will allow him to hit the ground running.”
The Free Press reported earlier this month that Coffin was a finalist for the job.
Coffin’s name will now be forwarded to the White House, and he will undergo a background check by the FBI. His appointment becomes official once the background check is completed, and President Barack Obama formally appoints him to the position.
For Full Story