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Archive for March 6th, 2009

FBI Surveilled Off-Duty U.S. Capitol Police Before Inauguration

The lead up to the Jan. 20  inauguration was more intense than any event before. Here’s a pretty good example of just how intense it was.

By Spencer Hsu, Mary Beth Sheridan and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — In the days leading up to President Obama’s inauguration, U.S. law enforcement agencies huddled regularly in an effort to minimize any possible security risk to an event that promised record crowds for the country’s first black president.

But one agenda item led authorities to a target close to home: the ranks of the U.S. Capitol Police.

An FBI investigation that included taped surveillance had placed two off-duty veteran Capitol Police officers in the company of individuals whose racial views and capacity for violence were under scrutiny.

Although the recorded discussion did not center on Obama, federal law enforcement officials wanted to ensure that the officers were not on duty covering the Capitol, where the president took the oath of office, according to two sources involved in the matter.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Uncertainty Abounds When it Comes to Appointments of U.S. Attorneys

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia stepped down

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia stepped down

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In these uncertain times, there’s plenty uncertainty as to who will fill the dozens of presidential-appointed U.S. Attorney posts around the country. Things are moving slowly.

So far, there have been no official nominations for any new U.S. Attorneys, though there have been plenty of recommendations and a whirlwind of speculation.

At this point, one thing appears certain: Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a Bush appointee who is often spoken of in glowing terms among colleagues nationwide, is staying put under the Obama regime.

The Obama administration has asked the other current U.S. Attorneys to stay put until further notice. But slowly, here and there, Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys have been leaving to go into private practice or run for office.  Many others are flooding the job market with resumes.

There are 93 U.S. Attorney posts in the nation.

To date, the Justice Department says there are 50 sitting U.S. Attorneys who are Bush appointees. The rest are either “acting” or “interim” U.S. Attorneys. The Obama  regime has indicated that some U.S. Attorneys might be able to stay even if they were Republican appointees.

In places like New Orleans, the U.S. Attorney hopes to stay on. In Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, a conservative Bush appointee, has expressed interest in staying, but that is not likely to happen, sources say.

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FBI Raid of Atlanta Charity is Triggering Questions

Any time the FBI raids your charity or business, questions start to pop up. In Atlanta, an FBI raid has sparked questions and made some lose faith in the charitable Angel Food Ministries.

By DIONNE WALKER
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA — For more than a decade, Angel Food Ministries seemed like a godsend for families who purchased its low-cost food boxes and the churches that shared millions in revenue for distributing the goods.

It became an economic juggernaut in the faith community, employing hundreds, feeding thousands a month and pouring $19 million into its network of more than 5,000 host churches in 35 states.

Now, a lawsuit coupled with an FBI raid at the group’s headquarters has raised accusations of financial mismanagement at the nonprofit. The raid and ensuing FBI investigation have left congregations and church leaders weighing whether to cut their ties to the high-profile charity after the reported disclosure that six-figure salaries were paid to its founders.

For Full Story

Law Professor Says Leave Patriot Act Intact: “The Act Works”

By Nathan A. Sales
Christian Science Monitor
ARLINGTON, Va. — Remember when the USA Patriot Act was seen as a common-sense counterterrorism tool? Congress enacted the law shortly after the 9/11 attacks by large bipartisan majorities. It wasn’t even close.

And for good reason: The Patriot Act made relatively modest changes to the law as it stood on Sept. 11, 2001. The act simply let terrorist- and spy-hunters use some of the same tools regular cops have had in their arsenal for decades. And it updated existing laws to make them more effective against terrorist threats.

As President Obama forges new security policies, let’s hope he keeps the Patriot Act intact. The act works. According to the Justice Department, the Patriot Act helped take down Al Qaeda cells in Buffalo, N.Y. and Portland, Ore. Prosecutors used it to convict a Floridian who pled guilty to raising money for a terrorist group called Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And The act led to the conviction of a man who threatened to torch a Texas mosque.

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Nevada U.S. Attorney Greg Brower Figures He’ll Get the Boot

U.S. Atty. Gregory Bower

U.S. Atty. Gregory Brower

Some U.S. Attorneys haven’t waited to get the boot. Some hope to stay. And some figure they’ll get the boot and are passing around resumes.

By MARTHA BELLISLE
Reno Gazette-Journal
RENO, Nevada — As the Obama administration takes over, Nevada’s U.S. attorney is looking for a new job, though he has not been asked to leave.

“It seems clear that the new administration will be making a change at some point, and in some districts, there have been resignations and vacancies, and names have already been forwarded to the White House,” said Greg Brower, who last year replaced Daniel Bogden, one of eight U.S. attorneys fired in December 2006 as part of a controversial purge that led to congressional investigations and ultimately the forced resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Although Brower has not been told anything about losing his position, he said he expects that he’ll be out of office by fall.

“By the end of the summer, every district will have started or completed its own process,” he said. “I’m still enjoying the job, but I anticipate we’ll see a whole new batch of attorneys by the fall.”

For Full Story