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Archive for March 13th, 2009

Ex-DEA Official Testifies About the Escalating Guns, Drugs and Violence in Mexico

By Michael Braun
Counterterrorism Blog

WASHINGTON –Today* I testified before the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the escalating violence in Mexico. My viewpoint arises from my 34 years in law enforcement and as a U.S. Marine. I served for almost four years as the Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and for one year as the Agency’s Acting Chief of Intelligence. I also served in a number of DEA offices throughout the United States, including service on both our Southern and Northern borders, on both our East and West Coasts, in the Midwest, as well as two years in various countries in Latin America.

Here are several paragraphs of that testimony, and you can download it in its entirety here

*(Braun testified on Thursday March 12, 2009)

Group Says FBI Using Outdated and Deliberately Limited Search Process in Freedom of Information Act

Anyone who has ever filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI knows it can take forever to get the results. They also know they may not ever get the results they want. A private group, the National Security Archives, is now giving the agency grief about this — and deservedly so.

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — If information were a river, the FBI would be a dam.

Two out of every three people who ask for FBI records under the Freedom of Information Act are told by the bureau no such documents exist — a failure rate five times higher than at other major federal agencies, a private study finds.

The FBI is using an outdated and deliberately limited search process to avoid full compliance with the records law, the National Security Archive asserts. The Archive is a private group that publishes declassified government documents and files many FOIA requests.

The Archive awarded the FBI its Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Retired FBI Agent Jerry Breidenfeld Dead At 83

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer

Jerry H. Breidenfeld, 83, a retired agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, died March 6 at Reston Hospital Center of congestive heart failure. He moved to Ashburn in 2006 after living in Reston for many years.

Dr. Breidenfeld joined the FBI in 1951 and served in Knoxville, Tenn., Chicago and Butte, Mont., before being transferred in 1970 to Washington, where he worked with the agency’s radio engineering facility.

His duties involved checking for bugs at embassies and other government facilities. He retired from the FBI in 1980 but continued to do de-bugging work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For Full Story

Gov. Blago Campaign Targeted Chicago Trib Owner for $25,000

The feds are interested in this part of the case and have interviewed Sam Zell, owner of the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, it was the Chicago Sun-Times, the competing newspaper in town that broke this story. Thank goodness for two-newspaper towns.

BY NATASHA KORECKI, DAVE MCKINNEY AND DAVID ROEDER
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell was targeted for $25,000 by the Blagojevich campaign last November while the company’s Wrigley Field deal was under consideration and two weeks before the ex-governor was arrested, internal campaign documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Zell’s name appeared on a Nov. 25, 2008, document titled “Focus List” among a group of 33 potential donors.

Alongside Zell’s name was the $25,000 figure and a notation that read: “Rod to follow up.” On a Sept. 22, 2008, fund-raising document titled “Call List,” an entry noted “Sam Party on 9.27.”

In another campaign document dated Dec. 3, 2008, Tribune Co. sports consultant Mark Ganis is listed among 143 names of potential donors for tentative or scheduled fund-raising events. Next to Ganis’ name are the notations “New York Event” and “Rod went to dinner on 9/19. Rob needs to follow up.”

The Tribune Co., parent of the Chicago Tribune, hired Ganis to help structure a sale of Wrigley. His name also appeared on the September call list next to a notation that read: “Patti and Rod dinner.”

Lawyers for the former governor and his brother, Robert, who headed his campaign fund, told the Sun-Times on Thursday they did not solicit Zell for cash during that time.

For Full Story

Fed Judge Gives ex-Chicago Cop 12 Years in Mob Case

Here’s a police department that could use an upgrade when it comes to its reputation. Previously allegations of torture. Citizen beatings. And now a conviction like this. Not good.

By STEVE WARMBIR
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO –A man can be a good cop one day, a corrupt one the next, a federal judge noted as he sentenced a former Chicago Police officer to 12 years in prison for helping mob killer Frank Calabrese Sr. get critical information about a federal investigation into an Outfit hit.

Anthony “Twan” Doyle, 64, was once a Chicago Police officer of the month, and while he had a decent career, “he picked the wrong people to try to help,” U.S. District Judge James Zagel said in giving Doyle a break from the 15 years or more in prison he could have received.

Doyle repeatedly visited Calabrese Sr. when the mob killer was in prison in Michigan and took messages to the man running Calabrese’s street operations back home.

More important, Doyle told Calabrese Sr. when the FBI retrieved a bloody glove from a police evidence warehouse where Doyle worked.

For Full Story