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Archive for April 23rd, 2009

Calif. Rep. Loretta Sanchez Voices Concern Over Lack of Interagency Cooperation Between DEA and Border Agencies to Fight Cartels

Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Rep. Loretta Sanchez

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D-Calif) expressed concern Wednesday about  the need for better cooperation between  DEA and border agencies to fight drug cartels.

Responding to a Government Accountability Office report, the California Congresswoman said: 
“A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighting the lack of interagency cooperation between our leading border and drug enforcement agencies is concerning. Coordination and cooperation between DEA, ICE, and CBP is crucial to defeating drug cartel organizations operating near our southern border and I echo the GAO’s call for the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to improve and enhance effectiveness in interagency partnerships.

“As the Chairwoman of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, I will continue to monitor the relationships between these agencies and consult with the appropriate officials. An effective, transparent partnership between DEA, ICE, and CBP is crucial to America’s safety and security.”

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Mexican National Pleads Guilty to 2002 Beatings of 2 FBI Agents on a Stakeout

It’s always good to get a guilty plea when it comes to a brazen act like this.

las-cruces-nm-mapBy The Associated Press
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – A Mexican national has pleaded guilty to a felony count of illegal re-entry and a misdemeanor assault count in the 2002 beatings of two FBI agents who were attacked during a stakeout in Sunland Park.

Juan Jose Magallanes-Torres of Anapra, Mexico, entered the pleas Wednesday. No sentencing date was immediately scheduled.

Special Agents Samantha Mikeska and Sergio Barrio of the FBI office in El Paso, Texas, were among a group of law enforcement officers patrolling trains near the U.S-Mexico border in an effort to catch thieves in the act.

The agents were overwhelmed by more than a dozen robbers.

For Full Story

Indicted Ex-Gov Blagojevich Says He was Willing to Eat Bugs To Support Family

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ashcroft Loading Up Law Firm With Ex-U.S. Attorneys

John Ashcroft is doing the smart thing, loading up his law firm with brand name attorneys. It can’t hurt.

By Amir Efrati
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general during President Bush’s first term – and noted singer of “Let the Eagle Soar” (YouTube clip below) – is spreading his wings. Today Ashcroft  announced that his law and consulting firm, The Ashcroft Group, is opening four new offices across the country, each to be led by Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys leaving office to make way for appointees by President Obama.
They are:

Michael Sullivan *Michael Sullivan, U.S. attorney in Boston and former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Washington. Click here for a recent LB post on Sullivan.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Vows to “Follow the Law” in Torture Scandal

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.

I’ll say it again, it’s a good idea to investigate allegations of torture, but it will be extremely difficult to charge someone in this case. It just seems so difficult to not only find the right law that would apply, but one that would lead to a successful prosecution.


WASHINGTON (CNN)
— Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he would “follow the law” as he weighed potential prosecutions of Bush administration officials who authorized controversial harsh interrogation techniques.
Some groups want Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the issue.

Some groups want Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the issue.

In Holder’s first public comments on the issue since President Obama’s statements on the matter Tuesday, the attorney general responded to questions briefly and cautiously.

“We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law,” Holder said at an Earth Day event.

Some human rights groups have demanded that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, but the attorney general appears to be in no hurry to decide how to proceed.

Obama said Tuesday that the attorney general would ultimately decide whether to proceed with prosecutions of those in the Bush administration who drew up the legal basis for aggressive interrogation techniques.

For Full Story

Intelligence Officials Went Around Atty. Gen. Gonzales to Inform Rep. Pelosi

Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales

As details continue to surface, the story gets more interesting. And it’s interesting to note the role of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, whose reign over the Justice Department was suspect, to say the least.

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials, angry that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had blocked an FBI investigation into Democratic Rep. Jane Harman’s interactions with a suspected Israeli agent, tipped off Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, that Harman had been picked up on a court-ordered National Security Agency wiretap targeting the agent.

In doing so, the officials flouted an order by Gonzales not to inform Pelosi, three former national security officials said.
Pelosi, D-Calif., was not officially briefed about the probe, as was widely reported Wednesday. Instead, the information was disclosed to her privately after a planned investigation of Harman was aborted, intelligence sources said.

Pelosi’s spokesman Brendan Daly confirmed as much Wednesday.

For Full Story

Pressure Mounting For Justice to Review Conviction of Ex-Ala. Gov. Siegelman

Could this case be named “Stevens II” after ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, whose conviction was erased because of government misconduct? Pressure continues to mount for the Justice Department to review the ex-governor’s conviction. Chances are there will be a review.

Ex-Gov. Don Siegelman

Ex-Gov. Don Siegelman

By JOHN SCHWARTZ and CHARLIE SAVAGE
New York Times
Less than a month
after the Justice Department asked a judge to drop the case against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska because of prosecutorial misconduct, 75 former state attorneys general from both parties have urged Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to conduct a similar investigation of the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, who was convicted nearly three years ago on bribery and corruption charges.

In a letter to Mr. Holder, the attorneys general said Mr. Siegelman’s defense lawyers had raised “gravely troublesome facts” about his prosecution that raise questions about the fairness and due process of the trial.

“We believe that if prosecutorial misconduct is found, as in the case of Senator Ted Stevens, then dismissal should follow in this case as well,” the group said in the letter, which was organized by Robert Abrams, a former attorney general of New York.

Lawyers for Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, have long accused the Justice Department under President George W. Bush of conducting a politically motivated prosecution that they say was filled with irregularities, including a failure to turn over pertinent information to the defense team.

For Full Story

ICE to Open New Office in Tulsa

In a sign of stepping up enforcement of illegal workers, ICE is opening this new office.

By OMER GILLHAM
Tulsa World Staff Writer
iceTULSA — Immigration officials are opening a new office in Tulsa to investigate human trafficking, drug smuggling and the employment of illegal workers at potential terrorist targets such as oil refineries and airports, an official said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is establishing a Resident Agent in Charge Office in Tulsa, said John Chakwin, special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Dallas.

The establishment of the new office with ICE funding is being announced Monday.

The Resident Agent in Charge Office is expected to open officially in late August and will be located at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Chakwin said.

“This office will have all the investigative powers of handling crimes and incidents involving the U.S. border,” Chakwin said.

For Full Story