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Archive for June 23rd, 2009

UPDATE: Disorderly Passenger Aboard Northwest Flight Walked Toward the Cockpit Door But Flight Attendant Intervened

northwest-airlines1

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A disorderly man aboard a Northwest airlines flight headed from Detroit to Washington Tuesday night was moving toward the cockpit door but a flight attendant intervened and he backed away, authorities said.

Walter Vincent Baker, 30, of Michigan, was arrested and charged Arlington County, Va., with public intoxication and interference with the operation of an aircraft, an airport spokeswoman said.

I was aboard that plane, Northwest Flight 226, that landed at Reagan National Airport around 8:30 p.m.

Just minutes before the plane approached the gate, some shouting was heard in first-class section. Moments later, an announcement came over the public address system saying that authorities would be boarding the plane and passengers should remain in their seats.

After the plane got to the gate, about four uniformed Airport Authority Police officers boarded and quickly yanked the man out of his seat and took him away.

A flight attendant told an inquiring passenger (I was standing nearby) that the man tried to open the door during the flight and he was yelling something about terrorists. The flight attendant said it sounded like the man may have had some mental health issues.

Everyone on the plane remained calm, and a few minutes later, they left the plane.

Courtney Mickalonis, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said authorities got a call from the flight crew asking for assistance with a disorderly passenger.

On Tuesday night, she said investigators were interviewing witnesses. This morning, she said the man was moving toward the cockpit door, but a flight attendant intervened and told him to sit down.

She said words were exchanged and he eventually sat down. She said the man did not get close enough to the door to even attempt anything. No one was injured.

“We believe alcohol was involved,” she said.

Utah U.S. Atty. Tolman on Way Out; Replacement Suggested

Whatever happened, it wasn’t likely that Brett Tolman was going to get to stick around under the Obama administration.

U.S. Atty. Brett Tolman

U.S. Atty. Brett Tolman

By Chris Vanocur
ABC 4
SALT LAKE CITY– – It looks like it may be more bad news for Brett Tolman.

Not only is he feeling the heat for those Native American artifact arrests in Southern Utah, but now ABC 4 News is being told that Tolman will be replaced as Utah’s U.S. Attorney.

ABC 4 is being told by multiple democratic and republican sources that:

1) Tolman will not be kept on as Utah’s U.S. Attorney.

2) A candidate to replace him has already been recommended to the White House.

That candidate is said to be David Schwendiman.

Schwendiman was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, a key aide to then U.S. Attorney Scott Matheson.

For Full Story

Dept. of Homeland Security to Kill Controversial Spy Satellite Program

Some say we’re losing a tool in the war on terrorism. Civil liberty groups say it was a violation of our privacy. Apparently the latter won out.

homeland-security-logo

By SIOBHAN GORMAN
The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to kill a controversial Bush administration spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security, according to officials familiar with the decision.

The program came under fire from its inception two years ago. Democratic lawmakers said it would lead to domestic spying.

The program would have provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery – but no eavesdropping capabilities- to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.

For Full Story

N.J. Nominee for U.S. Atty. Paul Fishman Refuses to Disclose Full Client List

This raises an interesting dilemma. Yes, we have a right to know as much about a U.S. Attorney candidate as possible. And yes, clients who are targets of grand juries have a right to privacy. What to do? We assume we can trust nominees like Fishman to recuse themselves in instances where there’s a conflict of interest. On the other hand, maybe we should just avoid appointing U.S. Attorneys who are criminal lawyers and have disclosure issues.

Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.

Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.

By Jim McElhatton
Washington Times
WASHINGTON — The criminal defense lawyer nominated by President Obama to be the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey is declining to identify more than half of his private clients on government forms designed to help the public guard against potential conflicts of interests.

Paul J. Fishman, nominated to serve as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, is citing the privacy interests of the clients – an exemption that is permitted under federal ethics laws, but that leaves prosecutors on an honor system to police their own conflicts, ethics watchdogs say.

Mr. Fishman provided the names of 29 clients on the government disclosure form, including a convicted former New Jersey municipal official, a health care company and the former girlfriend of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

But he withheld the names of “approximately 37 confidential clients,[“] saying they cannot be named because they are involved in grand jury or other secret investigations.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Wants Charges Dropped Against Mexican; Judge Chastises Prosecutors for Failing to Turn Over Evidence Quickly to Defense

The judge in this case, Emmet G. Sullivan, who presided over the Ted Stevens case, has a low tolerance in instances where the prosecution fails to share evidence with the defense — or do it in a timely manner. In this instance, Sullivan once again was not happy with the Justice Department.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge yesterday to toss drug charges against a Chinese-born Mexican millionaire, saying that U.S. prosecutors had run into “evidentiary concerns” and that Mexico would be a better place to try him.

The request concerns Zhenli Ye Gon, who was arrested in July 2007 and was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District on charges of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to make methamphetamine that would be sold in the United States.

The charges came several months after a raid of his Mexico City mansion, where Mexican authorities seized $207 million in cash, most of it in $100 bills. Gon, who fled Mexico before the raid, was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration while eating dinner at a bistro in Wheaton with a female acquaintance.

For Full Story

Read Government Motion to Dismiss

Mexican Drug Cartels Hire American Teens as Killers

mexico-map21The drug trade has long provided dangerous employment and riches for Americans teens seeking the good life. We hear so often of that arrangement in urban areas. Now it’s happening with American teens and Mexican drug cartels.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
LAREDO, Tex. — When he was finally caught, Rosalio Reta told detectives here that he had felt a thrill each time he killed. It was like being Superman or James Bond, he said.

”I like what I do,” he told the police in a videotaped confession. ”I don’t deny it.”

Mr. Reta was 13 when he was recruited by the Zetas, the infamous assassins of the Gulf Cartel, law enforcement officials say. He was one of a group of American teenagers from the impoverished streets of Laredo who was lured into the drug wars across the Rio Grande in Mexico with promises of high pay, fancy cars and sexy women.

After a short apprenticeship, the young men lived in an expensive house in Texas, available to kill whenever called on. The Gulf Cartel was engaged in a turf war with the Sinaloa Cartel over the Interstate 35 corridor, the north-south highway that connects Laredo to Dallas and beyond, and is, according to law enforcement officials, one of the most important arteries for drug smuggling in the Americas.

The young men all paid a heavy price. Jesus Gonzalez III was beaten and knifed to death in a Mexican jail at 23. Mr. Reta, now 19, and his boyhood friend, Gabriel Cardona, 22, are serving what amounts to life sentences in prisons in the United States.

For Full Story