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Archive for July 10th, 2009

Weekend Entertainment: Sacha Baron Cohen Interviews Real Terrorist in New Movie “Bruno”

Pres. Obama Nominates 6 U.S. Attys. Including Son of Sen. And 1st Woman U.S. Atty. in Hawaii

Ohio nominee Steven Dettelbach
Ohio nominee Steven Dettelbach

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Friday announced nominees for six U.S. Attorney posts. The nominees included the first woman U.S. Attorney in Hawaii and the son of a state senator in South Dakota.

In Hawaii, the president nominated Florence T. Nakakuni, 57, an assistant U.S. Attorney in Hawaii for the past 24 years, according to the White House. She currently heads the Drug and Organized Crime Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In South Dakata, Brendan Johnson, 34, the son of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) was nominated. The Associated Press reported Friday night that the senator, who has served since 1997, said he did not take part in the nomination process. Brendan Johnson is a partner in the law firm of John, Heidepriem, Abdallah and Johnson in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“My father said,” Don’t consult me. Don’t update me. I’m not going to be involved in the process,” AP quoted the son as saying back in January.

The AP quoted the Senator who issued a statement saying” “While I stepped back from his nomination process so it would remain unbiased as a father and a lawyer. I’m very proud of Brendan.”

Other nominees, according to a White House Press release include:
Arizona: Dennis Burke, 46, a senior advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.

Northern District of Ohio: Steven Dettelbach, 43, a partner with Baker & Hostettler in Cleveland .

Alaska: Karen Loeffler, 52, an Assistant United States Attorney for Alaska for 20 years and current the interim U.S. Attorney.

Southern District of Ohio: Carter M. Stewart, 40, a lawyer at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More Details in White House Press Release

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Stinging Report Says Bush White House Kept Justice Dept. Lawyers in the Dark on Warrantless Wiretaps

There’s no sugar coating the ugly truth about the way things were handled. The biting report also confirms outsiders’ suspicions that the White House undermined the Justice Department’s mission.

dark

By Carrie Johnson and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Bush White House so strictly controlled access to its warrantless eavesdropping program that only three Justice Department lawyers were aware of the plan, which nearly ignited mass resignations and a constitutional crisis when a wider circle of administration officials began to question its legality, according to a watchdog report released today.

The unclassified summary by five inspectors general from government intelligence agencies called the arrangements “extraordinary and inappropriate” and asserted that White House secrecy “undermined” the ability of the Justice Department to do its work.

The report is the first public sign of a long running investigative review of a program that provoked fierce conflict within the highest levels of the Bush administration in 2004. At the time, the Justice Department’s second in command and the director of the FBI both vowed to resign if President Bush continued with electronic intelligence gathering that they believed was outside the boundaries of the law.

Today’s report was mandated by Congress in legislation last year that updated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to accommodate new technologies. The bulk of the review remains highly classified.

For Full Story

Read Report

Sen. Hagan Submits 3 Names For N.C. U.S. Atty

U.S. Atty. George Holding
U.S. Atty. George Holding

Interesting that the senator wants the U.S. Attorney Holding to stay in office and handle certain public corruption cases. Good or bad idea?

By WRAL.com
RALEIGH, N.C. – U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on Friday submitted three names to President Barack Obama for U.S. attorney in the federal court system’s Eastern District of North Carolina.

But Hagan said she wanted U.S. Attorney George Holding to remain in office to handle political corruption investigations into former Gov. Mike Easley and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.

“During my conversations with the Office of the White House Counsel, there was an interest expressed by the counsel’s office to potentially appoint a separate individual to begin handling other matters not related to these investigations,” Hagan wrote in her letter to Obama.

She recommended Ben David, district attorney for New Hanover and Pender counties; Hampton Dellinger, Easley’s former legal counsel and a partner in the Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson law firm; and Thomas Walker, a partner at the Alston and Bird law firm who concentrates on complex federal and state government investigations and white-collar defense.

For Full Story

El Paso FBI Agent Indicted on Charges of Selling Weapons Without a License and Lying

Not a good idea to break the law, particularly when you’re an FBI agent. Not only do you get jammed up in the legal system, but it becomes fodder for news organizations. And oh yes, there’s always a good chance you’re going to lose your job.

el-paso-map

By Adriana M. Chávez
El Paso Times
EL PASO, Tex — An FBI agent accused of buying and selling weapons and ammunition without a license, then lying about it, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury.

John Thomas Shipley, 39, was charged with one count of dealing firearms without a license, four counts of causing a firearms dealer to maintain false records and one count of making a false statement to federal authorities.

FBI officials in El Paso said Shipley has been suspended without pay since March, but they would not say how long he has been an agent.

The indictment alleges that he bought and sold weapons and ammunition on the Internet from January 2005 to May 2008.

He is accused of posting firearms for sale more than 200 times.

For Full Story

Read Indictment

FBI in Calif. Looks into Anti-Arab Hate Crime That Ends in Death

hate-photo-of-handThere’s not much that can be said about the ugliness of hate crimes. It’s one thing to spout ignorant, hateful words, but it’s another thing when it results in death.

By David Kelly
Los Angeles Times
YERMO, Calif. — Hadie Mohd last saw his father as he headed out to the family’s vacated home to paint over anti-Arab and white supremacist graffiti scrawled across the walls inside.

“He said he would be back before sundown,” Mohd said. “And he always kept his word.”

But when sundown came, Ali Abdelhadi Mohd had not returned. About 9:45 p.m. on June 27, neighbors in this scruffy high-desert town heard an explosion they said sounded like a sonic boom. Flames engulfed the single-story home. When firefighters arrived, they found a horribly burned Mohd dead among the ruins.

“We can only hope he died quickly,” Hadie Mohd said as he picked his way through the gray ashes and blackened appliances at the house Thursday. “It gives us peace to think that.”

For Full Story

Boston Mobster Says “Whitey” Bulger Was Jealous of Him Spending Time With Girlfriend

The mob drama continued to unfold in a Boston courtroom  like a classic Soprano TV episode. Some families are suing the government, saying it should have done something to stop some mobsters/FBI informants from killing.

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Notorious gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi testified yesterday that when he started spending more time with his beautiful young girl- friend, his longtime sidekick and fellow FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger grew jealous and soon started plotting to kill her.

“Bulger kind of resented the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with him and our business,” said the 75-year-old Flemmi, offering new insight into Bulger’s mind during a civil trial in US District Court.

Flemmi recalled that he began skipping some of Bulger’s secret meetings with the FBI so he could be with Debra Davis.

“He would contact me, and I wouldn’t respond,” said Flemmi, adding that he shut off his pager when he was home.

“I didn’t want to be bothered,” Flemmi said. “He was very upset about it.”

That anger turned deadly when Bulger discovered that Flemmi had told Davis about their relationship with the FBI, according to Flemmi.

“He wanted to kill her,” Flemmi said. “He wanted me to bring her down and set her up so he could kill her.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Some DEA Agents Are Being Sent to Afghanistan Against Their Will

It’s bad policy to send workers on dangerous assignments against their will and threaten them if they don’t want to go. The DEA needs to offer incentives, not punishment. There’s no better way to kill morale.

afghanistan

By Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON —  The Drug Enforcement Administration has removed an agent from his pilot duties after he refused to be sent to Afghanistan on a 60 day-detail.

Veteran Agent Daniel Offield’s reassignment from the Aviation Division came less than two weeks after McClatchy reported that some special-agent pilots said they’re being forced illegally to go to a combat zone on temporary duty.

In interviews with McClatchy, more than a dozen DEA agents, including Offield, described a badly managed system in which some pilots had been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.

For Full Story