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Archive for July 28th, 2009

All American Kid Accused of Being Homegrown Terrorist

It’s hard to fathom that an all American kid could take this route. But in life, things aren’t always as simple and clear cut as we would hope.

virginia-map1

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Daniel Patrick Boyd, once a defensive lineman at T.C. Williams High School, is an unlikely symbol of the homegrown terrorist threat.

The son of a Marine, Boyd spent his early years in the Washington suburbs living a typical American childhood. Recently, he blended with his family into a picturesque suburb of Raleigh, N.C., where he gardened and was friendly with his neighbors.

But law enforcement officials, including four SWAT teams that deployed to Boyd’s home this week, point to the Muslim convert as the latest example of a radicalized American who exported jihad.

Boyd, 39, is scheduled to appear in federal court in North Carolina on Thursday with his two sons and four other young men he allegedly instructed in militant techniques.

For Full Story

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole Among Those Considered to Head DEA

John Pistole/fbi photo
John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The White House has talked to four candidates about filling  the top spot at the Drug Enforcement Administration, including FBI deputy director John S. Pistole,  according to a source familiar with the selection process.

Pistole has been interviewed for the job along with Michele Leonhart, the DEA acting director; Boyd M. Johnson III, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York; and  former San Diego U.S. Attorney Greg A. Vega, who is in private practice.  Leonhart is not likely to get the job.

An unconfirmed  rumor circulating  Tuesday was that the FBI’s Pistole, who has been an FBI agent since 1983,  had been offered the job, but had yet to accept it.

FBI spokesman Michael P. Kortan declined to discuss the matter Tuesday night.  Pistole could not be reached for comment.  The DEA said it is policy not to comment on personnel matters.

The DEA has been faced with some daunting challenges in recent times,  both domestically and abroad, battling the drug trade in Afghanistan and dealing with the violence involving  Mexican drug cartels that has spilled over into the U.S.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

DEA and LAPD Raid Michael Jackson’s Doctor’s Las Vegas Home and Office

The investigation is intensifying. Where’s the next raid going to be?

Las Vegas Sign 1
By The Las Vegas Sun staff
LAS VEGAS — Federal authorities are executing a search warrant today at the Las Vegas medical office and home of Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, as part of a manslaughter investigation into the singer’s death.

Michael Flanagan, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Las Vegas, said the DEA, Los Angeles Police Department and Metro Police are looking for documents at Murray’s office at 2110 East Flamingo Road. Investigators also were searching his gated west Las Vegas Valley home today.

Flanagan told several reporters outside Murray’s office that the search warrrant is sealed but pertains to Jackson’s death.

“We are looking for documents,” Flanagan said, but didn’t specify what kind of documents investigators were looking for.

Murray was home when investigators arrived. His staff members are cooperating at his office, Flanagan said.

For Full Story

Arizona’s Diane Humetewa — the First Female Native American U.S. Attorney — Will Step Down Aug. 2

U.S. Atty. Diane Humetewa

U.S. Atty. Diane Humetewa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Diane Humetewa, the nation’s first female Native American U.S. Attorney, will step down Aug. 2, the  Phoenix Business Journal reported.

The move comes as no surprise since Dennis Burke has already been tapped as her replacement.

Humetewa, a  member of the Hopi Indian Tribe,  began serving in  December 2007.

At the time of her appointment by President Bush,  Indian Country Today newspaper wrote that “Indian country found big reason to celebrate.”

Report Finds U.S. Attys Taking More FBI Referrals For Prosecution

fbi-globe

It’s not everyday the FBI gets  a positive evaluation from an outside organization.  The FBI should be happy with this one.

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice
WASHINGTON — U.S. attorneys are accepting more FBI referrals for prosecution, convictions are up, and prison sentences are increasing, according to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Data examined showed “small but consistent year-by-year changes” during the past five years, according to TRAC, which acquired the information from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys through a Freedom of Information Act request.

To Read More

To Read Report

Judge Ellis in William Jefferson Corruption Case: Quirky, Caustic, Old School

Whatever you think of Judge Ellis, you can only come away with the thought that he’s a bright, no nonsense judge. A little full of himself? Well…you could probably conclude that as well. Closing arguments, which were scheduled for Tuesday, are now set for Wednesday.

alexandria-map

By Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — It was the last day of testimony in the government’s case against former Rep. William Jefferson and prosecution and defense attorneys, out of the jury’s hearing, were haggling over the relevance of a flow chart showing how some of the money allegedly exacted by the congressman’s family from business deals he aided in Africa ended up paying Harvard tuition for one of Jefferson’s daughters.

“Having paid some Harvard tuition, I doubt that it was worth it, ” said Judge T.S. Ellis III, Harvard Law School class of 1969. He went on to suggest that colleges these days largely serve a purpose once more capably performed by the military of quarantining adolescents from the broader society, while doing little to provide the classical education that was once their charge.

“We’re losing it, our culture, ” Ellis, 69, fretted from the bench. “In the old days every schoolboy could translate the Aeneid, ” he said, though he allowed he is not old enough to have been one of those schoolboys.

For Full Story

5 Detained in Fatal Shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent

The violence from drugs and border crossings continues. Is the only answer more agents and troops?

Border Patrol
By Richard Marosi
Los Angeles Times
SAN DIEGO — Mexican authorities have detained five people in connection with last week’s fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, but U.S. investigators have not said whether they are suspects in the case.

The detainees were arrested within two days after Robert Rosas, a three-year agency employee, was shot multiple times by suspected smugglers near the border fence.

One of the men, Ernesto Parra Valenzuela, 36, who was identified as the shooter, was injured and carrying a 9-millimeter handgun, according to police in Tecate, Mexico.

Parra and the four other detainees — believed to be immigrant smugglers and bandits who were near the crime scene Thursday night — are being held at the federal attorney general’s office in Tijuana.

In high-profile cross-border cases, the Mexican government frequently provides U.S. investigators access to suspects, but it is unclear whether U.S. agents have questioned the men.

For Full Story

Some Mexicans Want New Anti-Drug Strategy; Say This One is Failing

Understandably the drug violence in Mexico is making some people rethink the way that nation is fighting the drug war. But not offering an alternative is unacceptable. Plus, the U.S. still has to do more to help — particularly considering the most lucrative market for drugs is in the U.S. There have been more than 12,000 drug related deaths in Mexico in the past 2 1/2 years.

mexico-map21

By William Booth and Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderón is under growing pressure to overhaul a U.S.-backed anti-narcotics strategy that many political leaders and analysts said is failing amid spectacular drug cartel assaults against the government.

There are now sustained calls in Mexico for a change in tactics, even from allies within Calderón’s political party, who say the deployment of 45,000 soldiers to fight the cartels is a flawed plan that relies too heavily on the blunt force of the military to stem soaring violence and lawlessness.

“The people of Mexico are losing hope, and it is urgent that Congress, the political parties and the president reconsider this strategy,” said Ramón Galindo, a senator and Calderón supporter who is a former mayor of Ciudad Juarez, a border city where more than 1,100 people have been killed this year.

For Full Story