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Archive for September 28th, 2009

Wisconsin Sens. Nominate 2 Names for U.S. Atty Post in Madison

wisconsin-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators have have nominated two finalists for the U.S. Attorney post in Madison.

Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold have forwarded to the White House the names of Assistant U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil and former Assistant Attorney General Eric J. Wilson, according to the Associated Press.

The post was filled by Erik Peterson, who left in June. He had served in that position since 2006.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Utah’s Top FBI Agent Tim Fuhrman to Head Mobile, Ala. Office

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Govt. Watchdog Finds Shortcomings with FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Tracking Unit

The report says the FBI made some improvements during the course of the audit, but there were still important improvements that needed to be made. The upside is in the past week the FBI has looked pretty good busting up suspected terrorist plots in Texas, Illinois and N.Y.

I.G. Glenn Fine

I.G. Glenn Fine

By Fox News
The FBI unit tasked with tracking threats from weapons of mass destruction suffers from several operational problems, the Justice Department’s top watchdog said in a report Monday, one week after federal authorities charged three people with WMD-related offenses.

Inspector General Glenn Fine, in an audit, reported that many inside the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator Program were not able to identify “the top specific WMD threats and vulnerabilities that faced their particular field division.”

The audit said the FBI also had not established adequate training programs to educate its analysts on the subject or established “specific qualifications” that the WMD coordinators should have.

For Full Story

Read Complete Report

FBI Letting Terror Plots Develop More to Get Offenders on More Serious Charges

The FBI seems to be taking a new approach to terrorism plots. Instead of quickly picking up people, often on lesser charges, authorities are letting the plots unfold a little more so they can charge suspected terrorists with more serious offenses. The tactic seems to have worked in recent cases around the country.

Aftermath of the World Trade Center/fbi photo

Aftermath of the World Trade Center/fbi photo

By ED TIMMS
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — After terrorists slammed airliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, the law-enforcement community had one overriding priority – preventing another attack.

Making criminal arrests or detaining noncitizens on immigration violations was seen as an expedient way to disrupt any nascent terrorist plots after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the majority of those taken into custody were never prosecuted, or they were charged with relatively minor offenses.

“With 3,000 people incinerated, we weren’t going to take the chance that we were sacrificing security for prosecution of the more serious offenses,” said Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio.

For Full Story

Some Think Small-Time Denver Atty In Over His Head in Latest Terrorism Case

FBI Agent Outside Zazi's Colo. Apt/fbi photo

FBI Agent Outside Zazi's Colo. Apt/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is it petty jealousy or just honesty? Some lawyers think that small-time Denver attorney Art Folsom is in over his head representing Najibullah Zazi in the biggest terrorism case in recent times.

Stephanie Simon of the Wall Street reports that Folsom has made a career out representing clients for drug possession, drunk driving and divorce. Now he’s big time, up against the weight of the U.S. government. To read the full story click here.

Legal Experts Chastise FBI For Not Disclosing Sooner Agent’s Sexual Affair With Informant in Jefferson Case

Informant Lori Mody

Informant Lori Mody

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON –– Transparency, transparency, transparency.  And yes, disclosure. That’s often the best policy when the federal government takes a  case to trial, particularly a big one.

But Bruce Alpert and Jonathan Tilove, reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, have put together an intriguing report on how the FBI failed to disclose early on that an agent who was working undercover in the ex-Rep. William Jefferson case had an affair with a key informant, who wore a wire. Instead, the disclosure was made to the court just days before trial began in June (it became public last week).

The paper quotes various legal experts, including George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, as saying the tardy disclosure involving FBI agent John Guandolo and informant Lori Mody was unacceptable.

“This is just unbelievable, ” Turley told the Picayune. “If the FBI was aware that an agent had an improper relationship with a confidential source, it is information that should have been disclosed to the court.”

The defense asked for a new trial based partly on the affair, but the trial judge rejected the request. In all likelihood, it’s not likely to get much traction in the appeal process considering the minor role the agent played in the case — he pretended to be Mody’s chauffeur — and the affair did not change the facts in the case.

Ticklethewire.com reported last week that the married agent had drawn up, at the urging of his therapist,  a list of  women he had an affair with to show how it all impacted his marriage.  The list included other  female FBI agents and an unnamed confidential source who ended up being Lori Mody.

Someone found the list and gave it to his supervisor, which became his undoing. Guandolo, who was considered a good agent, resigned last December. Jefferson was convicted on 11 of 16 public corruption counts.

Click here to read the full story in the Times-Picayune.