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Archive for October 8th, 2009

Texas Republican Sen. Cornyn Vows to Block U.S. Atty Pick if He Doesn’t Get His Way

As I’ve said many times, there has to be a way to tone down the politics in the selection of U.S. Attorneys. The mess during the Bush years should have been enough to spark some type of reform, and put in place some safeguards to make sure no one is removed for political reasons. Apparently it’s going to take more. Here’s the latest spat down Texas between the Dems and Republicans.

Sen John Cornyn/official photo
Sen John Cornyn/official photo

By GROMER JEFFERS Jr.
The Dallas Morning News

Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday that he would block anyone except Sarah Saldana as the next U.S. attorney for North Texas, setting in motion a showdown with Democrats who have other contenders in mind.

Saldana, an assistant U.S. Attorney who leads the fraud and public corruption division in the Dallas-based Northern District, was picked by Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison after they interviewed a string of candidates. Saldana and others were also evaluated by a bipartisan committee of legal experts appointed by the Republican senators, Cornyn said.

“It’s the president’s prerogative to nominate anybody he wants,” Cornyn said. “But it’s the prerogative of the Senate to decide whether those individuals will be confirmed.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Head of FBI’s Las Vegas Office Steve Martinez is Off to Head L.A. Division

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Steven M. Martinez, the head of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division, moves further west where he’ll take over the FBI’s Los Angeles office. He replaces Salvador Martinez, who retired.

“Steve’s breadth of experience in his nearly 23 years of service to the FBI makes him well-suited for this role,” FBI Director Robert Mueller III said in a prepared statement. “After serving as special agent in charge of the Las Vegas Division for more than four years, his leadership will be an asset to the Los Angeles Division, one of the FBI’s largest offices.”

Martinez joined the FBI in 1987 and worked in Phoenix, the Washington field division and El Paso investigating drug and violent crimes cases, the FBI said.

Martinez also worked as an assistant special agent in charge in Los Angeles Division.

He was the FBI’s first on-scene commander at Central Command in Doha, Qatar and in Baghdad “during the staging and commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the FBI said.

In 2003, he was assigned to the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters and in 2006, he was named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office.

Read Press Release

Former Teen Who Was Busted In Online Stock Trading Scam is Busted Again

pirate-cyber-theft

This guy is obviously very smart. But not smart enough to evade the law TWICE.

By Kevin Poulsen
WIRED

A former teenage hacker who once served prison time for an online stock-trading scheme pleaded guilty last week to new charges of cracking a New York-based currency exchange service and gifting himself more than $100,000.

On Sept. 29, Van T. Dinh, now 25, confessed to computer fraud and identity theft in federal court in Manhattan.

Dinh, who lives in Pennsylvania, gained notoriety in 2003, when, as a 19-year-old stock trader, he found a novel way to unload a bad investment in thousands of worthless stock derivatives: He hacked into another trader’s account, and bought the options from his own account.

The gambit made Dinh the first person charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a fraud involving both computer hacking and identity theft. He was sentenced in 2004 to 13 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

For Full Story

Man in D.C. Taxi Cab Industry Talked to Undercover FBI Agent About Killing Informant

It’s never a good thing when you talk about murdering an informant and the person you’re talking to happens to be an undercover FBI agent. Short of an insanity plea, you’re in big big trouble.

flag-dc

By Del Wilber
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — One of the members of the taxi industry charged in a far-reaching bribery investigation in the District threatened to kill a confidential informant and asked another informant to destroy evidence, according to court papers released Wednesday.

The papers say Yitbarek Syume met with an undercover FBI agent and an informant the day after the top aide to a prominent D.C. Council member was arrested last month on bribery charges.

The three men discussed the high-profile arrest and how to avoid detection of their scheme, which funneled more than $300,000 to a D.C. government official, prosecutors wrote in court papers, citing a surreptitious recording of the meeting.

For Full Story

FBI Had Problems Tracking Suspected Terrorist in Texas

In the wake of the arrests of some suspected terrorists, we’re now learning of the difficulties the FBI had tracking  them. In New York, the counterterrorism task force apparently lost suspect Najibullah Zazi on the NY subway for a brief time. And now we see here the difficulties the FBI had tracking Hosam “Sam” Smadi.

dallas-map1

By MELODY McDONALD
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
FT. WORTH, Tex. — The FBI had Hosam “Sam” Smadi under surveillance in the months before the Jordanian national was accused of trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper, according to newly released court documents.

But tracking him wasn’ t without its problems, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Agents twice placed a tracking device on Smadi s 1991 Honda Accord. Because of the car s age and condition, the device fell off each time, the affidavit states. On the third try, agents secured the tracker with a different attachment in hopes that it would hold.

Because the tracker was unreliable, agents went to a judge in September and got permission to track Smadi s cellphone, which was in the name of Kellye Kines.

For Full Story

Senate Confirms N.J. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman

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

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

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s official. Defense attroney and former former federal prosecutor Paul J. Fishman is the new U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

The U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment Thursday night, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

Fishman, 52, will replace Ralph J. Marra, who has been acting U.S. Attorney since Chris Christie stepped down to run for governor, the paper reported.

“I’m delighted, and I’m looking forward to going to work,” Fishman told the Star-Ledger. “I am very grateful to Sen. (Frank) Lautenberg and Sen. (Robert) Menendez for their confidence and their support.”

FBI Investigated Whether Anna Nicole Smith Was Involved in Murder for Hire Plot of Husband’s Son

Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The star power of the late Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith lives on.

She’s making headlines again after the Associated Press reported that the FBI had investigated in 2000 and 2001 whether she was involved in a murder-for hire plot to kill her late wealthy husband’s son E. Pierce Marshall during a battle over the husband’s estate.

The AP reported that the FBI said Smith denied planning such a crime. The Assistant U.S. Attorney eventually found insufficient evidence to take action.

Smith died in 2007. The son died of natural causes three years ago, AP reported.  Her late husband J. Howard Marshall II died in 1995. To read more click here.
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