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Archive for November 4th, 2009

FBI Lawyer May Have Helped Provide Answers to Test for High Ranking FBI Agents

D.C. Field Office/gov photo

D.C. Field Office/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
More details are emerging about a potential scandal at the FBI’s Washington field office centering around a test.

Sources familiar with  situation say the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has launched an internal investigation focusing on allegations that three high ranking agents not only worked together on a mandatory FBI test online, a violation of department policy, but may have received the answers from an FBI lawyer. Agents are required to take the test on their own.

Two of the agents declined to comment. A third did not return a phone call.

Speculation as to what might happen to the agents  has been circulating in law enforcement circles in recent days. Generally punishments in the FBI can range from a reprimand to a demotion to a firing.

The test, which is on  the bureau’s Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide (DIOG),  is given to all FBI agents including FBI Director Robert Mueller III and to some support staff on the operational side. Agents attend a class on the subject before the test and have to take it over again if they flunk.

The test is an open book exam, but can be time consuming and requires that it be done individually. The FBI also expects agents to find the answers themselves and not rely on others to provide them. The test can easily take 2 or 3 hours to complete.

The DIOG, according to the FBI website “establishes the FBI’s internal rules and procedures to implement the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (AGG-Dom), which are posted on the Department of Justice’s website, www.usdoj.gov.

“These rules, which will be audited and enforced through a rigorous compliance mechanism, are designed to ensure that FBI assessments and investigations are subject to responsible review and approval and do not target anyone or any group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or the exercise of any other right guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Michael Kortan,  the FBI’s chief  spokesman, declined comment on Tuesday.

Comment Thursday From Anonymous Reader:

“Clearly, the gross cheating outlined in this matter at WFO woud cost a street agent his job. How senior managers will be treated by the Director will be interesting to watch. Letting any of these individuals retire without public discipline would be tragic but not unexpected in the Bureau. This incident has already languished for a week and is not that difficult to adjudicate.”

FBI Has More than 3,000 Files on Sen. Ted Kennedy

PR NEWSWIREUlrich Boser, editor of the website The Open Case, could be in for some interesting reading if the FBI doesn’t redact too much.

By Ulrich Boser
The Open Case
What does the FBI have on Ted Kennedy? A lot, apparently. I filed a FOIA to get any documents related to the lion of the Senate shortly after the Senator’s death. I received a letter late last week, and the FBI told me that they had over 3,000 files on Kennedy.

To put that in context, Michael Jackson’s FOIA turned out to be only 600 pages.

To Read More

Feds Say Build Up Along Mexican Border Paying Off

mexico-border-sign

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds say the the build up of agents along the border is paying off.

Authorities say there’s been a spike in seizures of guns and cash along the Mexican border, the Associated Press reported.

Specifically, agents seized about 600 illegal weapons at the border from March through September,  an increase of more than 50 percent over the same period last year, AP reported.

Agents also seized more than $40 million in cash during that same period. That was almost double the amount compared to a year ago, AP reported.

Authorities believe the seizures represent only a fraction of the guns and cash that goes undetected. In other words, there’s a lot more work to be done.

Madoff’s Accountant Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Cooperate

money-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The potential to snare more bad guys in the Bernie Madoff scam is growing.

Madoff’s accountant David Friehling pleaded guilty in New York on Tuesday  to nine criminal charges, and has agreed to cooperate with the feds. That could mean more indictments.

Friehling told U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein that he failed to conduct meaningful audits of Madoff’s business from 1991 through 2008, USA Today reported. His sentencing is set for Feb. 26.

“I appear before your honor today to take responsibility for my conduct,” said Friehling, who insisted he didn’t know about the scam and lost his own and his family’s life savings to Madoff, USA Today reported. “I am truly sorry for the suffering of all the victims.”

USA Today reported that “he may qualify for leniency based on what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called his agreement to ‘assist us in holding others accountable for their involvement in Madoff’s epic fraud'”.

He pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud and making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Calif. Man Who Pointed Lasers at Pilots Gets 2 1/2 Years

Jet

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Dana Christian Welch: Next time play a Nintendo game instead.

Welch, 38, of Orange County, Calif., was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to 2 1/2 years in prison  for aiming a handheld laser at two Boeing commercial jets preparing to land at John Wayne Airport in Los Angles on the night of May 21, 2008, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorneys Office said he was first person in the nation to be convicted at trial for interfering with aircraft pilots. The rest pleaded guilty.

The first incident involved a United Airlines jet carrying more than 180 people. Welch pointed a green laser beam in the cockpit, causing the pilot to experience “flash blindness.”

In the second incident, which involved an Alaska Airlines plane carrying more than 80 people, Welch shined the laser into the cockpit, “causing one pilot to duck under a glare shield extending from the dashboard in the cockpit and the other pilot to delay a critical turn necessary to land the plane,” a press release said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judge Says Mich. Man Can Sue Store he Robbed (AP)

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christopher Christie Wins New Jersey Governor’s Seat

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, the Republican challenger who had vowed to clean up public corruption, defeated the Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine for the New Jersey governor’s seat on Tuesday.

Chrisite defeated Corzine in a hard fought race full of mudslinging, and in a contest many saw as a referendum on the Obama administration.

Christie, a Bush appointee, stepped down as U.S. Attorney of Newark last December to launch his bid for governor.