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Archive for December, 2009

Commentary: Note to Janet Napolitano: Be Careful About Trying to Hoodwink the Public

Janet Napolitano/bill maher show
Janet Napolitano/bill maher show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano and the Obama administration learned a valuable public relations lesson in this latest incident involving the Detroit terror incident: Don’t try to hoodwink the public with positive spin– at least not on something so obvious.

Napolitano came out after the Christmas Day incident involving  a Northwest flight and said “the system worked”.  It seemed to have the same ring of credibility as Bill Clinton’s infamous remark:  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Snow job. (Or in Clinton’s case, the other kind of job).  Both had a cost: a loss of credibility.

Sure, Napolitano backed off her statement and said it was taken out of context. She says she was referring to the response after the incident. And then President Obama stepped up to the plate on Tuesday and conceded that the system had failed.

But some damage was done. You only get so many chances in this unforgiving town. Be careful how you use up those credibility chips. In many instances, once they’re gone, so are you.

World Class Hacker Who Lived Playboy Life is Subdued During Guilty Plea in Boston

seven eleven logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

World class computer hacker Albert Gonzalez, who tapped into the credit card information of some of America’s biggest corporations like 7-Eleven, looked pretty subdued in federal court on Tuesday when he pleaded guilty, a sharp contrast to his everyday persona as a major thief.

The Boston Globe reports that Gonzalez, who is accused of being part of “one of the largest cyber-crime rings in US history, allegedly lived a playboy lifestyle out of “Miami Vice.”

“He sported a mane of black hair, lived in Miami, drove a blue BMW 330I, once threw a $75,000 birthday party for himself, and was often high on cocaine and other drugs. He dubbed one of his break-ins “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” according to records in federal court,” the Globe reported.

But the Globe reported that in court on Tuesday he “looked very different. His hair was closely cropped. He wore narrow framed glasses and olive-shaded prison garb.”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Pres. Obama Wants Answers in Airline Bombing Incident

Louisiana Sen. Landrieu Tries to Get Clarification on Status of U.S. Atty. Letten

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The question that has to be asked — and in fact it has is: What the heck is going on with New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten?

The legendary reporter Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune has written a story stating that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office “is seeking clarification from the White House on U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s status, nearly a year after President Barack Obama took office and eight months after Landrieu announced that she wanted to keep Letten, a Republican, in place.”

Alpert reports Democrat Landrieu, the state’s ranking Democrats, should have a significant say in the matter even if the final word is up to the President.

And in April, Landrieu took the unusual step of recommending that Letten, a Bush appointee, stay on as U.S. Attorney. The Times-Picayune reported that recent aides were told not to worry– that Letten’s job is secure.

Still, the paper quotes a Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz as saying:”Jim Letten continues to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana without being re-nominated by the President.”

Go figure. It’s like a message from the Kremlin. You need a Kremlinologist to read between the lines.

For Full Story

Boston’s Top FBI Agent Warren T. Bamford Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year

William Bamfor/fbi photo

Warren Bamford/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Warren T. Bamford, special agent in charge of  the Boston FBI, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2009.

The award to Bamford comes as a result of the high marks he earned from colleagues around the country, who say he’s a stand-up person and a  first-rate agent and leader.  In 2009, the Boston FBI, under his leadership, took on a number of key investigations including the recent indictment of mobster Ralph F. Deleo,  a street boss for the Colombo crime family.

Bamford joined the FBI in 1986 and took charge of the Boston office in 2007.  Before that, he served as special agent in charge of  the Counterterrrorism and Intelligence Division in  the  Los Angeles office, where he supervised 450 people.

Last year’s recipient of the Fed Of The Year  award was Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Nigerian Bomber Hid Explosive in Underwear With Secret Compartment

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Senator Holding Up Vote on TSA Director Who’s an Ex-FBI Agent

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Here in the nation’s capital, there’s always someone willing to play politics, no matter the consequence.

In this case, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is holding up President Obama’s nomination of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent, to head the Transportation Security Administration over a union issue, McClatchy newspapers reported.

The news organization reports that DeMint is holding up the confirmation to try and prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. He feels such a move would interfer with the effectiveness of the organization and its ability to change rules quickly.

The news organization reported that he wants to hear testimony on Southers’ view on unionizing TSA before the matter gets voted on before the full Senate.

To read more click here.

FBI Could Name its Miss. Building After Slain Civil Rights Workers

jackson miss map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A movement is afoot to boost Mississippi’s image.

Some politicians are pushing to name the FBI building in Jackson, Miss., after three slain civil rights workers, who were killed in 1964 during an intense voter registration drive, USA Today reported.

The Jackson City Council is supposed to vote on a resolution on the matter Tuesday, and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson told USA Today that he would support such a measure.

“Given our state and its history, it would do a lot to show that Mississippi has changed,” Thompson said. “I think it’s an excellent idea and one that I would support.”

The civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, were slain in 1964 while taking part in a voter registration drive in Mississippi.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors in August passed a similar resolution.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden told USA Today the FBI will defer to Congress on the matter.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST