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Archive for February 4th, 2010

Pres. Obama Nominates 5 U.S. Marshals

u.s. marshal patchBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration pulled the trigger Thursday and nominated five U.S. Marshals.

The nominees include: Loren Carl for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Kerry Forestal for the Southern District of Indiana; Gerald Holt for the Western District of Virginia; Clifton Massanelli for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Scott Parker for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“These nominees have spent their careers risking their own safety to protect their fellow Americans,” President Obama said in a statement. “Their courage and selfless dedication to the public good are unparalleled, and I am honored to nominate them today to continue their work as U.S. Marshals.”

Here are the bios, according to a White House Press Release:

Read more »

El Paso Judge Convicted For Demanding Bribes and Sex and Lying to a Fed Agent

el paso map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Thursday found a Texas state judge guilty of accepting more than $5,000 and asking for sexual favors from women to help with a case, the Associated Press reported.

State District Judge Manuel Barraza of El Paso was convicted of wire fraud and lying to a federal agent.

Sentencing is set for April. 28.

Miss. FBI Agent Facing Criminal Charges Claims U.S. Atty. Was After Him for Being a Whistleblower

Trouble is brewing in Mississippi. FBI agent Hal Neilson on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges he failed to disclose his hidden interest in a leased FBI office he headed up in Oxford, Miss. He claims the U.S. Attorney had it out for him for being a whistle blower. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal takes a look at the contentious situation. The website Main Justice also gives its read on the matter.

Mississippi Road Sign

By Patsy R. Brumfield
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

OXFORD, Miss. – FBI agent Hal Neilson’s professional troubles apparently began some five years ago, when he says he discovered a U.S. attorney’s office investigation for “no reason” into nearly 150 north Mississippi residents of Middle Eastern origins and then later questioned the handling of the Mississippi Beef Plant investigation.

When Neilson reported his concerns, he asked his employer for protection against retaliation. At that time, he was the FBI’s resident agent in Oxford. As of today, he reportedly has never heard a response.

Monday (Feb.1 ) the 49-year-old career agent will answer a five-count federal indictment about some personal financial actions.

While neither he nor anyone else directly involved with his case will say much, if anything, about it, documents provided to the Daily Journal show that Neilson felt he was under attack for blowing the whistle.

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, leaves office Sunday. His permanent replacement has not been announced by the Obama administration.

Read Full Story

Tiff Brewing: American Airlines Won’t Let Off Duty Fed Agents Carry Guns if They Fly at Discount Rate or Free

american airlines logoBy Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A tiff has been brewing between American Airlines and federal agents over the right to carry guns aboard planes.

Bottom line: the airline won’t let off-duty agents carry a gun aboard a plane if they fly at reduced rates or free on “buddy passes” in what’s known in the industry as a “non-revenue” passenger.

Interestingly, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith told ticklethewire.com that if off duty federal agents pay full fare they can carry a gun.

That policy hasn’t sat well with Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (F.L.E.O.A), who fired off a Dec. 10 letter to the airlines.

“We have received reports that American Airlines has repeatedly denied boarding to federal law enforcement officers flying in a non-revenue capacity,” Adler wrote. “From an airline victimized by two terrorist attacks, resulting in the death of thousands of Americans, we find this policy disturbing for a number of reasons.”

“Their revenue status should have no bearing,” he added later on in the letter. “For American Airlines to essentially say ‘it’s okay if you pay, but not if you don’t’ is absolutely ridiculous. I can assure you that a federal law enforcement officer would not base their reactions to a hijacking on whether they paid full fare or not, nor should American Airlines.”

“It’s not as if when you’re on duty you’re Superman and when you’re off-duty you’re a clumsy Clark Kent,” Adler said in an interview with ticklethewire.com this week , adding that the agents were “valuable assets” when it came to airplane security.

Earlier this week, the airline conceded that it was reviewing what it now considered a flawed policy.

Read more »

Fed Air Marshals Say System a Complete Failure; Say 9/11 Could Happen Again

Ambitious $6.7 Billion Virtual Fence Project at Mexican Border in Jeopardy

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Could the government’s ambitious $6.7 billion plan to secure the Mexico border with a “virtual fence” be in trouble?

The Associated Press reports Yes.

The wire service says the project is fraught with technical glitches that raise questions as to whether it’s worth completing.

“Having spent $672 million so far with little to show for it, Washington has ordered a reassessment of the whole idea,” the AP reported. “The outlook became gloomier this week when President Obama proposed cutting $189 million from the venture.

The AP reports that the project could be scaled back so that only segments of the nation’s 2,000 mile southern border have the virtual fences.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI’s James McJunkin Named Assist. Dir. of Counterterrorism Division

James McJunkin/fbi photo

James McJunkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Agent James W. McJunkin is taking over the ever important spot at headquarters as assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters.

He moves up from his post as one of the division’s deputy assistant directors.

“Jim has extensive experience and a record of success in managing counterterrorism investigations and creating successful partnerships, tools that will help the FBI, along with our partners, defeat the groups and individuals who wish to harm us,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a statement.

McJunkin started out with the FBI in 1987 and worked in the San Antonio, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. field offices, the FBI said.

In 2005, he became an assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office and led the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

In August 2006, Mr. McJunkin became the acting special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office Counterterrorism Division and after a couple more moves, he was named deputy assistant director for Counterterrorism Operations — Branch I in January 2008.

Tiff Brewing: American Airlines Won’t Let Off Duty Fed Agents Carry Guns If They Fly at Discount Rates or Free

american airlines logoBy Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A tiff has been brewing between American Airlines and federal agents over the right to carry guns aboard planes.

Bottom line: the airline won’t let off-duty agents carry a gun aboard a plane if they fly at reduced rates or free on “buddy passes” in what’s known in the industry as a “non-revenue”  passenger.

Interestingly, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith told ticklethewire.com that if off duty federal agents pay full fare they can carry a gun.

That policy hasn’t sat well with Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (F.L.E.O.A), who  fired off a Dec. 10 letter to the airlines.

“We have received reports that American Airlines has repeatedly denied boarding to federal law enforcement officers flying in a non-revenue capacity,” Adler wrote. “From an airline victimized by two terrorist attacks, resulting in the death of thousands of  Americans, we find this policy disturbing for a number of reasons.”

“Their revenue status should have no bearing,” he added later on in the letter. “For American Airlines to essentially say ‘it’s okay if you pay, but not if you don’t’ is absolutely ridiculous. I can assure you that a federal law enforcement officer would not base their reactions to a hijacking on whether they paid full fare or not, nor should American Airlines.”

“It’s not as if when you’re on duty you’re Superman and when you’re off-duty you’re a clumsy Clark Kent,” Adler said in an interview with ticklethewire.com this week , adding that  the agents were “valuable assets” when it came to airplane security.

Earlier this week, the airline conceded that it was reviewing what it now considered a flawed policy.

Read more »