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Archive for February 26th, 2010

Secret Service’s Computers Only Fully Operational 60 Percent of Time

computer-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s one secret the Secret Service would rather keep secret.

ABC’s Jason Ryan reports that “a classified review of the United States Secret Service’s computer technology found that the agency’s computers were fully operational only 60 percent of the time because of outdated systems and a reliance on a computer mainframe that dates to the 1980s, according to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.”

“We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have,” Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee told ABC News.

To read more click here.

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Dems and Watchdog Groups Want Justice Dept. to Investigate Missing Emails from Bush Lawyers

lost

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Where are the missing emails from Bush lawyers blessing harsh interrogation tactics?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The Washington Post reports that senior Democrats and watchdog groups on Friday asked the Justice Department to investigate the disappearance of what could be key emails.

The paper reported that some are saying the missing emails cast doubt on an “ethics report that cleared the lawyers  of professional misconduct.”

For Full story click here.

Ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Sister and Niece Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Betty Jefferson

Betty Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New Orleans political dynasty headed by disgraced ex-Congressman William Jefferson and his brother Mose Jefferson, the political operative, continues to crumble.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that less than a month before trial, the ex-Congresman’s sister Betty Jefferson,70, a 4th District Assessor, and her daughter Angela Coleman, 53, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to a conspiracy charge for pocketing money from political office and non-profits they controlled over 7 years.

The guilty plea still left in question the future of Jefferson’s brother Mose and his companion Renee Gill Pratt, a former city council member and state rep, who are still scheduled to go to trial March 22 in the case.

Mose Jefferson was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribing a school board official. He has been out free awaiting his latest trial.

To read more click here.

Feds Plan to Call 3 Appeals Court Judges as Witnesses in Retrial of Right Wing Radio Personality

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The retrial next week in Brooklyn of right wing web radio talk show host Hal Turner should get interesting.

The National Journal reports that federal prosecutors plan this time to call as witnesses three Court of Appeals judges from the 7th Circuit in Chicago who were the targets of Turner’s venemous verbal attacks on the Internet. The first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

The Journal reports the three judges expected to testify include Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Bauer, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Authorities chargd Turner after he he posted Internet messages saying the judges “deserve to be killed” for upholding a Chicago handgun ban.

To read more click here.

Chicago U.S. Atty. Pat Fitzgerald to Personally Prosecute Mumbai Case

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, regarded as the gold standard for U.S. Attorneys, plans to personally prosecute two men accused of being part of the 2008 bombings in Mumbai, India that killed 170 people, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The paper reported that Fitzgerald has personally prosecuted only one case in Chicago since arriving in 2001 from New York.

Fitzgerald had prosecuted terrorism cases in New York and was named a special prosecutor in Washington in the leak case of  CIA operative Valerie Plame, which resulted in the conviction in 2007 of  Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby.

In Chicago, Fitzgerald will join assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Collins and Vicki Peters in prosecuting the Mumbai bombing defendants Tahawwur Rana and David Headley, the paper reported.

House Wants to See if There Was Any Foreign Connection to Anthrax Mailings

Rep. Holt/official photo

Rep. Holt/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI may have just officially closed the case in the anthrax murders, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Holt (D-N.J.) and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md) from pushing for more answers.

The two successfully got the House on Thursday to approve an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill that would require the Inspector General to examine the possibility of  a foreign connection to the deadly letters that were mailed in 2001 that resulted in the death of five people and the sickening of 17 others.

Last Friday, the Justice Department, FBI and Postal Inspectors announced that they were officially closing the investigation after concluding that scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the mailing of the anthrax.  Ivins committed suicide  in July 2008, about a month after the Justice Department agreed to pay a multi-million out of court settlement to scientist Steven Hatfill, who had publicly been named a “person of interest.”  Hatfill had sued the Justice Department, claiming it harmed his reputation and went on a smear campaign against him by leaking information to the press.

The FBI has expressed confidence in its findings that Ivins was the guy, and issued a 92-page report on Friday laying out its case. The report was based on roughly 3,000 pages of documents in a 8-plus year probe that led investigators to six continents.

Read more »