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Archive for March, 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio May Play FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood Film

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website
J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Actor Leonardo DiCaprio could end up playing FBI Dir. J. Edgar Hoover in a film to be directed by Clinton Eastwood.

Mike Fleming of the website Deadline New York is reporting that “talks with Leo are just getting underway, but I’m told that DiCaprio will play the lead role in the film written by Dustin Lance Black, with production to begin later this year.”

The question is: Can DiCaprio pull it off to play the legendary G-Man?

To read more about the film click here.

Undercover FBI Agent Helped Breakup Christian Militia Plot

Fed Judge Rules the Govt. Illegally Wiretapped Islamic Charity and 2 Lawyers

telephoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A San Francisco federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the government illegally wiretapped phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker found the plaintiffs provided evidence to show “they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance.”

The ruling was regarded as a repudiation of the Bush Administration’s  Terrorist Surveillance Program, the AP reported.

The ruling was in response to a suit challenging the program filed by the Ashland, Ore., branch of the Saudi-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and two American lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, the AP reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

“One of a Kind” James Cavanaugh –Head of ATF’s Nashville Office — Retires

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

During his colorful career with ATF, which spanned more than three decades, James Cavanaugh found himself in the thick of some of nation’s biggest cases: The D.C. sniper murders, the Unabomber, white supremacist Eric Rudolph, church burnings and the deadly shootout at the Branch Davidian in Waco, Tex. involving leader David Koresh.

“Ninety-nine percent of him thought he was David Koresh, but the 1 percent of him really knew he was Vernon Wayne Howell, just a two-bit thug from the country in Texas,” said Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the ATF Nashville office, commenting on Koresh during a lengthy interview in October 2009 with ticklethewire.com. He was one of the negotiators during the standoff.

On Wednesday, Cavanaugh, a New Jersey native who kept his Jersey street sense about him while acquiring a Southern charm during his many years working in the south, retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after 33 1/2 years. He’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.

His retirement party is Thursday night in Nashville where he headed the ATF office for 12 years.

“Jim is one of a kind, all the way from this ability to do the job, to his passion for the mission and his professionalism,” said Mark Potter, special agent in charge of the ATF Philadelphia office. “He’ll create a huge void in the organization.”

Read more »

Feds Probe Shenanigans at Baltimore Docks

There’s a lot of commerce that flows through the bustling docks of Baltimore. And there’s a lot of shenanigans as well. Baltimore City Paper investigative reporter Van Smith takes a look at some of the questionable activity the feds are probing.

docks2

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), the nation’s largest union of maritime workers with some 43,500 members stationed along U.S. and Canadian coasts, has deep roots in Baltimore.

Baltimore native Richard Hughes Jr. has been its president since 2007, and he is also the business agent for ILA Local 953, based in Locust Point. Del. Brian McHale (D-46th District), who represents Baltimore’s waterfront in the state House of Delegates, is on Local 953’s roster as a steamship clerk. One of the ILA’s vice presidents, Horace Alston, heads the union’s Baltimore District Council. He and former ILA general vice president John Shade are trustees of Baltimore’s ILA Local 333.

But amid the well-connected ILA members in Baltimore, one longshoreman in particular raised the union’s profile recently: Milton Tillman Jr.

A politically connected ex-con and real-estate investor who is the dominant force in Baltimore’s bailbonds industry, Tillman Jr. is also a member of ILA Local 333. On March 17, a federal indictment charging Tillman Jr. and his son, Milton “Moe” Tillman III, with tax fraud, wire fraud, and unlawful bailbonds practices, was unsealed (“Milton Tillman and Son Indicted in Bailbonds Conspiracy,” The News Hole, March 17). It includes charges that Tillman Jr. was paid for unloading ships at Baltimore’s docks on shifts when he was in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Las Vegas, among other places.

To read full story click here.

Judge Approves $3 Million Payout to Ex-DEA Agent, But Chastises Government For Failing to Punish Anyone

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-DEA Agent Richard Horn may have been quite happy when the government agreed to pay him $3 million late last year to settle a lawsuit in which he claimed the CIA spied on him and illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma in 1993.

But  U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of  Washington is none too happy and chastised the government in an opinion issued Tuesday for failing to punish anyone in the matter.

“Now this court is called upon to approve a $3,000,000 payment to an individual plaintiff by the United States, and again it does not appear that any government officials have been held accountable for this loss to the taxpayer,” Lamberth wrote in an opinion in which he approved the settlement. ” This is troubling to the Court.”

The government was able to invoke a “state secret privilege”. By doing so, it agreed to pay the ex-DEA agent $3 million, but not admit to wrongdoing. It also avoided airing government secrets.

“As to the allegations of wrongdoing that form the basis of Horn’s claims, while the government makes no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement, the Court is persuaded that the government must have at least found them credible to pay the plaintiff $3,000,000 to settle the case,” the judge wrote.

Lamberth asked the Attorney General whether the case will be referred to the Inspector General for internal investigation.

Read Opinion

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

State Dept. Officer Recalled From Africa After Secret DEA and State Dept. Documents Found

What the heck was State Dept. worker Reginald Hopson doing with secret documents about DEA investigations and classified State Department cables he wasn’t supposed to have?

top-secret

By Jeffrey Anderson
Washington Times

WASHINGTON — Reginald Eugene Hopson, a 30-year State Department foreign service officer, was summoned back to Washington from South Africa in October, stripped of his top-secret security clearance and questioned by federal investigators, records show.

He was an information management specialist and pouch control officer who processed classified information at U.S. embassies in Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago, and South Africa. His interrogators wanted to know about a raft of classified documents found in his possession — documents they said he had no business having.

The documents included a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) file on a confidential undercover operation and eight classified State Department cables, two of which related to intelligence matters and national defense.

To read full story click here.

Head of Detroit FBI Said Mainstream Militias Were “Appalled” With Christian Militia Members

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Andrew Arena, the head of the Detroit FBI, said Tuesday that other mainstream militias have distanced themselves from the nine members of the Christian militia in the Midwest who were indicted for plotting to kill law enforcement members.

“I honestly think they don’t believe the same things this group does,” Arena told  ticklethewire.com. “I think they were appalled.”

In fact, there were media reports that  a mainstream militia member went to the FBI after the Christian group came to him for help.

“It’s true, he did,” Arena said.

Arena said he didn’t believe the Michigan-based Christian militia Hutaree is a very big organization. He said different   people have  trained and met with them, and some have come and gone.

Read more »