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Archive for March 18th, 2010

Head of NY FBI Under Internal Investigation in Connection With an Alleged Affair With Underling and Statements About It

Joseph Demarest Jr/fbi photo

Joseph Demarest Jr/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., the head of the New York FBI, the agency’s largest office, is under internal investigation in connection with an alleged affair he had with an underling in management, sources familiar with the situation told ticklethewire.com., which broke the story.

Demarest, who has headed the New York office since January 2009,  has been temporarily assigned to headquarters in Washington while the Office of Professional Responsibility investigates the matter, sources said.

As a key part of the probe, according to sources,  investigators are trying to determine how truthful Demarest  was about the matter when he was questioned about it internally.  A website Main Justice reported that his version differed from the woman he had the affair with, and that the probe had been going since January.

A confirmed misconduct in the bureau can result in action ranging from a reprimand to a firing to a forced resignation or a demotion.

It is fairly common for high-ranking FBI officials in the field to be brought back to Washington on a temporary assignment while they are  under internal investigation.  In the past, some of those officials were eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

Demarest began his career with the FBI in 1988 after serving as a Florida sheriff”s deputy for five years. An FBI press release in 2006 said he was married with two children, but he reportedly is no longer married.

Demarest, through a spokesman, declined to comment Thursday.

Michael P, Kortan, the FBI’s chief spokesman, declined to comment on the report. However, he emphasized that Demarest remains in charge of the New York office.

He also said that Demarest was on temporary assignment in Washington to help further develop an FBI management system known as Strategy Performance Sessions (SPS). The program helps monitor and evaluate investigative programs, with an emphasis on the collection of intelligence.

He said Demarest was one of the people who helped originally develop the program for the FBI and his office in New York was noted for having a strong SPS management program.

Justice Department Agrees Not to Seek Death Penalty Against Chicago Man in Mumbai Killings

Chicago
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has agreed not to seek the death penalty for a Chicago man as part of his guilty plea in connection with the the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008, the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

David Coleman Headley, 49, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, pleaded guilty Thursday in Chicago and admitted scouting targets in preparation for the Mumbai attack that killed about 170 people. Six were Americans.

Headley admitted attending training camps in Pakistan operated by a terrorist organization Lashkar e Tayyiba and he traveled to India five times before the bombings to conduct surveillance. (Read Plea Agreement)

Read more »

Long-Time Fugitive Pleads Guilty in NY to Hijacking Plane to Cuba in 1968

pan am
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man who was a fugitive for nearly 41 years pleaded guilty Thursday in  Manhattan federal court in the hijacking of Puerto Rican bound Pan American Flight 281 to Havana on Nov. 24, 1968, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Luis Armnando Pena Soltren, 67, the long-time fugitive, voluntarily surrendered to federal authorities in the U.S. in October 2009.

Authorities charged that he, along with some other men, wielded pistols and knives aboard the plane, forced their way into the airplane cabin and ordered the crew to land in Havana.

His fellow hijackers Jose Rafael Rios Cruz, now 68, was apprehended in 1975, and Miguel Castro, now 79, was captured in 1976, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Cruz was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Castro got 12 years.

Pena Soltren faces up to  life in prison. Sentencing is set for June 29.

Inmate Broke Bernie Madoff’s Nose and Ribs, Wall Street Journal Reports

butner-prisonBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some inmate did to Bernie Madoff what plenty of his investors probably wanted to do: He beat him up and broke a few things.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Madoff, who is serving a 150-sentence in Butner federal prison in North Carolina, was beaten up in December and got a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face.

At time of the incident, the prison denied reports of a physical attack. The Journal cited three people familiar with the attack and said an inmate described the injuries.

To Read More click here.

Two Ex-High Ranking FBI Agents to Review North Carolina’s Crime Lab

N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo
N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two ex-assistant directors of the FBI have been tasked with reviewing North Carolina’s crime lab, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said.

The review by ex-FBI agents Chris Swecker and Mike Wolf comes in wake of “a groundbreaking exoneration of a man wrongly accused in a 1991 murder”, according to the Associated Press.

The North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered the review of “cases and practices from the early 1990s as well as current methods” after a judge exonerated Greg Taylor for the 1991 murder, AP reported.

Swecker, an attorney and North Carolina native, was formerly the FBI special agent in charge of the North Carolina office and later served as executive assistant director in charge of nine FBI divisions, including the science and forensic lab division, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Attorney General.

Wolf, who has a masters degree in forensic science, is the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Connecticut division and was assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, the press release said. He led an inspection team brought in to fix problems at the FBI crime lab in 1998-1999.

The Attorney General’s Office said the review “will run concurrently with the State Bureau of Investigation’s internal review of current practices and policies at the crime lab.”

President and VP Doing a Heck of a Lot of International Travel Compared With Other Administrations

obama

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden haven’t been shy about traveling out of the country.

Mark Sullivan, the director of the U.S. Secret Service, told a Congressional panel Thursday morning that President Obama went on 31 international trips in his first year in office, a “significant increase when compared to previous administrations’ first year in office.”

He said Biden had traveled on 21 international trips his first year compared to Vice President Cheney’s one trip.

Sullivan, who appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee to discuss the agency’s budget, also noted that threats against President Obama “are at the same level they were for the last two administrations at this point in their administrations.”

On the issue of  travel,  Wikipedia says that the first six presidents to travel internationally went by ship.

” The first four presidential trips by airplane were the four WWII conferences: Casablanca, Tehran, Yalta (FDR attended during the war), and Potsdam (Truman attended after the war). President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to travel by jet and the first to travel via helicopter,” the online encylopedia wrote.

Feds Indict 2 Computer Programmers for Madoff

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Bernie Madoff’s house of cards continues to crumble.

Two computer programmers for Madoff’s investment firm– George Perez and Jerome O’Hara — were indicted Wednesday in New York on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records.

Authorities charged that the men helped dupe the Securities and Exchange Commission and a European accounting firm by developing and maintaining “computer programs that generated numerous false and fraudulent records.” The European firm was reviewing Madoff’s records on behalf of a client.

Each man faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Senate Passes Bill to Lessen Sentences for Crack Cocaine

Sen. Leahy

Sen. Leahy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A bill that lessens the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine sailed through the Senate Wednesday night, the website Main Justice reported.

The Fair Sentencing Act establishes an 18-to-1 sentencing ratio for crack and powder cocaine offenses as opposed to the current 100-to-1 ratio. In other words, a person with crack cocaine currently gets the same mandatory sentence as someone with 100 times the amount of powdered cocaine.

“After more than 20 years, the Senate has finally acted on legislation to correct the crack-powder disparity and the harm to public confidence in our justice system it created,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a news release, according to Main Justice.

“Although this bill is not perfect and it is not the bill we introduced in order to correct these inequalities, I believe the Fair Sentencing Act moves us one step closer to reaching the important goal of equal justice for all.”

To read more click here.