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Archive for June 1st, 2010

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. Announces Criminal and Civil Probes in Gulf Spill

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As expected, the Justice Department is going after those involved in the ugliest oil spill in U.S. history.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. announced Tuesday in New Orleans that the Justice Department was launching a criminal and civil probe into the Gulf spill that continues to kill wildlife and livelihoods and is likely to cost the Obama administration some serious political capital.

“As we move forward, we will be guided by simple principles: We will ensure that every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid and damages to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed,” Holder said a in prepared statement posted on the Justice Dept. website.

“We will make certain that those responsible clean up the mess they have made and restore or replace the natural resources lost or injured in this tragedy. And we will prosecute to the full extent any violations of the law.”

In the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama remarked:

“We owe all those who’ve been harmed, as well as future generations, a full and vigorous accounting of the events that led to what has now become the worst oil spill in U.S. history.”

Read New York Times story

Read Eric Holder’s Statement

Read President Obama’s Statement

Liberian President’s Son Worked With DEA to Bust Cocaine Traffickers

liberiaBy Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

The son of Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf worked undercover with the DEA to bust up a group of drug smugglers who tried using Liberia as a staging area to distribute more than $100 million in South American cocaine to Europe, Africa and the U.S., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said.

Authorities said the son, the director of the Republic of Liberia National Security Agency, along with his deputy director, worked undercover with the DEA and met with traffickers, who offered bribes of cash and cocaine in exchange for safe passage of their drug shipments, authorities said.

Liberian authorities arrested five defendants in the case on May 28 and 29 and turned them over to the U.S., where they face indictment in New York.  U.S. authorities noted that it was the first time in more than 30 years that Liberia had transferred narcotics defendants to the U.S.

Read more »

Supreme Court Rules Silence is Not Golden With Miranda Rights

Justice Kennedy wrote majority opinion

Justice Kennedy wrote majority opinion

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes silence is not so golden — at least according to the Supreme Court.

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that suspects must speak up and say they want to remain silent to get protections under the Miranda Warning during interrogations.

In other words, simply shutting up for a while just won’t do it.

The ruling stems from a Michigan case in which a murder suspect Van Chester Thompkins remained silent for three hours during a police interrogation before implicating himself in a murder.

A police officer asked him if he prayed for forgiveness for “shooting that boy down,” and Thompkins answered yes. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda rights to remain silent by remaining silent.

Read more »

“Grandad Bandit” Outpacing “Geezer Bandit” With Possibly 21 Bank Heists

"Grandad Bandit"/fbi photo

"Grandad Bandit"/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

“Geezer Bandit” of California, move over. You’ve got some serious competition from the “Grandad Bandit” when it comes to aging stickup men.

The FBI said today the “Grandad Bandit,” a bald man in his 50s or 60s who has a little paunch, could be responsible for at least 21 bank robberies in at least 11 states since last year. One FBI press release described him as being 6 feet tall and 210 to 230 pounds; another pegged him at about 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 2 inches and about 230 pounds.

The FBI, for some reason, is spelling “granddad” with only two Ds instead of three.

Regardless of how his moniker is spelled, his number of bank heists far surpasses the Geezer Bandit, who is suspected of pulling off nine robberies in the San Diego area since Aug. 28, 2009. The Geezer Bandit is described as being 60 to 70, though he appears in FBI photos to be at least in his 70s.

To read more click here.

Inspector Gen. Reports Says Justice Dept. and Its Other Agencies (Except for FBI) Not Prepared for Weapons of Mass Destruction Attack

gasoline fireBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The good news is that the FBI “has taken appropriate steps to prepare to respond to a potential” weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack, according to a just released Justice Department’s Inspector General report.

Now the bad news: “We concluded that the Department of Justice as a whole and components within the Department have not implemented adequate WMD response plans,” the report  says. “As a result, the Department is not fully prepared to provide a coordinated response to a WMD incident.”

In other words, the American people are still more vulnerable than they should  be.

Read more »

Ex-Philly FBI Agent Bob Wittman Pens Book on Art Thefts

priceless 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When it comes to ex-FBI agent Bob Wittman, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Klein put it best: “During his 20 years as a Philly-based FBI special agent, Bob Wittman is credited with recovering nearly a quarter-billion dollars worth of art. That’s a lot of Monet.”

Wittman, who started the FBI’s Art Crime Team, has penned a book “Priceless”, which hits the book stores on Tuesday.

Random House, the publisher of the 336 page book,  describes it this way:

“Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.

“In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments.”

To see the webpage for the  book click here.

Editorial: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Says Sending Troops to Border “Reactive, Political Move”

mexico-border-signBy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Editorial

PITTSBURGH — President Barack Obama’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard troops to bolster security along the porous U.S.-Mexico border should be seen for what it is — not a long-term solution but a reactive, political move that solves nothing over the long haul.

The context is the recently passed anti-illegal alien bill in Arizona, which unwisely thrust local police into a role for which most are not trained: helping enforce federal immigration law. As Gov. Jan Brewer said, her signing of the new law “clearly ignited the talk of action in Washington for the people of Arizona and other border states.”

Yes, but this action is all about the wrong sort of talk — to wit, answering the talk of the demagogues with a political sop. And in doing so, it further reduces the chances of a real conversation in Congress that looks beyond enforcement as the only solution and comprehensively addresses immigration reform in all its facets.

To read full editorial click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder to Visit Gulf and Meet With U.S. Attorneys

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — With the Obama administration seething over the Gulf oil spill, a criminal probe may be one way to express anger against BP.

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will visit the out-control spill in the Gulf on Tuesday and meet with U.S. Attorneys from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and state law enforcement officials from those areas.

The Los Angeles Times over the weekend reported that a team of federal prosecutors  and investigators are gathering information and exploring the possibility of launching an all out criminal probe into whether BP “skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.”

Read Washington Post Story

Read LA Times Story