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Archive for June, 2010

Ex-Chicago Police Commander Convicted in Torture Case

chicagocops3By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former Chicago police commander was convicted Monday in U.S. District Court  of perjury and obstruction of justice linked to denials that he participated in torturing suspects in custody decades ago, the Justice Department said.

Jon Burge, 60, now of Apollo Beach, Fla., was convicted by a Chicago federal jury, which found he lied and impeded court proceedings in November 2003 after he provided false statements in a civil lawsuit that alleged that he and others tortured people in custody, the Justice Department said in a press release.

During trial, several victims testified that Burge and other cops who worked for him tortured them.

Read more »

Ex-Gov Blago Discussed Naming Oprah Winfrey for Obama’s Senate Seat

logo_oprah_betaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The entertainment factor in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues to be strong.

Tapes played Monday during his public corruption trial show Blagojevich tossed around some names to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Obama and mentioned Oprah Winfrey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

His chief of staff John Harris apparently didn’t see that as a reasonable idea, the paper reported.

In a secretly recorded conversation played in court, Harris told Blagojevich the idea sounded “crazy.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Blagojevich said.

“Oprah, by the way, is not far-fetched,” Blagojevich said. “She’s up there so high, no one can assail this pick.”

Later, in a wiretapped conversation, Blagojevich and Harris agreed it would be best to pick an African American, the Trib reported.

Blagojevich said it would be best to find a “black Albert Einstein or something.”

One thing that is likely beyond dispute: Blagojevich is no Albert Einstein.

Blagojevich is accused of using his office for personal benefit of trying to sell the seat vacated by President Obama.

He’s expected to testify on his own behalf.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Arrests 10 Suspected Russian Spies

spy graphicBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Who says the Cold War is over?

The FBI said Monday that it had arrested 10 people for allegedly spying for Russia in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

The new service said the goal was to penetrate U.S. government policy making circles.

The Associated Press reported that court papers show federal investigators intercepted a message from from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants stating their they were to “search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US” and send intelligence reports.

One intercepted message showed the defendants focusing on turnover at the top echelon of the CIA and the 2008 presidential election.

To read more of the AP report click here.

Justice Dept., FBI, DEA Getting First Hand Look at Afghanistan Corruption

afghanistan mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Members of the Justice Department, FBI and DEA in Afghanistan are getting a first hand look at corruption and how certain citizens are being protected from prosecution and arrest, the Washington Post reports.

The Post reports that the Afghanistan government has repeatedly derailed criminal investigations of connected citizens. The U.S. investigators have  been providing assistance in Afghanistan  including wiretap technology.

“Above a certain level, people are being very well protected,” a senior U.S. official involved in the investigations to the Post.

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar denied investigations had been derailed, the Post said.

To read more click here.

Mary Beth Buchanan Chalked Up $450,000 in Travel As U.S. Attorney; Feds Change Travel Rules

 Mary Beth Buchanan

Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mary Beth Buchanan was quite the jet setter during her eight-year reign as U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that she spent more than half of her time as the U.S. attorney on the road, taking at least 347 trips. The total cost: $450,000. She stepped down in November.

In March, the paper reported, the Justice Department changed the rules, requiring that out-of-district travel get the ok from the director or deputy director of the executive office.

“The previous policies and procedures were admittedly inconsistent,” Justice spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz told the paper. “Changes to the process were made to ensure full compliance with departmental travel policies and procedure and to strengthen controls and oversight of U.S. attorney travel.”

To read more click here.

Tenn. U.S. Atty. Russ Dedrick Steps Down This Week

tennesseeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Russ Dedrick, the  Knoxville, Tenn. U.S. Attorney some call “Captain America”, is retiring,  according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The 63-year-old prosecutor steps down this week. He is expected to be replaced by William C. Killian.

Former U.S. Attorney John Gill, who hired Dedrick as a federal prosecutor during the Reagan years, said: “Captain America is what we call him. He’ll take on anything that needs to be done.”

To Read more click here.

2 Men Posing as FBI Agents Rob Nebraska Man

nebraskaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two men posing as FBI agents robbed a 31-year-old man early Sunday morning in Lincoln, Neb., authorities said, according to the news website 1011Now.com.

Lincoln police said the man was walking down the street arouned 2:30 a.m. when the two men confronted him and asked to see his wallet, the website reported.

The men assaulted the victim and took off with his wallet, the website reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Timothy Murhpy to Fill in At FBI #2 Spot; Likely Candidate to Get Permanent Nod

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Timothy Murphy, the FBI’s number three person, will fill in for John Pistole, the number two person, and is a likely candidate to take over that spot permanently, sources familiar with the situation tell ticklethewire.com.

Pistole will be leaving the FBI to head up the the Transportation Security Administration.  The U.S. Senate confirmed his presidential appointment on Friday.

Michael P. Kortan, the chief FBI spokesman, declined on Saturday to comment or speculate on the matter.

In 2008, Murphy rose to the number three spot — Associate Deputy Director in charge of FBI personnel, budget, administration and infrastructure. He was previously assistant Director of the FBI’s Finance Division.

He began his FBI career in 1988 Murphy. He served in four field offices, including Newark, Tampa, Washington and Cincinnati , where he worked cases in a variety of areas including counterterrorism, organized crime and drugs and as a pilot in the aviation program.

In the Washington field office, he worked an assistant special agent in charge and he served as a special agent in charge in Cincinnati.

At headquarters, some of his posts included supervisory special agent in the Executive Development and Selection Program, unit chief of the Senior Executive Service Unit, unit chief of the Director’s Research Group and special assistant to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, according to an FBI bio.