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Archive for July 16th, 2010

With Fed Indictments & Justice Dept. Intervention: Scandal-Plagued New Orleans Police Dept. at Crossroads

new-orleans-map-istock
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In New Orleans, a town known for its jambalaya, jazz and hospitality, it hasn’t been difficult over the years to find folks willing to serve up some harsh words about their often-maligned and scandal-plagued police department.

That may change — even with the latest federal indictments for the shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

The Big Easy has a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu. The Justice Department — at his request — has stepped in to examine signs of systemic police misconduct. And a new police chief, Ronal Serpas, has been installed.

The department is at a crossroads. And the nation is watching a department in need of an extreme makeover.

Just this week, Americans got a glimpse of the department’s travails: The Justice Department announced the indictment of six New Orleans cops in the post-Katrina shootings of six unarmed people on Danziger Bridge, two of whom died. The charges come on top of decades of scandal: cops busted for drug trafficking, bribes, rape and murder.

To read full story click here

Ex-State Dept. Officials Gets Life for Spying for Cuba

spy graphicBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Walter Kendall Myers — aka Agent 202 — the former State Department official, who spied for Cuba along with his wife for nearly 30 years, will join the many other convicted spies in American prisons.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Friday sentenced Myers to life in prison without parole and gave his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers 6 years and 9 months in prison for  providing Cuba highly-classified U.S. defense info, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In November 2009, Kendall Myers, 73, and wife Gwendolyn Myers, 72. pleaded guilty to spy-related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

They also agreed to forfeit $1.7 million.

“For nearly 30 years, this couple proudly committed espionage on behalf of a long-standing foreign adversary. Today, they are being held accountable for their actions. Their sentences should serve as a clear warning to others who would willingly compromise our nation’s most sensitive classified information,” David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security said in a statement.

Va. Man on No-Fly List Can Return Home from Egypt

plane window2Update: The Associated Press reported that Yahya Wehelie returned to the U.S. on Saturday.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — A Virginia man who had been in no-fly list hell for months will now be allowed to return to the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

Yahya Wehelie spent 18 months in Yemen. In May, he was heading home to Virginia and was changing planes in Cairo when the FBI stopped him and told him he was on the no-fly list. He was then stuck in Egpyt.

The New York Times had reported that the FBI wanted to question him about his contact with an American in Yemen accused of hooking up with al Qaeda and fatally shooting a hospital guard. He and his parents said at the time eh wanted to come home and finish his education and get a job. They also said he hated al Qaeda.

AP reported that Wehelie said in a phone interview that he’s not clear why US officials changed their mind, but he holds no ill will.

“I’m not angry at all. I know who I am and I knew eventually I would go home,” he told AP.“They’re trying to find the bad people, so more power to them.”

Must Have? Paper Offers Ringtones of Rod Blagojevich FBI Recordings

iphoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As absurd as this sounds, this might be a “must have” for your cell phone.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.,  is offering ringtones on iPhones with the FBI recordings of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is on trial in Chicago on public corruption charges, USA Today reports.

The paper reports the ringtones include such colorful statements as: “Only thirteen percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you.”

Another one says: “I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden. And I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing.”

Bush Justice Official Never Ok’d Some Harsh CIA Interrogation Techniques

torture1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The controversy over harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush years surfaced again Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.), head of the House Judiciary, released a transcript to the Justice Department showing former Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee told Congressional investigators in May that the CIA may have gone beyond the limits of memos he wrote blessing harsh interrogation techniques, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reported that Bybee, who headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told investigators in May that he never approved some techniques on detainees like punching, kicking and dousings with cold water.

He did, however, approve waterboarding, the Post reported.

To read full story click here.