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Archive for February 15th, 2011

One ICE Agent Shot and Killed and 2nd One Wounded in Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

NO ONE in Mexico appears safe from the violence that continues to strangle that country.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another was wounded Tuesday while driving through northern Mexico, the Associated Press reported. The two were assigned  to the ICE attache office in Mexico City.

AP reported that the two agents were driving in the northern state of San Luis Potosi and were stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint. At that point, someone opened fire.

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, issued a statement saying:

“I’m deeply saddened by the news that earlier today, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents assigned to the ICE Attaché office in Mexico City were shot in the line of duty while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey by unknown assailants.”

“Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel – or any DHS personnel – is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety. The full resources of our Department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation. We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders.”

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Fed Charges May Be Near for John Edwards in Sex Scandal

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Justice Dept. May Not Have Served Up Justice After Mob Hit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I have mixed feelings about a  ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston. The court rescinded an $8.5 million judgment handed down two years ago against the government in the 1982 murders of two people by James “Whitey” Bulger, a notorious Boston mobster who was an FBI informant.

I’m not questioning the court’s ruling. But I am questioning whether the Justice Department served up justice in this instance by spending, in all likelihood, millions of dollars to fight a case, when in fact, the government was in the wrong.

Whitey Bulger

The story goes like this:

Whitey Bulger was an FBI informant during the dark years in Boston when mobsters like Bulger and FBI agents — and local law enforcement as well — got way too cozy.  Information flowed freely between the two sides. Mobsters, who acted as informants,  did bad things and got away with them.

Long after the fact, Stephen “Rifleman” Flemmi testified in court that then-FBI agent John Connolly Jr. told him and Bulger that Edward “Brian”  Halloran,  a Bulger associate, was snitching and had implicated them in a murder. Bulger responded.

The Boston Globe’s Shelley Murphy reported that Flemmi testified that  one night  when Michael Donahue, 32, a truck driver and innocent bystander, was giving Halloran a ride home from a bar on Boston’s waterfront, Bulger and an unknown accomplice gunned them both down. By 1998, the media was reporting about the corrupt relationship between the FBI and Bulger and Flemmi, and in 2000 and 2001, the families filed lawsuits against the government.

U.S. District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay subsequently found the FBI responsible, saying the agency was negligent in handling informants Bulger and Flemmi, according to the Globe. In March 2009, after a trial on the damages, U.S. District Judge William G. Young warded $6.4 million to Donahue’s wife and sons and $2 million to Halloran’s widow.

But the Court of Appeals last week concluded that the statute of limitation had run out — that the families should have filed their lawsuits within two years of the intense media coverage exposing the  corrupt relationship between the FBI and Bulger and Flemmi.

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

Sure the Justice Department did what any good law firm would do: Try to win the case for a client. The Justice Department did just that.  On the other hand, the Justice Department isn’t just another law firm; It’s called the Justice Department for a reason.

The lawyers for the families are expected to appeal.

What should the government do?

One of two things:  Settle out of court with the families or grab a dictionary and figure out what the word “Justice” actually means.

As an aside: Flemmi is serving life for 10 murders. Bulger is on the lam, accused of 19 murders. And FBI agent John Connolly Jr. is behind bars for second-degree murder for providing information to mobsters who put the hit on former World Jai-Alai President John Callahan in 1982.

That’s some justice. But not quite enough.

Patricia Donahue, whose husband was killed told the Globe how disappointed she was that the court essentially ruled that she should have paid closer attention to the press reports so the lawsuit would have been filed within the statute of limitations.

“There’s no apologies, no ‘I’m sorry,’ from the government,’’ Patricia Donahue said. “What kind of government tells me I should have read the newspaper and we lose because of that?’’

Report Raises Some Doubts About the Origin of the Killer Anthrax; Triggers Calls For Independent Review of Entire Case

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A report released Tuesday on the scientific methods used to investigate the deadly anthrax attacks disputes a key conclusion by the FBI — and has triggered calls for an independent review of the entire case.

Investigators have concluded that government scientist Bruce Ivins mailed anthrax-laden letters to members of Congress and the media in 2001. Five people were killed and 17 others sickened. Ivins committed suicide in July 2008 before charges could be filed.

Ivins’ attorney said the new report casts doubt on the allegations against the scientist.

“The smoking gun is now just smoke and mirrors,” Paul F. Kemp told AOL News. “Every time more gets released it shows more weakness in their case. I think it’s time for a public hearing for somebody to systematically and carefully and dispassionately review this.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley also called for an independent review.

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Paul Lindsay Returns to the Motown for Book Tour

Paul Lyndsay

By Susan Whitall
The Detroit News

DETROIT — As a thriller author, Paul Lindsay doesn’t have to burn hours of time interviewing FBI agents or homicide detectives to get it right.

As Lindsay puts it, “I’ve got all my research down.” That’s because the author of “The Bricklayer” and his latest thriller, “Agent X” (both written under the nom de plume Noah Boyd), is a former FBI agent himself, with 20 years in the bureau’s Detroit office under his belt.

As an FBI agent, he spent years chasing down criminals like Benjamin Atkins, the Highland Park strangler, who murdered women along the Woodward Corridor in 1991 and 1992. Lindsay retired in 1993, after writing a book highly critical of his bosses.

To read more click here.

Reader Comments

Comment from Jim Burdick | [e]
Time February 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I read “The Bricklayer,” and it was terrific. Congrats to you, Paul, and I hope you’re bringing that character back, and soon. Jim Burdick

NY Feds Free Admitted Terrorist After His Cooperation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds have released an admitted terrorist after serving 4 1/2 years because of his cooperation, the New York NBC local affiliate reported.

The station reports that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara confirmed that Mohammed Junaid Babar is free, but declined to say more.  A federal judge officially released him in December.

The station reported that the Queens man flew to Pakistan after Sept. 11, 2001  to join al Qaida.

In 2002, Babar said in an interview:”I will kill every American that I see in Afghanistan and while I’m in Pakistan if I see them in Pakistan I will kill every American soldier I see in Pakistan.”

After his arrest seven years ago, after returning from Pakistan, the station reported that Babar helped the FBI and British authorities in terrorist cases.

The station reported that assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon McGuire during a hearing in December called Babar’s cooperation “exceptional.”

“The defendant has testified previously at four different trials involving numerous terrorism defendants, three trials in the UK and one in Canada,” McGuire said.

To read more click here.

New FBI Show on CBS Needs Fresher Feel, NY Critic Says

CBS's new drama about an elite team of agents in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit

By David Hinckley
New York Daily News

This spinoff from “Criminal Minds” illustrates the danger of a television network getting too good at something.

CBS has done so well with “police procedurals” – shows that set up a crime and walk the viewer through to its solution – that the network seems to think we viewers will just keep watching more of them forever.

At a certain point, though, we need something fresher than “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” is providing.

The show scores up front with two A-list actors: Forest Whitaker as lead FBI agent Sam Cooper, and Janeane Garofalo as Beth Griffith, a fellow agent who among other things keeps Sam from becoming a loose cannon.

To read more click here. (The Show Airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBS)

The Ugly Side of Politics; Ex-Congressional Candidate Gets 1 Year in Prison

Tan Nguyen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tan Nguyen represents the ugliest of ugly in politics.

The 35-year-old Vietnamese immigrant and former Republican California congressional candidate was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison for lying to investigators about a letter sent to Latino voters during his 2006 campaign against a Latino, Democratic incumbent. The letter said immigrants couldn’t vote.

In addition to the prison term, the U.S. District Judge David O. Carter in Santa Anna, Calif., ordered Nguyen to serve six months at a halfway house.

Last December, a federal jury convicted Nguyen of obstruction of justice for lying to the California Department of Justice and saying that campaign volunteers created the letter without his knowledge, the Justice Department said.

Authorities say the letter, written in Spanish, was sent to about 14,000 voters with Latino surnames. He lost his bid against incumbent Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the voting rights of all individuals,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.

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