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Archive for March 7th, 2011

NY Fed Judge Visits Brooklyn Neighborhood Where Defendants Allegedly Sold Drugs

wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein — some times known as a maverick — did something fairly unorthox for a federal judge, but maybe not so unorthodox for Weinstein: he went to visit the neighborhood where a crack cocaine crew ruled, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Weinstein, 89, who is presiding over a trial involving the suspected drug gang crew, walked through the Louis Armstrong houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn on Friday, accompanied by a bodyguard and two news photographers.

“The outing on a quiet and crisp winter afternoon drew some stares, but was otherwise uneventful,” AP wrote.

The wire service reported that the judge said he sometimes needs a firsthand reality check on his cases.

“Otherwise,” he said, “it gets very abstract.”

Justice Dept. Collects Only a Teeny Fraction of Swindlers’ Fines

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Since the year 2000, the government has only collected about two cents on the dollar from hundreds of the nation’s biggest swindlers who were fined by federal judges, USA Today reports.

A USA Today reported that its analysis of Justice Department records shows the difficulty of the Justice Department collecting fines from scam artists who profited from the housing and financial crises.

“A vast number of these cases … there will never be any money collected,” Ray Hassett, a Connecticut lawyer who used to supervise collection efforts for the U.S. attorney’s office there said, according to USA Today.

The paper examined 258 cases since 2000 in which judges ordered a criminal to pay $25 million in fines or more. Some some thieves paid what amounted to less than a speeding ticket, USA Today reported.

The paper reported that the biggest judgments totaled about $30 billion, the Justice Department has only collected about $660 million so far.

To read more click here.

Rep. Peter King’s Controversial Hearings on Muslim Extremists

Column: Congress Needs to Cut “Waste” Caused by Its Own “Duplicative” Oversight of Homeland Security

David Olive writes about the business of homeland security. He formerly served as Chief of Staff for then-U.S. Representative Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) and is the founder of Catalyst Partners, a government relations and public affairs firm in Washington.

David Olive

By David Olive
Security DeBrief

At a time when Congress is looking to cut federal spending, why won’t it eliminate the “waste” caused by its own dysfunctional DHS oversight? The apparent answer is that is it far easier to talk about reforming someone else than oneself.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the reaction to the just-released GAO report on costly, duplicative and questionable federal agencies and programs?

Republican budget hawks littered the traditional and social media with example after example of “waste” that could be eliminated by halting duplicative programs. Democrats were just as quick to point out that President Obama had identified many of these same programs as areas where savings could be found, even using the food safety regulations example the President mentioned in his State of the Union address.

What the Congressional bloviators seem to ignore is Congress’ own culpability in creating many of these duplicative programs.

The perfect place to address this issue, should they choose to look inside their own house first, is the mishmash of congressional committees that claim jurisdiction over DHS. It remains an area ripe for reform.

To read more click here.

FBI’s Ralph Boelter in Minn. Put a Face on Agency in Community

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ralph Boelter, head of the Minneapolis FBI, who headed up a large scale probe into counterterrorism involving local Somalis heading overseas to fight with a terrorist organization, is headed east to Washington to become the agency’s deputy assistant director in charge of counterterrorism, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Boelter told the paper that he plans to apply what he learned in Minneapolis: To fight extremism, the agency needs to establish sincere relationships with the community.

“We had to be able to show people they could trust me, trust us,” Boelter said of the local commuity.

During his tenure, which lasted four years,  young Somali men were sneaking off to fight in their homeland for Al-Shabab, a U.S. designated terrorist organization.

Saeed Fahia, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, told the Star Tribune that Boelter put a human face on the FBI.

“Now the FBI is a known quantity. It’s not just an acronym. It’s people you know,” she said.

On the ICE, Secret Service Topples the FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI may be the bigger of the two agencies, but that didn’t stop the Secret Service from defeating the bureau in annual hockey game in Arlington, Va.

CNN reported that Secret Service defeated the FBI 7-6 in overtime at the Kettler Capital Iceplex. The FBI won last year.

CNN reported that attendees were asked to donate $5, which went to Secret Service agent Keith Rile, who has cancer. All 2,500 tickets for the event were sold out.

“The FBI is a family; the Secret Service is a family. We work together every day of the year, and one day we come together to have this friendly rivalry,” FBI director Robert Mueller, who attended the game, told CNN. “We’re all here to support him and support his family”

“It’s never an easy win,” Secret Service agent Todd, who played in the game, told CNN.