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Archive for March 31st, 2011

President Chips Away at Fed Law Enforcement Nominations: The latest Being U.S. Atty for Ala. and U.S. Marshal for NY

George Beck Jr./law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After more than two years in office, President Obama is still chipping away at appointments for U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal.

The latest: President Obama nominated private attorney George Lamar Beck, Jr., a former Deputy Attorney General in Alabama from 1971 to 1979,  for the U.S. Attorney post for the Middle District of Alabama. He’s currently  a shareholder with the firm Capell & Howard. He would replace Leura Garrett Canary, who was appointed by President Bush in 2001.

President Obama also nominated David L. McNulty,  a major in the New York State Police, for U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of New York. McNulty rose through the ranks in the New York State Police. He first joined in 1978.

Ex-ATF Offcial Thinks Funds Could Get Cut or ATF Could Be Eliminated if it Doesn’t Cooperate With Congressional Inquiries

Bernie La Forest/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In the ever too eager climate to slash budgets, ex-ATF official Bernie La Forest thinks ATF could face some serious  cuts — and even elimination — if it doesn’t start cooperating with Congress and give answers about a controversial gun program known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”

“This refusal is exactly what some politicians want. If the ‘failure to cooperate’ continues, ATF is in for another blood bath . . . maybe a fatal one this go-around,” La Forest wrote in an email to retired and current agents he knows.

LaForest thinks it’s a big mistake that Ken Melson, head of ATF,  has been muzzled and has declined an invitation to speak before Congress. He thinks politicians will pounce on that non-cooperative posture being taken by the agency.  La Forest, an author of two crime novels,  once headed up offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit and Kansas City.

His sentiments, expressed to former colleagues in an email on Wednesday comes as  Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep.  Darrell Issa have loudly complained that ATF has refused so far to comply with requests for information about the controversial ATF program out of Arizona that let straw buyers purchase guns — all with the hopes of tracing them to the drug cartels in Mexico. Problem is, ATF hasn’t been able to keep tabs on all the guns that have ended up in the hands of criminals. And reportedly some were used in serious crimes.

LaForest shared his email with ticklethewire.com and David Codrea of the Examiner but added: “Would only ask that you make it clear that this was simply an “opinion” of someone who has been “out-of-the-game” for several years.  I was never muzzled as an ATF manager, even when I and others testified before a congressional subcommittee concerning the 1981 –’82 Proposed Abolishment of ATF under the Reagan Administration.”

“Someone could be setting a trap,” he wrote in the email. ” We saw it happen after Waco . . . our Man said nothing at the Congressional hearings—and an almost apocalyptic period of recrimination and payback took place within ATF.

“The FBI Man could not keep his mouth shut! His BS babbling resulted in more FBI agents, two or three more HRT squads, and more money than could be possibly spent . . . well, in a perfect world at most law enforcement agencies.

“Now, another ATF Director is refusing to testify before Congress. I figure they told him to suck it up and stonewall the committee by his DOJ bosses and people in the White House.”

“This refusal is exactly what some politicians want. If the ‘failure to cooperate’ continues, ATF is in for another blood bath . . . maybe a fatal one this go-around.

“It could be an effortless task, a simple matter–while appearing logical to most uninformed citizens. Cost-cutting measures, directed at government employees, are a ready-made excuse to lop off heads. In 1992 – ‘93, ATF appeared to eat their own by purging nonconformist with a disastrous reorganization scheme where smoke and mirrors were the management tools of the day.

” Another contrived metamorphosis may not work, even if the new team of ATF managers gives away the farm. When Bureau was on the ropes after Waco, the FBI peeled away some great jurisdictional “stuff” from ATF’s naive managers at the time.

“Of course, everyone has an opinion . . . . . . . . as they say.”

Read ticklethewire.com column: ATF Needs to Clean the Manure Off Its Boots Now

Tex. Congressman Says Mexican Cartel Members Plotting to Kill American Agents

Michael McCaul

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A law enforcement bulletin is warning that Mexican drug cartel members  have talked about killing U.S. law enforcement agents on the American side of the border, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas  said Thursday that  the gangsters were overheard talking about killing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Texas Rangers.

AP reported that the plot involved Mexican using AK-47 assault rifles to shoot from Mexico into the U.S. In February, ICE agent Jaime Zapata was shot to death and another agent he was with was wounded in Mexico.

Authorities are offering a reward of up to $5 million in the case.

Bernie Kerik Gets Bad News: Appeals Court Upholds Sentence

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-NY Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who once was considered for the top spot at the  Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, got some bad news Thursday.

The 2nd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his four year sentence, saying the judge was fair, the Associated Press reported. His attorneys had argued the judge was too harsh and gave a sentence that surpassed the three years called for under the sentencing guidelines.

Kerik, 55, who is being housed in a federal prison in Maryland,  pleaded guilty in 2009 to tax fraud, making a false statement on a loan application and lying to the White House, which was doing a background on him so he could become Homeland Security chief.

AP reported that the sentencing judge, Stephen Robinson in White Plains, N.Y., was bothered by Kerik’s behavior, and noted that he lied the President to get a cabinet post.

Kerik’s attorney Andrew Shapiro said, according to AP: “We’re very disappointed by the ruling and considering our next steps.”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICE ACT NEWS

Ex-New Orleans Cop and Current Cop Get Tough Sentences in Post-Katrina Shooting and Burning of Henry Glover

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex- New Orleans cop David Warren was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 25 years and nine months in prison for the Post-Katrina shooting  of civilian Henry Glover on Sept. 2, 2005, the Justice Department said.

A current officer Greg McRae got 17 years and three months for burning of the body and obstruction of justice.

Warren was found guilty by a federal jury of a civil rights violations  for shooting Glover. McRae was convicted of two civil rights violations, one count of obstructing justice and one count of using fire during the commission of a felony. McRae was charged with burning the Glover’s body inside a car.

Authorities said evidence at trial showed that Warren shot Glover as he approached the second floor of a strip mall which served as a police substation.  The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Glover and a friend “had gone to the mall to retrieve some items looted by friends.”

Glover’s brother and a friend flagged down a passing motorist, William Tanner, who put the wounded Glover in his car and tried to seek medical help, the Justice Department said.

But when the men drove up to a makeshift police station seeking help for Glover, police surrounded the men at gunpoint, handcuffed them and let Glover die in the back seat of the car, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said McRae then drove off with Tanner’s car, with Glover’s body inside, and burned both the body and the car with a traffic flare.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that U.S. District Judge Lance Africk told Warren during sentencing that using deadly force was unnecessary:   “You killed a man … Henry Glover was gunned down because you believed he was a looter.”

The judge also noted that he had gotten correspondence from some people who said Warren’s conviction would make officers question their right to protect themselves during chaotic incidents, the Picayune reported.

“I reject that argument.” Africk said. “You were not forced to respond to Henry Glover with deadly force.”

“Instead of upholding their oath to protect and serve the people of New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina, these officers abused their power, and violated the law and the public trust,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Today’s sentence brings a measure of justice to the Glover family and to the entire city.”

ATF Agent Gets 1 Year and 1 Day For Stealing During Drug Raid in Suburban Cleveland

ATF Agent Steven Campbell/u.s. marshals service photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-ATF agent who got greedy during a drug raid last October was sentenced Wednesday in Cleveland to one year and one day in prison for stealing more than $40,000, WEWS 5 tv reported.

Steven Campbell, 32, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. Campbell was accused of hiding $46,785 in cash that he was stuffing his pocket when he was confronted by other agents at the raid.

According to a court affidavit by Nicholas Candela, a special agent with the Justice Department Inspector General, on Oct. 18, ATF agent Campbell was part of a task force that raided a home in Lyndhurt, Ohio shortly after 7 a.m.

Agents confronted the drug suspect, who after being read his Miranda Warning, confessed that he had a couple pounds of marijuana in a blue bag in the garage and between $45,000 and $50,000 under a dresser.

Campbell went upstairs along with at least one DEA agent. A plastic bag full of cash was found under the dresser.

Read more »

DEA and Locals Nab Guatemala’s Top Drug Trafficker


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and Guatemala authorities on Wednesday nabbed Guatemala’s reputed top drug trafficker who was wanted on cocaine charges in Florida, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Juan Ortiz Lopez and two other suspects were arrested at a house in the western city of Quetzaltenango.

Guatemala’s Minister Carlos Menocal said Lopez had been under surveillance by the DEA and his nation’s intelligence agents for seven days, AP reported.

“This is a big fish and we are satisfied with his capture. It’s a great achievement by this government,” Menocal said, according to AP.

Tampa’s U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill added, according to AP: “For over a decade, Ortiz-Lopez’s drug organization received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Guatemala, which would then be transported through Mexico to the United States, where the cocaine would be further distributed.”

Ex-FBI Agent Recorded Saying He “Kidnapped” Fugitives Back to Their Homeland in 1990s; Now Denies He Meant It

Jerry Forrester/company website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A former FBI agent bragged that while working for the agency in the 1990s “he routinely arrested Bahamian criminal defendants in South Florida and unlawfully sent them back to their homeland on commercial airline flights without any formal review of their cases in U.S. courts,” the Miami Herald reported.

The Herald reported that retired FBI Agent Gerard “Jerry” Forrester, the FBI’s Miami liaison officer in the Caribbean in the 1990s, made the statements in secretly recorded conversations, which were part of a defamation lawsuit.

The conversations appeared in an affidavit  that has surfaced in a defamation lawsuit in the Bahamas filed by  Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard against  New York hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon and others, the paper reported. Bacon and Nygard both own property in the Bahamas.

The paper reported that Forrester, now a private investigator, worked for Bacon and was a consultant for an unflattering profile on Nygard that aired on the Canadian Broadcast Company.

The paper reported that the  affidavit in the defamation lawsuit  said Forrester told of a suspect, who was  initially arrested in Miami for a Bahama murder in the 1990s. A short time later, without due process, the suspect was shipped out on a plane to Bahamas where he was killed in custody.  Under U.S. law, the suspect would have had the right to fight extradition.

“I kidnapped him back to Nassau,”  Forrester, owner of JF-Investigations in the Bahamas, said in the recorded conversations. “They had him for about 10 hours and the guy wound up dead.” He later added about deporting others:   “I did it all the time. … All the time for 20 or 30 years.”

The recordings were made by former Scotland Yard detective Alick Morrison , who had been hired by fashion mogul Nygard to find out if Forrester and others were behind the negative profile on him on the CBC, the paper reported.

Forrester  chuckled when asked about the recordings, according to the Herald.

“Yes, I did say it. Was it true? No. Why did I embellish? Because I brag.”

The FBI in Miami declined comment, the Herald reported.