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Archive for October 7th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Hells Angels

http://youtu.be/r38OCWEeFnY

The Bandido Nation Bikers

http://youtu.be/pY7IooynYu4

 

Calif. Feds Announce Crackdown on Pot Shops

Atty. Gen. Holder Fires Back About Fast and Furious: “My Testimony Was Truthful and Accurate”

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. fired off a forceful letter to key Congressional members on Friday, calling allegations that he lied before Congress about his knowledge of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious totally unfounded.

“My testimony was truthful and accurate and I have been consistent on this point throughout,” Holder wrote in a five page letter addressed to six Congressional members including Rep. Darrel Issa, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. John Conyers Jr.

“I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it.”

Operation Fast and Furious caused a stir after it became public that ATF was encouraging gun dealers in Arizona  to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing them to Mexican cartels. Problem was, ATF lost track of some guns that surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some Congressional members have claimed in recent weeks that Holder lied before Congress earlier this year  when he said he was unaware of the program until the controversy surfaced.

But Holder wrote: “Prior to early 2011, I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation and it is my understanding that the former United States Attorney for the District of Arizona and the former Acting Deputy Director and Director of ATF have told Congress that they, themselves, were unaware of the tactics employed.”

“In the past few days, some have pointed to documents that we provided to Congress as evidence that I was familiar with Fast and Furious earlier than I have testified.

“That simply is not the case and those suggestions mischaracterize the process by which I receive information concerning the activities of the Department’s many components .”

“On a weekly basis, my office typically receives over a hundred pages of so-called “weekly reports” that, while addressed to me, actually are provided to and reviewed by members of my staff and the staff of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General….Please note that none of these summaries say anything about the unacceptable tactics employed by ATF.”

“Attorneys in my office and in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General review these weekly reports and bring to my attention only those matters deemed to require my consideration or action; given the volume of material to which I must devote my attention, I do not and cannot read them cover-to-cover.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, head of the House Judiciary has called for the White House to assign an independent counsel to investigate whether Holder’s testimony was truthful.

Frederick R. Hill, a spokesman for the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, of which Rep. Issa chairs, issued  a statement Friday in response to the letter saying:

“If Attorney General Holder had said these things five months ago when Congress asked him about Operation Fast and Furious, it might have been more believable.

” At this point, however, it’s hard to take at face value a defense that is factually questionable, entirely self-serving, and a still incomplete account of what senior Justice Department officials knew about gun walking.”

Read Letter 

As Release Date Nears, More is Being Released on the Movie “J. Edgar”

warner brothers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As the November release date of the controversial movie about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover nears, the studio is releasing more material on the matter.

Recently, the studio released a trailer. And now  a poster of the movie is circulating (to the right).

The movie, which reportedly has a national release date of Nov. 9,  is likely to draw in a fair amount of former and current agents, who are curious about the film.

Some have expressed displeasure about the film directed by Clint Eastwood, which reportedly depicts Hoover as having a romantic relationship with his top confidante Clyde Tolson.

The official J. Edgar movie website says this about Hoover:

“During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover would rise to be the most powerful man in America. As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years, he would stop at nothing to protect his country. Through eight presidents and three wars, Hoover waged battle against threats both real and perceived, often bending the rules to keep his countrymen safe.

“His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted, if ever elusive, prize.Hoover was a man who placed great value on secrets–particularly those of others–and was not afraid to use that information to exert authority over the leading figures in the nation.

“Understanding that knowledge is power and fear poses opportunity, he used both to gain unprecedented influence and to build a reputation that was both formidable and untouchable.He was as guarded in his private life as he was in his public one, allowing only a small and protective inner circle into his confidence.

“His closest colleague, Clyde Tolson, was also his constant companion. His secretary, Helen Gandy, who was perhaps most privy to Hoover’s designs, remained loyal to the end… and beyond. Only Hoover’s mother, who served as his inspiration and his conscience, would leave him, her passing truly crushing to the son who forever sought her love and approval.”

FBI Helps Recover Stolen Civil War Flag Missing for Almost 30 Years


The Confederate flag/fbi photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Missing for almost three decades, a civil-war battle flag stolen in the 1980s by a volunteer at the Memorial Hall Museum (Confederate Memorial Hall) of New Orleans, has been recovered, the FBI announced this week.

The FBI said the  Art Crime Team in the FBI Miami Division initially got some information and got the ball rolling.

After locating the current owner, investigators determined that the owner bought the flag in 2004, not knowing it was stolen, the FBI said. He voluntarily turned the item over to the FBI.

The FBI said the flag was turned over to The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.,  during a ceremony on Wednesday. It will ultimately be returned to the Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans.

Column: Shame on the Justice Dept. for Screwing the Families in Murder Cases

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Justice Department can feel proud that an appeals court Thursday essentially upheld its right to screw the families whose relatives were allegedly murdered by Boston gangster James J. “Whitey’’ Bulger.

Bulger was working as an FBI informant and running wild, and a Boston federal judge back in 2009 awarded the families nearly $8.5 million, saying the government was negligent when it essentially let informant Bulger — under its watch — get away with murder. Bulger was linked to the 1982 murders of Michael Donahue and Edward “Brian’’ Halloran, who were both gunned down on the Boston waterfront in 1982.

In February, an Appeals Court panel ruled 2-1 to vacate the award,  agreeing with the Justice Department, which argued that the families had not filed their claims for damages in time.  The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that the  Appeals Court ruled 3-3 on the matter, letting stand the court’s 2-1 decision.

Congratulations to the Justice Department. Yes, it was legally right.  Ethically and morally, it was very very wrong. But in Washington, winning is often more important than doing the right thing.

Interestingly, the court said in its ruling, according to the Globe: “Under the Constitution, federal courts may not make decisions based on sympathy. The legal issue presented by these cases is not whether the conduct of the FBI was shameful; it was. It is not whether plaintiffs are victims of that conduct; they are.’’

Perhaps the dissenting opinion from Judge Juan R. Torruella put it best:

“James ‘Whitey’ Bulger has finally been apprehended and is now being haled into the federal courthouse in Boston to answer for the crimes he allegedly committed years ago. But, unlike Bulger himself, thanks to the panel majority’s decision and the full court’s refusal to reverse it, Bulger’s most trusted associate, the Boston FBI office, has gotten away with murder.’’

One lawyer for the  family told the Globe that he would try to convince the Supreme Court to take up the appeal. I don’t think it’s likely to take up the case since there’s no great legal precedent here; just a matter of right and wrong. 

The Justice Department should have simply paid out the money. But nooo.

Yes, the Justice Department has good lawyers. And yes, they won. But winning isn’t always everything, particularly when the Justice Department looks like the real loser here.

 

Congress Grills FBI Director Mueller on Training About Islam