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Archive for October 26th, 2011

Rep. Issa Suggests Homeland Chief Napolitano Moved Too Slow in Probe of Dead Border Agent Brian Terry

Janet Napolitano/file photo-bill maher showBy Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It appeared to be Janet Napolitano’s turn to get roughed up by Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been spearheading a probe into ATF’s controversial Operation Fast and Furious, that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing guns to the Mexican cartels.

Politico reports that Issa, at a House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, lit into Napolitano, suggesting she acted too slowly to look into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of a Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed last December in Arizona.

At the time, two guns recovered from the scene were linked to the controversial ATF Operation Fast and Furious.

Politico reported that Napolitano had testified during the session that said she had held off inquiring into the relation between the controversial Fast & Furious operation and Terry’s death because that matter was being looked into by the Inspector General at the Justice Department.

Issa pointedly said that Terry was killed on Dec. 14 and the IG probe was requested by Attorney General Eric Holder in February, Politico reported.

That, he said, left a gap for her to explore the matter.

“You had two dead agents…..It has been months and you tell me you weren’t doing it because of an IG investigation,” said Issa, according to Politico.

“Wait just a minute,” Napolitano countered. “That insinuation is not accurate.”

Issa responded: “For three months, you had a dead Border Patrol agent and there was no IG investigation. What did you do between December and February to find out about Fast & Furious?….People on the ground knew those were Fast & Furious weapons found at the scene within hours. It wasn’t something that wasn’t known. It was known at the time.”

Eventually, she said the goal was to find Terry’s killers.

To read more click here.

 

Abramoff Lobbyist Kevin Ring Gets 20 Months

istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ugly era of Jack Abramoff — the evil lobbyist — resurfaced Wednesday inside the Beltway.

Kevin A. Ring, 41, a former lobbyist who worked with Abramoff, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in D.C. to 20 months in prison for his role in a scheme to corrupt public officials by providing an illegal stream of things of value, including vacations, employment for a congressman’s wife, meals, drinks, and high-priced tickets to exclusive concerts and sporting events, the Department of Justice announced.

Ring, 41, was convicted last November.

Authorities said the jury found Ring guilty on one count of conspiring to corrupt congressional and executive branch officials by providing things of value to them and their staff members in order to induce or reward those who took official actions benefitting Ring and his clients.

To date, 20 people, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial in connection with the investigation into the activities of Abramoff and his associates.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services fraud and tax evasion. He was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.

 

Communication Companies Less Compliant to FBI Requests

Devices from Minnesota Found in Iraq IEDs, Five Charged

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Radio frequency modules from a Minnesota manufacturer, after being smuggled into Iran, ended up in improvised explosive devices used against U.S. soldiers on the battlefields of Iraq, federal authorities alleged this week.

Authorities in Singapore arrested Wong Yuh Lan (Wong), Lim Yong Nam (Nam), Lim Kow Seng (Seng), and Hia Soo Gan Benson (Hia) on Monday after a U.S. request for extradition to stand trial in DC . Hossein Larijani, a citizen of Iran, is also charged in the scheme, though he is still at large. Four companies were also indicted in the matter.

The group is accused of smuggling 6,000 radio communication devices into Iran in violation of trade laws; 16 of the devices were later found in bombs in Iraq. According to the FBI, the Singapore citizens bought the devices with a stated shipment location in Singapore, then knowingly had them illegally routed to purchasers in Iran, making tens of thousands of dollars.

“This case underscores the continuing threat posed by Iranian procurement networks seeking to obtain U.S. technology through fraud and the importance of safeguarding that technology,” Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general for national security, said in the statement.

The 12-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the US, smuggling, the illegal export of goods from the US to Iran, false statements and obstruction of justice, among other charges.

To read more click here.

Column: How the Patriot Act Stripped Me of My Free-Speech Rights

By Nicholas Merrill
Washington Post

Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can’t reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling “any person” that the government had approached me.

National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.

A decade later, much of the government’s surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices.

To read full column click here.

Baseball Legend Roger Clemens Wants the Feds to Pay His Attorney Fees

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Major League Baseball legend Roger Clemens is making a bid for a second victory.

In July, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial in his perjury case because of a prosecutorial error.

Now, he wants the feds to pay for attorney fees and other costs in the trial, Business Week reports.

“An award of fees and costs will at least partially restore Mr. Clemens to the same position he was in before the prosecutors engaged in conduct meriting a mistrial,” Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Clemens, said in a court filing in federal court in Washington, according to business week.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment, citing an order by Judge Walton not to discuss the case publicly, Newsweek reported.

 

The Ok Bombing it Ain’t; Ex-FBI Director Asked to Investigate SAT Test Security

Louis J. Freeh/adl photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As FBI Director Louie Freeh oversaw some of the biggest investigations in the nation including the Oklahoma bombing and the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa.

Now as a private lawyer and consultant, he’s being asked to tackle a task with a little less world import.

The New York Times reported that the College Board is hiring Freeh to review its security involving SAT tests.

The move comes in wake of a scandal involving seven Long Island teenagers who were arrested for cheating.

The Times reported that Nassau County prosecutors filed criminal charges on Sept. 27 against Samuel Eshaghoff, 19, who is accused of taking payments to take the SAT tests for six former and current students at Great Neck North High School.

The Times reported that scandal still has potential to get bigger and involve more students.

Fed Law Enforcement Infiltrating Cartels in Mexico

By GINGER THOMPSON
New York Times

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement agencies have significantly built up networks of Mexican informants that have allowed them to secretly infiltrate some of that country’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations, according to security officials on both sides of the border.

As the United States has opened new law enforcement and intelligence outposts across Mexico in recent years, Washington’s networks of informants have grown there as well, current and former officials said. They have helped Mexican authorities capture or kill about two dozen high-ranking and midlevel drug traffickers, and sometimes have given American counternarcotics agents access to the top leaders of the cartels they are trying to dismantle.

Typically, the officials said, Mexico is kept in the dark about the United States’ contacts with its most secret informants — including Mexican law enforcement officers, elected officials and cartel operatives — partly because of concerns about corruption among the Mexican police, and partly because of laws prohibiting American security forces from operating on Mexican soil.

“The Mexicans sort of roll their eyes and say we know it’s happening, even though it’s not supposed to be happening,” said Eric L. Olson, an expert on Mexican security matters at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

To read the full story click here.

 

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