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Archive for October 27th, 2011

Column: Ex-ATF Official Questions Sincerity of White House Concerns About Layoffs in Law Enforcement

Bernard La Forest retired from ATF after heading up its offices in Kansas City, Detroit, Phoenix and Los Angeles. His column is in response to a story that appeared in ticklethewire.com on Monday about a speech Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. gave in Chicago. Holder said there will be 13,000 cops laid off by year’s end, but that $240 million in grants will help in the hiring and retention of more than 1,000 cops nationwide.

Bernie La Forest/facebook

By Bernard La Forest
for ticklethewire.com

I read the piece on DOJ using “laid off cops” as a political spear thrown at Republicans in Congress. I find this a weak attack and subject to rebuttal.

I’ve been told that ATF has recently upped their “buy-out offers” from $20,000 to $25,000. These buyouts are tempting special agents to pull the plug early . . . after the “G” has spent so much money training and bringing them along to a point where each possesses a great deal of expertise.

For those special agents who have made good use of available opportunities throughout their careers, I’m fairly certain they will continue to be successful in the private sector once they cash out.

However, all of their accumulated know-how and capability will be lost. After all the negative focus caused by a few people in just one small ATF squad, and then exacerbated by incompetent managers in Washington . . . I certainly can’t fault those men and women who take the money.

Nonetheless, I do remain suspicious of the real reasons behind DOJ’s decision to “ease out” the government crime fighters, especially since I see no plan in the offing that even hints they will be replaced anytime soon.

It’s a typical example of fear-mongering by the AG. He is being assisted in this political charade by the President and the VP. Joe Biden scowls for the media cameras, tries to act tough, and then stretches the truth which bordered on a very large and ugly white lie.

Why, just to gain a few points?

President Clinton pulled the same trick through his bait and switch “cops on the beat” program. There was only enough money for the first year or two.

When that ran out, I’m pretty sure many of the officers lost their jobs, leaving hiring, training and related costs flushed down the drain.

Don’t you wish it was November 7, 2012?

Judge Refuses to Dismiss John Edwards Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Edwards may have cheated on his dying wife, but he won’t be cheated out of a criminal trial.

A U.S. District Judge in North Carolina on Thursday denied a request by the two-time presidential candidate to dismiss the criminal charges against him, the Associated Press reported. Trial is set for January.

He’s charged with using campaign funds to cover up an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, and submitting false campaign finance reports as part of the cover up. Hunter had a child with Edwards.

AP reported that Edwards was in the courtroom, but displayed no visible reaction to the decision.

AP reported that Edward’s defense team argued that the fed’s case depends on novel legal arguments, which have never been validated by the court.

 

Ex-FBI Profiler-Turned Author Warns of Dangers of “Nice” Neighbor

Ex-FBI Mary Ellen O’Toole is the author of the new book: ” Dangerous Instincts.” 
  
By Monica Hesse
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The man sitting in front of Mary Ellen O’Toole was, she says, a well-mannered guy. “He was low-key. He was nice. He didn’t swear.” He was very proud of his work, which he described in polite, pleasant tones.

His name was Gary Ridgway. His other name was the Green River Killer. His work was killing at least 49 women in Washington state throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He did it all while maintaining marriages, parenting and church-going, and he seemed very much the word neighbors often use to describe men who turn out to have headless torsos in their freezers. Which is to say, he seemed very, very nice.

The niceness paradox. O’Toole worked as a profiler for the FBI for 30 years, headquartered in Quantico. She interviewed the Unabomber. She worked on the Polly Klaas abduction, the Red Lake school shooting and the investigation of David Parker Ray — the Toy-Box Killer who tortured women in a high-tech homemade dungeon. What she found was that the most dangerous criminals were often the ones who came across as the most harmless. That’s how they were able to continue harming people.

“Over the years, I used to hear this all the time.” Other investigators would explain to her why they had disregarded suspects: “I just looked at him, man to man, and I could tell” that he was a good guy.

To read the full story click here.

Rep. Issa Presses Atty. Gen. Holder Over Shooting of ICE Agent in Mexico


Jamie Zapata/ticklethewire.com photo of ICE video at IACP

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Congressional members are pressing Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. for more information relating to the shooting death of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaimes Zapata, who was gunned down in Mexico in February by a drug cartel known as Los Zetas. Another agent was wounded in the incident.

In a letter to Holder dated Oct. 25, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley complained that they tried to get answers but failed.

“On October 11, your Department (DOJ) sent Senator Grassley a letter regarding murdered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata,” the letter stated.”Not only was the response more than six months late, it completely failed to answer the key questions.”

In March of this year, ATF announced that Mexican authorities had recovered three guns used in the ICE agent’s slaying — one of which was tied to suspected gun trafficker Otilio Osorio. He and his brother Ranferi Osorio, 27, were arrested in March at their home in Lancaster, Tex. on charges of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers

Authorities alleged that Osorio purchased the firearm used in the ICE agent’s slaying last Oct. 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. ATF said ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities linked the weapon to Zapata’s death. In a separate criminal complaint, authorities arrested Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who lived next door to the Osorio brothers, on charges of knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license.

The letter to Holder, the Issa and Grassley went on to say: “In a March 1, 2011, press release, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated it was unaware of Otilio Osorio’s purchase on October 10, 2010, of the weapon used to murder Agent Zapata.’

“According to ATF documents, however, the agency had reason to believe as early as September 17, 2010, that Otilio’s brother and co-habitant Ranferi Osorio and their next-door neighbor Kelvin Morrison were straw purchasers. Yet the ATF apparently made no effort to contact Ranferi Osorio or Kelvin Morrison and inquire about how their weapons came to be trafficked to Mexico within 2 weeks of their purchase.”

The letter went on to say that ATF could have arrested the Osorio brothers and Kelvin Morrison during a staged operation on November 9, 2010, but did not. The letter asks Holder what and when the Justice Department knew of these gun runners.

 

FBI Looking for Linguists: $29 to $41 an Hour

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s one thing the FBI always needs more of: folks with foreign language skills.

The agency is conducting a contract Linguist Job Fair on Friday, Nov. 4 and Sat. Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Seattle University Student Center at 901 12th Avenue, Seattle.

The pay? $29 to $41 an hour, depending on the language.

The agency said it is looking for linguists proficient in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dari, Hebrew, Farsi, Korean, Pashto, Somali, Spanish, Urdu and others.

Anyone with question should email Eric.Leach@ic.fbi.gov.

 

ATF Arrests 2 Colo. National Guardsmen on Gun Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Details are sketchy, but the Denver Post reports that ATF on Tuesday arrested two Colorado Army National Guard members from Fort Lupton, Colo. on gun charges.

The paper reported that the neither the Guard nor ATF would elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the arrests of Staff Sgt. Eric Lee and Spc. Matthew Laflin.

ATF spokesman Bradley Beyersdorf said it was an ongoing investigation and did not anticipate other arrests, the Denver Post reported.

Lee and Laflin are part-time guardsmen with B Company, 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, based in Fort Lupton, the Post reported. Lee was active duty in the Army from May 2004 to August 2009 and joined the National Guard in August 2009.

 

Pot Laws Just Become More and More Confusing

Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy over the legality of medical marijuana only seems to be getting more and more confusing.

The Associated Press reports that James Cole, the number two person at the Justice Department, has written a memo saying state medical marijuana laws do not provide immunity from federal prosecution, and refused to say Wednesday whether a recent crackdown in California by fed prosecutors signals a shift in federal policy that could impact other states.

Cole, the deputy Attorney General, said it’s up to individual U.S. Attorneys to decide how to enforce federal laws, AP reported.

“I think it says what needs to be said,” Cole said of his memo and the fed policy after a press conference in Colorado, AP reported.

Sixteen states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, AP reported. California was the first in 1996.

The feds have raised concerns that some medical marijuana dispensaries are buying pot from unauthorized places and dispensing to people who don’t have a valid medical reason to use the drug.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Madoff and Wife Tried Committing Suicide

Ruth Madoff/ny post

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Before long everyone knew Bernie Madoff’s son Mark killed himself last year by hangning himself by a dog leash.

But what few know is that Madoff himself and his wife tried committing suicide as well, according to an interview this Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the Associated Press reported.

“I don’t know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening,” said Ruth Madoff.

Ruth Madoff told 60 Minutes that she he and her husband had receiving hate mail and “terrible phone calls” after the scandal became public.

She told 60 Minutes the couple took “a bunch of pills” including the insomnia prescription medication Ambien.

However, it didn’t work. The next day they woke up.

AP also reported that Madoff has told Barbara Walters in an interview that he has terrible remorse and horrible nightmares, but feels happier in prison than he has been in 20 years.

He told Walters that he had thought about suicide before he went off to prison, but not anymore.