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Archive for January 5th, 2012

More Shakeups at ATF Over Fast and Furious

By Danny Fenster and Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Now comes more shakeups at ATF over the controversial program Fast and Furious.

ATF confirmed Thursday that three officials have been detailed to headquarters in non-operational positions pending the outcome of an Inspector General report into the Fast and Furious program, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracking the weapons to the cartels. Some guns surfaced at crime scenes, causing a furor on Capitol Hill.

The latest shakeup was first reported by the website Sipsey Street Irregulars.

Those transferred to headquarters included: William Hoover, the acting head of the Washington Field office; Mark Chait, head of the Baltimore field division,  and  William McMahon, the deputy assistant director of the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations.

Scot Thomasson, chief spokesman for ATF issued a statement on the matter, saying:

“Taking into consideration the depth and breadth of the Fast and Furious investigation a decision to detail ATF Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, Special Agents in Charge William Hoover and Mark Chait from operational positions with oversight responsibilities to non-operational positions was made by the Deputy Director Thomas Brandon. These new assignments will remain in effect pending the outcome of the OIG investigation.”

Interestingly, the three had already been transferred once before as a result of Fast and Furious.

Before the first transfer, Hoover was the acting Deputy Director of the ATF, the number 2 spot;  Chait was the Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations and McMahon was Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations.

The Fast and Furious Operation is still stirring controversy in Washington.

US Attorey General Eric Holder is expected to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding Operation Fast and Furious on Feb. 2.

Mexcan Drug Lord Pleads Guilty in San Diego

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The one-time Mexican leader of “one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations to ever exist” pleaded guilty to a variety of charges in a federal court in San Diego on Wednesday, according to the FBI.

Benjamin Arellan-Felix was the leader of the Tijuana Cartel/Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) from 1986 until his arrest in Mexico in 2002. He was extradited last April 29 from Mexico to the U.S.

The group controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the Unites States from the border towns of Tijuana and Mexicali, says the FBI, with operations extending south into Mexico and Colombia as well.

“The plea today marks the end of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization as we know it,” said William R. Sherman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in San Diego. The plea is the latest in a string of convictions against members of the AFO, including Arturo Paez-Martinez in 2002, Ismael and Gilberto Higuera-Guerrero in 2007, Javier Arellano-Felix in 2007 and Jesus Labra-Aviles in 2010.

“The AFO has been effectively dismantled and no longer poses the same threat to the people of the United States or Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy.

Slain ATF Agent Honored at Childhood Schools

John Capano/atf photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The flags flew at half mast this week at the school district where  ATF John Capano attended.

Capano was fatally shot Dec. 31 when he tried to interfere with a robbery occurring at the Long Island pharmacy where he was picking his father’s cancer medication. Authorities suspect he was accidentally shot by a retired cop who came to his rescue.

In the Seaford School District, in Seaford, New York, Capano was honored as all U.S.  flags were placed at half-mast, the Massapequa Patch reports. At a Seaford Board of Education meeting on Thursday night, a moment of silence is also planned in honor of the former ATF agent.

Brian Conboy, Seaford Superintendent of Schools, told the Patch he remembers growing up with Capano, running into him in recent years at a local 7-11 and catching up on old times.

“He had very strong ties to the community,” Conboy said. “He comes from a very community-minded family.” The two attended school together at the former Seaford Avenue Elementary school and were in Boy Scouts and Little League together, according to Patch.

To read more click here.

Atty. General Holder to Testify on Fast and Furious

Atty. Gen. Holder on the Hill/ttw photo via C-Span

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is it Groundhog Day — as in the Bill Murray film?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will once again testify on Feb. 2 before Congress where he’s gotten a grilling in the past several months on ATF’s controversial gun walking operation “Fast and Furious.”

Rep. Darrell Issa’s office fired off a press release announcing the appearance, and indicated it’s the first one for Holder that will be exclusively focus on  Fast and Furious. In previous appearances, he’s also addressed other issues.

This is the third time Holder will have testified before congressional panels since November.

Holder will appear before Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful,” said Issa in a statement.

“From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew. Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.”

To read more click here.

 

Connecticut to Ramp-Up Racial Profiling Reporting Following Justice Dept. Report

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things are about to change in Connecticut.

Following the Justice Department’s discovery of a pattern of discrimination in one town, law enforcement officials have announced they will ramp up efforts to crack down on racial profiling, Fox News Latino reports.

Police Departments are supposed to track potential racial profiling by officers based on a 1999 law, but for years, says FOX, many departments in Connecticut did not submit reports.

Now, Connecticut officials are promising to ramp up enforcement following the recent release of details of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found discrimination against Latino residents by East Haven Police.

The governor, Dannel P. Malloy, said he is directing his staff to collect required traffic stop data including the race and ethnicity of those pulled over, then submit that to “an appropriate outside evaluator” to analyze. Only one such report has been done in 10 years in Connecticut.

To read more click here.

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