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Archive for January 19th, 2012

Rep. Issa Subpoenas Az Prosecutor in Fast and Furious Probe

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It may be a new year, but the controversy surrounding ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious isn’t going away any time soon.

The latest: Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), head of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, announced Thursday that a subpoena has been issued for Patrick J. Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division in Phoenix.

A press release said that “Mr. Cunningham’s repeated refusals to testify voluntarily have forced the Committee to use compulsory process.”

“During the course of our investigation, the Committee has learned of the outsized role played by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office – and you specifically – in approving the unacceptable tactics used in Fast and Furious,” Chairman Issa wrote to Cunningham in a letter informing him of the subpoena.

“Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress, ” the letter said.

“These officials told us that even after Congress began investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no unacceptable tactics were used. In fact, documents obtained confidentially just last week appear to confirm that you remained steadfast in your belief that no unacceptable tactics were used, even after the Department’s initial response to the congressional inquiry. Given that the Attorney General has labeled these tactics as unacceptable and Fast and Furious as ‘fundamentally flawed,’ this position is startling.”

In the letter dated Jan. 18, Issa wrote that Cunningham had cancelled his voluntary interview with the committee that was set for Jan. 19.

The subpoena requires Cunningham to appear on Tuesday, January 24 for a deposition.

 

 

Smoke Bomb Lands on White House Lawn

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Occupy protestors in Washington, D.C., drew the Secret Service out after throwing a smoke bomb on the White House lawn, reports KSTC-TV.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie says there were no arrests made when agents dispersed the crowd on Tuesday night. Still, the White House was on lock down, as people inside were prevented from leaving out of the Pennsylvania Avenue side.

Barack and Michelle Obama were away from the White House celebrating the first lady’s 48th birthday at a nearby restaurant when the smoke bomb was thrown.

Ogilvie says the protest swelled to between 1,000 and 1,500 people at one point.

To read more click here.

 

Feds Target 4 Calif. Marijuana Shops in Ongoing Crackdown

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Over the past week, federal prosecutors filed four asset forfeiture lawsuits against buildings housing “marijuana stores” in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Department of Justice announced in a statement on Wednesday. The owners of the buildings and operators of the stores have been sent warning letters as well.

The charges claim that business and property owners knowingly allowed marijuana sales to illegally take place. The Department of Justice said the moves were “part of a continuing, coordinated effort against commercial marijuana operations in California that started last fall.” California’s four USAttorneys announced in October coordinated enforcement actions targeting illegal marijuana cultivation and trafficking, the Justice Department said.

 

FBI: $10 Million Payed Back to Victims

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The victims of one of New York’s largest public corruption schemes can breathe a sigh of relief today.

The US Attorney in Rochester, New York, announced on Wednesday that more than $10 million in forfeited property has been returned to the victims of property tax appraisal and assessment schemes orchestrated by property appraiser John Nicolo.

Nicolo and others schemed victims out of millions in 2005 by falsely inflating tax assessments on their properties.  John Nicolo then got the victims — many of them companies — to hire him to reduce the tax assessments,  according to the FBI.

The victims of the scheme include the Eastman Kodak Company, the Town of Greece, IBM, ITT Industries, Inc., RG&E, and Global Crossing.

 

FBI’s Kids Page: Just Another Example of FBI Outdoing Other Agencies in the Public Relations Game

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I remember years ago sitting at a banquet table at a retirement party for a U.S. Marshal in Detroit when the head of U.S. Customs in Detroit started talking about his school-aged son.

With some amusement, and a perhaps a drop of disappointment, he recounted how his son told people his dad worked for the FBI. Ouch.

I’m reminded of that story after looking on the FBI website and finding the “FBI Kids Page.”

Of all the federal law enforcement agencies, the FBI, hands down, has far outpaced others when it comes to public relations and promoting its image.

This is just another example of its efforts.

The feature is designed to educate children and teens and their parents about the workings of the agency.

“Follow a case from start to finish through the FBI Laboratory on our Kids Page,” the FBI website says.

“The page is designed for children and their parents to learn more about the FBI through age-appropriate games, tips, stories, and interactives. We also introduce you to our working dogs and show how FBI special agents and analysts investigate cases.”

I point this out, because I think some federal law enforcement agencies could do a much better job of dealing with the media and promoting their image.

Just a thought.

 

Former FBI Agent New Port Authority IG

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agent Thomas Raftery is now the Inspector General for the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) for New Jersey and Pennsylvania, reports Fox News. The decision was made at a DRPA meeting on Wednesday, where a former political aide was named the new deputy chief executive officer of the DRPA as well.

Raferty served with the FBI in Afghanistan and investigated the Oklahoma City bombing, according to Fox. His new job, which is also a new position within DRPA, is to try and “clean up the DRPA mess” amid complaints that the organization lacks transparency and engages in patronage, a long held criticism of the DRPA.

To read more click here.

Read press release.

Column: FBI’s Kids Page: Just Another Example of FBI Outdoing Other Agencies in the Public Relations Game

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I remember years ago sitting at a banquet table at a retirement party for a U.S. Marshal in Detroit when the head of U.S. Customs in Detroit started talking about his school-aged son.

With some amusement, and a perhaps a drop of disappointment, he recounted how his son told people his dad worked for the FBI. Ouch.

I’m reminded of that story after looking on the FBI website and finding the “FBI Kids Page.”

Of all the federal law enforcement agencies, the FBI, hands down, has far outpaced others when it comes to public relations and promoting its image.

This is just another example of its efforts.

The feature is designed to educate children and teens and their parents about the workings of the agency.

“Follow a case from start to finish through the FBI Laboratory on our Kids Page,” the FBI website says.

“The page is designed for children and their parents to learn more about the FBI through age-appropriate games, tips, stories, and interactives. We also introduce you to our working dogs and show how FBI special agents and analysts investigate cases.”

I point this out, because I think some federal law enforcement agencies could do a much better job of dealing with the media and promoting their image.

Just a thought.

 

Mobster John Gotti: Draft Dodger? Kinda, Sorta

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Was the late Godfather John Gotti a draft dodger? Well, kinda, sorta.

His status with the military is included in 1,580 pages of FBI files on Gotti from 1964 to 1995, archived on a CD-ROM by the website paperlessarchives.com.

Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family, nicknamed the “Dapper Don” because of his lavish lifestyle and manner of dress.

The files point out that Gotti was drafted in 1963 in Brooklyn, but did not appear for induction. The  FBI searched for Gotti for two years, eventually making contact on November 10, 1965, when the future crime boss appeared at the Kings County Court House for a hearing related to a grand larceny auto. Gotti told authorities he was unaware of the draft status. He reported to the selective service board the next day, but was never inducted into the armed forces due to his criminal record, the files show.

Also in the files are reports of an internal FBI administrative investigation in 1992 in which at least 140 agents were interviewed and provided sworn statements regarding leaks about John Gotti to the New York Daily News.

“I did not provide this information to anyone not entitled to receive it, including the Daily News,” one agent said, “with the possible exception of my wife. I do not recall discussing this with my wife, but I may have.”

Another investigation focused on leaks to a New York news television program, where reporter John Miller broke the story of a juror being bribed–$60,000 from Gotti himself and another $15,000 from a Gambino associate–which ultimately led to Gotti’s acquittal in the case. Miller was known to have wide net of connections in New York law enforcement and later went on to become the chief spokesman for the FBI in 2005 to 2009.

To read more click here.

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