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Archive for April 17th, 2012

Sen. Grassley: Secret Service Director Taking Scandal Seriously

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

UPDATE, Wed, 8 a.m.:  CBS News  is reporting that there were up to 20 prostitutes involved with the Secret Service agents and military aides, and that the Secret Service wants to polygraph the people involved.
 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “He better be taking this seriously if he wants to keep his job” comes the conversation Sen. Chuck Grassley had with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.

Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican member, issued a press release Tuesday saying that he was briefed by Sullivan about the latest scandal involving allegations that 11 Secret Service employees hired prostitutes in Colombia before President Obama arrived for a summit.

And guess what? Sullivan is taking this seriously. Really. Does he have a choice?

Here’s what Grassley had to say:

“Director Sullivan called me today to provide the latest on the incident with Secret Service agents and prostitutes in Colombia.It sounds like he’s taking the situation very seriously.

“It was welcome news that he has called on the Inspector General for an independent review. The allegations against a few agents in the Secret Service have given the entire agency a black eye, and a transparent, independent review should help the agency regain some respect from the American taxpayers and from people around the world.”

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tax Scam Targets IRS Refunds

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Blogger Suggests FBI Has More Info on Decades-old Cop-Killer Case

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Blogger Micah Morrison seeks justice in a decades old cop-killer case, and wants the FBI to reveal any hidden cards.

Last weekend marked 40 years since Police Officer Phillip Cardillo was shot and killed in Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7 in Harlem, reports Micah Morrison for the NY Daily News. Morrison, who is working on a book about the incident, is calling on the feds to reopen the recently re-examined, and re-closed, case.

Morrison suggests that the only suspect in Cardillo’s murder, Lewis 17X Dupree,  may have been an FBI informant, and that the whole case, including the fact that it was closed without a conviction, reeks of “betrayal and coverup.”

He reports that in 1976 then-FBI Director Clarence Kelly wrote a letter to Nation of Islam General Counsel Saad El-Amin, declaring “neither the FBI nor any FBI source or informant was in any way connected with the confrontation or events leading up to the confrontation.”

However, FBI docs regarding the case have 6 prominent black-outs under the heading “Sources,” suggesting to Morrison that the FBI has more info that could illuminate the unresolved case.

To read more click here.

3 Convictions for Violation of Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Fourteen years after its namesake’s murders, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is being used to hold three men accountable for hate-fueled violence in Houston.

Three defendants flush with white-supremacist tattoos were convicted Monday in Texas of hate crimes for the violent beating of an African-American man. The assault, which involved kicking and punching in the face, head and body, occurred while the victim waited for a bus in Houston in 2011, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted in 2009, the assailants face up to 10 years in prison.

“We hope today’s convictions send a powerful public message,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris. “The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a tool the FBI will use to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes as felony offenses.”

To read more, click here.

Federal Indictments for Massive Online Drug Ring are First of a Kind

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

In a brave new high-tech world, the federal indictment of eight online drug traffickers is the first of its kind.

The BBC reports that the feds busted up a $1million-plus illegal drug operation online on a marketplace called “The Farmer’s Market” using the TOR network, which allows emails and websites to hide IP addresses and protect users from detection.

The operation served about 3,0000 customers in every U.S. state and  34 countries , selling LSD, ecstasy, marijuana and other illegal drugs. The Justice Department contends the ring provided order forms, customer service and accepted payments through PayPal, Western Union and other means.

“Operation Adam Bomb,” a 2 year investigation led by the DEA’s L.A. Field Division, resulted in arrests in the  the U.S., Colombia, and the Netherlands, according to a Justice Department press release. The L.A. DEA collaborated with the Hague office, international agencies and the U.S. Post Office.

“The drug trafficking organization targeted in Operation Adam Bomb was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing on-line technology,” said Briane M. Grey, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.

To read more click here.

 

Secret Service Yanks Security Clearances of Agents in Prostitute Scandal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The prostitute-Secret Service controversy continues to unfold.

CNN reports that the Secret Service has yanked the security clearances of 11 members who are accused of bringing prostitutes to a hotel in Colombia. The incident happened late last week before President Obama was to arrive in that country for a summit.

CNN reports that all have been interviewed by investigators at least once.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told CNN that one prostitute refused to leave the hotel room, claiming she was owed money.

 

Column: Detroit U.S. Atty McQuade: “We Cannot Allow Detroit to be Defined by Homicide and Violence”

U.S. Attorney McQuade

Barbara McQuade has been the U.S. Attorney in Detroit since January 2010.
 
By Barbara L. McQuade
Detroit Free Press Guest Writer

DETROIT — As the Free Press’ “Living with Murder” series has vividly illustrated, reducing homicide and violent crime in Detroit is essential to improving our quality of life. Even those who live outside the city should be concerned about crime in Detroit, because it affects the success of our region and our state. We cannot allow Detroit to be defined by homicide and violence.

While law enforcement agencies are working together to arrest and remove dangerous people from our community, long-term solutions to reducing violent crime require thoughtful prevention efforts.

A federal judge in Detroit recently told me that when he imposes a long prison sentence on a violent offender, he wishes he could “rewind the tape” to the point in the defendant’s life before he became involved in crime. Prevention efforts underway in Detroit seek to do just that.

To read more click here.

 

Justice Dept. Knew of Flawed Forensic Work; Innocent People May Have Been Convicted

By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people nationwide, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.

Officials started reviewing the cases in the 1990s after reports that sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab was producing unreliable forensic evidence in court trials. Instead of releasing those findings, they made them available only to the prosecutors in the affected cases, according to documents and interviews with dozens of officials.

In addition, the Justice Department reviewed only a limited number of cases and focused on the work of one scientist at the FBI lab, despite warnings that problems were far more widespread and could affect potentially thousands of cases in federal, state and local courts.

To read the full story click here.