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Archive for July 18th, 2012

Grassley and Issa Concerned ATF Director’s Comments Could Put a Chill on Whistleblowing

Todd Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, two of Capitol Hill’s chief critics of ATF, expressed concern about comments the agency’s acting Director B. Todd Jones made to employees earlier this month.

Specifically, the two were concerned about a comment that could put a chill on whistleblowers.

Todd said: “… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

A press release from Grassley and Issa stated:

Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, stating that the essence of whistleblowing is reporting problems outside of an employee’s chain of command, and whistleblowers were instrumental in exposing the shortcomings of the government’s botched gun-walking operation, Fast and Furious. Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, “Your ominous message – which could be interpreted as a threat – is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.”

Grassley and Issa also wrote, “On numerous occasions, we have stressed to ATF and the Department of Justice the importance of protecting whistleblower disclosures and preventing retaliation against whistleblowers.”

 

Court to decide FBI’s Power over Phone Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Can the FBI force a phone company to turn over its customer records for an investigation?

The question is at the center of a rare civil complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which claims the phone company was interfering with national security, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The case, which is shrouded in secrecy, is expected to answer important questions about the USA Patriot Act.

“This is the most important national-security-letter case” in years, Stephen Vladeck, a professor and expert on terrorism law at the American University Washington College of Law, told the Wall Street Journal. “It raises a question Congress has been trying to answer: How do you protect the First Amendment rights of an NSL (national security letter) recipient at the same time as you protect the government’s interest in secrecy?”

 

Justice Department Threatens to Sue Seattle Police Over Reforms

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Tuesday he’s optimistic the city can avoid a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit over police reforms, the Seattle Times reports.

City attorney Pete Holmes said the DOJ will sue by the end of the month if an agreement on police reforms is not reached.

The cause of the holdup is unclear.

The Justice Department raised concerns about the Seattle Police Department repeatedly using unconstitutional force and is negotiating a court-monitored consent decree.

Four Dozen Charged in Massive Medicaid Scheme

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged four dozen people in a scheme to illegally resell prescription drugs obtained by Medicaid recipients, reports CNN.com.

The scheme involved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of prescription drugs obtained from Medicaid recipients. The accused bought the drugs at discounted rates and then resold them through a corrupt network of wholesale distributors, according to CNN.

The drugs included treatment for schizophrenia, HIV and asthma. Some cost more than $1,000 a bottle, CNN reported.

The arrests range from people who bought the drugs on the street to those who resold them to a distributor.

FBI Raids Home of Trenton Mayor Mack

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents searched the home of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack Wednesday morning and were spotted taking equipment from two SUVs at the residence early this morning, the Star Ledger reports.

Trenton police helped the FBI execute the search warrant about 1 a.m., Trenton Police Lt. Don Fillinger told the Star Ledger.

It was unclear what prompted the search.

Mack’s half-brother, Stanley “Muscles” Davis watched the raid from outside the mayor’s home but declined to comment. He pleaded guilty in January to two counts of official misconduct for using water works crews to do private side jobs.

The newspaper said Mack, who was elected in 2010, was not known to be under a criminal investigation.

Officers Cleared in Shooting Death of ATF Agent John Capano

John Capano/atf photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired police lieutenant who shot and killed an ATF agent at a pharmacy on New Year’s Eve will not be charged because the force was justified, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office announced, reports the Associated Press.

ATF agent John Capano, 51, was buying medicine for his cancer-stricken when he intervened in a robbery.

But when the agent’s gun went off during a scuffle with the robber, retired Nassau Police Lt. Christopher Geraghty believed his life was in danger when he accidentally fatally shot Capano in the chest, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Geraghy was in a deli in Searford, about 20 miles east of New York City, with an off-duty New York City police officer when the pair responded to the robbery.

The off-duty cop, Joseph Arbia, killed the robbery suspect.

Capano, an explosives expert, was the first ATF agent killed by gunfire in the line of duty since raid on Waco, Texas, in 1993.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Names New Special Agent in Charge of Kansas City Division

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller named a new special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City Division, the Kansas City Star reports.

Michael Kaste, who has worked with the FBI since 1988, is replacing Brian Truchon, who is now assigned to the bureau’s information technology engineering division.

Most recently chief of the internal investigations section at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington D.C., Kaste worked at FBI offices in St. Louis, Chicago and Albany, NY, according to the Kansas City Star. He also served as scene commander in Iraq for five months in 2008 and 2009.

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