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Archive for October 8th, 2012

Column: Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Finds Trial Almost Laughable: I Find it Depressing

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — The other day ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tweeted: “If this case was in another State, not paid for by taxpayers, & my life was not on the line, this ish would be laughable.”

Well, yes, perhaps almost laughable for Kwame.

Depressing for the rest of us.

For the past two weeks, the government has delivered some damaging testimony in his public corruption trial. Ultimately it will be up to the jury to decide if Kwame walks or sulks behind bars for many years. If convicted, count on him going off to prison for at least 12 years. I don’t sense this judge has a lot sympathy for the defense.

As an observer, the longer I watch the trial, the more I can’t help but see Kwame as man who reigned supremely over this impoverished kingdom, whose concerns about living a lavish lifestyle overrode his concerns of his subjects.

I’m not laughing.

To read full column click here.

 

National Geographic Launches Show Monday Night: “To Catch a Smuggler”

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The National Geographic Channel launches its new series Monday night at 9 p.m. “To Catch a Smuggler.”

The show takes viewers behind the scenes at JFK International Airport with agents from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who are looking for drugs, weapon and contraband, according to a press statement.

More than 20,000 international passengers come through JFK daily.

 

Laser Attacks on Pilots Prompt FBI to Create Nationwide Crackdown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

 To crackdown on the increasing number of people pointing at pilots, the FBI has created a national Anti-Laser Attack Task Force, Gizmodo.com reports.

Since 2005, so-called laser attacks, which can temporarily blind a pilot, are up 10 fold, the technology site reported.

In fact, the FBI expects 3,700 more attacks by year’s end.

Since 2008, the FBI’s Sacramento division has run a successful campaign to crack down on laser attacks, prompting the bureau to create a nationwide effort, according to Gizmodo.com.

If convicted, laser-wielders face up to five years in prison and up to $11,000 in fines.

Feds to Begin Testing Wider Use of Drones That Could Have Widespread Ramifications

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The Department of Homeland Security will test drones – small, unmanned flying spies – to see if they can be used for emergencies, law enforcement and border patrol, Wired.com reports.

The testing grounds will be Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where drones will officials will experiment with drones for five days, according to Wired.com.

The drones being researched are small and weigh less than 25 pounds.

The drones are controversial because of fears that they violate privacy rights or could crash into buildings, Wired.com reports.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Feds Aren’t Tracking Data on Frequency of Informants Breaking Law for Government

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF and the DEA don’t track how often informants are given authority to commit a crime, the USA Today reports.

While the Justice Department imposes stringent limits on when and how informants for various federal agencies are allowed to break the law on the government’s behalf, an open-records request reveals that neither the ATF nor the DEA stockpile information on such cases, according to USA Today.

The issue came to light in the midst of the bungled “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking operation that allowed 2,000 weapons to reach the hands of suspected cartels.

“The way we use confidential informants is a huge aspect of the daily operation and also the legitimacy of the criminal justice system,” said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles. “It’s insane that even the law enforcement agencies that actually carry out this policy may not always know how their operatives are doing it.”

Feds: How Did Friendly Fire End in the Death of a Border Patrol Agent?

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are trying to determine what went wrong when friendly fire resulted in the fatal shooting of the U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, the USA Today reports.

A preliminary investigation suggests agents became disoriented while responding to a ground sensor near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the USA Today.

“There are strong preliminary indications that the death of Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents,” the FBI said in a statement.

Officials originally believed other suspects were involved and fled to Mexico, a scenario that authorities say looks unlikely.

Eight Arrested in Alleged Scheme to Sell Cutting-Edge Military Technology to Russia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Houston company accused in a scheme to sell high-tech electronics to the Russian military and intelligence agencies told employees to hide information about the technology, the Associated Press reports, citing an FBI agent.

In custody are Arc Electronics Inc. owner Alexander Fishenko and seven employees accused of illicitly selling military technology to Russia since 2008, according to the AP.

The company’s director of procurement, the AP reported, is a Russian immigrant and current U.S. citizen who is considered a flight risk.

A detention hearing is set for Wednesday, the AP reported.