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Archive for January 15th, 2014

Ex-Fed Prosecutor James Baker Named General Counsel for FBI

James Baker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

James A. Baker, a former federal prosecutor,  has been named the general counsel for the FBI.

Baker, a University of Michigan Law School graduate, clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit before joining the Department of Justice with the Criminal Division through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 1990. He worked as a federal prosecutor with the division’s Fraud Section.

In 1996, he joined the former Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), which later became part of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

From 2001 to 2007, he served as counsel for intelligence policy and head of OIPR.

Back in 2006, Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post reported  that in 2004 Baker discovered “the government’s failure to share information about its spying program had rendered useless a federal screening system that the judges had insisted upon to shield the court from tainted information. He alerted (U.S. District Judge Colleen)  Kollar-Kotelly, who complained to Justice, prompting a temporary suspension of the NSA spying program.”

From 2008 to 2009, Baker was assistant general counsel for national security at Verizon Business. He then returned to the Justice Department and from 2009 to 2011, served as an associate deputy attorney general where he worked on a range of national security issues, including cyber security.

He last worked as associate general counsel for  Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms based in Connecticut.

“Jim’s experience as a career prosecutor and as a national security official, as well his experience in the private sector, make him an excellent fit for his new position here at the FBI,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement.

 

David T. Resch Heads Up FBI’s Little Rock Division

David Resch/FBI photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

David T. Resch, who most recently served as chief of the Tactical Operations Section in the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Va., has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Little Rock, Ark. office.

Resch became an agent in 1996, and was first assigned to the Houston Division, where worked criminal matters and served as the crimes against children coordinator and the kidnapping coordinator, the FBI said in a press release.

In 2003, he was promoted to the Crisis Management Unit in the Critical Incident Response Group and then transferred to the Behavioral Analysis Unit in 2004, the FBI said.

In 2006, he was promoted to lead the unit in 2006 and directed the FBI’s response to complex and time sensitive crimes involving acts or threats of violence and terrorism.

He transferred to the Richmond Division in 2008 as the supervisory special agent of the Gangs, Violent Crimes, and Cyber programs and subsequently as the Joint Terrorism Task Force supervisor.

In 2012, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge and was responsible for all criminal and administrative programs in the division, the press release said.

 

Obama’s Nominee for Civil Rights Post in Justice Department Faces Heated Criticism from Foes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s nominee for head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has drawn strong criticism from opponents of the appointment of Debo Adegbile, Fox News reports.

They’ve described the former NAACP lawyer as “radical,” “dangerous” and “outside the mainstream.”

Now he’s being criticized for playing a role in overturning the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.

Asked about the overturned sentence, Adegbile responded: “It’s important, I think, to understand that in no way does that legal representation, zealously as an advocate, cast any aspersion or look past the grievous loss of Sergeant Faulkner.”

Local, State, Federal Authorities Increasingly Using Drones to Spy on Americans

 

Stock Photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly using drones to spy domestically, the Washington Post reports, citing newly released documents.

The agencies are borrowing drones from Border Patrol in what could become more commonplace in the future, the Post wrote.

CBP has the largest domestic drone fleet and flew about 700 spying missions from 2010 to 2013, according to flight logs.

The agencies most involved borrowing the unmanned aircraft are the DEA, Coast Guard and immigration officials.

The aircraft has been used to search for drugs, meth labs and missing people.

Civil libertarians worry that the aircraft could mean ubiquitous surveillance of Americans on private property, the Post wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


FBI Director Comey Makes Terrorism, Sequestration His Top Priorities in 2014

 

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the agency’s priorities this year are combating terrorism and dealing with deep budget cuts, ABC 33/40 reports.

“One of the first challenges I’ve faced as FBI director was the impact of budget sequestration on the bureau,” Comey said during a visit to Birmingham.

Budget cuts have left the FBI with fewer resources and agents.

“The first promise that we have made to the American people is that we will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks. That’s our number one priority,” said Comey.

Comey said those efforts may be compromised by deeper cuts and said he and Congress must work on a compromise.

“I’m optimistic we are on the cusp of a budget agreement that will allow the FBI to start hiring again and avoid the devastating furloughs we were facing,” Comey said.

FBI Rushed Trenton Mayor Mack Investigation Because of Suspicions from Inner Circle

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI rushed its investigation into Trenton Mayor Tony Mack because agents were worried the administration knew about the probe, the Trenton Times reports

A city carpet salesman, who was Mack’s fraternity brother, warned the mayor of an investigation, prompting the FBI to scurry for search warrants. 

“We needed to execute immediately because we believed we were compromised in the investigation,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Mike Doyle said.

Mack and his brother are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for fast-tracking the sale of property to build a garage, which actually was an FBI sting operation.

Investor’s Business Daily Editorial: FBI Just As Untrustworthy As IRS Over Failed Probe

By Investor’s Business Daily
Editorial
The FBI says it won’t prosecute anyone at the IRS for its admitted targeting of the president’s political foes. This just as the agency claims the law is no longer its main mission. So it’s a political goon squad now.

According to a leak to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation “didn’t find the kind of political bias or ‘enemy hunting’ that would amount to a violation of criminal law.” And so, nobody was likely to be prosecuted for the most blatant politicization of a federal agency within memory.

All the Bureau found was a “mismanaged” agency that enforced rules “it didn’t understand.” In other words, nothing to see here, move along.

That’s strange stuff for an agency whose most implicated regulator, Lois Lerner, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination in congressional testimony last year. That she came to congressional attention was only because of her calculated announcement that the IRS had in fact targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny — that’s right, admitted to breaking the law — in a preemptive attempt to paint her abuse of power as a customer service problem.

To read more click here.