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Archive for May 22nd, 2014

Republican Congressman Accuses Obama Administration of ‘Nixonian’ Attempt to Control DEA Chief

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has come under fire recently for being out of sync with the Obama administration over drug policies and sentencing requirements.

Now Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, is coming to Leonhart’s defense, saying the Obama administration should butt out following news that Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with the DEA chief about her critical comments about the president’s sentencing reforms, the Huffington Post reports.

What Wolf doesn’t say is that Leonhart is a politically appointed position.

“Having served in the Nixon Administration, I am well aware of how the political leadership of an administration can try to politicize the civil service, including law enforcement,” Wolf wrote. “This article suggests a similar ‘Nixonian’ effort to pressure a career law enforcement leader into changing her congressional testimony and public comments to fit the narrative of the administration. I am deeply concerned and hope you will correct the record if the information reported was inaccurate.”

FBI Agent Who Shot Todashev in Florida Is Subject of Probe Over His Annual Police Pension

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI agent who fatally shot a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in his Florida apartment is the subject of an investigation over a $52,000 pension that he’s receiving as a retired police officer from Oakland, California.

The Boston Globe reports that Aaron McFarlane has been receiving the pension since he was 31 years old in 2004.

What’s bizarre about his pension is that he began collecting it for medical reasons, yet he managed to pass the rigorous physical requirements of the FBI when he landed the job in 2008.

The city of Oakland is investigating.

Two law-Enforcement Involved Shootings in Cleveland After DEA Pulls Trigger on Suspect

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent shot a suspect in Cleveland just hours after a police officer opened fire on an unrelated suspect Wednesday, Cleveland.com reports.

The agent shot a suspect at East 112th St. and Avon Avenue on the city’s east side Wednesday afternoon.

The agent wasn’t injured, and the suspect was conscious, Cleveland.com wrote.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear Thursday morning.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Agents to Begin Recording Interrogations After Long Policy Against It

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Overturning an FBI policy that is as old as the bureau, the Justice Department is now requiring the FBI in most cases to make audio or video recordings while interrogating suspects in custody, the Arizona Republic reports.

Since the FBI’s creation in 1908, agents have been barred from making audio recordings of suspects without special permission.

“This policy establishes a presumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) will electronically record statements made by individuals in their custody,” says the memo from James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, to all federal prosecutors and criminal chiefs.

“This policy also encourages agents and prosecutors to consider electronic recording in investigative or other circumstances where the presumption does not apply,” such as in the questioning of witnesses.

The Abrupt and Fearless Character of FBI Special Agent Charles Winstead

By Larry Wack
Retired FBI agent

The role of FBI special agent, Charles B. Winstead in the shooting and killing of John Dillinger is widely known today. The 1934 incident outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago catapulted Director J. Edgar Hoover and the Bureau to the front pages during the “war on crime” and brought on a continuous wave of publicity for generations to come.1 Over the decades, crime enthusiasts would label Winstead and others chosen of that era as “Hoover’s hired guns.”

Winstead’s personnel file, recently obtained from the FBI under the Freedom Of Information Act, paints a colorful portrait of a man seemingly in contradiction to the polished lawyers and accountants hired at the time by the Bureau. Some might believe he should have been born decades earlier than the 1890s, and walked the dusty streets of places like Tombstone instead of the cement sidewalks of twentieth century Los Angeles, Chicago and surrounding.

Unlike the tall, mysterious character played by actor Stephen Lang in the movie, “Public Enemies,” when Winstead entered the Bureau in 1926 he was only five feet, seven inches tall, weighing one hundred thirty pounds. When he left the Bureau in 1942, he weighed the same. In reality, there was nothing mysterious about “Charlie” Winstead.

1 For purposes here, “FBI” & “the Bureau” are synonymous. In order not to confuse readers with the name changes that occurred, we use “FBI” overall during the early years but recognize that the name did not become official until 1935.

For Winstead, the label of “hired gun” isn’t applicable if taken literally. Unlike the hiring of other legendary agents during the early 1930s, Winstead’s file reveals nothing indicating he was originally recruited in 1926 due to his abilities with a handgun. In fact, there’s no mention in his background investigation regarding his handling of weapons, one way or the other.

Education wise, he only finished the 8th grade and for a few short years, attended the Sherman, Texas School for boys and the Sherman Business School. He held no formal educational degrees of any sort unlike the many lawyers and accountants hired at the time. More importantly for the Bureau during those early days is that his background revealed his years of investigative experience with the U. S. Attorney’s Office in El Paso, Texas. With that position came his extensive knowledge of federal law, writing indictments, court procedures, and rules of evidence. Everyone interviewed for his background praised Winstead’s work ethics and his moral character. One Bureau official who knew him agreed he could pass a bar exam whenever he wanted.

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