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Archive for January 6th, 2015

Ex-Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell Sentenced to 2 Years

Gov. Bob McDonnell

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Richmond to two years in prison for soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other items from Star Scientific, a Virginia-based corporation, and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., Star Scientific’s then chief executive officer.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right. McDonnell was also convicted of three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right.

Maureen McDonnell was also convicted of two counts of honest services wire fraud counts and four counts of obtaining property under color of official right. She is set to be sentenced Feb. 20.

“Robert McDonnell corrupted the most powerful office in Virginia and fractured the public’s trust,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in a statement. “Taking bribes in exchange for official actions is not politics as usual – it is an insidious crime that strikes at the heart of public service and will not be tolerated.”

NYT’s James Risen Pushes Back in Hearing on Leaks

Reporter James Risen

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s plan to defuse a First Amendment showdown with a New York Times reporter over his confidential sources was nearly derailed at a court hearing Monday when the journalist rebuffed a series of questions concerning his reporting.

But he eventually agreed to answer some of the queries, allowing the at-times tense session to get back on track and avoiding for now a major confrontation over press freedom.

Times national security writer James Risen testified for about 45 minutes in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, where ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is set to go on trial next week on charges of leaking top-secret information that Risen published in his 2006 book “State of War.”

 To read more click here.

FBI Turns Up Heat on Man Wanted in Murders of 2 Daughters in ’08

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Texas man accused of murdering his two daughters in 2008 was added to the FBI’s 10 most wanted list, and a reward leading to his arrest has increased as part of an effort to regenerate interest in the largely dormant case, Fox News reports. 

Prosecutors said Yaser Said, an Egyptian national, shot his daughters, ages 17 and 18, after becoming incensed with their increasingly Western lifestyles. They were raised in a Muslim family.

“Every time this case is pushed into the national spotlight we receive information,” FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said.

Family members expressed relief.

“I having been hoping for something like this for the past seven years,” Gail Gertrell, an aunt of the girls, told FoxNews.com. “For the sake of Sarah and Amina.”

 

FBI: Agents Need No Search Warrant to Intercept Cell Phones in Public

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI maintains it does not need a warrant to intercept cell phone devices in public, according to a letter written by Senate leaders, Gizmodo reports.

The bureau said it does not plan to get search warrants to intercept mobile devices in public. The interception devices, which include Stringrays, quickly extract data using cell towers as a decoy.

Gizmodo wrote:

“Stingrays, dirtboxes, and other surveillance tools help law enforcement catch criminals. That’s true. To do so, the decoys grab information from lots of innocent people by tricking their phones into sending data to the FBI before they can pinpoint a suspect. This is a substantial and wide-ranging intrusion, which is why the policy to forgo warrants is raising concerns.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, requested information after reading disturbing reports about other surveillance techniques.

Former CBS News Correspondent Sues Justice Department Over Alleged Hacking

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A former CBS News correspondent is suing the Justice Department for $35 million, claiming the federal government hacked her computers while she reported on important national and international issues, Politico.com reports.

“There is an administrative claim for illegal wiretapping and a lawsuit alleging constitutional violations,” Sharyl Attkisson told POLITICO on Monday.

Attkisson told Fox News she had “pretty good evidence” that the Justice Department played a role in stealing her data and passwords.

Attkisson spent more than two decades at CBS before departing because of what she considered liberal bias.

The Justice Department declined any involvement in the hacking, standing behind it’s 2013 statement: “To our knowledge, the Justice Department has never compromised Ms. Attkisson’s computers, or otherwise sought any information from or concerning any telephone, computer or other media device she may own or use.”

How Would Government Shutdown Affect Homeland Security, Employees?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

A political battle between President Obama and Republicans over immigration has many observers worried about a Homeland Security shutdown at the beginning of March.

What would that look like?

The National Journal explains:

It’s likely that the majority of DHS employees would still go to work. And the main agency tasked with overseeing the program in question, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is funded through fees rather than appropriations legislation.

It’s not clear that GOP leaders will have much leverage. Aside from the potential political fallout if the department runs out of cash, it turns out that a DHS “shutdown” might be one in name only, and Obama’s executive order might well proceed as planned.

During the October 2013 shutdown, about 85% of DHS workers continued to work, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

A shutdown usually doesn’t affect employees whose salaries come from multiyear appropriations or whose jobs are to save lives, the National Journal wrote.

American Federation of Government Employees Video Shows Constant Dangers

The American Federation of Government Employees released a new video to show that Border Patrol agents are exposed to dangers from drug cartels and undocumented immigrants.

The video includes candid interviews with agents about their close encounters.

The AFGE represents more than 17,000 Border Patrol agents.

Other Stories of Interest