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Archive for January 27th, 2015

DOJ’s Top Public Corruption Investigator, Jack Smith, Takes New Job

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section has overcome some embarrassing blunders, from caving in to politicians to failing to convict former Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. John Edwards.

In 2010, Jack Smith became the head of the beleaguered section, shouldered with the daunting responsibility of improving the prosecutors’ images as they go after public graft.

By most accounts, Smith turned around the section and last year won a highly publicized conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Smith will become the top assistant to David Rivera, the U.S. Attorney in Nashville, TN., giving him an opportunity to return to trying cases, which he has missed.

FBI Busts Russian Agents Accused of Spying on U.S. from NYC

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI said Monday it broke up a Russian spy ring in New York City, arresting the alleged ringleader and forcing two others to leave the country, The Washington Post reports. 

Evgeny Buryakov was charged with conspiracy to act and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government after he allegedly collected intelligence reports and other confidential information and supplied them to the SVR,  Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

The other two SVR agents were returned to Russia with diplomatic immunity.

Prosecutors said Buryakov arrived in the U.S. in 2010 and began establishing connections to gather reports on subjects ranging from U.S. sanctions to progress on alternative energy sources.

Justice Department Builds Secret Database to Spy on Millions of Cars

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A license plate tracking program established to seize cars and money to combat drug trafficking has gone far beyond its original scope and has led to the collection and storage of millions of records about motorists, Reuters reports.

Not only is the database being used to track drug dealers, but state and locals authorities are using it to search for cars tied to other serious crimes, raising questions among privacy advocates.

This is the first time the DEA has revealed it is expanding its database beyond the  Mexican border.

What remained unknown was whether a judge or agency was responsible for oversight.

A debate is being waged in Washington over what some are expressing as privacy concerns with license plate readers.